Jolly Pond Road- Its History and Future

Numerous problems initially plagued the road, and some remain.


Kirsten Smith

Jolly Pond rd is currently closed due to safety lapses in this section of the dam

While Either end of Jolly Pond Rd. remains open a privately owned section of the dam is the cause for the problems likely due to water damage and the dam’s advanced age. (Kirsten Smith)

Jolly Pond Rd is a loop off of Centerville Rd that connects various homes, schools and local businesses. Since 2009 the road has been plagued by various issues regarding a privately owned dam built in the 1700’s on a section of the road. These problems have led to the closing down and re-opening of various sections of the road. In 2009 Jolly Pond Rd was closed by VDOT which had been operating the road due to safety concerns. In 2011 the county board of supervisors voted to petition VDOT to abandon the section of the road and be operated by the county, after which the county gained control and minor repairs were executed and the road was later reopened. The major problem began in 2018 during a routine inspection found a large hole of washed away gravel and dirt on the dam making the road unsafe for travel. While in normal circumstances the county would either choose to repair or close the road this instance is not as open and shut due to the fact that the dam is privately owned by a Mr. William Kane.

Jolly Pond Rd was under VDOT jurisdiction until 2009 when the dam section was closed due to safety concerns (Kirsten Smith)

Since these problems have began and the county has attempted repairs the costs are starting to add up significantly. The county has already spent $98,000 on maintenance and inspection of the road as of 2014, and a 2008 report estimated repairing the dam at $2.6 million. As the project is so costly it makes it unlikely for the dam owner to repair as he has made previous statements that he is willing to work with the county to reopen the road, but he does not appear to be eager in footing the bill for the project. The county has made it’s stance very clear stating, “We are not in the business of repairing private property,” said Rick Koehl WJCC County’s Capital Projects Coordinator. Due to the placement of the dam it also makes it near impossible to rebuild or reroute due to the large waterway on either side.

Residents argue that this is putting a damper on local commerce, inconveniencing residents, and impacting the nearby Middle and Elementary schools, JBB Elementary and Hornsby Middle School, which are located on the road. While Mr. Koehl acknowledges that residents are upset he has stated that there are plans to move forward with the current state of abandonment. “There is currently a planned project for turnarounds to be put in on either end and will go before the Board on Feb. 23rd, with plans to have the project constructed in March, and finished in April.”