Last month,

Charlottesville Tomorrow

unveiled our

Transportation Matrix

, a comprehensive listing of the area’s major road and transit projects.  However, one project you will

not

find on that list yet is

a long-term plan for the intersection of Hydraulic Road and US 29

. It has been studied in the past and always comes up when the

Albemarle Place

development is mentioned (concept drawing at left).  Albemarle Place is proposed to be a mix of retail, office and residential development surrounding the Sperry Marine site.


Charlottesville Tomorrow spoke recently to VDOT, the County of Albemarle and developer Frank Cox about the status of the Albemarle Place

preliminary site plan

.  Officially, the preliminary site plan is on indefinite deferral while Mr. Cox works on feedback provided by VDOT and the County.

Mr. Cox expects to resubmit a revised site plan within the next month.




In December, VDOT asked for a design of an upgraded interchange at US 29 and Hydraulic Road, including the provision of the right-of-way on neighboring property in the City and County.  The Albemarle Place site plan, according to VDOT, would only meet with their approval if VDOT and local government accept a plan for long-term improvements. In the short-term, Mr. Cox has proffered to design and build for Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville intermediate improvements to US 29 and Hydraulic Road to support Albemarle Place.


On the question of a long-term grade-separated interchange for US 29 and Hydraulic (i.e. Hydraulic road traffic would pass over US 29), Frank Cox says he has come to an agreement with VDOT and the County to fund the preliminary engineering for a design.  This interchange design would then become part of the “official map” and thus a clearly defined transportation project.

That, however, does not guarantee any funding or a specific timeline for construction.



An interchange plan would allow Mr. Cox to move ahead with development of Albemarle Place as the right-of-way line would be designated allowing him to finalize building locations.






[Photo simulation looking South along US 29 towards Hydraulic Rd.  Through traffic on US 29 at left is shown on ramp which would pass below a Hydraulic Rd overpass. Click image for enlarged view.]


The US 29-Hydraulic interchange is also under review as part of the Places29 Master Plan process and the US 29 North Corridor Study.  However, the interchange is not currently on the list of transportation projects identified as a priority by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).  A recent review of these priority projects by Leigh Middleditch’s

Transportation Funding Options Working Group

(appointed by MPO) put the total cost of unfunded local priority projects at over $100 million (one-third of that total is intended for transit and walk-bike projects). The MPO received only $4.2 million from the state for FY 2006 as part of the

Six-Year Improvement Program

.


Improvements at Hydraulic and US 29 would add to the funding gap.

As Albemarle Place is evaluated, these transportation issues will be increasingly important for the community to monitor.


Brian Wheeler



Note: Design concepts for this intersection are from the 29H250 Phase II study located on the



Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission



website.

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