Western Bypass

Western Bypass

The Western Bypass just north of Charlottesville was a $200-500 million road project that even VDOT studies showed wouldn't relieve congestion on 29 North. All the same, proponents pushed hard to get the road built. In June 2011, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors voted to reverse the County's long-held opposition to the project.

Despite a determined push to get this road built, the proposal hit some major speed bumps. In the fall of 2012, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers questioned the effectiveness of the Western Bypass and the draft Environmental Assessment for the project - outlining the insufficiencies of that assessment, and the fact that VDOT has not adequately compared the Bypass to alternatives - such as the community's "Places29" plan. And then a major blow to the project was delivered in February 2014, when the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced serious reservations about the viability of the project

Our communities deserve well-planned, community-based transportation solutions -- not wasteful mega-projects. The good news is, now that the Western Bypass has been shelved, we can move forward with real solutions for Rt. 29.

Update

NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville -- VDOT Releases Property Acquired to Build Proposed Rt. 29 Western Bypass
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If you missed the public meeting on September 27th, please take a moment to send to VDOT your comments and concerns regarding the recently released draft Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Western Bypass. Read about the recent public meeting: 'Last Chance? Hundreds attend Western 29 Bypass forum'.

The EA reviews prior environmental studies and is supposed to cover impacts relationed to land use, noise, air, endangered species, water resources and other cumulative effects. Unfortunately, after a review of the Draft Environmental Assessment, the document clearly falls well short on several key issues and is missing important information. Specifically:

Nobody doubts the need to fix traffic problems on Route 29. But the proposed $250 million Western Bypass is not the answer—nor is it a done deal. View this video produced by The Southern Environmental Law Center to learn about more cost-effective alternatives that would provide greater benefits to the Charlottesville-Albemarle community. 

 

PEC's Charlottesville & Albemarle Field Officer, Jeff Werner, has been struggling for many years with how to explain the issues surrounding the proposed Rt. 29 Western Bypass. He decided to give drawing a shot.


The June 2011 Board of Supervisors meeting was dramatic, as hundreds of citizens came out to show their support for local sustainability initiatives that were under attack by vocal members of the Jefferson Area Tea Party. Citizens packed the auditorium, stood in the aisles, and overflowed to the balcony.

The following excerpts come from VDOT emails about the proposed Western Bypass north of Charlottesville. On July 20th, 2011, VDOT presented the public and the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) with a construction cost estimate of $118 million dollars (VDOT presentation, pg. 12). However, the following internal documents indicate that VDOT staff believe the cost of construction would be 2 to 3.5 times higher.


At their June meeting, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors voted 4-2 to reverse the County's long-held opposition to the Western Bypass--a $250-350 million project that VDOT studies have shown would not reduce traffic congestion on Rt. 29 North

From the Piedmont View

The following articles appeared in PEC's Membership Newsletter -- The Piedmont View

Western Bypass Shelved

Jun 17, 2014
Big things are happening, or rather not happening, with the costly Western Bypass of U.S. Route 29 just north of Charlottesville. We’re enthusi­astic to report that the ineffective project has come…

Update on the Western Bypass

Jun 28, 2013
Despite questions and bumps in the road, VDOT continues to push the Western Bypass. It’s been a year since Skanska-Branch was awarded the contract to build the Western Bypass. According to VDOT’s…

Transportation: Virginia Has A Choice To Make

Apr 08, 2013
We can use transportation dollars to invest in our cities, towns and neighborhoods—making them great places to live. To do so, we need to offer first-class transit options, improve local road…

Charlottesville Western Bypass: Not just a local issue

Sep 17, 2012
In June 2011, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors shocked constituents by holding an unpublicized, late-night vote to resurrect the Route 29 Western Bypass, northwest of Charlottesville. Since…

Speaking Up: Charlottesville Schoolchildren Rally against the Western Bypass

Jun 13, 2012
In debates concerning the health of our environment and communities, people often say we must think about our children -- we must think about their future. Yet, when it came to the proposed Western…

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Sketches with Jeff

 

Learn more about the (now-defunct) Western Bypass project and its alternatives in this series of illustrations put together by our staff.

Real Solutions to Rt. 29: Video

Nobody doubts the need to fix traffic problems on Rt. 29. But the proposed $250 million Western Bypass is not the answer. Learn more about cost-effective alternatives in this video.

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