Dominion Virginia Power has begun a project to remove its overhead power lines and poles from Crozet Avenue through downtown and to supply electricity to buildings there through buried lines.
CenturyLink will do the same with its telephone and fiber optic cables, but has not begun yet, said Albemarle County transportation engineer Jack Kelsey.
The Virginia Department of Transportation had said it would not allow construction drawings for the $1.5 million Crozet Avenue “streetscape” project to go out for bid by contractors until the utility companies had actually completed their tasks, but VDOT is now reviewing drawings and specifications and will allow bids to be sought once the plans have been approved. Kelsey said he expects the bid request to go out in May.
The project will improve Crozet Avenue from the railroad trestle at The Square to Tabor Street and add turn lanes for Library Avenue, storm water drains, landscaped medians, wide new brick sidewalks, lighting and shade trees along the street.
Kelsey said county officials have discovered that two more easements than were formerly identified on the east side of the street are necessary. Easements necessary for the connection to the new Crozet United Methodist Church parking lot, slated for construction over the summer, are in hand now, Kelsey said. The parking lots for the church and for the Blue Goose Building will connect by a short street to Crozet Avenue opposite Library Avenue, creating a four-way intersection there.
The project, which has been plagued with delays and complications in securing 27 needed easements, was first expected to be built in 2008. Funding for it has been in the bank meanwhile.
“The big hurdles are taken care of,” Kelsey said.
Construction should begin this summer and is expected to require eight months.