VDOT Holds Hearing on Western Bypass Design Options
The controversial Route 29
Western Bypass is back up for debate - this time at a VDOT-sponsored public
There were plenty of
people who say the project is simply a waste of money. Heated debate over the
bypass is nothing new.
Thursday night, VDOT laid
out three design options for the southern part of the project: the original
interchange proposal, a loop ramp and a flyover ramp.
The new six-mile, four-lane
roadway would connect the area just north of the south fork of the Rivanna River
to the Route 29-250 bypass in Albemarle.
VDOT sought input on those
"There are nearby
neighbors, there are other stakeholders that have an interest in this so we
want them to look at the plans and tell us what they think," said Lou Hatter,
But many are concerned
with the financial aspect of the entire project.
"Politics has got
this completely turned around and now we taxpayers are about to be raped $300
million highway for $8 million in benefit," said Randy Salzman, who attended
were also voiced, citing the projects proximity to neighborhoods and schools. But
while many are opposed, not everyone is against it.
"I think the Virginia
Department of Transportation's main job is transportation and safely getting
the public to where it needs to go and I believe the bypass accomplishes that
task," said Neil Williamson, who attended the hearing.
The Southern Environmental
Law Center says VDOT is not being transparent with costs.
"It's like taxpayers are
stuck inside the taxicab while the meter just keeps rising," said Morgan
Butler, with the Southern Environmental Law Center.
But VDOT says it is too
early to give cost estimates for the project. There is
not a clear timeline for the project at this point. VDOT must finish its
environmental evaluation process before any construction can begin.
It will be taking written
comments on the concepts until June 3.
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