Crozet road improvements are often rumored but seem to take forever to materialize. While the trek from proposal to construction can be a long haul, slow but steady progress goes on behind the scenes, said Kevin McDermott, Albemarle County Principal Planner for Transportation. Here’s an update straight from the source on seven significant projects wending their way to nearby streets and intersections.
Route 240 (Starr Hill Sidewalk Project): Pedestrian improvements to include four lengths of sidewalk along the frontage of Starr Hill and Music Today as well as across the street, plus one new crosswalk and the improvement of an existing crosswalk. Design work is complete and construction should be done within the year. This is a $200,000 project funded through VDOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).
Crozet Square/Oak Street Improvements: Street-level and infrastructure improvements transforming the Square into a one-way street (turning in from Crozet Ave.) and adding paved diagonal parking spaces along both sides. The stoplight at Crozet Ave. will be removed, and curbs and paving will be added to Oak Street, the right-hand turn at the end of the square that will connect to Library Ave. This project was recommended by the Crozet Community Advisory Committee for the use of funds from the county’s Neighborhood Improvements Funding Initiative. The total cost of the project will be higher than Crozet’s allocated $200,000 (likely over $700,000), and the balance will be funded through a 50/50 combination of VDOT revenue-sharing funds and the county’s Capital Improvement Program for transportation projects. Design will just be getting underway this fall.
Barnes Lumber Redevelopment: Private developer Frank Stoner of Milestone Partners will team up with the county to build a connector road from the Square eastward to Hill Top Street (about 1/3 mile). “Because this connection is one of our high priority projects, the county decided to work with the developer on this one as long as he covers the locality’s 50 percent share,” said McDermott. The $4.5 million project only covers the road and infrastructure, and Stoner will seek separate funding for his Crozet Plaza plans. The design has been done by Milestone and funding through the VDOT revenue-sharing program has been approved, so construction should begin within the year.
Park Ridge Road Extension: Continuing from the planned Hill Top Street connector, this project extends from Hill Top southeast to Park Ridge Drive (about 1/2 mile). Paid for by Westlake Hills developer Riverbend Development, the rezoning of this area for increased housing density has been approved and the extension has already been graded for most of its length. This section of road ends at the intersection of Park Ridge Drive and leads to the largest and most complex project on this list, the north-south Eastern Avenue connector.
Eastern Avenue: A multi-part, multi-stage project that will run (someday) all the way from Route 240 to U.S. 250, this road combines privately and publicly-funded sections. The top-most piece runs from Rt. 240 over the railroad tracks and across an industrial site under a federal cleanup order for hazardous waste. “We’re not allowed to do anything with that land for quite a while,” said McDermott. The piece from the Park Ridge Drive intersection southwest to the existing Eastern Drive in the Westhall neighborhood is already underway by developers, which leaves the lower stretch to the county. “The section from Eastern Drive down to U.S. 250 is one of our highest priority projects,” said McDermott. The road would run across Lickinghole Creek and down through Cory Farms, and could be a $7 million project. “We have engineers working on the design, and we’d like to begin applying for funding via revenue sharing within the year, but I’d say this one is furthest in the future.”
U.S. 250 Pedestrian Improvements: Just east of the Harris Teeter entrance will be a new mid-block pedestrian crossing, along with four other crosswalks at entrances on either side of U.S. 250, as well as new sidewalks in front of Harris Teeter on the south side and extending all the way to Cory Farm Road on the north side. “This was funded quite a few years ago as a revenue sharing project, the design is done, and we are working on the right of way now,” said McDermott. “I expect it will be under construction next spring.”
U.S. 250/Route 240 Roundabout: At the tricky intersection under the railroad trestle and over the Mechums River, a $3.5 million roundabout will be constructed under VDOT’s HSIP, providing a remedy for one of the highest accident locations in the county. “The funding is there, and we’re looking for a contractor to do a design/build along with three other county roundabout projects to achieve some cost savings,” said McDermott. After a public hearing on the project in the late winter or early spring, further state reviews of the design, and the clearing of rights of way, he said, “it should be just a few more years until we go to construction.”