Letter – Big projects taking a toll

Published 6:27 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

As large-scale projects come to Surry and Isle of Wight, the focus centers on the projects’ end results. Community leaders, planners and citizens must also give equal attention to plans for project construction.

Road usage by large construction, delivery and workforce vehicles can add as much as 10 times or more to the normal daily traffic on local roads. Safety factors are a big concern with respect to road size, speed limits, turning radiuses, traffic volume, noise, dust, debris burns and stormwater runoff. These elements of large-scale construction can turn what was a quiet community into a torturous existence.

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Addressing construction impacts as part of the project approval process is essential. Communities must push for adequate roads before construction begins. Otherwise, the public roads turn into construction site roads filled with dirt. Adequate turning radiuses are needed to keep large vehicles out of the ditches. Debris removal must not include large burns that result in smoke-filled skies. 

Identification and enforcement of construction vehicle travel routes, placement of construction entrances, speed limits of less than 45 mph, workforce parking, dust suppression techniques, stormwater catch systems, road cleaning, trash removal, work hours compatible with surrounding neighborhoods and a 5-mile radius noise during construction analysis are all needed as part of the approval process.

You can see all of this and more by taking a ride to the corner of Beechland and Whitemarsh roads in Surry. The surrounding community is in the midst of two years of construction.

Companies, community leaders, and citizens must work together in the project proposal stage to address all stakeholder concerns, which especially includes the people taking on the greatest burden – the immediately surrounding neighbors of the project.


Dianne Cheek