|Next meeting||Board of Supervisors - July 13, 2011|
In June 2011 the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors changed its policy position to support the Western Bypass. The board was previously opposed to the bypass until other road projects were completed (see Three Party Agreement). As of June 2011, the Western Bypass is scheduled for public hearings before the Metropolitan Planning Organization in July 2011. Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton has promised to find funding for the bypass, and the widening of U.S. Route 29 between Polo Grounds Road and Hollymead Town Center, if local opposition to the project is eliminated by the MPO.
The current official position of VDOT is that some land for right of way has been acquired, but construction is not planned by the Commonwealth Transportation Board and no funding is provided for construction. The project remains on the VDOT 2025 State Highway Plan as an unprioritized "recommended new roadway". Funding is requested for planning and purchase of Right of Way, but not construction per the FY2009 Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).
|VDOT Dashboard||VDOT Dashboard Entry|
|Contact||Lou Hatter, Public Affairs Manager, Culpeper District, VDOT|
The Western Bypass is a long-proposed 6.2-mile road to provide a limited access bypass of the commercial area on Route 29. The stated purpose of the project is to provide a bypass for Route 29 through traffic around the Charlottesville metropolitan area. The bypass also provides a direct connection from U.S. 29 north to the North Grounds of the University of Virginia.
Costs and funding
There is no current cost estimate, but members of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors put the estimated price tag at about $270 million. In 2011, Commonwealth Transportation Board member James Rich said he estimated the Western Bypass would cost between $250 million and $300 million. In 2005, the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce estimated the price at $271-280 million. VDOT provided the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors an official estimate of $166 million on March 1, 2006, but in doing so acknowledged the cost model on this project may not be comprehensive.
In July 1996, the MPO Policy Board passed a resolution barring VDOT from allocating any money towards construction of the project. In November 2002, the MPO adopted a transportation improvement plan that stated “the project as designed does not meet community or regional needs, and has been determined too costly for the transportation benefits to be gained.”  The Board of Supervisors voted on June 8, 2011 to direct their representatives on the MPO to vote to remove that language. 
|This article documents a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.|
Many people in the community thought the project was out of consideration until Albemarle County Supervisor Rodney Thomas indicated he wanted the MPO to drop its opposition to the allocation of construction funding. Around $36 million has been used for the purchase of right-of-way along the route. The project has been on VDOT's six-year improvement program for many years, but there has been no additional funding allocated to the project since 2002, except for maintenance of rental properties VDOT manages.
The CTB will be asked to allocate construction funding to the project at their meeting on July 20, 2011.  On June 24, 2011, VDOT Commissioner Gregory A. Whirley sent a letter to MPO Director Steve Williams formally requesting the MPO amend its constrained long-range transportation plan to include the bypass. While the letter states that there is a 'reasonable assurance' of funding, the MPO will not be given details of how the project will be funded until after the July meeting. 
Officials in both Lynchburg and Danville are demanding that a bypass be planned and constructed.
Future of right of way?
The first parcels of land were purchased in 1991. State code requires property acquired by VDOT to be offered back to the original owner twenty-years after purchase if the project is not active. The code has several exceptions, including the allowance of an extension if the project has been in litigation.
In 2007, State Senator Steve Newman of Lynchburg requested an opinion from then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell about whether the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization would be required to pay back the money expended so far on the project if the MPO removed the project from its Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan. McDonnell's office concluded that in this situation, if the Federal Highway Administration requested reimbursement, VDOT would be required to reimburse the federal government. Additionally, VDOT would deduct all state funds spend so far on the project from the highway construction funds allocated to the Culpeper District of VDOT where the Western Bypass would be located.
Following McDonnell's October 2007 determination, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Pierce Homer wrote a letter dated December 21, 2007 to CTB member John Davies regarding the status of Western Bypass right of way and federal funding invested in the project. The major conclusion is: "If decisions are made not to build, any available revenues after covering expenditures on the projects should be available to use toward other projects in the Culpeper District." This letter is cited by bypass opponents as evidence that even after 20 years, the ROW investment will not be lost back to the federal government.
Dennis Rooker's disclosure
On June 16, 2002, Rooker filed a transactional disclosure statement with the county attorney's office explaining his potential conflict of interest involving the proposed Western Bypass of U.S. 29. Rooker and his wife owns 7.1% of Roslyn Ridge LC, which owns a portion of land adjacent to the bypass. The document contains a statement that Rooker is "able to participate" in votes related to the bypass because many other parties have an interest in the outcome of the case as well. 
