Fuzzy Math, Shoddy Design

This text is from an email alert we sent out on May 14th, 2013:


The saga continues. In order to keep the Rt. 29 Western Bypass proposal within their budget, VDOT accepted a modified design to the southern terminus last year that is significantly different than the one presented in VDOT’s Environmental Assessment. And it is now becoming clear that there are some major flaws in this less costly design — flaws related to traffic flow and safety, and that actually increase the travel time on the Bypass.

VDOT will almost certainly have to change the design, which would add significantly to the cost of the project, already estimated at $245-million. It’s not clear how much more they will need, where the funds will come from, and how a new design would impact the community.

There will be an informational meeting about three alternative designs to the southern termin us and it’s important that we show up to get the facts straight. Public engagement at meetings like this is critical to stopping this project.

May 23: Attend the VDOT Open House Meeting

5:00pm – 7:30pm, Holiday Inn Charlottesville, 1901 Emmet Street
Verbal and written comments will be accepted at the meeting.
Here are some important questions to ask:

  • What will the revised interchange cost?
  • Why did VDOT award a contract when they knew there would be issues with the submitted design?
  • Where will the additional funds come from?
  • Will a new design result in increased traffic noise and higher, more visible ramps?
  • Why, with this Bypass, is VDOT pursuing such an expensive transportation project, when less expensive, more effective solutions are available?

If you cannot attend the meeting, written comments can be submitted by June 3rd to 29bypassinterchange@VDOT.Virginia.gov.

Cemetery Added to Endangered Sites List

Preservation Virginia, a statewide historic preservation group, just announced yesterday at a press conference that the Jesse Scott Sammons farmstead and family cemetery (within the path of the proposed Western Bypass) is on their 2013 list of endangered sites.

Jesse Scott Sammons — an influential African-American resident and descendant of Mary Hemings of Monticello is laid to rest there. VDOT curiously missed the grave site in their 1988 Archeological Survey. They were made aware of the cemetary in 1998, when VDOT acquired the parcel, yet only in January 2013 did they initiate an evaluation of its historic significance. And only recently have they engaged descendants of those buried a this site – who have expressed concerns with how the Bypass will affect the farmstead.

Please plan to attend this May 23rd meeting and ask VDOT what fixing this project will cost, how it will be funded, and what other local road projects will be sacrificed. If you haven’t already, I also encourage you to write a letter to Senators Warner and Kaine expressing your concerns — there have already been 166 submitted!

Let me know if you have any questions before the meeting date. I look forward to seeing you there.


Jeff Werner
Albemarle Land Use Officer
The Piedmont Environmental Council

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