Late Monday afternoon, County Administrator Garrey Curry received official word that the Commissioner of Highways, Stephen C. Brich, had approved the Board of Supervisors’ request that Ben Venue Road be restricted to through trucks.
The letter, signed by Brich and dated July 8 stated, “Based on [a traffic engineering study and analysis of the proposal] and pursuant to the provisions of Section 46.2-809 of the Code of Virginia and the authority granted to me by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, Route 729 (Ben Venue Road) in Rappahannock County between Route 522 (Zachary Taylor Highway) and Route 211 (Lee Highway) is prohibited to through traffic of trucks.
“Such closure shall apply only to through traffic of trucks and not such vehicles with points of origin or destination along the affected route. By copy of this letter, I am directing the Virginia Department of Transportation to erect the proper signs to notify the traveling public of this closure.”
Responding to unofficial reports of the approval earlier in the day, Curry said, “If [Brich] did in fact approve the restriction, you should know that the citizen outreach is very likely the reason behind the approval.”
Days before the long Fourth of July holiday, Ben Venue residents had heard that Brich was leaning toward denying the application. The road’s residents mounted a last-ditch campaign to promote the restriction, calling and emailing not only Brich, but also Richmond State Engineer Ray Khoury, Culpeper District Engineer John Lynch, and Culpeper District Rep to the Commonwealth Transportation Board Alison DeTuncq.
Support for the restriction was strong on the Rappnet Facebook page, as well.
Call it karma, but last week there were three accidents on Ben Venue Road involving through trucks. In the most serious accident, a small car was crushed by a semi up against the road embankment. Luckily, no one was hurt, but Ben Venue residents lost no time in sending photos of the accidents to Brich, Khoury, Lynch and DeTuncq.
From here, Curry said in an email that he would reach out to mapping companies to make them aware of the restriction.
“Google maps for example does not track truck restrictions, while others do,” Curry said. “Maybe this extra piece of paper will help me convince Google to reroute traffic . . . all they need to do is code the speed traveled slower and the system will take care of the rest”