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VDOT contractors accused of damaging property after January storm

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BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) -- The response from the Virginia Department of Transportation was swift following the first major snowstorm of 2016 but some are voicing concerns after noticing a more aggressive approach to clearing roads.

An overturned snow plow remains in the front yard of a Blacksburg home.

"Our concern is whether there's anything leaking out of the truck," said Lesley Sims. "Whether there is fuel or whether there was a lot of salt, what kind of damage that could do."

The truck sits on its side off Plank Drive. Sims can see it from her yard across the street.

"We're all on well water so it may be nice to be sure that it will be cleaned up."

The truck, owned and driven by a contractor hired by VDOT, went off the road Friday afternoon as snow came down in Ellet Valley.

"Generally in big snows we're stuck in for four or five days. And it can be three or four days before anybody passes through," she said.

In the 13 years Sims has lived here, she says the response has never been so swift.

"This year they got right on it which was great. We loved it but we think that they're a little aggressive on the side of the road."

They, being contractors. When Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm Thursday. It allowed VDOT to supplement its force with more contractors without going through its usual procurement process.

"It would just be nice if they had a little more supervision maybe a little more, a little more guidance on what they're actually supposed to be doing," Sims said.

A VDOT spokesman said over the phone, the recent hires aren't as familiar with the routes as its regular crews who work the roads year round.

"We're a little concerned about how off of the road they have to plow," Sims added.

A few yards from the overturned truck, another neighbor is left with a damaged wall built around her flower bed, caused she said, by a contractor plowing off the road.

VDOT said individuals who say their property is damaged can file a claim, even if the allegation is against one of its contractors. VDOT is the first stop.

VDOT say it's up will be up to the contractor to remove the overturned plow.