Army Corps Wants to See Bypass Alternatives

The Army Corps of Engineers needs to be convinced that there aren’t better ideas than the Western Bypass, Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. The news organization learned about this by a FOIA request. The road will impact about three acres of wetland and seven thousand feet of stream frontage, and the Corps’ job is to make sure that this causes as little harm as possible, which means providing a permit only for the solution to the transportation problem at hand that has the least impact on those resources. Although some studies along these lines have been performed, they were done two decades ago, and are quite possibly no longer meaningful. The Corps wants to know why they decided not to use grade-separated interchanges, and what parts of the Places29 project are actually going to happen. VDOT’s rushed approval process provided no time to deal with concerns like these, requiring that they be handled as they’re raised, rather than anticipating them. It’s possible that VDOT will conduct another study, although it’s also possible that they’ll persuade the Corps that it’s not necessary.

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