Homeowners Brace for Riverwatch Expansion, Question Safety

Homeowners Brace for Riverwatch Expansion, Question Safety (Image 1)

 A small group shared big concerns about where they live. Concerns range from children being safe going to school to homeowners near Reed Creek being impacted by a flood.

Lowell Welch has lived on Old Petersburg Road since 1991. 

“Traffic is too fast on the road.  I’m just afraid somebody is going to get killed,” he explained.

Nearly a quarter of a century later, he said what used to be a small community has turned into a speed zone.

Welch added, “As soon as people realized that they were going to put a Riverwatch/Old Petersburg there, the traffic has increased tremendously.”

His neighbors feel the same way.  So, Lori Greenhill launched a single-person volunteer group to keep a close eye on the Riverwatch Project.  She is talking to local, state and federal leaders about how they can ensure homeowners near Old Evans and Old Petersburg Roads remain safe.

Judy Schoultz, who has been living in her home 35 years, charts the expansion back to the early 90s too.  But she’s completely against a bridge currently under construction on Old Petersburg Road, where she lives.

“I will never go over that bridge,” she said.  “I don’t think it’s going to be safe.  I can see the erosion that’s happening with the rain now.  They’re trying to assure me that they do all these various different steps with the soil, but I also know that this area has earthquakes.”

News Channel 6 caught up with Transportation Board Chairman Don Grantham last week.  He said the bridge will ease traffic flow.

“It’s going to allow the overpass to have it over the railroad area to stop that traffic from having the issues with the railroads,” he said.  “It’s going to actually dump out into Washington Road. It’s going to dump out at the area there and it may cross Washington Road into that large shopping center and movie theater area.” 

For Welch, the community feeling is gone.

“Used to be along Old Evans there was an acre of land for each house, now it’s a little less than an acre of land.  They’re putting two lanes on my side of the road and there’s going to be a side walk and a bike path,” Welch told News Channel 6.

These issues are just the tip of the iceberg for this group that is trying to grow.  They also discussed how they need stoplights now and a school zone sign.  There are even fears that too many trees were cut down and that is impacting health. 

Greenhill is looking for more help.  She scheduled the next group meeting for Monday, July 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Mosaic United Methodist Church in Evans.

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