Thursday, February 11, 2016

Mysteries of VDOT

Goochland, like most other jurisdictions in Virginia, relies on VDOT—the state agency whose motto is “Oops!—to build, repair, and maintain its roads. Our supervisors must engage in a complicated and cumbersome game of “Mother may I” to prioritize spending our meager allotment of road funds each year in the hope that something will actually be accomplished.

The bizarre road improvement process that created the Centerville Speedway when Broad Street Road was widened a few years back still boggles the mind.

After about a decade of public meetings, planning, and so on, all of which gobbled up lots of money better spent on bulldozers and asphalt than PR people, the final product included a corner whose turn radius could not accommodate tractor trailers. It also featured the peculiar concrete median that requires westbound travelers to execute a porcupine mating dance to access the Shell station. A VDOT official publicly admitted that engineers designing the southbound turn lanes from Broad Street to Manakin Roads used the wrong template. Aside from the aggravation, the do-over necessitated by the error consumed scarce funds that would have been better spent elsewhere.

Which brings us to a petty rant about an overreach on the part of some VDOT employees. (Yes, VDOT is getting a pass from GOMM on snow removal for January’s storm.)
A VDOT truck traveling on Fairground Road displaying a “lane closed do not pass sign” slowed traffic to an approximately five miles per hour crawl around 11:30 on the morning of Monday, February 8.

VDOT truck RO2745 drove slightly over the double yellow center line from just south of Maidens Road until it pulled off onto the turn lanes at the entrance to Breeze Hill, to ensure that no following vehicles dared peek ahead and pass. Meanwhile, southbound traffic whizzed merrily by the snaillike convoy led by truck RO2745.

There was evidence of any sort of road maintenance or other VDOT activity on the route that needed to be protected from freewheeling motorists. So why was truck RO2745 moving so slowly?
“Lisa” at VDOT customer service was courteous and recorded the relevant information about the incident. She even suggested that GOMM might be called back with an explanation. Three days have elapsed with no communication, so it would seem that VDOT decided that wasting the time of travelers—gas is cheap, after all—is not a big deal.

In all fairness, VDOT makes a valiant effort to plug potholes, cut grass, and pick up trash while essentially dodging traffic. Its employees should be protected from free-wheeling motorists. But, if there was some sort of work going on along Fairground Road, you’d think that the VDOT employees would be able to communicate with each other about when they were done.
However, the incident on Monday was either total lack of courtesy for travelers, or state employees killing time before lunch. Your tax dollars at work!

No comments: