New Kent supervisor Stiers, citizens sound off about road conditions
As Virginia’s Department of Transportation (VDOT) maintenance operations manager Bruce Puffenbarger provided his monthly update to New Kent supervisors, he mentioned that money would be taken from the residency administrator’s funds to pave one-mile of Rockahock Road from Route 60 (Pocahontas Trail) to just pass Ed Allen’s Campground.
But despite the VDOT representative’s good intentions, it only increased the speed of an already lit fuse with District 4 representative Ron Stiers.
Stiers sounded off at the July 6 regular meeting on the condition of Rockahock Road, something he has been petitioning VDOT to complete pave for the past two years.
“I was told two years ago that the road would get repaved all the way to the Rockahock Campground,” Stiers said, mentioning the facility that extends further than the one-mile projected path. “Do you know how many campers travel down that road?
“That road takes a toll on vehicles,” the supervisor continued. “You all talk about how you have buckets of money for projects. You took money from us years ago for snow removal. Where’s that money now?”
Puffenbarger said that he had no control over how funds are delegated. While understanding that, Stiers stood firm on his disbelief of how New Kent road conditions are overlooked in favor of other localities.
“Our citizens pay good taxes out here,” the supervisor added. “We may not be as big as a place like Hanover we work just as hard.”
Stiers attention then turned to Route 60 itself, but he didn’t have to really say much as local citizens used the public comment period to let the VDOT representative know how they felt about the road conditions.
“The banks are washing out and the bridge west of Providence Forge is rickety,” said David Adams, who owns a store in Providence Forge. “There is a lack of maintenance on the edges of the road and water standing on the highway has been detrimental.
“How many people need to get hurt before something is done?” Adams concluded.
Meanwhile, Eddie Woods, a former owner of a business located on Pocahontas Trail, also provided input on the highway.
“Route 60 is really pitiful,” he said. “It’s basically nothing but speed bumps out there.”
Woods then pulled out a December 2014 edition of “The Chronicle”. He pointed to the cover story that showed VDOT pegging $2.28 million to fix the intersection of Lott Cary Road and Barnetts Road in Charles City.
“That project is just getting underway,” Woods continued. “I look at this and I believe I could get this done for about $10,000. That makes me question ‘where is all the money going?’ Is VDOT pocketing it?”
After the public comment period concluded, District 5 representative and chairman Ray Davis looked at Puffenberger and VDOT residency engineer Bruce McNabb, both whom stayed to hear concerns.
“We’re not making this stuff up,” Davis said. “This board is going to keep working at it and pushing for Route 60 to get fixed. Slowly but surely, more and more traffic is starting to come down that road.”