August 5, 2007
Road improvements are becoming a concern around Smith Mountain Lake.
Officials from Appalachian Power, local and state governments agree that improving the roads surrounding this vacation attraction is needed. But they disagree over who should pay for them.
The improvements are a pressing issue because of new residential developments and the growth of tourism at the lake. More than 2.5 million visitors came to Smith Mountain Lake this past year.
The Virginia Department of Transportation has been studying the roads at the lake since last summer. The recommendations will be used in V-DOT's six-year improvement plan for the area.
Appalachian Power holds a federal license to operate a hydroelectric plant there and is going through a review process to renew the license.
Because of that, state and local officials are trying to work out an agreement that would have the utility pay for some of the maintenance and improvement costs of the roads.