County committee selects Verboort and four others out of 130 candidates

Verboort Road is one of five thoroughfares recently chosen for a small improvement project through Washington County’s Department of Land Use & Transportation (LUT).

The Minor Betterment Program Selection Committee considered more than 130 candidates across the county for small-scale road upgrades before choosing the top five, which will be included in next year’s county budget.

Verboort’s proposal is for an official pedestrian path along a busy stretch of Verboort Road, between Porter and Visitation roads. It would replace the current arrangement in which children walking on a virtually nonexistent shoulder sometimes end up in traffic lanes on their way to school.

The project proposes widening the shoulder on the north side of Verboort Road, or possibly creating an asphalt pedestrian path along the other side of a drainage ditch.

The committee had $500,000 to spend on all projects combined, according to Stephen Roberts, communications coordinator for LUT.

Committee members looked for projects that provided safety and connectivity and represented all parts of the county, Roberts said. “They were pleased to have a good candidate in the rural area.”

Four people weighed in on the project online, including one long comment from a Verboort Road resident, who also showed up and testified in person at the Oct. 3 committee meeting, where the final projects were chosen.

“This is an important project due to the proximity of the school and church, combined with the relatively high speeds of the road (regardless of the 20 mph school zone),” wrote one person.

Another suggested moving the path to the south side of Verboort Road, claiming that would improve safety for cyclists using the new scenic bike route that briefly follows that stretch of road.

The minor-betterment projects will be included in the 2014-2015 Annual Road Maintenance Program, which will come before the Washington County Board of Commissioners for approval next June.

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