Mosby Boulevard Continues To Beleaguer High School Project

mosby-sign-questionAs the School Board nears completion of its bid drawings for the new facility, questions about Mosby Boulevard continue to impact the project. At the monthly School Board meeting held Monday, the board continued to forge ahead, but were forced into a marathon construction session because of problems the uncertain road is causing.

Early in the process of planning for the school, town officials made it clear that the inclusion of a major collector road bisecting the school property was a precondition to the project. As a result, school planners situated the main school entrance on the new road. Subsequently VDOT funding for the project has all but evaporated. Uncertainty from the state on continued funding for the road has resulted in a significantly scaled back design, yet VDOT is still unable to secure complete funding for the project. VDOT cannot commit to the project unless 100% funding is in place.

Voicing the frustration for the group, school board member Emily Rhodes said, “We need to hear something from VDOT.”

The fluid status of the road is forcing the board to make challenging decisions based on assumptions. On a walk through of the property earlier in the year, VDOT expressed concern with the design of the temporary main entrance that is planned at Tom Whitacre Circle. To accommodate buses and trucks the intersection will need to have curbs that provide a 50′ radius. This seemingly simple change from VDOT creates several issues and cost increases. To include the requested turn radius, additional property will need to be secured from the adjacent land owner and utility poles will need to be relocated. Both of these conditions will add costs to an entrance that will be ripped up and redesigned if and when VDOT completes Mosby.

whitacre-w-radius

Current design for temporary entrance

Urban Engineering representative Jon Erickson provided an alternative. If the intersection is moved east 12′ then the poles will not need to be relocated and no additional property will be needed. This design would presumably require the closure of Whitacre since VDOT would not allow two roads immediately next to each other to enter Main Street. This would also require some accommodation for access to property served by Whitacre.

Seeking clarification, Chairman Bouffault inquired, “So, the new entrance would no longer line up with Westwood?

“That is correct,” responded Erickson.

The board was unanimous in their assessment that this would cause a terrible traffic situation for anyone using that intersection when school was in session. Erickson explained that both of the current entrance scenarios represent sub-standard designs that VDOT has agreed to accept for a temporary period of 5 years. If after 5 years Mosby has not been completed, the entrance will need to be eliminated and the School will need to build a permanent entrance to VDOT specifications.

Faced with sub-standard choices, the School Board decided to leave the entrance where it is currently shown on the plans. All agreed that both options presented were unacceptable, but in order to move the process forward the plan is to use the Whitacre entrance, add the turn radius changes to the design and hope that the entrance is never built. All of the school board members expressed their discomfort with this strategy, but given the variables they are dealing with, the consensus was that it would be the best course of action.

Comments

  1. Jim Gibson says:

    The best course of action would be for the Town of Berryville to drop the requirement for Mosby to be a major collector road in the first place. It would be nothing really more than Hermitage Blvd. has become – a roundabout way to a different part of Rt. 340 with a slow speed limit. It creates no true town bypass, as there is no eastern equivalent. So, to continually hamstring this project with this onerous demand does the project a disservice.

  2. Bond, James Bond says:

    If Mosby Blvd. was an animal, they would have euthanized it long ago. This takes me back to a friend who kept his miniature poodle on life support till it was about 20 years old. None of us dared to state the obvious, but in the end, the inevitable result was the same.

  3. Navigator says:

    The citizens of this town would be best to vote out those on the council and across the county who would allow an unecessary road to delay the construction of the necessary school. That would be every current town coincilman and the mayor. The school board itself could help diffuse the issue by going back to their first preliminary plan that had the school entrances off Main Street. The simple fact that they are proposing a plan that has entrances off Mosby almost justifies its need. How can they blame the town council for obstructing the process when their own plan makes the road, or parts of it, a requirement to fulfill their plan. I hope the people of Berryville and Clarke County are paying attention to all of this. We have elections coming up very soon. We turned the school board over on the last go around we can do that again. We will put some people on the council who can lead with common sense, something we haven’t seen around here for a long, long time. I’m pretty sure once the residents really absorb what is about to happen with their water bills they will recognize that the issues of Berryville have surpassed the capabilites of the old town guard.

    • Clarke parent says:

      Here here. Can I have an AMEN!

    • I agree with “Navigator” to a certain degree. Yes, the inclusion of Mosby Blvd. in the entrance plan almost justifies its existence. However, one should remember how the plan evolved- kind of like the chicken and egg thing. First the good ol’ boys laid down an ultimatum. “The construction of Mosby Boulevard is non-negotiable”. In that context, the School Board did the best they could have by incorporating the street into their design. The decision was not so much an endorsement of Mosby as an acknowledgement of the hostage situation that the town had over the Board. It is amazing that the town management has the foresight to plan for Mosby 10-15 years in advance for an unnecessary roadway, yet they have completely dropped the ball on the sewer issues that will affect each and every resident of Berryville with major rate increases.

      Yes, election time is coming and I hope that the good citizens of Berryville will look at the performance of those who sit at the big table and decide that enough is enough.

  4. Tony Parrott says:

    The road will be built with state and federal funds; like it or not. Let’s move onto the school construction.

  5. Doug Landry says:

    What gets me going is that certain fellas in town seem to gloat over the ability to demand things like this unnecessary road, and it only seems to be 3 fellas talking – Kitselman, Kirby, and Dalton. Why don’t the others speak up?

    This school is sorely needed, and having to make plans for this silly road only adds more burden on the limited amount of money available.