Monday, July 04, 2011

Homeowners didn’t have to pay for curb and gutter work

Q: I have a question about the curb and gutter that was installed on the south side of Wise Avenue from about 17th Street or 18th Street to the greenway entrance at Tinker Creek. Did the homeowners have to contribute anything to the cost of this project, as it aligns the front of their property?

Donald M. Helms, Roanoke

A: The curb and gutter project on Wise Avenue was funded by the U.S. economic stimulus, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Phil Schirmer, Roanoke city engineer. It is being built by Roanoke-based S.C. Rossi & Co.

Schirmer said residents may request new curbs or sidewalks through an online application at the city's website. A team made up of representatives from the city's planning, neighborhoods, engineering and transportation departments reviews the applications and ranks each in priority. A project is then placed on a construction list.

There are currently more requests than there is funding for the work, Schirmer said.

Property owners are never asked to contribute to the costs of these projects.

"We only ask for their cooperation with the disturbance and noise associated with the construction process," Schirmer said.

Q: One item that has annoyed me a little for many years, every time I see it, is a long rock drill that is stuck in the ground on the north side of Cresthill Drive near Garst Mill Park. It is brown, rusted, bent to be nearly horizontal (across the drainage culvert), approximately 3 feet long and 1.2 inches in diameter.

It seems to me that this drill must present a mowing hazard. It also seems to me that it would not take much effort with an abrasive cutting disc, or with an oxy-acetylene cutting torch, to cut the drill off near the ground and thereby eliminate the problem.

Is there some reason that it is allowed to remain? Might it be that it is on private property, and the state is not responsible for such maintenance on private property?

Daniel Reichel, Roanoke

A: This hexagonal drill bit was in the hillside just outside an entrance to a housing development on Cresthill Drive. The land is in the Virginia Department of Transportation right of way.

Roanoke County officials contacted VDOT on June 23 to inquire about the drill bit. Later that day, a VDOT crew arrived at the site, dug about 6 inches around the drill bit, cut it off and replaced the dirt to cover it, said VDOT spokesman Jason Bond.

Why the drill bit was left in the hillside is a mystery.

"This was not a drill bit left from a VDOT road maintenance activity, so we assume it was left there as part of construction of the subdivision entrance," Bond said.

Got a question? Got an answer? Call Bridget Bradburn at 777-6476 or send an e-mail to whatsonyourmind@roanoke .com. Don't forget to provide your full name, its proper spelling and your hometown.

Look for Bridget Bradburn's column on Mondays.

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