Roadside weeds hurt IW’s image

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

As I travel the roads in Isle of Wight County, the first thing I see coming from the James River Bridge is the “Welcome” sign with beautiful flowers on the right side of the road. Looking to the median all you notice is the tall grass that goes down Route 17 toward Suffolk.

When you drive through Smiths Neck Road and Nike Park Road, it is the same issue. We invested our tax dollars for a walking/bike trail and it is surrounded by more tall grass. Brewers Neck and the bypass also have extremely tall grass.

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I phoned the Virginia Department of Transportation since it is responsible for mowing, and the response I received was that the excessive rain caused the problem. They informed me they only cut the grass three times a year and the next mowing cycle would be in October. I advised there were sections that come up to car windows, so they said they would send a crew out to cut the intersections.

It seems that sending a separate crew out would cost additional money and would not solve the current situation. VDOT had a $5.4 billion budget for 2019 and $6.4 billion for 2020.

Entering the Town of Smithfield, all of that grass is always maintained. As a resident of the town, if I were to allow my grass to grow to a certain height, I would receive a letter and be given a chance to cut it. If the issue was not resolved someone would be sent to cut it and I would receive a bill.

I do not see this problem in other localities. In Newport News I often see prisoners from the City Farm mowing and weed-eating. My opinion is that it is a poor example of our beautiful county when it looks neglected.


Danielle Gray