Board of Supervisors called on to reverse position

Published 1:16 pm Saturday, June 20, 2015

Windsor Mayor Carita Richardson has called on the Isle of Wight County Supervisors to reconsider its resolution of support for the preferred alternative to Route 460. In mid-February, the board unanimously — albeit reluctantly — voted on a resolution in favor of the controversial project.

During the public comment time at Thursday’s board meeting, she first gave an update on the progress of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s plan to build a new road that would bypass Windsor to the north.

“They are continuing to study the northern route and they are encountering problems, such as three endangered species including the barking tree frog,” Richardson said. She added that where the road comes out of Suffolk is a bridge over the Lake Gaston Water pipeline, which goes into Lake Prince.

“An accident could be a big problem,” the mayor said.

Further, she noted that the new road is in close proximity to what’s popularly known as the Roberts House on Shiloh Drive, a national landmark. Richardson fears that vibrations from the road traffic could weaken the foundation.

“Costs are continuing to go up and up and up,” she said, and pointed out an article in The Smithfield Times, which reportedly quoted Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne saying that the cost of building the road could greatly outweigh the benefit.

The Tidewater News reached out to Layne via his public relations officer for confirmation.

“I really question the benefit,” Richardson said, adding that if built, “Windsor’s always going to between bypass and railroad.

“I think we can hopefully wait and work with environmental people and VDOT.”

She asked the board members to reverse their position in the hope that might tip the project to be stopped.

Nor was Richardson alone in her plea.

“I have been opposed to the alternative since it presented in January,” said Brenda Peters of Five Forks Road in Windsor. “I was disappointed when the board voted in favor.”

Peters added that she has been encouraged to learn that Chairman Rex Alphin has since reconsidered his vote.

His full comment on the matter appeared in Friday’s Tidewater News (“The Route 460 dilemma”), and can also be read online at

She applauded the chairman for his new stance, and asked the remaining board to show similar strength.

“Stand with the people instead of against us,” Peters said.

“A ditto for what she said,” William Johnson said in support.

Billy Gwaltney of Deer Path Trail told the board about its position, “I don’t think there’s any doubt that you did it in good faith, but a lot’s changed in the last three or four months.

“It’s not going to help the county, it’s going to cut it in half.”

He also asked board to reconsider.

“It’s been a mistake since the start,” said Dick Holland. “Even our secretary is thinking it’s a mistake.”

He thanked Alphin for his change of heart, and added appreciation to Supervisors Byron “Buzz” Bailey and Al Casteen for their service to the county.