A data-driven application process has recommended funding for several major projects in the area, including $24.6 million for improvements at the intersection of U.S. 29 and Hydraulic Road. This also includes nearly $8 million for the third phase of the West Main Streetscape in Charlottesville. Both are recommended for funding under the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Smart Scale process, which ranks projects according to a series of metrics including congestion relief, public safety, and economic development.
Albemarle and Charlottesville are both within VDOT’s Culpeper District.
“Culpeper gets a total of 20 projects recommended for funding for a total of $166.9 million dollars,” said Chad Tucker with the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment.
Smart Scale was put in place after nearly $230 million was spent on several projects to address congestion on U.S. 29 including construction of Berkmar Drive Extended and a grade-separated intersection at 29 and Rio Road. Smart Scale is now in its fourth round and nothing is final until the Commonwealth Transportation Board takes a vote in June. Under the recommended scenario, the Hydraulic project received the highest score in the Culpeper District.
“That will really augment the investments that have been done at Rio in helping to keep traffic moving efficiently and safely along the U.S. 29 corridor in the Charlottesville,” Tucker said.
Projects recommended for funding in Albemarle include $11 million in Route 250 East Corridor Improvements, $8.5 million for safety improvements at the intersection of Old Lynchburg Road and 5th Street Extended, a roundabout at the intersection of the John Warner Parkway and East Rio Road, and a $7.5 million for a roundabout and other safety improvements at the intersection of Route 20 and Route 53.
Projects recommended for funding in Charlottesville include $5 million for a project to increase safety on Ridge Street, $6.1 million for improvements at the intersection of Preston Avenue and Grady Avenue, a second phase of multimodal improvements on Emmet Street, in addition to phase 3 of the streetscape.
Council has been waiting for the results of Smart Scale before making a long-term decision about the future of the West Main Streetscape, which was broken into multiple phases in 2017 after a previous Smart Scale application to cover the whole cost did not qualify for funding in the second round. A portion of the project was covered in the third Smart Scale round.
A roundabout at Troy Road and Route 250 in Fluvanna County has also been recommended for funding.
“I think Culpeper did a very good job of having targeted improvements that are addressing safety in congestion hotspots throughout the district,” Tucker said.
More on this as the weeks and months continue. For a more complete picture, be on the look-out for a story from Allison Wrabel in the Daily Progress.