Hillsdale Connector Coming in a Decade

The Hillsdale Connector won’t be happening until at least 2014, Seth Rosen writes in today’s Daily Progress. The mile-long street, planned to parallel 29 for the benefit of local traffic, will run $30.5M. The slow-motion car crash that is the state’s transportation funding process makes any proposed road purely hypothetical. And how much will VDOT be providing in 2014? A whopping $332,000. Short of a radical rethinking of how we fund transportation in Virginia, it’ll be at least a decade before the Hillsdale Connector is built.

32 thoughts on “Hillsdale Connector Coming in a Decade”

  1. A large portion of the project’s cost will be for right of way acquisition. Butch Davies, the area’s representative on the Commonwealth Transportation Board, spoke earlier this month to area and university officials. He said VDOT was hopeful to have land along the route donated to trim the cost. Listen to the recording at Charlottesville Tomorrow.

    Another project of local interest tied to the Hillsdale Connector is the new Whole Foods. The developer of that project will be paying for the design of Hillsdale’s southern terminus onto Hydraulic Road, something that should be before the City Planning Commission any month now. (it’s been deferred a lot)

    Also, people should be careful not confuse this project with another delayed project on the existing portion of Hillsdale. A traffic-calming and safety improvement plan has been split into two phases (and further delayed) because of issues securing right of way.

  2. No big loss. I don’t see any reason why it’s needed in the first place. I can leave K-Mart and be to Walmart and Sam’s Club in just a few minutes. I need a $30 million dollar connector to get there 30 seconds faster? I don’t think so. What a waste of money!

  3. I’ll say it again, almost the entire route is already paved, all but about 100 feet actually. The thing is, the road connecting Seminole Square to Greenbriar Rd. belongs to Pepsi. Just sayin’.

  4. Good! I hope Suzanne Jessup and her brother get about $10 million for the little section needed to complete it!

  5. Well, maybe if Sanger’s eugenics programs are put in place there will be no need for it.

  6. And if we train monkeys to fly us around on our own personal simian-powered helicopters we won’t need it, either.

    You know, as long as we’re making asinine suggestions.

  7. Anybody think this is payback for Charlottesville/Albemarle refusal to build the Western Bypass and the Meadowcreek mess? The rest of the state (mostly those to the north and south) hate us for refusing to build the bypass.

    If we act like we are too good for the state/feds money perhaps they will believe us.

  8. Waldo, didn’t you mean simian piloted helicopters because if you’re going to power them by simians this will upset PETA to no end (and with your SPCA connections seems unlikely). Unless of course this helicopter is going to be powered what simians sling; of course that wouldn’t really require training at all.

    Or is this all some clever gorilla marketing by the new “speed racer” movie which would mean that Waldo would have sold out.

    Or it’s a brilliant anti-godwin-ing gambit.

  9. The rest of the state (mostly those to the north and south) hate us for refusing to build the bypass? My God, I am going to lose sleep over this tonight! I hope if they get too upset they will gather up their northern friends and family and take ’em back up North with ’em! HAHAHA!!!

  10. I’m sure you wouldn’t mind piddling along on 250 E/W then, because I-64 was supposed to go more logically through Lynchburg. The concerns of Lburg and Danville are real. Economic growth more than 30 miles from an interstate corridor tends to be nil or negative. Drive down U.S. 460 sometime. You could have a BBQ picnic across all 4 lanes and probably not get hit until Sunday.

    Ironically, economic growth is mostly in “blue” states now and blue areas of other states. Lynchburg gets Falwell and no road. If the word “growth” irks you… well I didn’t say “economically healthy”, did I? U.S. 460 may turn out to be a nature preserve, which might be long-term more sustainable than pavement.

    My point is, if you don’t want the bypass, don’t knock the cities that feel they need it. My hope is for US. 15 as an alternative.

  11. Given where humanity finds itself in the year 2008, we need more roads on the planet just about as much as we need more cars and more people, which is to say not at all.

    If we don’t quickly start figuring out what to do in lieu of more roads, we’re screwed.

  12. What do you say we bring back hitch hiking but with technological improvements like gps, social networking/ratings and trusted provider stats.

  13. colfer, what the hell are you talking about with 460? i have been driving down portions of that road for several years now on an almost daily basis. it is filled with traffic, which just like here starts about 4:30 to 5 a.m. and goes non-stop all day long. that is true all the way from lynchburg to the west virginia border.

    it has been several years since i have been east of lynchburg on 460, but i drove that stretch regularly 20 years ago, and it wasn’t empty at all back then. and by the way, even a piddling little road like 460 has done more than its fair share of damage by causing wall mart/ home depot sprawl to run rampant. thank god we never got the 29 bypass. this area is much more beautiful that it would be by now if that had happened as planned.

