Engineering consultant Kimley Horn recently submitted an Alternative Alignment Development Summary to Albemarle County, presenting its recommendation on the best path for the highly anticipated Eastern Avenue extension and bridge over Lickinghole Creek. The firm considered three alternative routes to connect the southern end of the existing Eastern Avenue in Westhall down to Rt. 250, considering constraints such as wetland impacts, required tree clearing, property impacts, and construction cost.
Two of the three potential routes (called “alignments”) extended from Cory Farm Road and stretched directly north over the creek, while the third route extended from Radford Lane (in the center of the shopping area across from Harris Teeter), then curved west and then north to meet Eastern Ave. The study assumed that any potential road would match the existing section of Eastern Avenue with approximately 61 feet of right-of-way, which includes two travel lanes and two bike lanes, with standard curb and gutter and five feet of sidewalk on each side. The road will be an “Urban Collector” type with a 30 mph design speed.
All of the alternative alignments were about 3,000 feet long, impacting multiple property owners along the way, and each would have varying sizes of footprint in the existing floodplain and impacts to stream buffers. The number of bridge piers required for each option would depend on its route and angle of approach over the creek. For instance, though Alignment A is the shortest path overall, it approaches the creek at an S-curve, requiring a longer (and more expensive) bridge.
Kimley Horn recommended Alignment B (map above) because it would require the shortest bridge length (280 feet) and a lower right-of-way cost, resulting in the lowest total construction cost of the three options, estimated at $21-25 million. Alignment B was between the other two options in terms of required acreage for tree clearing (7.35 acres), and it has the highest footprint in existing floodplains (0.83 acre) but the lowest impact to steep slopes (28,553 sf).
Supervisor Ann Mallek said that the alignment study and associated cost estimate is an important step toward persuading VDOT to share the cost of the much-needed Crozet project. “The county invested local dollars to move the project forward, which shows a commitment to continue and apply for revenue sharing in April,” said Mallek. “The established costs [in this study] were important, as previously VDOT had doubled the cost estimate from their view. Now the county application has backup for its cost estimates. I have found that getting local dollars invested is a good sign of continuing to invest. I am watching the process carefully.”