VDOT’s Saluda residency administrator Sean Trapani was once again grilled about ditches and drainage by supervisor Neena Putt during the March 26 meeting of the Mathews County Board of Supervisors. The rest of the board members remained largely silent during the nearly half-hour exchange.
Trapani has received regular complaints from Putt, other supervisors and county residents over the past few months about clogged ditches that complainants said are causing flooding that damages private property and undermines roads.
During last week’s meeting, Trapani presented his regular monthly report, which included information about maintenance that has been performed on culverts, pipes and ditches, and then he gave a slide presentation about the Virginia Department of Transportation’s ditch maintenance responsibilities.
Trapani discussed VDOT’s responsibilities as far as drainage is concerned, explaining that the department is supposed to maintain a uniform flow line in roadside ditches, with sufficient depth and grade to ensure adequate drainage; keep culverts open and in a good state of repair; maintain flow lines in curbs and gutters and keep them clean, and perform work within outfalls only when VDOT determines that the work will benefit the roadway system. A right of entry from the property owner is required for outfall work, he said.
VDOT has full responsibility for maintenance within the limits of a drainage easement, said Trapani, and these easements are usually for new construction projects. When a drainage easement is dedicated to a county as part of a subdivision plat, he said, VDOT only maintains the portion that’s within the right-of-way accepted by the department when the street is added to the state-maintained system. If work is needed outside the right-of-way, he said, it will only be performed if it creates problems within the right-of-way. Finally, he said, a right of entry is a one-time permission given to VDOT or the county; it is not an easement and is not perpetual.