By Sean Tubbs

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another milestone in the planning of the

Meadowcreek Parkway

has been reached. On Tuesday, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)

opened the bidding process

for

McIntire Road Extended

, the name for the City’s portion of the parkway.

“We decided to go ahead and advertise now so we can take advantage of the full construction season,” said VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter in an interview. He added that VDOT hopes it will receive bids considerably lower than the $5.575 million estimate for the construction of the road.

When built, the road will carry traffic for a third of a mile from the Route 250 bypass to the Albemarle County border at Melbourne Road. The county’s 1.3 mile section of the road is already under construction.

The project was advertised even though the Army Corps of Engineers has not yet finished its analysis of how the road’s impacts to McIntire Park, other historic resources, and the watershed will be mitigated. Hatter said VDOT will not award a bid until that “Section 106 process” is completed.  A spokesman for the Corps could not be reached for comment.


Peter Kleeman

, a former City Council candidate and long-time parkway opponent said he thinks VDOT’s action is premature.

“The whole notion of the Section 106 process is to inform the design by taking into account how historic resources are impacted,” Kleeman said. “In short, it’s not a very historic-resource sensitive action.”

Bids on the project will be taken through January 27, 2010. A contract will be awarded to the lowest qualified bidder. Construction is expected to be completed by December 2011, around the same time that Albemarle’s portion is completed.

The project’s intersection with the Route 250 bypass is a separate project being administered by the City of Charlottesville. On Monday, Council approved a design for that

grade-separated interchange

.