Banshee Reeks and the Woods Road Realignment April 17, 2008 Update
At the direction of Supervisor Kurtz, a meeting for stakeholders in The Woods Road realignment project was held last night (April 17). Approximately 40 people attended, many from the Coalition’s organizations and many residents from the nearby Courtland Village development.
Bottom line: After much discussion about the proposed realignment that cuts through eased land in Banshee Reeks, Supervisor Kurtz asked if anyone supported it. No one in the audience did. She then said it was off the table and the corridor that would be looked at would be further to the east of the proposal and roughly follow the current road (with allowances for buffers).
This is a significant improvement over what was being proposed in the Six-Year Transportation Plan. The result of last night’s meeting puts the analysis along a corridor that is much more palatable to all of us. While the outcome of last night’s meeting was good, the issue is far from resolved, and we need to remain engaged in the process.
For more details of the meeting, read on:
Rick Weber, Director of Solid Waste Management at the County, spoke about the history of the landfill.
Terrie Laycock, Acting Transportation Director, said money for the project would become available July 1, 2008.
Jim Zeller from VDOT talked about the next steps in their process: 1) project scoping and 2) preliminary engineering plans. The earliest they can start the scoping step is late summer/early fall after the money becomes available. Before doing this step, there should be agreement on the corridor so they’re not wasting money on studies and plans for a corridor that is not supported by stakeholders. He said impact studies would be done before a line is drawn on the map so VDOT knows if there are sites to avoid. He gave an example of the Sycolin Road project where studies uncovered an historic kiln site that necessitated a modified alignment of the road project in that area. Jim said the minimum speed for the road is 35 MPH.
There were many questions from the audience about the width of the buffers and if alternative corridors had been looked at, and there were many concerns expressed about the proposed realignment. Many asked why the existing road wasn’t considered or an alignment slightly to the west of it but following the same path. One Courtland Village resident asked about the latter with earthen berms included in the buffer to hide the landfill from the road.
At this point, Supervisor Kurtz asked if anyone supported the proposed realignment. No one in the audience did. She then said it was off the table and the corridor that would be looked at would be further to the east of the proposal and follow the current road (with allowances for buffers).
Jim Zeller said VDOT needs a road width of 24 feet plus shoulders, for a rough total of 30 feet.
Supervisor Kurtz said the BOS appeared to be willing to revisit the Special Exception to change the buffer requirements.
Jim Zeller said VDOT’s preliminary survey work would follow the existing road with a 200 foot buffer.
The audience was encouraged to send their questions, concerns, and suggestions to Diane Ryburn, Director of Parks and Rec. In response to a suggestion that questions and comments be accessible to everyone, Diane will look into how to share them, either through e-mail or some other means. The audience also asked for a follow-up meeting within six months. This last area — the public process moving forward — remains unclear. Although a follow-up meeting and design charette were mentioned, a timeframe for doing so was not discussed.
In summary, there was a good outcome from the meeting, but nothing is written in stone, and we must continue to be engaged in the process.