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June 30, 2008

New funding gap opens for Meadowcreek Parkway

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The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has increased the cost estimate for Albemarle County’s portion of the Meadowcreek Parkway by $5 million to $30.6 million. A recent staff report from the County says the rise is due to higher fuel and construction costs, as well as additional VDOT requirements that the County take special efforts to maintain traffic on Rio Road during construction. 

The County has been saving up its Secondary Road funds allocation from VDOT for several years to pay for the long-planned road, which VDOT estimated in 2000 would cost just over $10 million. The cost estimate has increased over 200% since then, during a time when the County’s allocation for Secondary Road allocation has been shrinking. In FY2001, the County received just under $5 million. In FY2009, the County will receive $3,564,325 from VDOT for Secondary Roads.

The County is also saving up secondary road funds for two other road projects targeted for safety improvements, bike lanes, and sidewalks–Jarmans Gap Road and Georgetown Road. Those projects have been repeatedly delayed due to a lack of funds.  Jarmans Gap Road in Crozet is now estimated to cost $14,964,792, a $300,000 increase since the Board adopted its Secondary Road Six Year Plan in March. There is no cost estimate for Georgetown Road on VDOT’s website, but County Transportation Planner Juandiego Wade told Charlottesville Tomorrow the project is estimated at just over $3 million.

Allan Sumpter, the Director of VDOT’s Charlottesville Residency, told Supervisors in March that the County had a balance of over $28.7 million to apply to the Meadowcreek Parkway. That figure includes $1 million in VDOT revenue sharing funds that the County applied for and received last year. That leaves a $1.89 million shortfall. 

Now, VDOT is recommending applying for the revenue sharing funds again this year to fill in the funding gap. The Board will consider the measure as part of its consent agenda on Wednesday. The County is not guaranteed to receive the funding.  Beginning next year, the state will give the highest priority for revenue sharing to jurisdictions that take construction responsibility over from VDOT, something the County is considering for Jarmans Gap and Georgetown Road.

Albemarle’s portion of the Meadowcreek Parkway is scheduled to be advertised for construction in October 2008. Meanwhile, utility relocation and right of way acquisition will continue throughout the summer.  The grade separated interchange to be built where the Parkway meets the 250 Bypass is expected to be advertised in Spring 2009. 

Sean Tubbs

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