Posted by: project151 | October 30, 2007

Media Watch : Nelson County officials ask state board for Va. 151 improvements

Nelson County officials ask state board for Va. 151 improvements
From: News & Advance
By Justin Faulconer
jfaulconer@newsadvance.com
Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nelson County officials asked members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board on Monday to improve sections of Virginia 151 that have come under scrutiny due to safety concerns.

County Administrator Steve Carter and Supervisor Tommy Harvey called on the state to add a left-turn lane at the intersection of Virginia 151 and Virginia 635. They also inquired about possibly lowering the speed limit along parts of the road from 55 mph to 50.

The intersection was the site of a fatal wreck in August that killed an Afton woman and her two daughters. Harvey has said that it is one of the county’s most dangerous intersections.

There have been several reports of accidents on Virginia 151 in the past three months, including at least one other fatality.

The concern recently led the Board of Supervisors to move Virginia 151 safety to No. 1 on its list of primary road

concerns.

Harvey and Carter made no mention Monday of a ban on through trucks, which some residents say contributes to danger along the road.

No one showed up at a public hearing on Monday at the Kirkley Hotel in Lynchburg to address that issue. The state transportation board was to use the feedback it received at Monday’s hearing to set a project list for the Virginia Department of Transport-ation.

Nelson supervisors have not called the state board to request a ban on the commercial trucks traveling from Afton Mountain to U.S. 29, despite public outcry.

They looked at the possibility last year but received word from the Virginia Department of Transportation that it was unlikely to happen since the state requires that there must be an alternative route that wouldn’t cause an “undue hardship” on drivers.

Kevin Wright, a local VDOT administrator, said that right now trucks are not an issue.

“The trucks are making up a small percentage of accidents,” Wright said. “We’re not finding they are at fault.”

A truck driver did cause the accident at the intersection in August that killed Laura Cavedo and her daughters.

According to police, the driver fell asleep and was charged with reckless driving.

The issue has caused some Nelson candidates for delegates, supervisors and sheriffs in this upcoming election to state in forums their opinion on what must be done with the road.

That has led to a range of ideas, from stepping up local law enforcement to calling for through trucks to only use the Virginia 151 stretch during certain parts of the day.

“At least what it’s done is served to bring focus to growth in that area,” said Dale Grigg, construction engineer for VDOT’s Lynchburg District.

So far, no official action has been taken to change any aspect of the road. To have the speed limit lowered, supervisors would have to request that VDOT do a formal speed study – which Wright said has not yet been requested.

A group of county officials, residents and representatives from law enforcement have started meeting to study recent accident data along Virginia 151, Wright said. They are looking for ways, he said, to find long-term solutions for the road concerns.

P-151 has prepared a letter for the CTB. Their policy allows for input for up to ten days after any public meeting.

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Responses

  1. Very misleading statement here, “A truck driver did cause the accident at the intersection in August that killed Laura Cavedo and her daughters.”

    It was not a semi, but a box truck. The more I delve into this, the more I become annoyed with the twisting of words and situations to deflect blame to a segment of drivers which are not the cause of our problem.

  2. I think our supervisors are letting us down. The article implies that no one showed up, because nobody cares about this issue. Frankly, no one knew, and at the community meeting where probably over 300 people showed up, Mr. Harvey pretty much dis-invited the community, saying nothing would be accomplished with so many people there.
    Well, now it looks as if no one cares enough to turn out, but that is far from the truth. The general consensus among community members is the the speed limit needs to be lower, not just in specific areas, and not just five miles an hour. I think the limit should be 35-40 mph, no passing(There is absolutely no safe place to pass) and it needs to be enforced.
    There is already a reasonable alternative route…64 to 29. Two lanes divided from two lanes by a median strip. That’s where through traffic, including some of the large trucks should be.
    I’m really dissapointed in our supervisors. I feel like they haven’t listened to the community on this one.

  3. Margaret,
    Are you serious, 35-40 miles an hour on 151? That is probably one of the most absurd solutions that could be done to 151. Mr. Harvey is right, when you have a bunch of people at a meeting, when decisions are trying to be made, you will have so many different opinions it would be hard to make a decision. And they have listened to you because 2 supervisors showed up at the meeting to relay the messages back. Oh and by the way Margaret, the Board of Supervisors meet at the same time every month so its your fault you didn’t know. Why don’t you think before you speak and try to rewrite and repost your comment.

  4. Margaret,
    It might be useful to quote the article and send your remarks to the paper in a letter to the editor.
    Thanks for your thoughts. This is not the first time our supervisors have let us down.


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