City Council updated on road maintenance

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 18, 2005

Suffolk will likely try to acquire Virginia Department of Transportation garages in Whaleyville and Holland as part of the city’s takeover of road maintenance.

Assistant City Manager James G. Vacalis gave city council an update on what has transpired since the vote earlier this year to take on the chore.

Under the takeover, set for July 2006, the city will be responsible for road maintenance throughout Suffolk’s 430 square miles. Currently, under a 1974 agreement, VDOT is responsible for everything except the downtown area.

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Vacalis told council that staff has been meeting with VDOT and that teams have been formed within the city to mirror those at VDOT. The teams include review, equipment, facilities and real property, human resources, major equipment and road stock inventory, organization, communications and policies and procedures.

Vacalis said the Whaleyville and Holland sites will be ideal for working the southern part of the city. He’s working with the city’s economic development director, Thomas O’Grady, to identify a site that will serve the northern section of the city.

Over next three months, Vacalis said goals include finalizing the equipment list, identifying facility needs and locations, writing job descriptions and creating a timeline for critical employee hiring. Public Works Director Eric Nielsen said it’s likely that some employees will need to come on the payroll prior to the July 1, 2006 hand off.

Officials noted that the local VDOT office has lost some workers, concerned over their status with the pending transition and that those positions likely won’t be filled.