Town Crier Articles

I've Got a Sinking Feeling...
Posted on May 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Maxwell Pfannebecker
Nope. It's not just me. It's those pesky sinkholes that pop up here and there near streets and sidewalks. We've all seen them, so let's review what to do and how to report, and why it is taking so long for their repair.
What we can tell you is that the Board of Directors has been in contact with supervisors at VDOT over the past three months, each time a new hole appears. According to VDOT, several Williamsburg area communities built in the last 15 years are experiencing similar sinkhole issues from stormwater runoff and construction designs for underground utility tunnels which exacerbate erosion. As a result, each new hole goes on a waiting list for investigation and repair. The holes near Foundation Street and Casey Blvd took many months to be filled, but other holes in New Town are even farther down VDOT's list. Budget constraints are causing long VDOT delays, but the key point is to report what you see. 

This isn't a new issue, so we're going to revisit an article posted a few months ago in the December Crier by reprinting it below.
New Notes
Report issues to VDOT at even when you’re not sure which entity is responsible. In the event that the the repair isn’t theirs to make they will typically respond quickly and let you know the status or let you know that the repair does not fall under their maintenance obligation.
The sinkhole near the intersection of Casey Blvd and Settler's Market was reported to VDOT in January & a response was received within a few hours directing us to contact JCC Public Works and included contact info. The report to JCC was directed to Settlers Market management, and the hole was roped off until it was filled. When in doubt, report to VDOT and they will direct you to a solution. Remember, the more frequently an issue is reported to VDOT or JCC, the faster it tends to get attention. 
Who Maintains Your Streets & Sidewalks - Reporting Issues 
Crier Article from December 2020
While there’s no hard and fast rule to figuring out what person or entity is responsible for maintaining those slabs of concrete, asphalt, or bricks upon which we walk and drive, there are some quick rules of thumb.
Most of the streets that run through New Town are maintained by VDOT, but several of the Alleyways and smaller side streets in our neighborhoods are not. A good method of determining whether or not a street is maintained by VDOT in New Town is by noting availability of street parking and presence of two travel lanes. Casey Blvd and New Town Avenue are both VDOT maintained streets with street parking and two lanes of travel. Alleyways in New Town, like Eleanors Way, Melanies Way, and Victorias Way are all alleyways with a narrowed path of travel and a lack of street parking. These would be maintained by a private entity like the New Town Residential Association.
As a general rule, the entity that owns the land on which the sidewalk sits bears responsibility for maintaining that sidewalk. These sidewalks would include a sidewalk leading from your residence or business to the street (running perpendicular to the street).
Sidewalks that run parallel to the street are typically the responsibility of the entity that maintains the street. For example, sidewalks that run parallel along Casey Boulevard would be the responsibility of VDOT because they maintain Casey Blvd and its respective right-of-way. The right-of-way in this case extends from the outer edge of the sidewalk across the street to the outer edge of the opposite sidewalk. Within that right-of-way, maintenance obligations fall to VDOT.
Sidewalks that run along alleyways (like the previously mentioned Melanies Way or Victorias Way) would not fall under VDOT because the alleyways themselves are not maintained by VDOT.
Additionally, VDOT usually will only maintain concrete and asphalt surfaces, meaning brick crosswalks are maintained by another association. One exception is the bumpy transition into crosswalks installed for ADA guidelines. VDOT will usually maintain those as a matter of public safety.
Who to Call, Where to Start
Town Management’s Randy Casey-Rutland notes that there are exceptions to every rule in knowing which entity is responsible, but the fastest way to make an issue known is to report to VDOT (to even when you’re not sure which entity is responsible. Even if the repair isn’t theirs to make they will typically respond quickly and let you know the status or let you know that the repair does not fall under their maintenance obligation.
Casey-Rutland adds that more residents reporting an issue with streets or sidewalks usually leads to a more timely repair.
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