Letter – Grange would be traffic nightmare

Published 4:54 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Regarding the proposed Grange at 10Main, I moved to Smithfield from Denver to retire five years ago. I consider myself the new kid on the block.  

That said, I am an eighth-generation Virginian and have been coming to Smithfield since 1953 – 70 years.  After college in Blacksburg, I left Virginia in 1975 and just returned in 2018 when as a retired architect I designed and built my retirement home on the James.

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On May 10, I drove from Burwell’s Bay to Suffolk. When I got to Route 10 and Main Street at 10:15 a.m., with absolutely no accidents or construction, I had to await four complete cycles of the light before being able to go through. The backup was simply due to volume. The traffic was backed up so far, I couldn’t even see the stoplight!

The 10 Grange site plan I’ve seen shows 825 parking spaces at the new facility. All of these will average going through that stop light two to three times per day, adding several thousand more vehicles per day through that intersection. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. May I suggest nothing short of a flyover like at Cypress Creek and the Bypass will adequately suffice. For this to work, the stop light must be removed. May I add here that in so doing, the “small-town charm” of Smithfield will be forever lost.

If one were to put this project to a vote in Smithfield, it would overwhelmingly be rejected.  

At the Planning Commission meeting on May 9, Joe Luter IV reported he has conferred with Smithfield Foods and has put this plan together to placate its concerns (affordable housing?).  No one asked him to do this; not the town, not the county, not the residents. In my 50 years of experience, I can tell you that every major employer wants affordable housing for its employees. 

Isn’t the responsibility of the town supposed to be what is in the best interest of the taxpaying citizens?

If this project is built, it will forever change Smithfield. I hope our grandchildren will thank our Town Council members for their upcoming decision and that my decision to retire here was a good one!


Lanford Pritchett