VDOT bridge replacement in Campbell County could require taking land

The $16 million dollar project will replace a bridge built in 1950

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va – VDOT says a bridge on Wards Road in Campbell County has been labeled structurally deficient and needs to be replaced. It hosted a meeting for landowners Tuesday afternoon, some of whom might see their property taken for the new construction.

Peyton Cunningham looked at his family's home on VDOT's map Tuesday.

"This property has been in my family for over 65 years, and my father bought it when him and my mother were just getting married," said Cunningham.

Cunningham says he grew up there himself, but VDOT says it may need his entire property for construction.

"I just kind of, kind of find it difficult to take that they're going to just come take it after we've had it for this long," said Cunningham.

Cunningham wasn't the only one concerned about the $16 million dollar project. Mike Hensley owns JMJ Landscape Supply next to the bridge.

"This cross-over is nowhere near big enough to get a tractor-trailer turned around to come back in to access the property, so getting deliveries in is going to be a real issue," said Hensley.

VDOT spokesperson Paula Jones says staff intend to work with people like Hensley and Cunningham as the project moves forward, but she's not sugar-coating what's to come.

"Progress sometimes can be painful... what I would say is, please be patient. The product at the end will pay for all the rest of it," said Jones.

Jones says VDOT intends to allow traffic to continue to move through the area during construction, but there will likely be back-ups. As for Cunningham, he had already tried to sell part of his property to a developer. That was before VDOT told him it might need the whole area. VDOT will pay him for the property, but he doesn't know how much. Now he's trying to stay positive.

"I don't know, like I say, I may be jumping the gun. Maybe they'll give me more than the guy who'll build the motel will, I don't know," said Cunningham.

Cunningham will know more in about a year. VDOT says the design for the project is expected to be completed in late 2018, and it's only after that that it can finally notify landowners of exactly how much right of way it will need to acquire. Construction for the project is expected to get started in late 2020, and is expected to be completed in 2022.