As snow fell in Berryville Tuesday evening, VDOT representatives appeared before the Town Council to brief members on the Mosby Boulevard project in a preview of the public hearing that will be held tonight. The project recently hit a snag as VDOT was forced to ask the Clarke County School Board for additional easements in order to complete the road. This resulted in a flurry of activity and discussions about the project. Negotiations have continued in the interim and according to Town Manager Keith Dalton, “I think probably in the last two weeks because of the good work from VDOT and their contractor RK and K, this plan has really started to gel”
VDOT resident engineer Jerry Kopp responded saying, “I do feel like we have come a long way in the last two or three weeks and it is more about the stakeholders coming together, working together real hard, and trying to…I’ll say compromise to try to figure out what’s best.”
There have been several changes to the preliminary design that was displayed before the council at last night’s meeting. The roundabout which will handle traffic at the intersection of Westwood and Main Street has been moved approximately 8 feet west to provide better alignment with existing roads. Also the multi-purpose path has been positioned on the inside (south side) of Mosby, closest to the school. This was sticking point in previous meetings with the school board as it would encroach on the school property and ball fields.
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Councilman Alan Kitselman asked Kopp if there will be streetlights along Mosby in this plan.
Mr Kopp replied, “The only plan for street lights is at the roundabout. Whatever the requirements are for the lighting at the roundabout is all that we are including in this project.” He added, “We don’t have the funding in the project for the streetlights. If others want to include street lighting and wanted to pay for it we would be open to that discussion.”
Town Manager Keith Dalton said, “It was my understanding that the design did include street lighting but that if there were insufficient funds the lighting would be one of the first items to be cut.”
Kopp said he would look into the issue but was clear that at this point there is no street lighting along Mosby included in the design.
Current funding level for the project is approximately $3.3 million which represents a funding shortfall of $250K. VDOT representative Ed Carter told CDN via email that this is not a firm number stating, “We won’t have the exact figures until after the public hearing and all comments/issues have been evaluated, all options explored and a final design agreed upon.”
The public meeting tonight will be held at the Berryville/Clarke County Government Center from 4:00 PM until 7:00PM. The format is different than the typical public hearing approach used by local government. There will be no presentation. The hearing will be a collection of VDOT technical representatives who will be available to answer specific questions regarding the project. Jerry Kopp told the council, “Designers, right of way experts, and environmental experts will all be on hand to answer questions from the public.”
Citizens who wish to make their comments part of the official record may speak with the court reporter who will be available at the meeting or they may fill out a form and submit it by mail within ten days of the meeting to have it included in the official record.