By Sean Tubbs
Friday, April 8, 2011
Despite dramatic reductions in state transportation funding, the
Albemarle Board of Supervisors
discussed the county’s primary and secondary road priorities Wednesday.
“It may just be a wish list, but we need to keep these projects in the public eye and we need for the Commonwealth Transportation Board and members of the legislature to know you’re serious about them,” said Virginia Department of Transportation planner Karen Kilby.
Broomley Road railroad bridge
near Ivy Nursery
Now that the projects to improve
Jarmans Gap Road
in Albemarle are nearing construction, the $4.5 million replacement of the
in Ivy will be Albemarle County’s next major road construction project.
Supervisors voted to apply for $1.5 million in revenue-sharing funds from VDOT to help pay for a new bridge.
A passing train damaged the existing bridge in 2007, and the 8-ton weight limit is not enough to allow fire trucks to reach 140 homes across the tracks.
The county has currently saved up about $1.7 million for the project, according to county planner David Benish. Without revenue sharing, the project would not likely be built until 2017.
If awarded the funding, the county will need to match $1.5 million in funds.
Kilby said her agency’s goal is to provide funding for projects that are far along in the development process.
“They want something that can move quickly,” Kilby said. She said VDOT would be unlikely to support expensive projects such as the widening of U.S. 29 that will take several years for enough primary road funding to accumulate. She added the county would receive no primary funds next fiscal year, except for projects on Interstate 64.
Six years ago, the county received about $5.5 million in secondary road funds. That number has shrunk to $345,568 for secondary road improvements for each of the next six years. Staff recommended concentrating on one project at a time, but needed direction.
“Tell us [your] priorities and we’ll put all the money we can towards getting the next project done rather than spreading it among several projects and extending them for several years,” said Wayne Cilimberg, the county’s director of planning.
After the Broomley Bridge, the next two priorities for the county are Profitt Road improvements as well as a project to enhance Sunset Avenue with sidewalks and bike lakes. Benish said there has been no estimate for either project in several years.
The county’s most recent transportation projects are all fully funded. Work continues on the county’s portion of the Meadowcreek Parkway, and construction is set to start this year in improvements to Georgetown Road in the urban ring and Jarman’s Gap Road in Crozet.
During the board’s public comment period, several members of the public appealed for paving projects to be funded.
Nancy Dresner of Brock’s Mill Road in northern Albemarle said VDOT told her in July 2008 that a project to pave her road had received funding. However, the Board of Supervisors never approved the project, which has a cost estimate of $250,000.
“Now we just have to get the paperwork finalized,” Dresner said.
Previous boards had opted to stop paving gravel roads out of a concern that doing so would encourage more traffic. However, the county accumulated around $250,000 in paving funds over the past several years. On Wednesday, the board gave to go ahead to pave Brock’s Mill Road.
“This is something we’ve kicked down the road for a bunch of years and I think we’ve made some commitments to the people out there and we never got around to getting it done,” said Supervisor Ken Boyd.
Staff will now prepare a draft priority list for the board’s input. A public hearing on the matter will be held on May 11.