I’ve lived here two years, and I have yet to get a straight answer from anyone I ask on why the Western bypass has not been built. I understand there was an Eastern bypass discussed as well and that it died first. To see the long, long lines of traffic, particularly trucks, snaking up 29N waiting to get onto 250W, it puzzles the heck out of me why the bypass hasn’t become a reality. The air pollution and the noise alone should be reason enough to get it done.
After reading your blog today, a lightbulb went on. I’ll bet you will be the one to fill me in on this issue(?)
As I said in my email response, there’s no easy answer other than “because.” Politics, lack of political will, lack of money (even though VDOT already owns the land) …. pushback from locals because they are being pressured by the rest of the state and nobody tells us what to do! are among some of the “answers.” As with all transportation projects in the region not done by UVA (that is, under budget and ahead of schedule) there is a long and varied history.
A roundup –
The Western Bypass, a road that would run from Route 29 just south of Hollymead to UVA’s North Grounds connector, has long been a dream of those who want a way to cut around the stoplights and traffic crunch that is 29N. Its advocates are a coalition of 29N businesses and truckdrivers from Southside. Local 29N businesses want to unclog what they see as the Main Street of Albemarle County, so that shoppers won’t be reluctant to visit their stores. Folks from Southside don’t want to get stuck in traffic on their way to D.C. They bypass came close enough to a reality that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) bought 250 acres of right-of-way. But a lawsuit ensued, and local government support completely eroded. For years, the project has languished with no funding.
The No. 1 transportation priority of the business communities in Danville and Lynchburg is a 5.5-mile bypass around Charlottesville’s heavily traveled stretch of U.S. 29.
â€œWe’re waiting patiently for your community to become a part of the solution,â€ said Rex Hammond, president and CEO of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Laurie S. Moran, president of the Danville/Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, agreed. The traffic congestion on U.S. 29 in Albemarle County is hindering economic growth in her community, she said.
â€œFor us, 29 is critical,â€ she said. â€œFor our businesses, it really is the lifeblood for keeping the northern markets open.â€
Cvillenews – (lots of great discussions here)
VDOT Favors the Western Bypass (according to the PEC – pdf)