  14. I do believe you’re both right. Parts of 460 are enormously busy, such as the stretch near Christiansburg — I drove that regularly when I lived in the NRV, and it was often packed. But other parts of 460 can be mighty slow, such as down through Waverly, Wakefield, Ivor and Zuni.

  15. And 460 between Farmville and Petersburg is empty like crickets. The one end near an interstate has a big distribution center, and Farmville would be emptier but for the Blue Statishness of having two colleges.

    I can’t think of any congested areas on state highways that are away from the interstates, except in coal country, where those little highways are muessed upp mahn.

    How about the 4-lane in Orange County? That used to be pretty empty.

    Point is, don’t be a snoot when Lburg and Danville cry about 29. Argue the facts not arrogance of place of pride in Cville. They are fighting for their economy, as they see it, Red Statist though it may be.

  16. Frankly, I can not see a direct connection between a two-mile highway stretch in Charlottesville and the economic viability of Lynchburg and Danvile. Is there some kind of VDOT study that supports this conclusion or is it just the opinion of some merchants in those cities?
    When did those cities start having economic woes, when they built bypasses around their business sections?

  17. There are those locally who staunchly believe the city’s retail economy started on the decline when the 250 Bypass of Main Street was built and pointed the cars to 29N and Barracks Road Shopping Center. It sounds like a potentially interesting investigation by a grad student sometime in the future.

  18. Falwell has passed now and Lynchburg has four 4 year schools with grad programs; can I say that we are now Bluestatish… like Farmville? If you think that the economies of Lynchburg and Danville are similar, you are mistaken. Thankfully, Lynchburg has never lost its economic vitality despite having no nearby interstate.
    Cville Eye- The pursuit of upgraded highways is considered a viable economic development tool across the country and to think that economic development is only needed in areas like Danville is erroneous. If there is no need for future econic dev’t in Cville, why waste tax dollars on an economic dev’t office?

  19. “Cville Eye- The pursuit of upgraded highways is considered a viable economic development tool across the country…” is a conclusion with unsupported evidence and does not answer any of my questions. Is the implication here that upgrading any highway that is connected to any city going to affect economic development?
    “…why waste tax dollars on an economic dev’t office?” Obviously, because we can. Our economic development office can take no credit in the last five years for any economic development. It’s purpose is to answer questions from council and the publi. That’s why Main Street, Cherry Avenue and Preston Avenue are still considered “underutilized.”
    I must ask some tough questions because they are rarely answered.

  20. Since I am not going to sit down and find the studies that drew such conclusions about development of highway corridors, I guess we should just assume that the pursuit of the Coalfields Expressway, and the completion of such projects as I-99 in PA and I-68 in MD have no current or projected impact on economic growth along these corridors. If I-64 ran through Lynchburg, Charlottesville leaders would be joining in the chorus for an improved Rt. 29.
    If you think that I’m pulling this out of my hat, check this out.


    Most of the areas in these studies rely on corporate investment for economic growth. Lucky for Cville, federal and state money is providing a stable economy; if the region depended on industry for job growth, things would look a good bit different.

  21. tomr,

    You state that “the pursuit of upgraded highways is considered a viable economic development tool across the country and to think that economic development is only needed in areas like Danville is erroneous. If there is no need for future econic dev’t in Cville, why waste tax dollars on an economic dev’t office?”

    While it may be a viable tool….it’s also a tool that will drive more of what’s killing us. Cigarettes are a viable economic tool as well.

    Your logic becomes more flawed when you suggest that we toss out the whole tool shed (economic development office) simply because we don’t want to use the one tool that we know will kill us.

  22. tomr, from a link on the site you provided: http://www.dot.gov/freight/guide061018/sect01.htm#sec_12
    “Large-scale freight projects are capital improvement projects that focus largely on improving the flow and capacity of moving goods, and typically cost between $100 million and several billion dollars. They may involve rail, roadway, air, or marine modes of travel. They can be right-of-way (or corridor) projects, such as new or expanded railroad lines, truck roadway routes, tunnels, or overpasses. They can also be terminal projects, such as expansion of airport freight facilities, marine port facilities, rail terminals, or intermodal truck/rail terminals.

