February 10, 2013
Built in 1961, the Belmont Bridge is now in need of repair. According to Belmontbridge.com, an annual inspection of the bridge tracked the decay and weakening of the structure. It also revealed that the reinforcing steel in the deck has reached its corrosive threshold.
Charlottesville city official plans to presents two alternative bridge designs to the public.
"One is actually lowering Avon Street so it goes under the tracks with a pedestrian over past that comes across the top. It's straight down into the Mall. And the other is more of a standard bridge with more design elements," said Charlottesville Vice Mayor Kristin Szakos.
Bike and pedestrian walkways are included in both design plans. Currently on one side of the bridge, the walkway is closed, due to its deteriorating conditions.
"The plans have been shown to the bike pedestrian committee, and they have also gone before the place design task force. This is the first real chance for the public to comment," said Szakos.
A design element proposed through a design contest puts Avon Street at grade with the railroad. City leaders say that design wouldn't work partly due to CSX, the owner of the railroad, not approving that crossing.
"It's not practical. It was an interesting concept but one thing that we can't do and really don't want to do is eliminate tracks. Train travel is something that we're hoping is going to increase," said Szakos.
The meeting will take place for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Central Library's McIntire Room.