The current Advance Mills bridge was closed in April 2007 (Image source: VDOT)

The

Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

will hold

a special meeting

on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 6:30 PM to move forward the

Advance Mills Bridge replacement project

. According to Supervisor Ann Mallek (White Hall), the Board will hear a report from VDOT’s Allan Sumpter that details the results of the public comment period for the design phase of the permanent bridge. The comment period ends the day before the meeting. Sumpter is the director of VDOT’s Charlottesville residency.

After hearing the report, the Board is expected to vote on a resolution to send a letter to VDOT Commissioner David Ekern to express the County’s desire to see the new bridge built on schedule.

“I think VDOT needs reassurance that they are doing what the community wants and it is worth taking resources from other projects of less emergency to finish this,” wrote Mallek in an e-mail to Charlottesville Tomorrow.

The bridge has been closed since April 2007, when VDOT inspectors determined that the steel truss bridge was no longer strong enough to hold the posted weight limit. That has meant a long detour for many residents of northwestern Albemarle County, who lost north-south access to Earlysville when the bridge was closed.

VDOT originally planned to install a temporary bridge on the existing alignment while designing a new location for a permanent bridge. However, budget cuts forced VDOT to abandon that strategy  in favor of building a permanent bridge on the existing alignment. The steel truss bridge was installed in 1943, and is part of the Advance Mills Historic District. That has also required VDOT to work with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to come up with a plan to mitigate the effects on the district.

Once the public comment period ends, VDOT’s Chief Engineer will be asked to approve the design. The right of way acquisition process will begin once that occurs,

according to a brochure handed out by VDOT

at the design public hearing that was held on July 8, 2008.

Project construction is scheduled to be advertised for January 2009, at a total cost of $3.8 million according to VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter. The goal is to have the new bridge in place and open to traffic by spring 2010.

Sean Tubbs

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Charlottesville Tomorrow

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