MPO considers UNJAM 2035 priorities

At their meeting on October 22, 2008, the Metropolitan Planning
Organization (MPO)  discussed the revisions being made to the

2035 plan

, heard updates from area transit agencies, and briefly talked
about the

Eastern Connector


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Click here for a link to the Draft UnJAM 2035 Fiscally Constrained Project List

The MPO’s two subcommittees have been

updating the list of projects

contained in UNJAM 2035, the update to the area’s fiscally-constrained long-range transportation plans. All metropolitan areas in the country are required to keep such a document to communicate transportation priorities to state and federal transportation agencies.

The current draft projects that the MPO could administer total up to $483 million in state and federal funding which would be needed between now and 2035. At the beginning of the MPO work session, the draft list showed $390 million in projects with $87 million left that could go to new projects. Projects that currently little chance of being funded are placed on a “vision list.”

Several projects have been removed from UNJAM because they are complete, including an $11.4 million project to widen Airport Road in the County to four lanes as well as the $3 million replacement of a bridge that carries Route 53 over Buck Island Creek.  The list has also been amended to reflect new cost estimates. For instance, two bridges that would need to be upgraded to allow for Dickerson Road to become paved would cost $7 million. Dickerson Road is one of the last remaining unpaved roads in the County’s development area.

Supervisor Dennis Rooker

MPO members discussed the suggested amendments and offered their own recommendations. Supervisor

Dennis Rooker

(Jack Jouett) suggested listing the proposed second ramp lane at Best Buy from Emmet Street (Route 29) to the Route 250 bypass as a separate project. That project had been listed in a category called “Route 29 Corridor Improvements.”

Supervisor Rooker also suggested removing “Northern Free State Road” from the constrained plan given that it will not be built before 2035, if at all. Additionally, he suggested moving the Southern Parkway to the vision list given that the new Fifth and Avon development will come with a new connector road. Chief Planner David Benish said that County fire and rescue officials are concerned about future response times in Southern Albemarle.

During a discussion of the vision list, Julia Monteith, Senior Land Use Planner for the University of Virginia, suggested removing the Maywood Connector, given that it “went down in flames several years ago.” The road would have provided a new way to get from the UVA Medical Center south to residential neighborhoods in Charlottesville.

Staff will now take feedback from MPO Board Members regarding what projects suggested by the MPO Tech and CHART committees will be placed on the UNJAM 2035 plan. The only projects that were automatically suggested by staff to be added to the constrained list are ones to rebuild several interchanges along I-64, as well as a replacement of the Dairy Road overpass on the Route 250 bypass. MPO members asked for more detailed cost estimates on the proposed project list before deciding what projects will be selected.

For a perspective on why this process is important, consider the Eastern Connector. That project was recommended as a project in UNJAM 2025, which led to both the County and City agreeing to fund a $500,000 corridor location study.  However, that project might be moved to the vision list in UNJAM 2035 because of the results of that study. No decision will be made until City Council hears the same report that was heard by the Board of Supervisors on October 1, 2008. Supervisor

David Slutzky

(Rio) said a better decision could be made on the future of the Eastern Connector after additional data has been made available.

In other news from the meeting:

Sean Tubbs