Singing the VDOT Blues

Gravel roads wind here and there;

VDOT wants pavement everywhere;

They say, Bigger is better, fast is good;

VDOT don't care 'bout our neighborhood.

Old Hibbs Bridge now crosses this creek;

VDOT will rip it out in a week.

These verses from the song "Hard-Top VDOT Blues" were written by Ross & Anders for the June 5 Hibbs Bridge Rally. The singing added a bit of levity to the vehement outpouring of venom toward the Virginia Department of Transportation for its plans to replace the 170-year-old Hibbs Bridge. The gathering was sponsored by the Snickersville Turnpike Association. It was an impressive example of a grass-roots organization ready for a fight with a powerful state department that does not believe in protecting the environment nor the preservation of anything of historical significance.

The association's fight with VDOT is in its sixth year. VDOT has ignored the association's concerns, unanimous requests by the Board of Supervisors and our state representatives and even the recommendations of expert consultants. Spending $1.6 million to replace a bridge that is in harmony with its environment and worthy of some meaningful rehabilitation indicates that VDOT has funds looking for a project.

For over 20 years of my usage and observation, VDOT has failed to do even the most basic maintenance to Hibbs Bridge. An island has formed upstream blocking the south arch of the bridge. Another island has formed just downstream of the same arch. Destructive vines and trees grow out of and over the wheel walls. Last year, vegetation growing at the base of the wheel walls, narrowing road width, was killed by a concerned citizen. VDOT cleared the pile of dirt that had accumulated over the years, promising to seal the road surface and do "normal maintenance." VDOT's "normal maintenance" is something to behold. Hibbs Bridge can do without it. In fact, Hibbs Bridge will last longer if VDOT quits messing with it.

Stone arch bridges are treasured everywhere. Those built by the Romans 2,000 years ago are still in use. Shaoxing, China, has over 3,000 bridges. Most are built of azure stone in various shapes. The Silong Bridge over the Jianhu Lake is over 1,000 meters long and has 20 arches. It is described as looking like a giant dragon lying on waves. Many of the bridges have a beautiful story or folk legend. Every bridge in Shaoxing might be said to be a piece of art treasure which is worth carefully viewing and admiring. Can we say this about any bridge that VDOT has built in Virginia?

Our secretary of transportation must be convinced that Hibbs Bridge and its setting are a Virginia treasure and worthy of preservation.

PHIL DELIANIDES

Philomont

A Crusader Against This Evil

Welcome back into the race for county Board of Supervisors chairman, Dale! I am pleased that you are standing up to the thousands of Democrats who were secretly mobilized to doom your promising candidacy. I also know for a fact that all known Republicans were rounded up the night prior to the primary and held captive to prevent their turnout on your behalf. I myself only narrowly escaped capture by cleverly planting a Scott York sign in my yard. However, can you and your real estate friends really afford what will be an extremely expensive proposition to shut down this insidious, well-oiled Democratic machine that is capable of going to such lengths? What worries me is that they are so powerful and so feared in this county that not a single Republican has been brave enough to stand up and admit to their incarceration. Instead, out of sheer terror, they have had to build a wall around their hearts -- publicly standing behind York and insisting on party loyalty and principles. Dale, I may be the only one, but I'm glad you have the courage to run because only you can stop this evil threat before it completely saps the very marrow from our true Republican bones.

Sign me up for your campaign so I can fight the omnipotent Democratic machine. A word on strategy though. How do we deliver your word of hope and salvation to the poor, ignorant masses? It's sad, but they just don't understand that you and your real estate friends know everything while they, poor ignorant taxpayers that they are, know nothing but what the evil Democratic machine tells them through the words of the anointed "Republican." Maybe some of your close personal friends at those high-tech companies in Loudoun can develop a computer chip to be implanted in the citizens' brains that emits a constant message: "Save us Dale, save us from ourselves." Those Democrats will never know what hit 'em.

IAN MACOY

Leesburg

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CAPTION: Horsemen ride across Hibbs Bridge in western Loudoun on Saturday as part of a rally opposing state plans to replace the 170-year-old structure.