Letter to the editor: Roads

145

 

As the calendar turns to spring and warmer weather, a great many of us who live up on Belcher Mountain look forward to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s plans to pave dirt roads that have long been some of Patrick County’s most problematic roads. Thanks to a decision by the Patrick County Board of Supervisors last October, portions of the two troublesome roads are to be paved during the coming fiscal year and next year as well.

We are especially grateful to Blue Ridge District Supervisor Karl Weiss, who asked mountaintop residents whether they favored paving those roads, and the response was overwhelmingly in favor. The other four members of the board, including Smith River District Supervisor Crystal Harris, who is this year’s chairman, Mayo River District Supervisor Lock Boyce, Dan River District Supervisor Roger Hayden, who was chairman at the time, and Peters Creek District Supervisor Rickie Fulcher were unanimous in support of the proposal.

Both Belcher Mountain Road and Mountain View Road are badly in need of a harder, all-weather surface. The amount of traffic on these roads has grown steadily over the years, and every time there’s bad winter weather or heavy rains any time of the year, much of the remaining gravel either washes away or is scraped away in the aftermath of snowstorms. Taxpayers have had to buy far too much gravel over the decades, only to see it washed away or shoved into ditches or piled up along roads.

Many of our residents are senior citizens and need reliable, passable roads to be able to get to medical appointments or to do their shopping in bad weather. And  even in dry weather, residents who live along these roads must endure choking clouds of dust that can worsen existing respiratory conditions, not to mention causing damage to vehicles.

Thanks to the vision of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors and the VDOT staff for our districts, those conditions will begin to change for the better when paving begins later this year. For many who live atop the mountain, that paving cannot begin soon enough.

Jack Betts,

Meadows of Dan