Surry approves six-year road plan

Published 4:35 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Surry County supervisors voted unanimously on June 16 to approve the county’s six-year road improvement plan.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has allotted Surry just over $23,000 per year for fiscal years 2023 through 2025, and just over $24,000 for fiscal years 2026 through 2028.

Surry had initially planned to put the money toward a $2.4 million widening of half a mile of Moonlight Road near Surry’s border with Isle of Wight County. The project would also have entailed improving the road’s ditches and straightening its curves. But the Surry County Highway Transportation Safety Commission is now recommending the funds be used to add sidewalks along Bank Street from School Street to Route 10 and on Church Street to its intersection with School Street.

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At the time Surry had proposed the Moonlight Road project, VDOT was funding the county roughly $120,000 per year. When VDOT began using its Smart Scale formula to fund projects based on their cost versus benefit, Surry saw a large reduction in its annual allotment. According to VDOT, unless Surry finds another source of revenue, it will take roughly 100 years to move the project forward using only the state’s annual allotment.

“The funding sources that we currently have right now would be better suited for the sidewalks,” said Surry Director of Planning and Community Development Horace Wade III.

In addition to the $2.4 million Moonlight Road project, a previous draft of the six-year plan had proposed a $2.3 million widening of 0.6 miles of Lebanon Road, just outside Surry’s town limits.

Ahead of their vote on the 2023-28 plan, the supervisors held a public hearing during which county resident Robert Chandler urged them not to drop the Moonlight Road project.

“I live on Moonlight Road and there was a project started about 20 years ago that moved power lines, cleared forests to clear the curve right in front of my house, and then it was canceled,” Chandler said. “I’ve had vehicles right in my front yard and in my pasture beside my home as a result of that curve and when I read that they were going to straighten some curves I thought that was glorious. However, I don’t really know why we would take Moonlight Road’s funding, because it does need some work, and put sidewalks on Bank Street. I’m opposed to that.”