Albemarle Supervisors Hear Four Hours of Western Bypass Citizen Input

By. Amelie Bailey, 2011 Field Officer Intern

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors met Wednesday night (7/13) to hear public comment on their June 8 decision to remove opposition to the construction of a US 29 Western Bypass. In a packed house, the public hearing on this subject began shortly after 7 pm and ran for four hours, featuring over 100 speakers.

29 w bypass alignmentOpposition to the road proved to be the loudest voice at the hearing, with over 60 citizens speaking against the construction of the Bypass as it is currently proposed. Those against voiced disappointment with the process by which the decision to reconsider was made, namely the late night decision prior to any public comment on the matter.

Several speakers objected to the environmental impacts of a bypass so close to the South Fork Reservoir as well as to schools such as Agnor-Hurt Elementary, and Greer Elementary where play areas will be compromised. Opponents also voiced concerns for the tremendous costs of construction given that the most recent studies question the effectiveness of such a Bypass in solving Albemarle County’s congestion problems along the Route 29 corridor.

Over thirty citizens in favor of the Bypass spoke to support the recent decision. Those in favor brought up the economic benefits from better access to businesses and articulated concerns for safety along the current Route 29. Supporters also expressed a desire to cooperate better with the rest of the state by creating a Bypass. Most in favor of the Bypass believe the project is long overdue.

Duane Snow

Samuel Miller Supervisor Duane Snow

After the lengthy hearing, several supervisors defended their position in the vote taken on June 8th. Supervisor Snow (Samuel Miller) indicted that unless other items of more immediate interest to the community are guaranteed to be funded by the state Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), he and Rio District Supervisor Thomas (Albemarle’s representatives on the five member Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)) will not support the construction of the US 29 Bypass.

These items include funding for projects such as widening Route 29 from Rio Mills Road to Timberwood Blvd, improving the “Best Buy Ramp”, Berkmar Drive Extended, and a Hillsdale Drive Connector. Mr. Snow also assured that the funding for the Bypass would not be at the expense of other local projects, such as the Belmont Bridge. In other words, supporting supervisors see benefits in using the Bypass as a bargaining tool, as well as seeing inherent benefit in the road itself. A resolution in writing on these demands is yet to be obtained.

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Amelie Bailey is the 2011 Field Officer Intern for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization. If you find this report helpful, please consider supporting the Free Enterprise Forum. To learn more visit www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Map Image Credit: VDOT  Photo Credit: Albemarle County

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2 responses

  1. Asked about their position on the Western Bypass, potentially the largest road construction project in the history of this area, Delegates Toscano and Bell were contacted for comment:
    ********** Sounds of crickets chirping **********
    (Bueller?….. Bueller?…. Bueller?)

  2. […] the marathon that was Wednesday night’s (7/13) Albemarle County Board of Supervisors meeting, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Board met on Thursday […]

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