VDOT holds ribbon cutting

Published 10:10 am Friday, July 20, 2012

Joe Lomax, the Franklin Residency administrator for the Virginia Department of Transportation, cuts a ribbon during a ceremony for the new VDOT building on Meherrin Road in Courtland while Hampton Roads District Administrator Dennis Heuer, from left, and Southampton County supervisors Glenn Updike, Bruce Phillips and Barry Porter look on. -- Dale Liesch | TIdewater News

COURTLAND—Retired Virginia Department of Transportation resident engineer Randolph Cook remembers working out of a Winnebago after Hurricane Floyd flooded the department’s maintenance hub on Pretlow Street in 1999.

“Let me tell you, it was a long nine months,” Cook said. “That was the worst.”

A Newsoms resident, Cook was among 50 to attend Thursday’s opening for VDOT’s new $4.9 million Franklin maintenance facility on Meherrin Road in Courtland.

The facility provides maintenance and emergency operations for Southampton, Isle of Wight, Sussex and Greensville counties and is the largest of three such facilities in the Hampton Roads District, said District Administrator Dennis Heuer.

The operation in January moved from its building in Franklin on 1.8 acres to the 18,000 square-foot facility on nearly 19 acres.

The original building was built in the 1930s, and when Cook started as an inspector there in 1962, it had four offices with three to four employees per office.

“We doubled that to eight offices in the 1970s,” the 68-year-old said.

The county sold VDOT the land for $100,000 and did about $125,000 of work clearing it, said Joe Lomax, Franklin Residency administrator.

“The county’s help on this was huge,” Heuer said. “They helped us identify this property and gave it to us as an economical price.”

County Supervisor Glenn Updike said he believes the new building will lead to better service for county residents.