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Area trail projects in the running for VDOT funding
Sean Tubbs | Sunday, March 04, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.

Several trail and sidewalk improvement projects in the community are in line for funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation, including two that would serve Albemarle County schools.

VDOT released the rankings of requests for its Transportation Alternatives program in mid-February.

“Transportation Alternatives is a federal program that sets aside transportation funds for small-scale, non-traditional projects,” said William Merritt, communications coordinator for VDOT’s Culpeper District, which includes the Charlottesville area. “The program includes streetscape projects, trails, crosswalk projects near schools and more.”

There are 132 applications that have been submitted from across the state and eight within the Culpeper District. The requests total $66.1 million but there is currently $40.2 million in funding for the next two years. However, that amount is subject to change pending adoption of the state budget.

The city of Charlottesville has requested $400,000 for a segment of the U.S. 250 Bypass Commuter Trail project. This $1.1 million portion will stretch on the northern side of the highway from Hydraulic Road to the John W. Warner Parkway. The rest of the funding came from a previous VDOT grant.

“A large section of the trail in western McIntire Park is complete, including two bridges, and YMCA built a portion of the trail, as well,” city trails planner Chris Gensic said.

On Monday, crews will begin work installing a bridge across the railroad tracks in McIntire Park that will serve as a major link in the trail. Work also will begin Monday on a $2 million skate park.

The city also submitted a $300,000 request for the design and construction of a bike and pedestrian bridge across Meadow Creek as part of a trail from Hydraulic Road to Brandywine Drive. This is another phase in the U.S. 250 commuter trail.

“The Meadow Creek bridge will replace an older bridge that was crushed by a falling tree and will connect the Meadow Creek trail up to Greenbrier Drive by the Senior Center with a new and fully accessible bridge and trail,’ Gensic said.

Albemarle County submitted a project to build a crosswalk on Avon Street Extended at Cale Elementary School. The total cost is $512,094 and the request was for $309,675. The crosswalk and sidewalk will have a pedestrian warning light and is part of the Safe Routes to School program.

Albemarle also submitted a request for a multi-use path that will connect the campuses of Greer Elementary and Jack Jouett Middle School with Albemarle High School. This $710,000 pathway is also a Safe Routes to School project. The request is for $412,000 in VDOT funding.

Albemarle’s neighborhood planner told the 5th & Avon Community Advisory Committee about the scores last week.

“Both projects are very high scoring and very close in scores,” David Fox wrote in an email to the group. “While this is a good sign for these projects, a final decision has not been made.”

The Commonwealth Transportation Board will vote on the program later this spring after a series of public hearings to be held across the state.

“We do not know if only one or both projects could get funded,” Fox said. “We still expect to get a final decision about these projects sometime in May.”

Nelson County submitted a $1.33 million request to cover the final phase of the rehabilitation of the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel into a trail.


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