Roads could be overwhelmed

Published 5:16 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

The effort to add more homes to already impacted road structures such as Battery Park and Nike Park roads is not advisable.

In case anyone has  forgotten, Isle of Wight, Virginia, can experience various weather conditions such as hurricanes and/or radiological/nuclear situations from Surry Nuclear Power Plant. All homes could be required to evacuate on our two-lane road systems in a few hours.

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This is especially important when you consider the EAC for us all is Smithfield High School, where in case of nuclear accident (yes, we have our Dominion Power Nuclear Calendar, thank you) you have a short time to get to an EAC, be decontaminated and obtain pedicle care/potassium iodide (for protection of thyroid) if needed.

Has Dominion Power reviewed the new evacuation requirements needed with the addition of 1,106 new homes on the current infrastructure? Have Dominion Power and Isle of Wight County created new evacuation plans based on valid data/models? This phase of any county planning is needed to ensure rapid and safe evacuation of everyone, and identify the legally responsible party for adverse situations caused by a failed plan. An increase of several thousand cars needs to be in the plan, and a working plan approved and provided to the public.

Remember, we will also have many citizens also coming to our areas from south of Surry. If anyone has bothered to travel the roads during our new-to-us “rush hour,” even Route 10 is busy, and Nike Road bottlenecks severely at the Battery Park light.

If everyone is on the road to evacuate, what is the plan with an additional at least 1,106 potential vehicles at that light? And it could be double. A ‘bike path’ does not fix that situation.

There is another issue, for those of us with health issues: access to medical hospitals in a timely manner. Adding more cars to what is already crowded can add long minutes to an emergency response.

For Gatling Pointe South, it is Carrolton who responds, and they travel Nike Park to reach our area. What will be the delay time if there are now a significant number of new vehicles on the road? Is the vision for the new homes to be bike paths, with a public bus service to replace vehicles on the roads?

And then there is a possible need to evacuate due to hurricanes. Homeowners could be facing a really difficult evacuation need, similar to what we have seen in some areas of Smithfield flooding this past spring. Boat rescues for over 1,000 homeowners could be a challenge!


Joan Conover