Albemarle Supervisors briefed on transportation projects including cost escalation for Eastern Avenue South in Crozet 

Every three months staff from Albemarle’s Community Development Department checks in with elected officials on the status of transportation projects. This mostly recently happened at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on August 2. 

Transportation planner Jessica Hersh-Ballering noted that the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s final vote on Smart Scale projects this past June included a project to build a roundabout at District Avenue and Hydraulic Road. (read the story)

“We’re happy to see the roundabout added as it will improve the efficiency of the upcoming improvements at Hydraulic and U.S. 29,” Hersh-Ballering said. 

The Virginia Department of Transportation will administer that latter project. A design public hearing was held last May. 

Albemarle staff are finalizing applications for revenue-sharing funds from VDOT which require an equivalent  payment from localities. In recent years, Supervisors have approved the allocation of funding to provide this match. 

This time around, Albemarle has five pre-applications in the hopper totaling over $15 million but that will be reduced as the application deadline nears. Hersh-Ballering sought some feedback from the Supervisors about how to proceed.

  • Commonwealth Drive and Dominion Drive Pedestrian Improvements (Total Cost: $4,612,121): The current revenue sharing request is for half of $637,949 to close a funding gap for a project that has previously been awarded revenue sharing funds.   
  • Berkmar Drive Extension (Total Cost: $27,257,979): This would continue Berkmar Drive to Airport Road where it would meet with a roundabout to connect to Lewis and Clark Drive. The current request is for half of $6.316 million with previously received revenue-sharing funds in the account. 
  • Berkmar Drive Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements (Total Cost: $12,143,005): This would add about a mile of bike and pedestrian facilities on Berkmar Drive between Hilton Heights Road and Woodbrook Drive. The current request is for $4.7 million in VDOT revenue-sharing funds. 
  • Lamb’s Lane Campus Loop Road (Total Cost: $8,338,601): The current request is for $4.169 million and would extend Lambs Lane to connect to Hydraulic Rd via Georgetown Green among other things. This is a recent project that has not yet received revenue-sharing application but a feasibility study has been completed. This may require relocation of some buildings. Staff is recommending not making this application this year while further study is conducted. 
  • Eastern Ave South (Total Cost: $39,474,586): This project has received $8. 121 million in previous revenue-sharing funds and would serve as a new north-south connector road in Crozet including a new bridge over Lickinghole Creek. This request is for $1.9 million, the maximum the county can request. Staff is recommending not making this application this year due to a lack of unidentified funding for the balance but continuing to move forward. 

Supervisor Ann Mallek has been advocating for the Eastern Avenue South project for many years and just learned of its large cost escalation. She said she was crushed. 

“When I first started working on this, it was $1.5 million in 2008,” Mallek said. “This is just a lesson for all of us to remember that when you act on things in the appropriate time, they get out of the question.  This has been on the list since 1992. More than 2,000 dwelling units have been built in the space between Cory Farm on U.S. 250 and on Route 240 where there is a whole series of neighborhoods there.” 

Mallek said Crozet residents will suffer without the roadway as more homes are built in the area. She encouraged county staff to investigate other funding avenues, such as public-private partnerships. 

“All of those rezoning that were passed were based upon this bridge being built,” Mallek said. 

A side with details about the Eastern Avenue South project (Credit: Albemarle County) 

Supervisor Ned Gallaway pointed out the Lambs Lane Loop Road has an overall larger scope. This project would convert the intersection of Georgetown Green and Hydraulic Road into a “continuous green-T” and would also convert the Albemarle High School entrance to right-in/right-out only. 

“We have to figure out a way to call that something that doesn’t forget that it’s actually attacking Hydraulic Road,” Gallaway said. “That’s a major congestion and safety item there. And if everybody thinks of that as just the internal road when we’re thinking of it decision wise, that could be a problem. You can’t fix it without the internal road, really!” 

Supervisors agreed with staff’s recommendation on what projects to pursue in this round of revenue-sharing. 

The elected officials also learned at this briefing that there would be a focus group that would work with the Virginia Department of Transportation on the pipeline study for the Old Ivy Road / Ivy Road area.  

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 August 10, 2023 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

Additionally, this was posted during a time I’ve upgraded to a new WordPress theme. Some things may not look as they should. But, it’s a fun experiment!

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