Posted by: project151 | November 27, 2007

Media Watch : Project151.org releases survey findings

Project151.org releases survey findings
Nelson County Times
Erin McGrath
emcgrath@nelsoncountytimes.com
Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Project151.org submitted its two cents to the Commonwealth Transportation Board last week.

Group founder and team leader, Tommy Stafford, wrote a letter to the CTB, asking the board to take into consideration Project151.org’s concerns about Virginias 151 and 6.

Attached to the letter were the results of a non-scientific survey the group conducted in October.

The survey was conducted, along with a public meeting held by Project151.org on Oct. 10, to see what the public thought about the safety situation on Virginias 151 and 6.

“Though not our primary goal but certainly one of the top considerations, overwhelmingly, 78 percent of the respondents said they desired something to be done regarding through truck traffic using Routes 151 and 6 as a cut through between I-64 at exit 99 over to U.S. 29 and points beyond,” Stafford wrote.

“Project151.org is aware of the statistics showing large semi type trucks are involved in only a small minority of the accidents on these roads and none of the most recent deaths.

“However, we also know that near misses are not part of records kept.”

Project151.org maintains that these rural, two lane highways, without median dividers, are not suitable for the modern day interstate style traffic they said is using 151 and 6.

On Oct. 29, the CTB held a public meeting in Lynchburg to help set a project list for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Nelson County Supervisor Tommy Harvey and County Administrator Steve Carter asked the state to add a left-turn lane at the intersection of Virginia 151 and Virginia 635.

That intersection was the site of an Aug. 30 that killed a Nelson County mother and her two daughters.

Stafford said Project151.org supports those suggestions, but they would like to see more.

“We think it stops short of what is needed, but it’s a good start,” Stafford said. “Putting in one turn lane and possibly adjusting the speed limit for a stretch of two to three miles of the highway is not a permanent answer. It’s a band aid.”

Harvey and Carter also inquired about lowering speed limits along part of the road from 55 mph to 50 at the CTB’s public meeting.

The CTB’s policy is to accept input for up to 10 days after any public meeting. The CTB could not be reached before press time.

A working group to address concerns on Virginia 151 was also put together by Kevin Wright, with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Project151.org has a seat on this group.

At the Nov. 15 Nelson County Board of Supervisor’s meeting, Wright said the group will meet in the coming weeks and he hopes to present significant advances on that corridor at the next supervisor’s meeting.

The next plans for Project151.org are to make contact with people in other states who have had similar problems, Stafford said, citing Oregon and Washington.

Place he said, “Where they had these little state highways and then all of a sudden, it grew up around them and all the traffic all of a sudden increased, but there has been no real modification to the highway.”

A meeting with a group in southern Virginia called U.S. Route 501 Regional Coalition is also planned, Stafford said.

“It’s not apples and apples, its apples and oranges. But the problems facing them are very similar in nature,” Stafford said. “I think that the function of (Project151.org) is to make sure that the flame on this doesn’t go out.”

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