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Unpaved roads in Louisa County may get upgrades

Posted on Friday, April 19, 2019 at 5:00 am

A sign announces the end of the paved section of Poplar Avenue, near the town of Mineral. The county may pursue state funding to upgrade the 0.8 miles of gravel, which serve a handful of residences at present.

Every year the number of unpaved state roads in Louisa County shrinks.

The number is now less than 32 miles, a notable improvement over the 87 miles Supervisor Willie Gentry (Cuckoo district) recalls when he worked at the Virginia Department of Transportation more than two decades ago.

“Nobody should be fighting mud and dust” on their roads, Gentry said.

The board of supervisors is scheduled to update the six-year secondary road plan at its May 6 meeting. The plan is a list of state road sections, currently gravel or dirt, that are prioritized for hard surfacing. Roads that are not already part of VDOT’s system are not eligible for the program.

At the top of the fiscal year 2019 list, which the board approved at this time last year, is the portion of East Sixth Street in the town of Mineral that links to Walton Park. That project has secured the $17,000 needed to complete the work. At the other end of the list, which currently includes parts of nine roads, is Midway Lane, a dead-end road off of Poindexter Road near Zion Crossroads. Its paving will cost an estimated $55,000, with no funding expected before fiscal year 2024.

To qualify for funding through the secondary road program, a street must have at least 50 vehicle trips per day of traffic, or should be approaching that number, Alan Saunders, VDOT resident engineer for Louisa County, said.

Most of these roads are funded through VDOT’s Rural Rustic program, which limits trips per day to less than 1,500. The program allows roads to be improved with a 30-foot right-of-way, less than is required on more heavily traveled streets.

Saunders said $169,000 is available in fiscal year 2020 to improve secondary state roads. Much of the money is collected from utility companies that use VDOT’s rights-of-way, while a smaller portion is calculated based on the number of miles of unpaved roads in the county.

(Article by David Holtzman)

This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s April 18, 2019 issue.

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