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City Council to consider backing road project applications

Charlottesville City Council will consider backing applications for state funding on three transportation projects this week.

The council will hold a public hearing and vote on a resolution to support the applications by the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization at its meeting Monday.

The MPO is seeking funding under the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Smart Scale program, the state’s primary method for funding large-scale transportation projects. The program scores applications based on a variety of factors, including safety and cost. All applications ultimately must include a resolution of support from the submitting entities’ governing body.

The first application is for a $29.7 million extension of Hillsdale Drive south to connect it to the U.S. 250 Bypass westbound.

The road currently ends at Hydraulic Road, near the Kroger that faces U.S. 29. Drivers heading west on the bypass would be able to exit onto Hillsdale.

The second project, estimated to cost $24.6 million, would make improvements to the busy intersection of Hydraulic Road and U.S. 29.

The proposal would eliminate the left turn lanes from Hydraulic onto U.S. 29. It includes a roundabout at Hydraulic and Hillsdale Drive and a redesigned intersection at U.S. 29 and Angus Road.

Pedestrian accessibility would be improved throughout the intersection, including a bridge across U.S. 29 near Zan Road. Transit pull-off areas would be installed on both sides of 29.

The final application is $3.7 million for pedestrian access at 5th St. Station. The project improves bicycle and pedestrian access to destinations at the shopping center and along Fifth Street Southwest. It calls for an 8-foot-wide shared-use path, widening of a bridge over Moores Creek and a shared-use path leading to the 5th St. Station parking lot.

The three proposals are not the only city projects for which state funding is being sought.

Last month, the council narrowly backed three separate applications for Smart Scale funding. Those proposals were for the third phase of the West Main Streetscape project, improvements at the intersection of Preston and Grady avenues, the second phase of streetscape improvements along Emmet Street and multimodal transportation improvements on Ridge Street between Cherry Avenue and West Main Street.

Relief funds

Also Monday, the council is expected to give final approval to several items receiving federal coronavirus relief funds.

Most of the money, $246,699, comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program.

The city plans to provide $98,679 to the Community Investment Collaborative. According to a staff report, the money will be used for 24 grants that provide technical support to help businesses cover expenses and adapt to the changing economic environment caused by the pandemic.

The Thomas Jefferson Health District is slated to receive $49,661 for outreach, testing and linking to care related to the virus.

The Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless would receive $49,017 to provide rental and utility assistance to 25 households making less than 30% of the area median income.

The final $49,339 would be used to cover administration and planning related to the selected projects.

The other funding item is $64,229 for the registrar’s office to cover extra costs associated with printing and mailing ballots for the November election.

Belmont Bridge

On its consent agenda, the council is expected to give its final blessing to a $15.3 million allocation for the Belmont Bridge project.

The bridge, which was built in 1961, spans the Buckingham Branch Railroad line and carries about 14,000 vehicle trips a day, according to Virginia Department of Transportation estimates.

The city decided to replace the bridge in 2003 in a project estimated to cost $31 million.

Overall, the city will spend $13 million on the bridge. The project will be supported by $14.8 million in state funding and $3.2 million in federal money.

The $15.3 million under consideration on Monday is composed of $12.1 million in state funding and $3.2 million in federal money.

The Board of Architectural Review will receive an update on the project during its meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Water line easement

The council also will hold a public hearing on water line easements for the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir.

The line would run from the South Rivanna Reservoir to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir. It would replace the existing Sugar Hollow Pipeline and increase raw water transfers. Construction is expected to occur between 2027 and 2040 at an estimated cost of $80 million.

In June, the authority said that the city and Albemarle County’s urban areas likely will need to boost their water supply capacity before 2060.

The line is part of the area’s long-term water supply plan and would raise the water level at Ragged Mountain by 12 feet.

Land sale

The council also will hold a public hearing about selling a small, unused portion of Northeast Park.

Daniel and Veronica Katz, who own 912 Marshall St., adjacent to the park, have offered $750 to purchase a 0.13-acre portion of the parkland next to their backyard.

The area, which includes a small creek, is not used for public recreation. A staff report says there’s “not an apparent way to activate this area for public park or trail use in the future.”

The report says the Katzes plan to keep the property undeveloped, conduct new plantings and take better care of the area.

Monday will be a first reading of the sale, which must come before the council twice to be approved.

Absentee voting

As the pandemic is expected to continue into the fall, the council will consider relocating the absentee voter precinct to allow better social distancing measures.

In-person absentee voting typically occurs at City Hall, but the registrar’s office has requested to move it to CitySpace for the November general election.

The ordinance, which is on the consent agenda, would be temporary and expire on Nov. 10. Usually, the ordinance requires two readings, but officials have requested that the second hearing be waived.

The council also is expected to give final approval to $95,000 of pass-through state funding for the school division to pay for a Safe Routes to School coordinator.

The City Council meets virtually at 6:30 p.m. Monday. To register to participate, visit The meeting will be streamed on the city’s website, social media and Comcast Channel 10.


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