Project to build bridge across Rivanna River fails to get federal grant

A proposal to construct a bridge across the Rivanna River to connect Pantops and the Woolen Mills has lost out in its second attempt at funding. 

“We did not get the RAISE grant for preliminary engineering for the Rivanna River pedestrian bridge,” said Commissioner Rory Stolzenberg at the July 11 Planning Commission meeting. 

RAISE stands for “Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity” and there were 162 awards made in late June across the United States totaling $2.2 billion. 

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission has been leading efforts to move the Rivanna bridge project forward. Earlier this year, the project did not score high enough in the Smart Scale process used by the Virginia Department of Transportation to qualify for funding. 

Several projects in Virginia were funded in this RAISE cycle.

  • The Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission will receive $23.25 million to convert the abandoned Bay Coast Railroad to a ten-foot shared use path between the town of Nassawadox and the Town of Olney. (page 149)
  • The City of Harrisonburg will receive $14.4 million for a streetscape and mobility transformation project that will convert one lane of U.S. 11 to a two-way separated bicycle facility. (page 150)
  • Chesterfield County will receive $3.6 million for planning for the Hopkins Interchange and Road Diet. This will pay for preliminary feasibility studies, environmental documentation, 60 percent construction documents, and public engagement work. (page 151)
  • The Town of Herndon will receive $720,000 to help with work on their 2050 Comprehensive Plan

Last year, Albemarle County received a $2 million RAISE grant for planning for a trail between the Blue Ridge Tunnel to Charlottesville via Crozet. Take a look at my story from last August, and here’s a small update.

“Staff is working to finalize the grant agreement with the Federal Highway Administration in the first quarter of FY24,” writes county spokeswoman Abbey Stumpf in an email to me today. “Staff expects to release a [request for proposals] for consultants late in the first quarter of FY24.”

Now back to the Planning Commission meeting for a moment.

Stolzenberg made his comments during the period of time when Commissioners report from committees they are on. Commissioner Hosea Mitchel had nothing to report which meant no public update from the closed-door Land Use and Environmental Planning Committee

Bill Palmer, the ex officio representative from the University of Virginia, was not present at the meeting. 

That meant no report at all from the University of Virginia, the biggest driver of land use issues in Albemarle and Charlottesville. Here are some recent Charlottesville Community Engagement stories to keep you informed.

A map depicting the general location of the funded project in Harrisonburg 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the July 14, 2023 edition of the program. You can also listen to the audio version there in the podcast. One day I’ll have all of that audio cross-posted here, too!
But to ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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