The Free Enterprise Forum has just released an exceptional study they commissioned by Draper Aden Associates.
Neil Williamson, the director of the FEF, said
â€œWhat our report shows is that an at grade intersection that’s actually a roundabout would handle the traffic for at least the near term while the federal project moves forward through it’s approval processâ€.
â€œThe Reasonableness report clearly indicates the state funded Meadowcreek Parkway project can be constructed with an at-grade interchange and serve the community.Â The new independent federal project could then be built on top of the at grade intersection, thereby minimizing traffic impacts to the community during constructionâ€.
If funding gets yanked due to Katrina and now Rita expenses, which seems more of a possibility every day, this study proves that there is a very viable alternative to the grade-separated interchange that could be built in conjunction with the Parkway itself.
â€œWhile I agree with the premise of the report, it will be far better, now that we’ve found the money, to do a timely location and design study and ensure both components of the intersection are built at the same timeâ€ …
Just what we need, another study phase. Call me a fool, but hasn’t this road been studied for 40 years? By the time any new studies are completed, they may be on their way to obsolescence as the numbers and environment (as well as the political environment) may have changed. In short, the addition of federal funds to the mix may present us the opportunity to build the interchange. However, this study shows that we can (and need to) get started now.
Things that could trip the Parkway’s construction up –
1) Lawsuit requiring the localities to tie the interchange and and the parkway as one large project rather than two separate, independent entities (which it is). I wrote about this (thanks to C-Ville) last week.
2) The federal funds get removed.
3) More political mastication, studies, etc.
The full text of the FEF’s press release is below. The full report can be found at their site (PDF) or below. If you have the time and inclination, I recommend a full read of this report.
Meadowcreek Parkway Project can move forward prior to Interchange Project
Roundabout design could handle traffic until interchange constructed according to study
Charlottesville, VA â€“ A new report indicates the construction of an at-grade â€œroundaboutâ€ will allow the intersection of the Meadowcreek Parkway, U.S. 250 and McIntire Road to operate safely and efficiently until a second project, the recently approved federally funded grade-separated interchange can be constructed.
A new independent â€œReview of Reasonablenessâ€ report, conducted by Draper Aden Associates for the Free Enterprise Forum, examined traffic projections, analyses and intersection designs and concluded that an at-grade roundabout would â€œallow Meadowcreek Parkway to operate safely and efficiently in the near term.â€Â The report also found importantly that the second project â€œwith its own design utility can be built upon, rather than replace an at grade plan.â€Â
The â€œReasonablenessâ€ report identified that the state funded parkway project can function by itself.Â When approved and constructed, the separate, federally funded, interchange project will be a welcome addition to a road that has been on the books for over 37 years.
The report also concludes that the at-grade intersection concepts can be developed within the parkway project’s existing right-of-way.
Free Enterprise Forum Executive Director Neil Williamson said, â€œOur goal in developing this report was to have a professional, objective, independent review of the issue.Â Senator John Warner showed great leadership and a commitment to the community in securing the federal dollars necessary for the separate and distinct federal U.S. 250/McIntire/Meadowcreek grade-separated interchange project.Â The Free Enterprise Forum applauds the Senator’s efforts on this issue.â€Â Mr. Williamson added, â€œThe Reasonableness report clearly indicates the state funded Meadowcreek Parkway project can be constructed with an at-grade interchange and serve the community.Â The new independent federal project could then be built on top of the at grade intersection, thereby minimizing traffic impacts to the community during constructionâ€.
Draper Aden Associates is a 200-person consulting engineering firm with offices located in Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Hampton Roads, and Richmond, Virginia. Draper Aden is recognized as a leader among engineering consulting firms across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States. The Free Enterprise Forum is a privately funded, public policy think tank.Â The entire report can be accessed at www.freeenterpriseforum.org (PDF)