road closed

Two of the last traffic-related items the Westmoreland Board of supervisors considered before the close of the year were through truck traffic and a detour near Colonial Beach.

Through truck traffic

Normally, truck traffic isn’t much of a problem, provided that there’s plenty of space on the road. When a road is a fair bit more narrow, however, problems arise. These roads that tend to have this problem are typically ones that are not meant for the behemoth tractor-trailers in the first place, and a sterling example can be seen in the road that branches off just before the westbound approach to the Chandler’s Mill Pond on Route 3. There is a turnoff, but next to it is a sign that reads, in big bold letters, “Through traffic prohibited!”

In recent days, Board of Supervisors Chairman Darryl Fisher and County Administrator Norm Risavi have been speaking with VDOT about a particular issue with through truck traffic over in the lower end of the county, specifically on Skipjack Road and non-local trucks that were cutting through. The communications and updates on what had to happen first had arrived that day.

“Some GPS systems will take truck traffic around that road, and we’re hoping we can restrict it there,” Fisher explained. “We’ll have to hold a public hearing to do that though.”

The process of restricting through truck traffic is a rather lengthy one, as it starts with a request from the local governing body, such as the board of supervisors, to the local VDOT office. From there, VDOT reviews the request and conducts a study and takes public comments. Then, it either returns the request to the county for revision or the resident engineer sends it up the ladder to the deputy chief engineer and commissioner. From there, the process continues until the restriction is approved, denied or sent back down the chain for further work. If it successfully gets through the whole process, it can finally be passed and the various agencies start making the required notices and signage.

As an example to follow, the board was sent a resolution that Lancaster County had adopted over 10 years ago after holding a public hearing, and it prevented through truck traffic from going through Main Street on Route 3.

The Board will determine its course of action after County Attorney Richard Stuart has had a chance to look everything over.

Culvert replacement

The other final item of note involved the replacement of a culvert on Stony Knoll Road, a stretch of road off Route 205 just past Monroe Hall. It ends near Custom T’s Motorsports Park. There is a bridge on the road in need of having its culvert replaced. VDOT resident engineer David Beale was hoping to have the road closed off rather than have a flagging crew. Risavi explained the reasoning behind it.

“They’ve asked if the board would prefer to shut down the road,” Risavi stated. “Because it would save money from having flagmen and keep us from having to extend the project.”

As the project itself is two years down the pipeline, the decision of whether or not to shut down traffic on Stony Knoll Road is not an immediate one. Cost estimates are being done so that the two options can be compared and ready for a later meeting.