Power Lines Go Underground in Crozet Streetscape Project

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Overhead power lines that stretch across "The Square" in downtown Crozet are going underground. It's the beginning of the next phase of the town's $4 million streetscape improvement project.

The end to Albemarle County's long battle with railroad company CSX to control a parking lot in Crozet's "Square," makes way for this makeover. The county will pay to have Dominion Power dig up the lot and bury all the utility lines.

CSX worked out a deal over the summer to give "The Square" parking lot to the county. That property was the final piece the county needed for the second phase of streetscape improvements. Dominion Power will bury the overhead lines that stretch across the parking lot and through the old Barnes Lumber property.

Business owners say putting the lines underground will make "The Square" a prettier place for people to do business.

Jean Seal with Crozet Hardware, said, "Appearances is what people look for, and if things look rundown and unkempt, people have a tendency to not stop."

Jack Kelsey, an Albemarle County transportation engineer, said, "We're now able to take all those lines, run them underground through this area, eliminate the poles and overhead wires from Crozet Avenue. It's really going to change the look."

County capital improvement funds, already set aside, will help pay for the project. Dominion estimates it will cost $477,000. The county expects construction to start later this fall and only take about two months.

The underground utility project is the first part of the streetscape's second phase. Currently, the county is finishing getting right of ways to make improvements along Crozet Avenue from "The Square" to the new library.