    Nearly all large-scale freight projects are multimodal or intermodal projects such that they impact the movement of goods on more than one mode. All air freight and marine freight movements, for example, also involve interchanges to ground transportation (truck or rail) for pickup from shippers and delivery to recipients. In addition, a large share of rail freight movement also involves prior and/or subsequent movement by another mode of transportation, generally truck.”
    That study dealt more with the design of a multi-modal regional network. I saw no indication where it was dealing with analyzing the effect of introducing a two-mile stretch of highway that is merely replicating the functioning of what is already there. I heard that they are improving rail service from D.C. to Culpeper. Maybe, those cities should look more towards improved freight rail service and use those millions there. The way things are going now, the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle are contributing more and more tax dollars to local transportation improvements. Maybe those cities would like to contribute to the pot, if they feel that road would be of value to them. That state is saying it barely has enough money to maintain the existing highway system.

  23. You give me too much credit, Cynic. It wasn’t my imagination that created such studies. I would say that comparing highway development to cigarettes is a stretch. Yes, too much of anything is bad, but I don’t think that Cvillians are getting choked by too much road building.

  24. I’m not saying you created the studies, but the studies didn’t suggest that we toss out the economic development office because one of the “tools” is a bad tool….as though more roads are the only viable route to economic development. You suggested this.

    It’s not a question of “Cvillians be choked by too much road building,” though I do think this is the case. It’s a question of how does humanity go about limiting development to the greatest extent possible. Building roads for the sake of building roads is certainly not a way to limit development (and I’m not talking about economic development) ….I’m talking about developing land that will forever and always be a “road” and never again anything else. I’m talking about something that is really as simple as Dr. Seuss…….when will the road building and development end? When it’s too late?

  25. 1. No one suggested tossing out the econ. dev’t office; its presence simply shows that Cville does seek job growth, just as other cities along the 29 corridor do.
    2. I never suggested that roads were the only viable development tool.
    3. I posted the studies link because another poster said that he had never seen a study that suggested a positive impact on a locality’s economy by road development.
    4. If there is anything that chokes drivers in Cville, it would be the exhaust from all the idling cars sitting in traffic on roads that have been poorly planned and have been overburdened by crappy land use planning.
    5. You are most certainly in the minority if you really want to limit development- look around you and see what’s happening! Hence the push for Hillsdale and the Meadowcreek Pkwy.

  26. tomr,

    The numbering is most impressive ……………but…

    1. you said, as written above “If there is no need for future econic dev’t in Cville, why waste tax dollars on an economic dev’t office?” You were clearly throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    2. though I may be in the minority in terms of how strongly I feel about this, there is clearly a large group of individuals who don’t wish to see Albemarle turn into Loudoun County. I get a sense that you are invested heavily in development. That’s life, I suppose. Someone must be; I’m glad it’s not me.

    3. Hence you will never for a moment understand what I am saying.

  27. Cville Eye,
    I agree with your comments in regards to freight. Actually the DC to Culpeper improvements are supposed to extend through Cville and Lburg. With the drastic rise in the cost of oil, proposals to shift traffic to rails will hopefully make more sense to the powers that be in all localities. Unless an entire region buys into such a shift, there will always be a tug of war regarding the placement and use of major highways such as US 29.
    It would be great to see those highway dollars shifted to rail transloading facilities in cities that have heavy industry and improvements that would allow efficient intra-city passenger service. Add to those some improvements in local mass transit and we would see less bickering about 29.

  28. Cynic,
    My numbering is about as impressive as your reading comprehension! I most certainly am an advocate for the dev’t office. I am not involved in development; I am usually a quiet reader, but I post when I see information that seems to be one-sided.

    Suggesting that you are in the minority does not mean that I don’t appreciate your views. I am a big fan of rail alternatives and hope that the entire Mid-Atlantic region begins pursuing this option. That being said, what works in one city won’t necessarily work in another and trying to remove Cville from the chorus of cities along the 29 corridor is working about as well as if city leaders chose to change the electric voltage standard. Until the entire region is on the same page, the mass-transit – no highways – high-speed rail – walk and bike-able (me) city advocates will be in the minority.

  29. It’s a shame that so much of the rail infrastructure has to be rebuilt. Time will tell.

  30. It would be interesting if the government would only spend on maintenance and put all money earmarked for new roads into a revamped nationwide rail system. I know that I seem to represent a “pro-highway” point of view, but in my book, rails will always trump roads!

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