An odd coalition of urban designer Gary Okerlund, Delegate Mitch Van Yahres, and former deputy city manager and Council candidate Bern Ewert has proposed the establishment of a new 16-mile road paralleling Rt. 29, in place of the $350M western bypass. As Kate Andrews reports in today’s Daily Progress, Ewert has come up with a way to link up parts of 606, Earlysville Road, and Hydraulic to create a contiguous two-lane path that avoids much of the sprawl of 29 North, taking traffic from south of UVa to north of Ruckersville.
New construction would be needed in a couple of places: a bridge over the bypass at the new North Grounds Connector, and a strip of asphalt between 641 and 33. They figure it would cost between $70M-$140, and could handle 20,000 cars each day. At this point, it’s nothing more than three people tossing around an idea, but the vastly reduced cost may make it a tempting alternative to the near-mythical western bypass.
I ran against Bern Ewert for the Democratic nomination for C’ville City Council back in 2002. I thought at the time that he’d make a much better city manager than a city councilor, but he had some pretty interesting ideas for our transportation infrastructure. This looks like another interesting idea from him.