Maps & Plans
- Web. , Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, 9 June 2011, retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Web. No state funding for Western Bypass yet, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, 16 June 2011, retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Web. Supervisor Thomas calls for MPO to change western bypass policy, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, May 26, 2011, retrieved June 22, 2011.
- Web. Dorrier makes late-night switch to revive Western Bypass, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, June 9, 2011, retrieved June 22, 2011.
- Web. Uncertainty remains over public process for bypass action, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, June 21, 2011, retrieved June 6, 2011.
- Web. Reasonable Assurance of Funding for Key Albemarle County Transportation Projects, Gregory A. Whirley, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Transportation, June 24, 2011, retrieved June 27, 2011.
- Web. Charlottesville bypass again being sought, Denice Thibodeau, Danville Register & Bee, December 27, 2010, retrieved December 28, 2010.
- Web. Virginia Code Section 33. 1-90, Commonwealth of Virginia, retrieved June 22, 2011.
- McDonnell, Robert. "AG Op. HIGHWAYS, BRIDGES AND FERRIES: TRANSPORTATION BOARD, 2007 Va. AG 102 (07-069) HIGHWAYS, BRIDGES AND FERRIES: TRANSPORTATION BOARD — ALLOCATION OF HIGHWAY FUNDS — MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS." Web. 23 Aug. 2010. <http://www.cvilletomorrow.org/docs/20071004-AG-opinion-on-bypass.pdf>.
- Web. Opinions of the Attorney General and report to the Governor of Virginia 2007, Attorneyy General, Commonwealth of Virginia, retrieved 12 July 2011.
- Web. Transactional Disclosure Statement, Albemarle County, Albemarle County, June 16, 2002, retrieved June 22, 2011.
Studies related to the Western Bypass available on cvillepedia
- File:19880600-29Bypass-CORRIDOR STUDY.pdf
- File:19881200-29Bypass-PHASE I HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE SURVEY.pdf
- File:19900300-29Bypass-PHASE I ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS.pdf
- File:19900300-29Bypass-TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORTATION ANALYSIS.pdf
- File:19900400-29Bypass-AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST RESOURCES.pdf
- File:19900400-29Bypass-AIR QUALITY ANALYSIS.pdf
- File:19900400-29Bypass-AQUATIC RESOURCES AND WATER QUALITY.pdf
- File:19900400-29Bypass-NOISE ANALYSIS.pdf
- File:19900400-29Bypass-TERRESTRIAL ECOLOGY.pdf
- File:19900500-29Bypass-DEIS SECTION 4(f) 106 EVALUATION.pdf
- File:19900500-29Bypass-ENGINEERING REPORT.pdf
- File:19900600-29Bypass-LOCATION PUBLIC HEARING.pdf
- File:19901109-29Bypass-FINAL POSITION PAPER.pdf
- File:19910121-29Bypass-PHASE II HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL INVESTIGATIONS.pdf
- File:19920000-29Bypass-PHASE II ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS.pdf
- File:19930000-29Bypass-PHASE II ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVALUATION.pdf
- File:19930120-29Bypass-FEIS SECTION 4(f) 106 EVALUATION.pdf
- File:19940600-29Bypass-PHASE I CR SURVEY.pdf
- File:19940900-29Bypass-PHASE II ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONSA.pdf
- File:19970200-29Bypass-FINAL DESIGN NOISE REPORT.pdf
- File:19970200-29Bypass-PHASE I ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONSA.pdf
- File:20000313-29Bypass-FINAL SECTION 4(f) EVALUATION AND ROD.pdf
- File:20000313-29Bypass-REEVAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS AND PREVIOUS ENVIRONM.pdf
- File:20000313-29Bypass-REVISED RECORD OF DECISION.pdf
- File:20011200-29Bypass-ARCHAEOLOGICAL IDENTIFICATION SURVEY.pdf
- File:29 Bypass Review.pdf
View an interactive timeline of events related to the Western Bypass:
- 2001 Factsheet by Southern Environmental Law Center showing map and visualization of southern terminus
- Web. Rt.29 Bypass & the CATCO Green Book, CATCO, CATCO Green Book, retrieved 2010 Jan 12.
- Web. Roads to the Future, Scott M. Kozel, Roads to the Future, retrieved 2009 Oct 2.