Road Paving Project Along Route 151 In Northern Nelson Is Part of $370K VDOT Contract

©™2012 Nelson County Life - Photo By Yvette Stafford : If you have been anywhere in the vicinity of Route 151 & Route 250 near Rockfish Gap over the past several days, you've no doubt run into these guys doing paving.

Northern Nelson / Western Albemarle County, VA
Lots of you have been asking what gives about the traffic backups for the past several days along Route 151 in Northern Nelson County. Here you go!

The road project along Rt. 151 in Northern Nelson County is part of a roughly $370,000 contract, according to VDOT – Lynchburg District Communications Manager, Paula Jones.

“The work that is taking place on Route 151 is slurry paving. This is a type of surface treatment in take a mix of asphalt emulsion and aggregate and spreads it on the roadway. It is applied by a truck equipped with a squeegee or spreader box. A slurry seal treatment can be expected to extend a roadway’s life by 4 to 5 years,” Jones said in an email.

The Rt. 151 project is part of a larger contract covering a number of roads in a couple of counties. “The hope,” Jones wrote, “is to extend the pavement life for several years and limit repairs but the elements, incidents and use play into that.”

As for being able to combine a slurry treatment to an asphalt paving job, Jones explained that, like asphalt, slurry is a surface treatment and would not “likely be used together on the same surface.”

We have a few more questions into Jones, and we’ll update this post as we get those answers.


  1. I have a suggestion:
    As a reader courtesy, could NCL maybe give a heads up about delays like this before they happen?
    The work on 151 has been going on for almost a month.
    First it was paving and the delays were awful, prompting me to call their Appomattox Residency which includes Nelson County.
    I asked if, in the future, they could put up digital trailers for a few days in advance of roadwork – with START AND END DATES – warning drivers to EXPECT DELAYS. I think they should be obliged to do so but am dubious if they ever will.
    So the paving finished and now they are black topping in order to extend the life of the road.
    How long is this “slurrying” supposed to take? I’m sure the VDOT project managers have a very good idea. It seems to me that is one of the first things that drivers would want to know.
    None of us needs to be sitting in traffic burning gas at $4 a gallon but if we know that this necessary work is going to happen we can at least alter our schedules and routes during that time in order to avoid it, making things easier on everyone.
    So if NCL has any “communications” connections at VDOT, please give us a heads up whenever you hear of road work coming up on 151, or elsewhere in the county for that matter. Those of us who drive these roads regularly would appreciate it.
    Finally, regarding Ms. Jones comment:
    “The hope,” Jones wrote, “is to extend the pavement life for several years and limit repairs but the elements, incidents and use play into that.”
    The “use” that is taking its toll on 151 is the BIG TRUCKS and I got that STRAIGHT FROM VDOT when I spoke to them!
    BTW, where is Project 151 these days anyway?

  2. Hi Janet,

    NCL does post information about this almost daily. It is generally in the Facebook feed or Twitter feeds. But done with great regularity.

    You won’t get any argument from me on any of what you have said here. As for P-151, it simply became too much for me to continue without some help. Though the website remain up today, but not currently updated. Those were the days without children. LOL! And honestly, as you have correctly indicated, large semi trucks have become the single biggest problem on 151 for a multitude of reasons. One of those you mention is the continued destruction of the roads. While most of these trucks are transient in nature (not stopping or delivering local) they contribute nothing to the local economy. They don’t fill up with fuel, they don’t eat in local restaurants, etc. In fairness they do pay a ton in state taxes for use of the roads. The local BOS is deaf on the issue of trying to regulate large trucks, they won’t even consider asking VDOT because they say VDOT will just say no. At least back then no formal request has ever been made. Only one BOS, Connie Brennan, went on record a few years back saying she did think something needed to be done about the extensive volume of semi rigs using 151 as a cut through from I-64 to 29. The majority of these do it at night after 11PM so they are not detected by state police or local authorities. This includes rigs over length, tandem trailers, and trucks speeding along without restriction, some I have personally clocked at over 70-75 MPH numerous times. Even in the daytime the enforcement is minimal by any agency on trucks. For whatever reason the local BOS has never made this a priority. This in a county that prides itself on natural beauty, quiet, and the like.

