Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Who Moved the Road

I live in Prince William County Virginia. The county is some 70 miles long stretching from the edge of the Appalachian Mountains in the west to the Potomac River in the east. In the 20 plus years I have lived here the county has experienced rapid growth and development. For the first ten years I lived here a new traffic light was added every year between my house and the nearest interstate. After that point I lost count.

When I arrived the two ends of the county were connected by winding and dangerous two lane roads. One night shortly after we moved here my 8 year old daughter Hanna and I were heading home at about 8:30 in the night.  Our way was blocked less than a mile from the entrance to our neighborhood because there had been a fatal car accident on the bridge near our home. There was no promise how long it would be before traffic could pass. Our only option was a thirty mile circle around to the other side of the bridge and our neighborhood.  On these unfamiliar winding roads in the dark it was 10 pm before we got home.

The county is now spanned by two four lane divided roads. Other roads have been straightened and leveled, if you know where to look you can see some remnants of abandoned parts of the old roads that have been grown over and reclaimed by nature. Sometimes at what are now wide controlled intersections I try to remember what the road was like. What were the land marks?


One such intersection is Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads. There was a hill and a small nursery at the intersection which was more of a wye than the multi-lane intersection it now is. The funny thing is that often in the early spring I will see a wild turkey roaming around the intersection.  If the traffic is light enough he will be right in the middle of the street. I can only imagine he too is looking for the old landmarks to guide him to a favorite nesting place or food source. 

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