VDOT: Advance Mills temporary bridge to be in place by next spring

Allan Sumpter of VDOT addresses the Board of Supervisors

The director of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s
Charlottesville office has told the Board of Supervisors that the
Advance Mills temporary bridge should be installed by next spring.
Allan Sumpter said a decision by federal agency last week clears the
temporary bridge to be built, but was reluctant to give a specific date.

Sumpter said that the progress of the temporary bridge construction is
slowed down by needing to get approval from agencies ranging from the
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to the Virginia Department of
Historic Resources (DHR). For instance, the federal authorities have
been asking for additional justification for why the temporary bridge
is necessary, as well as how the impact to the Rivanna River will be

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“Of issue has been the scope of the temporary bridge and whether it should fall within the broader environmental regulations,” Sumpter said, adding that he had originally briefed the Board about his hope that the federal review of the temporary bridge would be restricted to the project’s impact on historic resources.

“Last week the FHWA responded that each project, meaning the temporary and the permanent bridge project does have separate utility,” Sumpter said. That means federal funding for the permanent bridge will be not in jeopardy  as long as the historical review process continues. Sumpter said his team is preparing documents for the DHR, and is trying to arrange for a multi-party negotiation.

Design work for the temporary bridge is “substantially complete” according to Sumpter, and a construction easement for the temporary bridge has been obtained. Now the appropriate permissions need to be obtained so that funding for the permanent bridge is not threatened.

“We are fully committed to accomplishing the installation of the temporary bridge, but we have the bigger issue of the permanent bridge so we want to make sure we don’t do anything that might jeopardize it for us,” he explained.

Sumpter also reported over 100 people attended an October 11citizen information meeting on the permanent bridge. He told the Board that a majority of attendees preferred a permanent bridge alignment that ran parallel to the old bridge.

“You had some of those comments like, they would like to see the old bridge stay, and the new bridge go beside it, and keep it for pedestrian traffic and so forth,” Sumpter said.

Sumpter hoped to have a design public hearing on the permanent bridge by next spring.


1:00 Introduction of Allan Sumpter, Director of the Charlottesville Residency

1:24 Sumpter begins update on the Advance Mills Bridge

6:00 Supervisor Slutzky asks when the temporary bridge will be installed

9:00 Supervisor Thomas asks about the time line for the permanent bridge design process

13:00 – Supervisor Rooker asks if the temporary bridge can be re-used

14:51 – Sumpter moves on to the rest of his briefing

Sean Tubbs