Supervisor O.J. Cole grilled VDOT’s Saluda Residency Administrator Sean Trapani about the condition of ditches in the county during the April 22 meeting of the Mathews County Board of Supervisors.
Cole said he was concerned that inland ditches are getting filled up because roadside ditches aren’t clean. Valuable, marketable land could be lost unless something is done, he said. He pointed out that the county has agreed to put money toward ditch projects and identify areas of concern, but he has yet to see results.
“When are we going to start seeing work on ditches?” said Cole. “I want to see improvements … tangible improvements.”
Cole asked Trapani whether VDOT is responsible for clearing inland ditches that are impacted by roadside ditches, but Trapani said his only responsibility is making sure the roads are kept clear. He explained that there are projects in the works to help Mathews with ditch cleaning. One of those provides $25,000 from the VDOT six-year plan as a supplement to go along with grants being sought by the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission for ditching.
In addition, VDOT has money for revenue sharing, and Trapani has requested some of those funds for ditch work. A grant applied for through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has some requirements about education of citizens on water conveyance, water quality, and the importance of stormwater management, he said.
Cole said those projects were “way down the priority list of getting ditches clean, clear and flowing,” and he wants to get some actual work done in order to be able to tell residents which ditches they need to maintain.