APPOMATTOX — About 15 residents came to the Virginia Department of Transportation Appomattox Residency Office on Tuesday to air concerns surrounding the $11.5 million reconstruction project proposed for Virginia 131 (Old Courthouse Road) in the town of Appomattox.
The project is designed to improve public safety and drainage by reconstructing the roadway, addressing drainage issues and constructing a shared-use path for pedestrian and bicyclist travel. VDOT also plans to add lighting and landscaping.
Appomattox Town Council Member Mary Lou Spiggle attended the Tuesday meeting. She said the project had the full support of town council. Town staff submitted a Smart Scale application for the project several years ago, and it was selected for the Fiscal Year 2018 Smart Scale program.
Best of all, Spiggle said, the project requires no local match of funds. The estimated price tag of $11.5 million will be financed using state and federal funds only.
“I’m so excited over this Smart Scale project,” Spiggle said. “It’s only going to enhance our community.”
Lynchburg District Location and Design Engineer Brian Casto said it was his understanding town council was hoping to beautify the corridor and draw tourists into town.
At the public hearing, concerns surrounding the project came mostly from a few vocal citizens, Casto said. Citizens like Karen Angulo, an Appomattox resident who called the project “very poor governance.”
She said a streetscape project should not be a priority, instead efforts to draw tourism to the town should focused on constructing more hotel space for visitors.
“People aren’t not coming to Appomattox because they have no bike path,” Angulo said. “It’s all great, but what is critical? There’s needs and wants. Do needs first. At this point, planting trees or even putting in a bike path — if no one is going to use it, why are you spending the money?”
The project begins at U.S. 460 Business and ends north of Virginia 1014, a distance of about .45 miles. It is expected to begin construction in October 2022 and be completed by December 2023.
Comments may be submitted by email by Oct. 18 at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information may be obtained by contacting Anthony Revelle, project manager at (434) 856-8258.
Sarah Honosky covers Appomattox and Campbell counties at The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5556.