The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
More intersection info sought in King George
Once more, King George County supervisors want VDOT officials to explain themselves about proposed State Route 206–Owens Drive intersection work in Dahlgren.
The controversial project, budgeted at $4.1 million, would add lanes on Route 206 for motorists turning onto Owens Drive or Windsor Drive.
Since summer, residents who live in the affected area have complained about the amount of land the Virginia Department of Transportation wants for rights-of-way.
County officials joined their protest over the perception that the design almost encourages drivers going through the intersection to go even faster, while those trying to get onto the road would have several more lanes to cross.
County officials didn’t necessarily agree with the project, but thought they had reached a compromise in late November.
That’s when Quentin Elliott, the top VDOT official in the region, reiterated that his department had scaled back the rights-of-way and reduced the impact on landowners. He also told the board he’d try to get a traffic light at the intersection—or a flashing light if a traffic light wasn’t warranted.
But a new issue presented itself last week, when resident Paul Plaschko told supervisors VDOT had made him an offer for his right-of-way land and that he’d seen drawings that distressed him.
VDOT wanted to remove a row of trees right in front of his house, Plaschko said—trees that in the past have been a buffer against wayward vehicles or beer bottles.
“They’re pulling all the trees out so oncoming traffic has a straight shot at my house,” he said. “ It seems like it’s gonna make our houses unsafe and take our lifestyles down to almost unbearable.”
Supervisors were surprised by the mention of tree removal and said they hadn’t heard that plan before.
“Taking out trees is not consistent with what we were presented last time,” said Supervisor Chairman Dale Sisson Jr. “I’m either not remembering that correctly or something has changed.”
County Administrator Travis Quesenberry agreed that drawings he received last week from VDOT showed substantially more rights-of-way than in plans the board saw in late November. He said he would ask VDOT officials to attend King George’s March 19 meeting.
David Brown, the Northern Neck residency administrator for VDOT, told The Free Lance–Star that the trees in question are part of the rights-of-way needed by utility companies.
After VDOT finalized its plans, the utilities determined what easements they needed, Brown said.
“The trees are being impacted by that,” he added.
Brown said he will attend the March 19 meeting to explain this to the board.
Supervisor Joe Grzeika also reminded property owners that they don’t have to take the offers presented by VDOT.
“You’re not obligated to take those offers if you don’t think it’s fair,” Grzeika said, adding the court system would decide ultimately what it considered fair compensation.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425