There have been a number of road projects around Westmoreland County in recent memory that were set to use Smart Scale funding, such as the passing lanes on Route 3. Another such project that was proposed was at the intersection of Ferry Landing Road and Rt. 205. The long and short of it is that certain proposals for road improvements can be submitted every two years by localities such as the Board of Supervisors, and if the applications meet certain criteria, VDOT will give special priority to it.
Unfortunately, while the passing and turning lanes at Route 3 near Flat Iron Road did get the Smart Scale funding, the proposal for a turning lane at the south intersection of Ferry Landing and Route 205 was not recommended for the funding. VDOT Resident Engineer for the area, David Beale, was on hand to go into detail on what had happened.
“It didn’t score well at all,” Beale explained. “It’s very difficult to get that funding, and I think that sometimes the priorities of the county might not be the ones that get funding. You’ll have to play the game a little bit longer to identify which projects are likely to score better, and tailor the applications that way.”
Smart Scale funding is, according to Beale, rather hard to get, illustrating his point by noting that the Ferry Landing turning lane project ranked dead last out of 32 projects proposed. Out of seven applications in the Northern Neck residency, only one project over in Lancaster County on Route 3 got the funding.
Vice Chairman W.W. Hynson chimed in later to bring the topic up once more.
“I was happy about what was going to happen there. A lot of people live in Placid Bay, and in the mornings and evenings, when people are going to work or coming home, an awful lot of brake pads get used up there, and I’ve seen a lot of accidents. It really is a place that needs turning lanes. If we don’t have them, we’re probably going to have two or three accidents a year. They may be mere fender-benders, but it’s still not good. Tell us how we can get this project to score a bit better for our next talk with the referee.”
Beale replied that there are five categories for a project to score points in, and the only category it received was a fraction of a point for safety, with a point deducted for potential environmental impacts, which in turn put the project in with Richmond County.
“I don’t disagree with you that the project is important, it just didn’t score well. There are other ways to secure funding, such as revenue sharing, as well as the secondary six-year plan. I think the department recognizes the importance of the project, but funding is limited.”
This likely won’t be the last time the Ferry Landing intersection is put in an application for smart scale funding, as according to Beale, applications take place every two years, and there can be four applications, so chances are good that we have not heard the last of this proposed project.