Friday, September 18, 2009

My letter to Pierce Homer - Secretary of Transportation

Here is a letter I mailed (and sent an electronic copy through the Secretary's website) to Mr. Pierce R. Homer, Secretary of Transportation of Virginia. I tried several times to get some answers from the VDOT Culpeper District project contacts, but didn't get any response to my telephone messages - until after I sent this letter. And, the response I got was to contact someone else. I look forward to finding out what is really going on. I will let you know when I know. Is this any way to run a Department of Transportation? - Peter Kleeman

September 18, 2009

Mr. Pierce R. Homer
Secretary of Transportation
Commonwealth of Virginia
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond VA 23218

Dear Secretary Homer:

I have followed the development of a project called the Meadowcreek Parkway since about 1994 and have experienced the many transitions from it being a single federally funded project connecting Preston Avenue near downtown Charlottesville to Rio Road to it now being represented as three separate projects – Meadow Creek Parkway in Albemarle County, the McIntire Road Extended in Charlottesville, and the Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road at the intersection of the proposed McIntire Road Extended and U.S. Route 250 Bypass in Charlottesville. I am troubled that in August of this year VDOT sent a revised U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit application along with plans indicating that the McIntire Road Extended project has an at-grade intersection at its southern terminus at U.S. Route 250 Bypass. But, also in August 2009 VDOT provided me plans indicating that McIntire Road Extended has its southern ‘terminus’ not at U.S. Route 250 Bypass, but 775 feet north of the bypass where it will presumably join the Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road project. It also appears that VDOT distributed inconsistent plans to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and to the City of Charlottesville in August 2009 related to a permit application, and a request for a permanent utility easement, respectively. I contacted the VDOT project manager in the Culpeper District several times by telephone in the last two weeks hoping to clarify which of these inconsistent plans is the actual current plan, and why different plans have been distributed to the Corps of Engineers and to the City of Charlottesville, but have not received any such clarification.

As a civil engineer myself, I question the practice as well as the ethics of distributing inconsistent plans to stakeholders in the very same project. Not only are there inconsistencies in the plans, but the descriptions of the McIntire Road Extended project termini are different in the current Charlottesville-Albemarle Transportation Improvement Program and the VDOT Six-Year Improvement Program.

Distribution of inconsistent plans makes it impossible for interested parties in the project development process to provide meaningful and substantive comments about the project. Please look into what appears to me to be significant shortcomings in the information being provided to the Corps of Engineers, the City of Charlottesville, and to other project stakeholders by VDOT. I look forward to getting a formal statement indicating what the current plan is upon which current permit and right-of-way decisions should be based.


Peter T. Kleeman
407 Hedge Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902
(434) 296-6208

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