The Western Bypass is a long-proposed 6.2-mile road to provide a limited access bypass of the commercial area on U.S. Route 29. The stated purpose of the project is to provide a bypass for Route 29 through traffic around the Charlottesville metropolitan area. The bypass also provides a direct connection from U.S. 29 north to the North Grounds of the University of Virginia.
UPDATE: As of March 2013, VDOT and the Federal Highways Administration are working to finalize an environmental assessment on the project. Neither land acquisition nor final design can begin until the FHWA issues a “finding of no significant impact” document. FHWA could also require additional environmental study related to the new 2012 design since past studies were only done of the 1997 road design.
BACKGROUND: In June 2011, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors changed its policy position to support the Western Bypass and funding was approved for construction by the Commonwealth Transportation Board later that summer. In June 2012, the CTB awarded a $135 million contract to the team of Skanska/Branch Highways to design and build the road. In September 2012, VDOT held a meeting to gather public input on a draft environmental assessment VDOT conducted to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act.