USPS may add more mail to Sandston plant

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – NBC12 was the first to uncover mail delivery problems- across the viewing area- stemming from the Sandston plant. Now the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing another site in Norfolk and adding even more pieces of mail to be sorted at Sandston.

We got our hands on an analysis by the U.S. Postal Service. The agency is recommending this plant closing and consolidation into Sandston. The report says it will not affect mail delivery times. But, if history is an indicator- the Sandston plant's problems began two years ago with the closing and consolidation of the Charlottesville plant.  

The Sandston distribution center opened in 2009- the Charlottesville plant was closed soon after and operations were moved here. But according to the audit- Sandston got way behind and as of last May was the worst in the country at delaying your mail.

These are the pictures to prove it: mail sitting for weeks untouched in baskets. Mail miss-marked...going undelivered. Issac Cronkhite was brought in to turn the plant around. He spoke with us last month.

"We are making improvements every single day. The mail is extremely important to us, to myself, to the organization and we're going to get it turned around," said Cronkhite.

Even after the changes- the calls and emails continued to pour into our newsroom about delivery problems. Mail and magazines still arriving weeks late. We even found postal carriers delivering mail at 9 and 10:00 at night. The carriers told us that's also a symptom of the problems in Sandston.

"They're not processing the mail where they can get it to us earlier, where we can get on the streets earlier," one carrier said.

The U.S. Postal Service just posted a 5 billion dollar debt and warned of more trouble around the corner. It's looking for ways to cut costs, including closing several facilities.

The plant in Norfolk, Virginia processes around 7 million pieces a day...all of which could end up in central Virginia. The Postal Service says closing the Norfolk plant and moving operations to Sandston would save more than 20 million dollars.

It would also cut 260 jobs. And according to an analysis done by the agency: "delivery times of mail to residences and businesses will not change."

There's a public meeting in Norfolk about this tonight. You can weigh in on the closing by writing to:

Manager, Consumer and Industry Contact
Richmond District
1801 Brook Road
Richmond, VA 23232

The Postal Service will decide the fate of the Norfolk plant by March.

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