Little Alignment Between VDOT and Supervisors on Road Plans

The Clarke County Board of Supervisors blasted the Virginia Department of Transportation’s proposed 2035 Rural Long Range Transportation Plan on Tuesday labeling many the agency’s plans for Clarke County, “short sighted and financially unrealistic.”

VDOT’s long range transportation plan is meant to provide local officials with a chance to collaborate with transportation officials to align road projects with local needs. In theory, VDOT officials drafted the 2035 road plans based on the comprehensive plans for each jurisdiction in the area. VDOT then extrapolated the number of vehicle trips through the area in hopes of developing a comprehensive plan for addressing traffic pressures along Route 7, Route 50 and Route 340.

However, Clarke County’s Supervisors and VDOT seem to be interpreting the county’s planning documents very differently.

“The Board does not believe that the Comprehensive Plan of Clarke County, which goes to great effort to limit rural residential development and focus development where access is already available, justifies the major projects recommended,” Clarke County Administrator David Ash said in a letter directed to Christopher Price, Executive Director of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission in Front Royal.

In the letter Ash told Price the Clarke County Supervisors are particularly opposed to several proposed VDOT initiatives including the widening of Route 7 to six lanes, the widening of Route 340 to four and six lanes, the widening of Route 723 to three lanes in Boyce and the widening of rural road lanes on five secondary routes to 12 feet and on three routes to 11 feet.

Ash said that the Supervisors were particularly puzzled by VDOT’s Route 7 because the 20-year transportation plans in Frederick and Loudoun Counties do not show additional lanes on Route 7, making the proposal illogical. The Supervisors also expressed reservations about widening Route 340 citing the project’s disruption to the communities of Berryville and Boyce as “devastating” and failing cost/benefit analysis.

In terms of road improvements in Boyce, the Supervisors said that a three-laned Route 723 would encourage higher speeds where traffic calming is the goal and devastate the physical and qualitative character of a quintessential small town.

While many aspects of VDOT’s proposal were dead-on-arrival, the Supervisors did find areas of agreement for improving county roads. The Supervisors support intersection improvements for Rts 7 & 657, Rts 340 & 612, Rts 340 & 50, and Rts 340 & 522, In addition, the Board said it strongly supports improvements to West Main Street (Rt 7 Bus), Westwood Road (Rt 636), and Mosby Blvd, adjacent to the new Clarke County High School on the west side of Berryville. In the Town of Berryville, the Board supports the North Church Street (Rt 616) improvements if they connect to Fairfax Street (Rt 1016) instead of Bundy Street.

The Board also supports an additional project for the extension of Jack Enders Blvd (Rt 613), for .25 miles from the Norfolk Southern Railroad to Rt 340. This connection will complete one of a network of streets designed to relieve congestion of the Main Street (Rt 7 Bus) and Buckmarsh Street (Rt 340) intersection.

Ash’s letter said that “In short, the wholesale reconstruction of Routes 7, 340, and 723 for additional lanes is simplistic, short sighted, and financially unrealistic. Further, most of the Secondary Road improvements are only necessary, in our view, to meet a general standard and do not reflect local conditions.”

Please see the attached document to review the Clarke County Board of Supervisor’s comments on each of VDOT’s specific proposals.

Proposed 2035 VDOT Rural Long Range Transportation Plan

Comments

  1. My 2 Cents... says:

    Please widen 340! You get behind a truck or the classic old-lady pulling the ole horse trailer and you are destined to have a 30 min ride just to Boyce…….

    • So, which houses in Boyce are you going to condemn or which businesses should close up if you add the 3rd lane?

    • How much time do you really lose from Beryville to Boyce behind a little old lady…..2 minutes total?

      Yes, let’s tear up the countryside, emminent domain some houses and businesses so you can save 2 minutes.

      Geez………

      • My 2 Cents... says:

        Sorry Sarge, sarcasm was pretty usual of your one-sided hypocritical posts…..2 mins would be a god-send…… However, its much more like 30mins. What businesses are you referring to???

        • Left Winger says:

          You can always move to a bigger town/city. I heard they have more roads on the other side of the mountain.

          • My 2 Cents... says:

            Why would I wanna do that? All I said was that 340 needed to be widened. Wow, you people are soooo protective of anything that resembles something new. Why is that? I mean would you like it if we went back to horse and buggies too?

