Costs Calculated for 7 Road Projects in Charlottesville & Albemarle
Seven priority road projects in Charlottesville and Albemarle County come with a half-billion dollar price tag. One of them already proposes extending the Route 29 Western Bypass before it's even built.
To make those seven road projects a reality, the city and county want funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation and the feds over the next 20 years.
Putting down pavement isn't a penny-project done in a day. The price tag comes by the millions in times marked by decades.
"We always have to work within a long-range budget for transportation improvements," Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission Director Steve Williams said.
Williams is adding up the costs to build and maintain seven major road projects proposed by the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
He said, "We'll be trying to balance the benefits and costs of various types of transportation improvements to get the most efficient set of improvements for the region."
One proposal is to extend Berkmar Drive to Hollymead. Williams estimates that would cost nearly $57 million. There's already an idea to extend the still unbuilt Route 29 Western Bypass north to Dickerson Road, priced at more than $132 million.
"We know, if that turns out to be a priority, it's going to take 20 or 30 years to get that project done," said Williams.
The bypass would allow a makeover for the busy 29 corridor. The Boulevard Concept would add pedestrian crossings along Route 29 from Hydraulic Road to the Airport. It would also take one of these lanes away to be a bus express lane and add bike lanes to make this Albemarle County's Main Street.
Widening Route 250 to six lanes at Pantops has a $48.2 million price tag, and adding one lane in each direction on the Route 250-29 Bypass from Barracks Road to the interstate would cost $86 million to build and maintain.
Williams said, "Often, that maintenance cost falls primarily on the local governments."
Albemarle County Supervisor Duane Snow says knowing the costs today save the county from playing catch-up down the road. "We're told all the time, there's less and less money for roads," he said. "So, what's going to happen 10, 20 years down the road, at this point, I don't know."
The Eastern Connector linking Route 20 at Pantops to Route 29 is also on the list of proposed projects. It would cost up to $145 million.
The MPO Policy Board meets Wednesday to review these estimates. That will help the board narrow down which projects to pursue in the Long Range Transportation Plan.
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