Woods are disappearing

Published 5:11 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

“Over The River And Through The Woods.” So many times we sang that old song on our way across the two-lane James River Bridge. Those were times I traveled with a dear aunt who stopped on the Isle Wight side to get artesian water that ran freely on the bank of the James.

There have been many changes in the years since I have come over the bridge and through the woods. One huge change is the WOODS. Now in our county trees are disappearing, woods and farms are razed, buildings are rising and car accidents are increasing by alarming numbers.

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Early on when roads were unpaved, citizens built homes anyway because they loved the “small-town feeling” with benefits that only come in rural areas like Isle of Wight where we grew peanuts, soybeans, cotton, corn and livestock. Now roads are littered with paint cans, wrappers, bottles, even old tires and appliances.

Here I come to my main concern. With 800 to 1,000 more homes planned, how can we be assured that the increased traffic will not cause more backups on the JRB, Route 17, Nike or Titus or Battery Park? Right now people have waited 30 minutes to two hours on the JRB. A 20-minute drive from the library recently took two hours. Many of the roads cannot be widened because of regulations on wetlands or narrow side shoulders.

Will there be more litter? Will our woodlands disappear? Will accidents increase?

I love our small town with all its charms. On March 21, there were three car accidents on South Church Street within 15 minutes.

Is there really a need to add more traffic, congestion? Will we be safe on the roads? Will our cherished rural feeling disappear?


Joan Thomas Mikulas