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Ellett Valley land development proposal public hearing

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UPDATE:

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors voted 7-0 Monday night to approve the extension of the Smart Road.

ORIGINAL STORY:

MONTGOMERY COUNTY (WSLS 10) - The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute brought its proposal for a multi-billion dollar network of roadways before the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors in a meeting Monday night.

The project would connect the university's existing smart road, however people living nearby are concerned the project could ruin the quality of life in the Ellett Valley.

Both perspectives voiced their opinion at the meeting.

Transportation Institute Director Tom Dingus says the Smart Road project is an asset that has brought dozens of jobs and millions of dollars to the New Ricer Valley.

This construction, however, would be on a smaller scale. "...we're not building any kind of monolithic structure. It's small bridges. It's going to look a whole lot like Ellett Road." Says Dingus.

According to Dingus, the windy mountain roads for good for testing autonomous vehicles.

He says it's something that could make Virginia Tech a leader in the nation. "We want to build a test facility that was unique and valuable to them so that they would come here and find our research and create jobs in Montgomery County."

While there were several supporters at the meeting, not everyone is on board with the project.

One woman who spoke says that she doesn't feel it is necessary to have the road in this location. She asked the supervisors to keep it in mind that they represent the taxpayers whose lives would be affected by the project.

Taxpayers who say the University's projects shouldn't interfere with the mountain view they call home.

Addressing the board, another woman said "We need to maintain what we have there that is of value and the agriculture and the rural area and again the wildlife and just the beauty that it is, and with all this advanced technology you cannot go back and recreate what once was disturbed and taken away."

The Board of Supervisors says will consider all the comments they hears at the meeting before making a final decision on the project.

Virginia Tech says if the project is approved, it's first phase will be completed by the end of this year. The second phase will wrap up in 2018.