          • Concerned Citizen says:

            We are not horse and buggies, but we DO NOT need a 4 lane highway between B-ville and Boyce! I agree with Sarge and both the “Wingers”! Go to the other side of the mountain! You will find plenty of roads over there!! Yes, I have been aggravated by a slow driver on 340 several times myself, but many times more I have just adored looking out over our beautiful rolling hills and gazing at those beautiful Blue Ridges while driving on 340! I don’t need to worry about extra lanes, more traffic and most of all seeing people lose their property or even more of the value that has all ready faded over the years. Don’t fix what ain’t broke!!

          • Concerned Citizen, I would prefer it if you stopped “gazing at those beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains while driving on 340” and PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD!!

            In what way will widening 340 destroy the viewshed anyhow…? I guess the position of the valley is fear of change…?

          • Left Winger says:

            It is not about not wanting to change the valley. Look up and down 81. Plenty of cities and towns are growing and changing. Look at Harrisonburg and Winchester. That is just not that the direction that a majority of the county’s residents want to head…which is why the residents vote officials into office that share the same thoughts and beliefs. If you want change…vote…or even run for office.
            What kind of other changes would you want in CC? A Wal-Mart? Some other big box retailers? Maybe a hotel or two? If we want we can transform our town into Frederick County or Loudoun County…but wait. Instead of changing the whole county for the few…wouldn’t it be easier for the few to move to a place that they would better appreciate?

          • It’s not that we don’t appreciate living here. But the way this county is run is pathetic. We need a new High School DESPERATELY. In order to pay for it, we have to raise taxes because the powers that be don’t want to develop for more businesses. However, the powers that be also don’t want to raise taxes to pay for the new school or the people that work there. They try to have it both ways, but they can’t.

            The protectionist attitude of the Town Council astounds me. Put in all the restaurants you want…but no new Florists or Pharmacy can go in, especially at Food Lion.

            I’d rather pay more in taxes to keep up our schools and the hardworking teachers who work there to teach our children.

          • Rightwinger, you are so right. The county is run so badly. I have had it with the ridiculously high taxes and getting nothing in return for them. I have no kids in school, the road I live on is the last to get any attention in the snow/bad weather…with that said…IM OUTTA THIS COUNTY. The worst part is..ive been here for over 25 years and still considered “an outsider”, not that being an outsider is a bad thing, dont wanna be likend to the bunch of good old boys that run this place….

          • My 2 Cents... says:

            Fear of change??? No they are the people who migrated here and want nothing more than the antique style town that they have grown accustomed to. Quite sad really!

          • Left Winger says:

            Why would you want to do that…because you if you want to live in a fast upbeat community then move to one. Obviously something drew you to Clarke County. Like most residents they come to /stay in the county because they enjoy the easy going laid back style. It’s not about being protective…widening 340 is not needed. It is a byway that connects two highways (route 7 to route 50).
            If you know you are going to be 30 minutes late due to taking a 2 lane road…leave 30 minutes earlier. Or if you are stuck behind a truck…when you see the dotted lines…pass the truck. There are other options as opposed to throwing down more asphalt.

        • I highly doubt this, even behind an old lady. Google has the distance from Berryville to Boyce as 6.3 miles. Let’s call it seven to make it easy

          So, we do a little elementary school math. 60 mph is 1 mile per minute. Seven minutes total, right?.

          Now, a car leaves Berryville and gets stuck doing 40mph behind a little old lady. How long does it take to get to Boyce?

          • Just Curious says:

            I would say try it… If you think it takes less than 10 mins. you are fooling yourself…..

  2. Mimi Stein says:

    To some extent this entire argurment is irrelevant. There ain’t no money for roads — and what money there is will go to NOVA which actually does have traffic congestion. I mean, what traffic congestion at 7/340 are the Supervisors talking about? 10 cars lined up at “rush hour?” Give me a break.

  3. Christopher Robinson says:

    I understand that as populations increase so does the demand for larger roadways but it is ridiculous and morally wrong to take peoples property or worse (their homes) to attain such endeavors. I myself live off of U.S. 340 in Page County and am standing to lose my home despite fighting VDOT. You know the odds of defeating a large state run organization are very slim indeed. Yes in some areas the roads may need to be widened but at what cost to it’s citizens? As for other people’s previous comments I also used to live in Richmond and decided to buy my new home in Page County because I wanted to live a quiet country life and now I’m just woken up every morning to VDOT contractors laying down power poles and lines not more than 6 feet from my front door. It’s really ironic that I got more quiet downtown in the Capitol of Virginia. Maybe if the people in question posting here were losing their home or property they would think twice before making cruel and utterly tasteless posts. Then we all know having an opinion on the internet is the equivalent of citing a declaration of war.