New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | September 19, 2017

Inadequate road repairs upset Chickahominy Shores’ residents

By Andre Jones | September 5, 2017 11:24 pm

What should have been routine maintenance by Virginia’s Department of Transportation (VDOT) on a road in New Kent has resulted in ire from residents of a subdivision.

Approximately 15 Chickahominy Shores’ inhabitants attended Tuesday’s New Kent Board of Supervisors’ meeting, expressing dismay over a project to address road issues over the Labor Day weekend.

Waterside Drive has been a concern for several years as it’s the main thoroughfare to the Chickahominy River for guests and residents. But a job by a contractor that VDOT hired left residents upset, with many emphasizing the road was more hazardous than before.

“We have had many problems in that area with traffic,” said Chickahominy Shores’ resident Paula Thacker. “The contractor came in and now Waterside Drive is a washboard road.”

Washboarding, by vehicular definition, is the occurrence of periodic, transverse ripples in the surface of gravel and dirt roads. The build up on the road creates hazardous driving conditions and uncomfortable rides if the road is not frequently traveled. According to dialogue in the meeting, the contractor didn’t distribute the gravel stone evenly or take a vehicle to initiate the process to smooth out the road through compaction. Traffic traveling on the gravel stone is to help smooth out the road, but Chickahominy Shores’ residents believe no effort was made to initiate the process, thus leading to the build up of stone on the road.

Another issue residents took aim at was the inability to fix potholes on the street. According to VDOT Maintenance Operations Manager Bruce Puffenbarger, the potholes were to be filled before the treatment of Waterside Drive. That didn’t happen and the result is what citizens deem unsatisfactory.

“It is a little better, but you can tell that what was done with the road consisted of a very poor thought-out process,” said Peggy Parker. “It’s very dangerous for boat and other traffic on that road.”

District 5 and board chairman Ray Davis received more than 20 calls with complaints that began on Aug. 31. After traveling the road on that day, he returned on Sept. 3 to find no improvements.

“What can we do about this?” Davis questioned Puffenbarger. “Can we make the contractor redo it?

“They didn’t do it right the first time,” the chairman continued, “I don’t think anybody in their right mind could go out there on that road and say they did a good job.”

Puffenbarger said that he would reach out to address the situation. Still, the issue is not the first time the county encountered such a problem.

“I remember this was a similar issue on George Watkins Road a few months ago,” said District 3 supervisor Patricia Paige. “They said it would take a couple of weeks for the washboard effect to wear off but it’s been at least a couple of months and it is still there.”

In other matters addressed by the board of supervisors:

–Approved the Bank of America Public Capital Corporation as the financer to purchase four new pumper fire trucks and new one ladder truck. The county will borrow approximately $3.2 million for the purchase of the fleet. Payments are expected to cost approximately $360,000 a year for 10 years beginning in FY2018-19.

–Approved to enter a contract Haley Builders Incorporated to commence the second phase of renovation of the New Kent Historic School. The approval, coming in at a cost of $329,000, will focus on the renovation of two classrooms, a new exterior, handicap accessible equipment, and address draining issues in the east wing of the school. Funds for this project will come from 2013 allocations and is expected to be completed within the next nine months.