The following intercepted letter was sent by Rick Gillespie to Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin via their website communications.
Dear Governor Youngkin,
As the Emergency Services Coordinator for Pendleton County, WV, I am concerned with the continued and expanding safety hazards along US Route 33 west of Rawley Springs, Rockingham County, to the Virginia-West Virginia Stateline.
First, the road surface of Shenandoah Mountain is in horrible shape. VDOT continues to delay the promised improvement project on the lower 1.7 miles of this mountainous roadway. And, their project fails to address the worst curve on the mountain, which has rock outcroppings that reach just shy of the pavement edge, causing numerous incidents with tractor-trailer trucks going westbound, encroaching into the eastbound lanes.
The other issue involves all of the unhealthy trees that overhang the highway along the straight stretch of roadway just west of Rawley Springs to the base of Shenandoah Mtn. These trees and large limbs are falling at regular intervals. It is just a matter of time until a fatality will result. A major project of tree trimming and removal needs to occur. I suggest use of one of the helicopters with large rotating blades on it as the quickest way to clear this right of way. It would require some scheduled road closures but would be much faster than other methods.
On August 7th, one of our Pendleton County Emergency Rescue Ambulances was stranded on this stretch of highway due to high water and downed trees. This is not a good situation. Pendleton County relies heavily on Rockingham Memorial Hospital, with the majority of our ambulance transports to that hospital.
Please direct a study of the millions of dollars in revenue brought to Harrisonburg/Rockingham County from Pendleton and other West Virginia Counties. Many of our citizens participate in your workforces as well, further enhancing Virginia’s economy. Many of the poultry growers for the Virginia plants are located in Pendleton County. It is high time that Virginia recognizes this and makes significant improvements to US 33 west of Harrisonburg. Interstate commerce depends on it.
Thank you Sir for your attention to this matter.
Pendleton County Emergency Services Coordinator
PO Box 187
Franklin, WV 26807