State proposes highway modifications that waste money and may create fatal flaw

Editor:

I am a resident of the Eastern Shore, that little finger of land that separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Chesapeake Bay.  At a recent Northampton County Board of Supervisors meeting the Supervisors requested Mr. Will Cumming, Resident Engineer of VDOT to put a priority on a highway improvement project in front of Kiptopeake Elementary School.  Its purpose is to widen the median strip in front of the school to provide safety for school buses that turn south to serve students.  The median strip at this site is 20 wide.  Therefore a school bus, 40' to 50'in length, having to cross U.S. 13 blocks the Northbound traffic lane.  This is hazardous because U.S. 13 is a major North-South route for heavy truck traffic.  The Estimated cost of the median widening project is $2 million . 

Because I believe there are other less costly solutions available, I am requesting your representatives review my solution to determine if it warrants your intervention. 

Solution:  Revise the school bus route so there is no requirement to block the median strip. 

Kiptopeake Elementary School is located at the intersection of U.S. 13 and S.R. 684. 

When School Buses depart the school they drive to S.R. 684; turn left travel about 100 yards to U.S. 13 and turn either left or right.  Turning left, blocking U.S. 13 traffic, can be avoided.  When the buses drive to S.R. 684, all buses can turn right and travel either to S.R. 642; turn right travel to S.R. 600, Turn south and travel south until the last student is served and proceed west on any of the crossing roads to U.S. 13; thence turning right or north bound to any left turn lane to pick-up other students. 

In addition to the above situation there is another matter that your office should be made aware.  This is another U.S. 13 access matter whereas the Board has approved an application by a developer for several median cuts along U.S. 13.  In my view the approval of the median cuts is against the $100,000 study recently completed by VDOT,  against the Planning Commission recommendation, and fails to address health, safety, and welfare of the people they govern.  Your staff can read the article in the January 8, 2003, edition of the Eastern Shore Post @ <easternshorepost.com>.  It is my view this is just another SNAFU by the local governing body that will cost the Commonwealth of Virginia millions of taxpayer dollars to correct when the issue could be addressed by the developer and everyone can WIN.  It is my view that your office might intervene by reviewing the matter.  If my concerns are warranted, maybe the Commonwealth could refuse funding of a MONUMENT that does not address health, safety, and welfare of the traveling public.

 By the way, there is another Median Widening Project 3 miles north of this proposed development where 4 local citizens have been decapitated in two separate incidents because of turning truck traffic just like the one being proposed.    WHEN WILL WE LEARN!!!! 

If a representative from YOUR office would like to review the sites or discuss this matter with me further, please contact me via e-mail. 

Granville Hogg - Eastern Shore

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