VDOT cleans up, reveals a mess of its storage buildings

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A month ago I told you about Virginia's Department of Transportation owning - and not maintaining - what appears to be one of the worst industrial slums in the Richmond area along Route 5 near Rocketts Landing.

More than 16 acres that were overgrown, largely covered with huge buildings practically falling down, tortured roof lines, a half-mile of broken windows - dangerous structures being visited by urban explorers.

All of this practically within shouting distance of the river along one of the area's most promising and beloved corridors pedaled and walked by legions using the Virginia Capital Trail.


VDOT got right to work, sawing down trees, clearing brush and picking up old tires and other debris.

The difference is like night and day.

But there's a dark side to it. Now, from the road and the Capital Trail, you can clearly see the horror show of old, neglected buildings. It's hard to believe they belong to the state.

This property has had a lot of lives. A hundred years ago the Army used it to store and move World War I surplus. That morphed into Virginia’s first airplane dealership and aircraft parts depot, according to legend.

But for many years it was a key equipment facility for VDOT. A small portion of it is still used for storage but it's largely been closed for years.

State documents indicate this property - worth millions - has been a headache for the state. Part of it appears to be in the floodplain of Almond Creek and has some environmental issues due to its use.

A 2010 survey of VDOT's unused properties indicated the state could get $2 million for the property.

I tried to find out what VDOT plans to do with it, but my calls and messages were not answered Thursday.

Stay tuned.

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