Plans to replace the Belmont
Bridge were on Charlottesville City Council's agenda as simply a report but
that didn't stop things from getting testy.
Some councilors wanted to
go ahead and vote on a specific design plan and others wanted all options to
stay on the table. Council ultimately agreed to allow for more public input
before any decision is made.
The crumbling bridge that connects
people from Belmont to the downtown mall needs to be fixed. Council was
presented with two options: replacing the bridge, which comes with a price tag
of about $15 million, or building it as an underpass, which would cost about $26
Council agreed that the
community needs to have a chance to weigh in and give suggestions about what an
ideal bridge would look like, but some are already making it clear about how
One man who lives in Charlottesville said, "I think the underpass is
a planning nightmare waiting to happen. It's a financial
nightmare for the city and it's a civil engineering nonstarter. I could be
convinced otherwise but I haven't heard that evidence yet."
"I'm really urging council to consider an enhanced bridge option
and I don't think it's too late to go down that course and we might end up with
something in between the two that leaves us better than we have been," said Tim Freilich, who also lives in Charlottesville.
Costs of the bridge will
be covered by state and federal funds through the VDOT six-year plan for 2016.
City staff will now work
on setting up meetings to get more community input about how people would like
the bridge to look.
Cville Council: Public Input Needed Before Bridge DecisionMore>>