Discussions Continue for the Future of the Aging Belmont Bridge
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (WVIR) -
Some call the crumbling Belmont Bridge a gateway to Charlottesville. Monday, City Council will look at that gateway as it considers its future.
Liz Bordogna jogs across the Belmont Bridge with her son every day. She says safety is a priority.
“There is cars and they are so close and there is a narrow space for pedestrians,” said Bordogna
Charlottesville City Council will consider the future of the aging bridge Monday.
Along with a replacement bridge that looks like the one there now, there are three alternative options.
One looks something like the current bridge except it reduces four lanes of traffic to two, making way for wider sidewalks and bike paths. The second foot friendly bridge looks entirely different, inspired by the mountains.
A third option, an underpass, is also on the table. The underpass de-emphasizes cars and creates a separate walkway for pedestrian and bicycle traffic
“A lot of people are calling the Belmont Bridge a gateway into the city and of course it is at the top of the downtown mall,” said City Councilor Dede Smith
But even icons come at a price; VDOT will pick up some of the tab. The city is also expected to pay anywhere from 3.2 to 14.9 million depending on which option is approved.
“The hope is that we can choose a design by July because we do need to get a long with this bridge repair because it is not getting in any better,” said Smith.
Bordogna favors the underpass despite the bigger price tag
“The more we can do to make a walkable, bikeable city center the more vibrant kind of appealing Charlottesville will be,” stated Bordogna
City councilor Bob Fenwick has asked for an estimate of what it would take to just make repairs.
A packed council meeting is expected for Monday’s public hearing. The meeting starts at seven o'clock in City Hall.
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