12 ON YOUR SIDE: New Kent residents angry over bridge in disrepair

NEW KENT, VA (WWBT) - Frustration causing more bad feelings in New Kent County. Residents are upset over the time it's taking to settle a dispute and fix a damaged road.

Route 600 at Richardson Mill Pond was closed nearly three years ago. Since then, residents have been saying it jeopardizes their health and safety.

Residents say they have one way in and one way out - and that's not good and they don't like it. VDOT said the road will remain closed for motorists' safety until it can figure out who owns what.

The closed road at Richardson Mill Pond sparks emotional debate.

"All we ask is to have a second option and to be able to get out the other direction instead of being in a dead end, one way in, one way out," said Troy Tomlin.

VDOT barricaded part of Rt. 600 at Tabernacle Road after Hurricane Irene knocked a huge hole in the road, August 2011. People most affected are older and feel they're put in harms way.

"When my husband was gravely ill, it was terrible for us to have to go the long way to get him to the hospital," said Gladys Allen.

"It's about eight miles out of my way," said Peggy Carmine. "It takes my precious gas. If we have a bad storm and a tree falls, we have no way to get out and we have no way to get the rescue squad to us."

Nearly 40 residents met us, all pushing for bridge and road repairs.

VDOT says ownership is unclear. It believes the dam and bridge are in both New Kent and James City counties, and the county line runs in the middle of the bridge.

New Kent residents say they're being disregarded and the James City side with the Stonehouse golf course community gets the attention.

"A big tree fell across the road," said Mark Owens. "The people had to cut it up. We cut it up. But let it happen in Stonehouse - oh, they gonna get it up."

"It's an uphill fight for us," said Doris Cheek. "We pay taxes just like people in upper New Kent and all them places."

The dam is leaking under the road near the New Kent/James City county line. VDOT is working to determine ownership of Richardson Mill Pond Dam. Then it will decide what action to take.

Residents fear the problem will only worsen with time.

"Sooner or later, it's going to wash out," said Troy Tomlin. "You're going to lose the pond. You are going to lose your ability to use the water now for the golf course and whatever else you use it for, and it's going to cost millions of dollars."

It's so convoluted, VDOT says it's conducting a title search. It says a landowner claims the James City County property was deeded to VDOT, but anyone can deed their land to the state. Unless VDOT accepts the conveyance, it's not effective.

VDOT also says it doesn't own the land on the New Kent County side.

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