Nelson County officials expressed thanks for the timely repair of a slope on U.S. 250 that reopened a stretch of Rockfish Gap Turnpike sooner than anticipated following a rock slide weeks prior.
A slope failure May 3 resulted in the partial closure of Rockfish Gap Turnpike between Critzers Shop Road and Afton Mountain Road. The project to stabilize the slope recently was finished about two weeks ahead of a forecasted mid-July completion date.
During a July 13 meeting, members of the Nelson County Board of Supervisors praised the coordination of various agencies in completing the project ahead of schedule.
“It was very good to watch government at its best,” North District Tommy Supervisor said of the coordinated efforts. “It didn’t happen overnight.”
“Kuddos for getting that done ahead of time,” Chair Ernie Reed said to Randy Brown, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s residency administrator for the district that serves Nelson County.
Brown said the project was highly complex and took millions of dollars, though he didn’t pinpoint an exact figure.
“That was a very hard fix,” Brown told Nelson supervisors. “We’re very fortunate to get it open and as soon as we did without anybody getting hurt because that was a very dangerous operation up there.”
Three VDOT districts; Lynchburg, Culpeper and Staunton, as well as VDOT’s Northwestern Regional Operations group, contributed resources to the project, according to a recent news release announcing the road’s reopening.
During the recent eight week stretch, contractors with VDOT have worked nearly around the clock to repair and stabilize the slope above U.S. 250, removing loose soil, trees and rocks as well as drilling numerous soil nails into the roughly 80-foot tall by 240-foot wide area.
Harvey said county staff, Virginia State Police and the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office all stepped up to the plate to respond. He also complimented Nelson County Administrator Steve Carter for his direct involvement.
“Things just don’t move [that] fast,” Harvey said of the swift communication. “Steve hit the right buttons. Things started happening and started happening quick. There’s a lot of people to thank for having done things right.”
Supervisor David Parr said Carter’s pressure and communication also helped with a situation on Virginia 6, where residents were frustrated with the significant increase of tractor-trailer traffic along the mountainous and winding highway. Officials invested significant resources into deterrents — through additional signage, radio messages and increased law enforcement presence — in an effort to combat the illegal usage of Virginia 6.