Descendants Respond to VDOT Proposal to Protect Cemetery

April 2, 2013

Descendants of those buried in a cemetery in the path of the Route 29 Western Bypass are speaking out about the Virginia Department of Transportation's decision to re-route the road.

VDOT announced last week it would realign the bypass instead of relocating the Sammons family cemetery, which was recently discovered in line with the road. Still, VDOT has not given any specific plans, like how far away the road would be moved from the graves.

In a Skype interview Tuesday, Erica Caple James, a Sammons family descendant and professor at MIT, said the family's communication with VDOT has been limited.

"If the road has to go through that district, or that region, [we prefer] that it be far enough from both the cemetery and the house that they would suffer no adverse environmental impact.

As many as 15 graves are located at the cemetery near Albemarle High School.

"Eventually, if this is possible, [we prefer] that the family be able to manage especially the cemetery but possibly the house, and our hope is to be able to have those properties be of educational use," James said.

The family is keeping a Facebook page to track the progress of the cemetery.

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