A frequently used road that is too narrow for two-way traffic was a topic of discussion at last week’s Floyd Town Council meeting.
Mike Patton, who was named vice-mayor during the reorganizational part of the Council meeting Thursday, said he had participated in a “open, healthy conversation” about Old Hensley Road in December with Eli Sharp of the New River Valley Regional Commission, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and residents who live on the road, located off Locust Street and alongside the WinterSun building. He noted that while it was a good meeting, it was “discouraging,” in that it doesn’t appear a solution is going to be easy. “I just want us all to be thoughtful about what we want to do about that problem,” in terms of commitment and the resulting ramifications. “We have encouraged the commercial growth down Hensley….I don’t think maybe we’ve followed through as we should.”
The area includes a bakery along one side of Old Hensley and restaurants and other businesses within the WinterSun building, as well as the town’s Warren G. Lineberry Park on the other side. Patton pointed out that the WinterSun owner had built a third story and recently added three businesses. “It’s another indication that area continues to grow.” Three homes are located on the road. Parking space is also a problem at the businesses on the road. If the area continues to grow, Patton continued, “there’s definitely going to have to be some investment on our part because the state is not going to take in Old Hensley. That’s going to be our baby.”
Councilmember Paul LeMay said the biggest problem is that the road goes from 30 to 18 feet – not enough for two vehicles to pass one another. “It really narrows down real quick. We’re stuck with the problem of how to widen it.”
“There was some discussion too about the possibility of the land we acquired (at the back of the park) that we haven’t done anything with,” Patton added. “That gives us some options….It’s possible that we could create a whole new traffic flow and solve some of those problems, but again the cost is going to be substantial.”
“I’m hoping Eli will have his report ready for us to consider and look over at budget time,” Town Manager Kayla Cox commented.
“Just to pave old Hensley, we’re looking at millions of dollars,”said LeMay. “One of my thoughts is we could make it one way bringing you back in by Food Lion.” Even doing that, he noted, would be an expensive project.
Patton said that Sharp would be following up and agreed with Cox that it was something to keep in mind at budget time.