Proposed Parkway to Parallel Rt. 29

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.

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