The New Kent County Board of Supervisors went over coming changes to a roundabout at routes 612 and 249 and more at its May 29 work session.
The board voted 3-2 to allow the county administrator to send a proposed landscaping plan for the Route 612 and Route 249 roundabout to the Virginia Department of Transportation for approval. Supervisors W.R. Davis Jr. and Ron Stiers voted against the measure, voicing their concerns about the proposed cost of the improvements.
County Administrator Rodney Hathaway reviewed proposed improvements for the roundabout. The designs were prepared by James City County firm Bowman Consulting. He said the plans call for a two-and-a-half-foot tall brick wall at the center of the roundabout embossed with a New Kent County logo along with three large ornamental trees, shrubbery, mulch and grass in the center.
Supervisors were mixed on the proposal and some were concerned about safety issues the brick wall could pose for drivers.
“From our conversations with VDOT, they actually like things in the center of roundabouts, they believe that if the sightline is blocked and you can’t see straight through the roundabout, you won’t go out straight through it and you’ll slow down,” Hathaway said in response.
Estimates show the proposed improvements would cost the county about $50,000, Hathaway said, reducing the originally estimated cost for the improvements by half. Hathaway suggested the project be funded through the county’s capital funds program.
The exact cost of the project won’t be finalized until a contract for the construction work is awarded, according to an attached agenda item for the meeting.
“This is the second version. The first version called for a complete wall and lighted signage, and we had to make a lot of cuts to bring this to what I feel would be a reasonable cost,” he said. “The original cost estimate was $110,000 for these improvements, and we’ve made costs to landscaping, to the wall, the lighting, and now the estimate that the engineers are projecting is $50,000.”
Although Supervisors Stiers and Davis were against the changes, others said the improvements at the roundabout are necessary.
“We absolutely have to do something about that roundabout,” said Supervisor Patricia Paige. “You see people driving across it, on the lip of it.”
Also at the meeting, the board unanimously authorized Hathaway to sign a new one-year cooperative contract with medical billing service EMS MC, with the possibility of adding three more years to the contract.
Fire Chief Rick Opett explained that the county previously operated under a cooperative EMS MC contract with Chesterfield, but the contract will run out at the end of the current fiscal year.
“We do not see any other contract in place with Chesterfield right now. However, Rockingham County has a cooperative contract with EMS MC, and that contract is good up until Dec. 31, 2020,” he said.
After discussing the matter in closed session, the board unanimously approved a $81,203 transfer in the county’s capital improvement plan to award a contract to U.S. Digital to purchase and install a fire alerting system at the upcoming Fire Station 5.
Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.