    I welcome someone to pick that torch up and take on the battle. But, I along with others that originally fought the fight have accepted nothing will be done by the BOS / VDOT and have all made plans to eventually move from 151 to other parts of the county to simply get away from it.

    It is sad, as this could be a much more beautiful road. Many governments in other states with similar issues and beauty have stopped allowing big rig trucks from using outdated two lane highways as truck routes, opting rather to keep them on 4 lane restricted access interstates that were built specifically for that kind of commercial traffic.

  3. Hi Tommy –
    Thank you for your response but I don’t do Facebook (never will) or Twitter (eh) and I don’t think that anyone should have to in order to find out at least the broad basics of what is going on, especially through what is already a media outlet, even if it does have a social network following.
    As far as Project 151 is concerned, as you will recall, I was enthusiastically involved in that effort too after the tragic Greenfield accident in August 2007.
    I went to one small meeting at Shannon Farm, to which I was invited through a third party, and to the big meeting at the community center in October of that year where literally hundreds of people showed up.
    I made myself very available but after that the only outreach contact that I had with the group was through the project151 website, on which I commented many times. As far as I knew, the only other meeting regarding 151 was held at the community center the next fall by Connie Brennan and Tommy Harvey and it was certainly more general in topic. I did attend, as did you, but I was not aware of any other meetings organized by the P151 group, or the supervisors for that matter who had said at the time that they would have more of these ‘town meetings’.
    I too know from my involvement with P151 that this was an uphill battle but, honestly, I also felt shut out at times as others seemed anxious to lead it. I don’t believe that any effort like this can – or should – be spearheaded by one person, or even just a few, but that people need to collectively “pick up the torch”. I’m still willing to be one of those people so if you know of anyone else who is not yet disillusioned (and I do understand your frustration) please put them in touch with me.
    As for the Nelson BoS, they are deaf on a lot of issues, including at least one other concerning the welfare of Route 151 that you and I probably disagree on, that being the erection of *monopole* cell towers *within the scenic byway viewshed*. But that’s a whole other topic …
    I think it is sad that you “all” are giving up on Project 151 (I know and appreciate how much work you put into it) and on living in northern Nelson, which really is beautiful.
    It is also sad that that it will probably take another tragic accident for this issue to come back and rally people again, before something – someday – is finally done about it.
    In lieu of that, I’d rather not admit defeat
    Thanks … J

  4. Thanks for the reply Janet. We agree on more than we disagree. Please feel free to pick up the torch on this fight. I will gladly turn over the website, materials, etc to you to carry on the battle. PM me and we can discuss. On Facebook and Twitter, unfortunately, if people are not plugged into social media of some sort, you are missing at least 50% of the reader audience. And that’s being ultra conservative.

  5. ?
    I “PM’ed” you on 4/23 as a response to your 4/19 posting, – via your 4/17 email – but haven’t heard back so I am posting here again.
    I think you missed a couple of my points re: facebook and “picking up the torch”
    1. If I get onto a website that is a media outlet, I shouldn’t have to then get onto a facebook link in order to get, at least, the general news. If people want to get regular or real time updates on facebook or twitter that is one thing but I would expect a community publication to at least give me the basic facts of what is going on in my area, e.g. the projected timeframe for road construction. Maybe you having a facebook page helps to increase your readership but all me being on FB does is help to increase the wealth of Mark Zuckerberg and the data mining web trollers’ that he lets in so if I think that I am somehow going to be forced to use it I’ll just get the information that I need elsewhere. (As far as the project 151 wordpress website is concerned though, if there ever was a good use for facebook and other social media, I admit causes like this would be it)

    2. No one person should be “picking up the torch” on a cause like P-151. That is just setting up oneself for failure. Leading a project like this almost requires someone who can do it full time – like a local retiree who cares – but even then they would need the support of other dedicated and focused volunteers so – again – if there are other people out there still interested I am willing to be one of them.
    Maybe P-151 didn’t get the big rigs off the road but it did a lot to help get the speed limit lowered in areas and get the turnoff lane built onto 635 East where the Greenfield accident happened so it wasn’t exactly a totally lost cause. In any case, since I never heard anything about how the campaign ended, I would still at least be interested in the who, what, where, why that I missed … Thanks, J


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