VDOT screen shot

In this screen shot of the Virginia Department of Transportation Bristol Twitter page, missing flex posts near Bluefield, Va., can be seen.

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Stealing traffic cones and other items from a highway construction site might seem like a simple prank to some people, but it can create hazards for drivers, Virginia Department of Transportation officials said Wednesday.

A traffic hazard was created Tuesday night when somebody uprooted part of a barrier near a bridge undergoing reconstruction on Route 19, also known as Virginia Avenue.

“Overnight, four flex posts were removed from the Route 19 (Virginia Avenue) bridge reconstruction work zone in Bluefield,” according to Michelle Earl of VDOT’s Bristol District. “We realize work zones aren’t always convenient, but the restrictions placed within a work zone are there to keep motorists safe.”

The gap left by the uprooted flex posts was just big enough for a vehicle to drive through, making VDOT officials think that whoever did it was trying to avoid driving all the way down Virginia Avenue to turn around. Earl said Tuesday night’s incident was not something that happens frequently.

“It’s not uncommon for VDOT workers to have to reposition traffic control devices like cones or barrels occasionally; however, removal of such well-secured items as the flex posts, which are installed using a heavy-duty epoxy, is not a common occurrence,” she said. “They’re in there pretty good.”

VDOT is working with local law enforcement to monitor the situation until the flex poles can be replaced in the coming weeks, Earl stated. In the interim, traffic cones are in place.

The bridge reconstruction project began this summer and will be in place until summer 2021. The original bridge was built in 1967, she said.

The flex posts will be in place until the bridge work is completed.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

Recommended for you