View Full Version : Preservation in the Shenandoah Valley

03-28-2006, 11:46 PM

Please read the following announcement/appeal carefully. It highlights the profundity of the threat posed to the Shenandoah Valley battlefields by proposed construction on the I-81 corridor. It is precisely this threat that we are endeavoring to counter, in a small way at least, with the proceeds from the Shenandoah 1862 event (http://www.shenandoah1862.org).

Paul Lockhart
Adjutant, Pridgeon’s Shenandoah Legion

To the Shenandoah Valley Reenactor Community:

As many of you have read, the Va. Dept. of Transportation will hold public hearings in April on plans for a massive widening of I-81, as outlined in the VDOT Tier I Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), available at http://www.i-81.org.

We need your help to oppose these destructive plans that will erode further the battlefields in the Shenandoah Valley. We must act now to prevent VDOT from pushing ahead with major roadbuilding without adequately studying the potential for smaller road improvements and upgrades to the rail system to meet traffic and freight needs on I-81.

VDOT’s plans to create a huge tolled highway like the New Jersey Turnpike in the Shenandoah Valley led the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) last month to name the valley's 10 battlefields among the most endangered in the nation. The full text of CWPT’s recent press release is attached. For more information on I-81 impacts, go to www.shenandoahvalleynetwork.org.

VDOT plans to widen I-81 to an average of eight to 12 lanes, which will directly impact seven of the 10 battlefields in the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District. VDOT also proposes to build a bypass around Harrisonburg, which would impact Cross Keys and Port Republic battlefields in a rural part of Rockingham County. VDOT's plans are unnecessary and unacceptable.

There are eight "concepts" for widening I-81, all requiring tolls on cars and trucks to finance the $11 billion to $13 billion projects. The largest is a proposal from STAR Solutions, a consortium of road builders including the Halliburton Corp.

But elected officials, local governments and civic groups throughout the Valley have rejected VDOT's claims that only major highway widening with tolls can address safety and congestion problems on I-81. The CWPT, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, along with over a dozen towns and counties all support an alternative plan: Reasonable Solutions for I-81.

Reasonable Solutions makes the case that we can address safety and congestion problems on I-81 at far less cost and impact through spot improvements within the highway median, such as climbing lanes and redesigned exits, increased law enforcement, significant freight rail upgrades and meaningful transit options. It also includes a provision to provide funds to mitigate new and existing highway impacts on the valley's battlefields.

We need your help to get the Reasonable Solutions message to Governor Kaine and VDOT.

Attend a Hearing: Please plan to attend at least one of the hearings listed below. Bring your family and friends. Sign up to speak at the public hearing portion or talk privately in the open house portion with the court reporter only (don't give your comments to VDOT staff, as they will not be made part of the official record).

Note: We are looking for reenactors to wear their historic uniforms to a press conference at 4 pm before the last hearing, April 19 in Bridgewater, Rockingham County. Contact me for details.

Write or Call the Governor: Ask Governor Kaine to direct VDOT to reconsider its massive highway widening plans for I-81 and to use the lower cost, lower impact alternatives like spot highway widening and rail upgrades. Tell him you can't accept more erosion of and impacts to the Shenandoah Valley's hallowed ground. Go to http://www.governor.virginia.gov/AboutTheGovernor/contactGovernor.cfm or call 804-786-2211.

Write VDOT: Tell VDOT you want lower cost, lower impact alternatives like spot highway widening and rail upgrades included in the Tier I Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Add that you want a full analysis of impacts to Shenandoah Valley battlefields and other historic and natural resources before decisions are made about widening the highway. Go to www.virginiadot.org/projects/constSTAN-I81-public-comment.asp .

We need your support at these hearings to provide a huge “No” to VDOT plans to blast through our battlefields with a major truckway on I-81. We need hundreds of citizens to attend each hearing and thousands to write to the Governor and VDOT.

I hope we can count on a large turnout from the reenactor community and supporting organizations. Please forward this message immediately to interested groups and individuals.

Here are the times and schedules for the VDOT hearings:

Registration for Public Hearing: Begins at 4:00PM
Public Hearing: 5:00 – 8:00 PM

General Open House: 5:00-8:00 PM

Tuesday, 11 April

Roanoke Wyndham Hotel
2801 Hershberger Road
Roanoke, Va.

Tuesday, 11 April

Wythe Community College
1000 E. Main Street
Wytheville, Va.

Wednesday, 12 April

Bristol Holiday Inn & Conference Center
3005 Linden Drive
Bristol, Va.

Monday, 17 April

Natural Bridge Hotel & Conference Center
Natural Bridge, Va.

Tuesday, 18 April

Winchester Travel Lodge
160 Front Royal Pike
Winchester, Va.

Wednesday, 19 April

Turner Ashby High School
800 N. Main Street
Bridgewater, Va.

See you at the hearings,

Denman Zirkle
SCV Camp 1557 (Turner Ashby)

Office: 132 N. Main Street
Woodstock, Va. 22664
Tel. 540-459-1990

Mobile Tel. 540-335-9322
Fax Tel. 540-459-1790