Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star: Stafford road project gets $10 million grant


Stafford County road long plagued by flooding could finally be freed from recurring flooding and closures.

A federal grant of $10.25 million was recently awarded for a project aimed at realigning a section of Brooke Road, just less than a half mile from Loblolly Lane to Maplewood Drive. The realignment will move a section of road, including the “S” curve, out of the floodplain.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, Brooke Road is “located in a mapped floodplain and sits low near the wetlands associated with Accokeek Creek. This provides little elevation for the water to drain out of the ditches and into local waterways.”

Billy Kelley, one of around 1,000 residents who have to deal with persistent flooding problems on Brooke Road, said the problem has continued to grow worse in recent years.

“There’s times when there’s two feet of water coming across the roadway,” he said in a telephone interview. “We’ve basically been pleading with the county, trying to get the Board of Supervisors to get us funding to get this taken care of and they haven’t been able to work with us on it.”

He said residents were recently told by board members that $7.5 million set aside for Brooke Road work could be reallocated to other road improvements aimed at high-crash areas in the county.

Kelley is thankful for the federal grant money, but said if the $7.5 million is removed they “would be back at square one.”

He said the flooding, which the 42-year-old pointed out keeps school buses from using the road, has real impacts on people.

“It’s such a safety hazard,” he said. “We’ve had numerous people who’ve had to sue VDOT for motors on cars that have been blown up, cars that have caught on fire. People have been stranded in the water trying to get home. People have had to get hotel rooms. It’s just been a complete chaotic mess over the past four or five years, and it’s not getting any better.”

Kelley said Del. Paul Milde has proven crucial in helping keep the Brooke Road issue at the forefront.

Milde lives in the area and has been impacted by the flooding.

“A thousand people are cut off from civilization when that road gets shut down. It’s just unacceptable,” he said. “I get cut off from my family … Nobody wants to be stranded, especially separated from their families. It’s happened a few times. And it’s really scary, actually. Most times it’s in the middle of a storm so it compounds the issue.”

The first-term delegate said he and Sen. Tara Durant have been working with VDOT and the secretary of transportation on the issue.

“We were doing everything we could to put pressure on at the state level,” Milde said.

He added that he is grateful for the funding and the state support to secure the grant.

The federal funding comes from a grant program of the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration. The grant was supported by U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger and U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

In a statement from Spanberger’s office, Meg Bohmke, Chairwoman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, said the county is grateful for the grant.

“Once obtained, it will play a crucial role in addressing the persistent flooding issues at the ‘S’ curve on Brooke Road,” Bohmke said. “It will also enable the County to implement a sustainable solution, ensuring the safety and accessibility of the residents living beyond that point.”

The Brooke Road issues have proven so perplexing VDOT set up a webpage specifically covering the maintenance it has performed on the road in recent years.

The list starts with a June 2021 failed drainage pipe that caused a small sinkhole. In 2022 deteriorated drainage pipe was replaced in the “S” curve at Raven Road and Maplewood Drive. Crews also raised the road’s grade “by an average 6-8 inches to accommodate the new pipe.” A storage basin and pump also were installed to reduce flooding.

VDOT has installed a portable roadside camera in 2021 to monitor flooding and regularly “monitor and clear drainage channels along Brooke Road.”

Delineators were installed at the S curve to monitor water levels and to mark the pavement edge.

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