US 29 Plan Price Tag 1/4 Billion Dollars — Kinda

Forum Watch Editorial

By. Neil Williamson

On Monday (11/24), The Charlottesville/Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) approved the US 29 North Corridor Transportation Study (pdf)  despite the fact that in contains inconsistent and inaccurate project cost information.  The cost information presented in the document did not include totals for the various time frames (short term, mid-term, long term).  The Free Enterprise Forum  independently calculated the total project costs (see spreadsheet below)  that totals over $292 Million Dollars in public funding and just shy of $22 Million Dollars of private funding. 

In total the plan calls for in excess of a quarter of a Billion (with a B) dollars in the next twenty years – WITHOUT LAND ACQUISITION COSTS. 

In 2005, The MPO approved the Hydraulic/250 Report that indicated the interchange at Hydraulic and 250 would cost $89 Million dollars.  In the most recent report (exclusive of right of way costs) the interchange cost is listed as $33 Million dollars.  Elsewhere in the report, it references “Interchanges are individual projects in the range of $15-$50 Million and would all require more detailed design studies to determine actual cost”. 

Why does this taxpayer funded report not reference the previous taxpayer funded report regarding cost? 

When the Free Enterprise Forum raised the issue of costs inconsistencies in the MPO Public Hearing on this report, one voting member of the MPO indicated it did not matter what the cost numbers were.  Another member suggested they are merely place holders.

Recognizing the extremely limited funds for transportation projects, it is most regrettable that the cost numbers produced by a $400,000 transportation study, do not really matter to the MPO.  How much road maintenance does $400,000 buy? 

Despite our call that the report lacked intellectual consistency, it passed unanimously.

Why am I not surprised?


METHODOLOGY If both public and private sources were listed the cost was split 50/50
   Public    Private  Time
Project  Funding   Funding  Frame
US29 Expand  Best Buy ramp      2,000,000   short term (1-5 years)
US29 Access Management        260,000   short term (1-5 years)
New Planning Document for Rio Ring road          50,000   short term (1-5 years)
Construct Northpoint Dr & Airport Acres Ext    10,240,000 short term (1-5 years)
Alignment Study for Berkmar ext Bridge        150,000   short term (1-5 years)
Add left turn lanes Burnley Station/Frays Mill      2,150,000   short term (1-5 years)
Subtotal      4,610,000  10,240,000 short term (1-5 years)
US29 Bus Rapid Transit Service Cville to Midtwn    16,500,000   mid term (5-10 years)
US29/US250 Ramps    12,000,000   mid term (5-10 years)
US29 Expansion Seminole Sq to Morton Dr      8,000,000   mid term (5-10 years)
Reconstruct Hydraulic Road US29 to US250      8,000,000   mid term (5-10 years)
US29 Access Lane from USPS to Greenbrier        680,000   mid term (5-10 years)
Construct Cedar Hill Ext to Greenbrier        715,000       715,000 mid term (5-10 years)
US 29 Construct north lanes for Rio Ring Road        450,000   mid term (5-10 years)
US 29 Widen Shoppers World approach/ mall drive        265,000       265,000 mid term (5-10 years)
US29 new Southbound lane at Berkmar          50,000   mid term (5-10 years)
US29 Westbound Albemarle Square Approach      2,620,000   mid term (5-10 years)
US29 Channelize Woodbrook intersection        910,000   mid term (5-10 years)
Parallel Roads – Berkmar Bridge across South Fork    14,910,000   mid term (5-10 years)
Widen Berkmar from Rio to Hilton Heights    10,020,000   mid term (5-10 years)
Extend Berkmar to the River      2,660,000   mid term (5-10 years)
Hollymead Drive        100,000   mid term (5-10 years)
Construct Berkmar Ext to Towncenter Drive    10,230,000   mid term (5-10 years)
Construct Hollymead Drive Extended      1,010,000   mid term (5-10 years)
US29 Jug handle (?)          70,000   mid term (5-10 years)
US29 East side Jug handle (FL area)      1,085,000    1,085,000 mid term (5-10 years)
US 29 West side Jug handle access (FL area)      1,305,000    1,305,000 mid term (5-10 years)
US29/Airport Acres signalization        270,000   mid term (5-10 years)
US29/Northside signalization        270,000   mid term (5-10 years)
Subtotal    92,120,000    3,370,000 mid term (5-10 years)
US29 Implement BRT from midtown to Uptown    16,500,000   long term (11-20 years)
US29/Hydraulic Replace intersection with SPUI    33,000,000   long term (11-20 years)
Reconstruct 250 Bypass/Hydraulic intersection      4,000,000   long term (11-20 years)
Turn Lane at Seminole Square        280,000   long term (11-20 years)
Extended Turn Lane at Branchlands        140,000   long term (11-20 years)
Realign Premier Circle        130,000   long term (11-20 years)
Construct Cedar Hill Ext to Shoppers World      2,550,000   long term (11-20 years)
US29/Rio interchange    35,000,000   long term (11-20 years)
Construct pedestrian overcrossing (of US29) @Berkmar      1,800,000   long term (11-20 years)
Construct SW Rio Ring Road      3,940,000   long term (11-20 years)
Construct NE Rio Ring Road      2,320,000   long term (11-20 years)
Construct roundabout on Mall Drive         450,000 long term (11-20 years)
Construct Cedar Hill Drive to Berkmar        430,000       430,000 long term (11-20 years)
Extend Roadway on west side 29 alb sq to Berkmar      1,745,000    1,745,000 long term (11-20 years)
Extend Roadway on east side 29 Mall dr to Rio Ring        940,000       940,000 long term (11-20 years)
US29 Extend turn lanes at Shewels      1,180,000   long term (11-20 years)
Construct US29 Jug handles for Wal-Mart access        750,000   long term (11-20 years)
US29 overcrossing Hilton Heights, access rd, aux lane    17,640,000   long term (11-20 years)
US29 Widen to six lanes Polo grounds to Town Center    15,060,000   long term (11-20 years)
Construct US29 Overcrossing at Ashwood Blvd    10,000,000   long term (11-20 years)
Extend Ashwood Blvd to Berkmar Ext      1,590,000   long term (11-20 years)
Construct US29 cross over @ Airport Road    15,000,000   long term (11-20 years)
Construct US29 Cross over @ Timberwood    15,000,000   long term (11-20 years)
Construct Jug Handles and roundabouts FL area        315,000       315,000 long term (11-20 years)
Widen US29 to six lanes from Airport Rd to L&C Drive    10,690,000   long term (11-20 years)
Airport Acres South Aux lane          50,000   long term (11-20 years)
Construct frontage road Airport acres to Airport rd        870,000       870,000 long term (11-20 years)
US29/Lewis & Clark transition        240,000   long term (11-20 years)
Signalize US29/Austin Dr        270,000   long term (11-20 years)
Signalize US29/Dickerson        270,000   long term (11-20 years)
Boulders Road Extended        475,000       475,000 long term (11-20 years)
Austin Road Extended      3,125,000    3,125,000 long term (11-20 years)
Subtotal  195,300,000    8,350,000 long term (11-20 years)
SUMMARY  Public   Private   
not including ROW or Utilities  Funding   Funding   
short term (1-5 years)      4,610,000  10,240,000  
mid term (5-10 years)    92,120,000    3,370,000  
long term (11-20 years)  195,300,000    8,350,000  
TOTAL  292,030,000  21,960,000  

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