March 28, 2006
As the area's population grows, the need to improve roadways becomes more of an issue. There is a new plan to upgrade one of the busiest roads in Albemarle County. For years, people who regularly use Georgetown Road have worried about it's safety. Tonight VDOT unveiled several ideas and the public got to weigh in on some possible improvements.
"The sidewalks don't exist on one side of the road and on the other side of the road they can be really bumpy and narrow and hard to maneuver," said resident Tom Horton.
"I know during rush hour it can get pretty backed up," said resident Debbie Owen.
"We're trying to give everybody a space that they can go to and be safe--pedestrians, the bicyclists, and the vehicles," said VDOT Project Manager Greg Krystyniak.
Right now, over 16,000 cars a day use Georgetown Road between Hydraulic Road and Barracks Road. The plan is not to eliminate the traffic, rather make it safer.
"We're trying to come up with creative ideas for improving the road but not make it a high speed thoroughfare," said Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dennis Rooker.
The plans could include adding sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes, improvements that residents seem to favor.
"I have concerns over the next few years for pedestrian safety and my kids to have a way to get to school," Owens said.
Project engineers say they will have to overcome one big problem.
"The huge challenge on this road is it's really built up and well developed with residential properties," Krystyniak said.
As for financing, like so many projects statewide, the $4.5 million decision is waiting on the state budget.
"Depending on what happens there, the fate of projects like this and the timing for when they might go forward is on the line," Rooker said.
VDOT will now compile the results of the public comment and begin the design phase. They hope to have a design to present to the public within a year. The County estimates that the project will not break ground for at least another 4-5 years.