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A drive to improve

The first of two public meetings to introduce a study of the Route 60 corridor was straightforward and subdued, but not unproductive.

Residents from Buckingham, Amherst and Cumberland counties attended the meeting, which was held at the Buckingham County Administration Office. The study, headed by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), will evaluate the route, including areas with the highest concentrations of traffic, fatal accidents and proximity to large-scale economic industries and look at solutions to improve it.

The corridor stretches 103 miles and covers several counties.

Those in Cumberland and Powhatan have spoken about concerns related to traffic on Route 60 leading to Richmond. Traffic can quickly become congested during rush hour. Low visibility at night or in poor weather can contribute to serious vehicle accidents. With the rapidly growing population along that passage and the advent of large-scale projects such as the Green Ridge landfill that could bring trucks along the route, improving the route to accommodate for traffic is an important step.

The setup for the meeting included a roughly half-hour presentation followed by a question and answer period. There was plenty of time before and after the presentation to look at posters and graphics detailing Route 60, traffic patterns, and potential solutions that may be pursued, and ask VDOT representatives on-site questions. The meeting’s format allowed residents and VDOT representatives time to communicate and listen to one another.

Residents had opportunities to mark on a map problem areas from their own experience, which can inform VDOT in its study.

Some residents spoke about a larger turnout expected for the hearing scheduled for Wednesday, July 24, 7 p.m. at Powhatan County Middle School, 4135 Old Buckingham Road.

People can also submit written comments about the project by Saturday, Aug. 3, to Darrel Johnson, project manager, Virginia Department of Transportation, 1401 E. Broad St. Richmond, VA 23219. Comments can also be submitted by phone at (804) 371-8868, (800) 367-7623 for those deaf or hard of hearing, and by email at Darrel.johnson@vdot.virginia.gov. People are asked to reference “US Route 60 corridor study” in the subject line.

We at The Herald encourage residents who travel Route 60 to provide feedback by either attending the Wednesday public meeting, writing or emailing VDOT. Large-scale road projects need the best information possible to achieve necessary results. Residents have the necessary perspective of driving through this corridor regularly, and can give needed information for the study.

We commend all of the agencies that have been involved in moving the study forward and taking the initiative to make improvement, including VDOT, Buckingham County, Cumberland County, Powhatan County, Amherst County, Nelson County, Appomattox County, the Commonwealth Regional Council among other planning district commissions and 22nd District State Sen. Mark Peake.