Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Ride along with Vince, a VDOT snow plowman

I got a first-hand experience at the amount of planning, work, and effort it takes to snow plow the roads here after what is looking to be a record snow fall for at least the decade.

David Stanley, VDOT residency administrator, picked me up at the Free Lance-Star offices and took me to the Falmouth VDOT storage area, where I met up with Vince Tyler, a plowman. Vince and I took a 16-mile roundtrip on U.S. 17 to the Faquier County line and back to the Falmouth station. A few things we both noticed: there are too many people driving on the roads, which makes it harder for the crews to do their jobs. I was even a bit shocked at the number of low-lying sport cars on the road. 

Stanley said I-95 had way more traffic than anyone anticipated, apparently three lanes of it moving slowly. Some people living in subdivisions are calling VDOT offices complaining about no snow removal, and I think I gained the perspective of why it is truly impossible for VDOT and the hoards of trucks to get to back roads and subdivision roads right now. The snow won’t stop. We’re past a foot already and it’s coming down harder today than last night. Do not expect any VDOT or state plow truck to get to your back roads or subdivision roads for about two days. It’s really that bad. 

 Here is Vince getting ready to roll.



 Clearing U.S. 17 toward Fauquier County.


 Vince several times had to stop his truck to clear his windshield that became caked with ice. The wipers did not work too well. Vince woke up at 5 a.m., and drove 22 mph in his pick-up truck to work from Partlow to Falmouth. He’s working at least 12 hours. He said he expects snow removal will continue into early next week, and early reports are that more snow is to come next week. He could be busier than he had thought. 


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  • lgross

    VDOT “maintenance and operations” that at least
    part of our gas taxes go for – and I’m quite sure
    not one person will venture to say right now – that
    they are wasting our tax dollars by trying to plow
    our roads.

    What could be useful to a lot of folks would be a
    follow up story at some point – telling us how
    much VDOT spent in Spotsylvania – getting our
    roads plowed.

    Let’s take a poll:

    Do you think on a per person basis in Spotsy – all
    120K of us – that VDOT will spend – per person –
    to clean this mess up:

    A. – $10
    B. – $25
    C. – $100
    D. – $200


    Bonus Question -

    How much gasoline would you have to buy to
    produce $100 in taxes for VDOT?

    Some day – I’m hoping that we’ll get a FULL
    Accounting in Spotsy of how much money we pay
    as a county in gasoline taxes – and then how that
    money is allocated back to us in maintenance,
    OPERATIONS and new improvements.

    THEN, we might be able to decide if we want to
    pay more – and if so – how much more.

  • thjeffersonfan

    Excellent job, Dan.

    I hope you expand on your experience within an article or future post. I’m always disturbed when subdivision residents complain about a lack of plowing, especially WHILE THE STORM IS STILL COMING DOWN. Resources are resources, and these guys have a lot to do. Nice work.

  • dantelvock

    VDOT can probably do this pretty easily. David Stanley was rolling off estimates to me pretty quick on the ride to Falmouth this morning. I believe my story will show that the salt and sand alone is worth more than …. well, you guess.

  • lgross

    I don’t really know… I think it’s useful for all of
    us to know because at times we all wonder what
    happens to our taxes – especially our gas taxes –
    if the perception is that we get “nothing or close
    to it” back from VDOT for road improvements.

    Hey.. I bet it was pretty cool to ride that plow
    truck for a while though… for a while… ;-)

    good report – thanks for doing it!

  • MAVRICKinc

    Larry: While you were winding down on your VDOT “polling” gas stats it was refreshing to note you and Bill are still looking to get a FULL ACCOUNTING of how much Spotsy pays the State in gasoline tax and what portion Spotsy gets back.

    The question was asked months ago at one of our BOS scheduled public meetings. You will recall Supv. Logan promised to get this information and VDOT promised to get this information for the BOS and to be made available to the public.

    Bill: you decaded lots of your own time to get this information and wound up with ZIP. Why don’t we just put this item of buisiness on your “wish list” and light a candle. That appears to be about the only light that will ever be shed on the subject.

    Dan: good coverage, but apparently your loyal fans could only speak to the same circle of “I don’t really know…I think”… My vote goes to the guys and gals on the road, keeping US safe from ourselves, whether we are trying to be first in line, or just butting in.

    For the first time in 14 years I didn’t have my snowblower for rescuing neighbors from more than 6″ of snow standing in their driveway. Had to sell it before this storm was even brewing.

    Cathy Dyson and her photo engineer did a nice job of covering that 16 wheeler tractor trailer that got stuck in Lee’s Hill south, at the GREENS and about 100′ from our front door. Just got back from chores, got about half way down the hill when the truck lifted off. It was slow, right wheels still spinning on ice but the left wheels took hold of pavement and when she made it to where I was standing, she pulled the rope, sounded the horn, looked back at her rescuers in the side mirror, but never let her foot off the gas. Felt good, even if I was the last one to show. I even believe Cathy felt a sense of pride for all those who showed up to help, whether 17 or 70 years of age.

    I continued on down the hill to see and talk with my neighbors, who were still breathing heavily from all their exertion and all that adrenaline still courseing through there veins and every now and then interrupting their enthusiastic need to share their story, for want of just another deep breath of air. Cathy filled in all the blank spaces