Text from a November 2013 PEC email alert:
Western Bypass and the Albemarle Board Election
The Bypass alternatives have a lower overall cost and have already been vetted and approved in Places29 — the community supported plan to solve traffic issues within the Route 29 corridor. The Places29 plan was ignored two years ago when the Board of Supervisors resurrected the Bypass during a midnight vote. But with the newly elected Supervisors all expressing concern about or outright opposition to the Bypass, it is now time to implement a plan that would actually alleviate congestion on Route 29.
Thank them for running on a platform that prioritizes alternatives to the Bypass. Encourage them to take action to stop the project and replace it with the improvements developed in the Places29 plan.
Time to Shift Course, Pursue Alternatives
There are a number of reasons (in addition to the high price tag and destructive impact) that it makes sense to hold off on the Western Bypass and pursue alternatives instead:
- The Federal Highway Administration has yet to authorize the project, and the Army Corps of Engineers has indicated it will compare the bypass to less damaging alternatives before it can even consider whether to grant a necessary permit.
- The contract between VDOT and the design-builder allows the state to terminate the project at any time.
- VDOT has not acquired any of the necessary right-of-way for the portion of the route located north of the South Fork Rivanna River
- VDOT has not yet resolved how it will avoid or minimize impacts to the historic Sammons Farmstead
As circumstances change and actions become necessary, PEC and our partners will keep you informed with regular updates.
Even with this shift in local and state politics, altering the course of the Bypass project will take a concerted effort. It will require the diligence and determination of our elected officials, and that will require a continued push from the community.
In the interim, we urge everyone to send a note to the four newly elected county supervisors — thank them for taking a stand on the Bypass and urge them to stay the course in stopping the project and replacing it with the improvements developed in the Places29 plan.
Albemarle County Land Use Officer
The Piedmont Environmental Council