No biggie: Letter doesn't stop Meadowcreek Parkway

news-meadowcreekparkwaysurveyVDOT needs a permit to put a culvert in a tributary of Shenks Creek; the Army Corps of Engineers needs more information.

A four-paragraph July 16 letter from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Virginia Department of Transportation had Meadowcreek Parkway opponents giddy that the controversial connector will be derailed.

"In order for us to continue our evaluation of the McIntire Road Extension, the work must be a single and complete project with a logical termini," writes the Corps.

The parkway is divided into three portions that are separately funded: Albemarle's along East Rio Road, construction of which has already begun, and the city has two segments, the state-funded McIntire Road Extension that cuts through McIntire Park, and the $29.5 million, federally funded earmark that former Senator John Warner obtained for the interchange with the Route 250 Bypass.

Critics have long contended that the parkway is structured that way to bypass federal regulations that protect historic properties.

"We're elated," says Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park member Rich Collins. "We've dealt with this for years and said you can't do it this way. It's all one project."

Collins calls the Army Corps letter "highly unusual" for a minor project– a culvert over a tributary of Schenks Branch south of Melbourne Road. "It's a federal agency reprimanding a state agency," he opines.

"I'm optimistic," says fellow Coalition member Peter Kleeman. "It's one thing to ask for more information. It's another to generate a logical terminus."

"We're not denying a permit," stresses Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Mark Haviland. "We said it's incomplete. It's not unusual. We go back to applicants all the time."

Nor does the Corps believe that McIntire Extended is a road to nowhere. "VDOT has told us all along McIntire Extended ends at the interchange or Route 250," says Haviland.

He suggests that the letter has been interpreted differently from the way the Corps intended. "We're just asking for more information," says Haviland.

And to say the letter is a deal breaker? "That's a premature conclusion," he says. "We understand it's a contentious issue.

"We don't see it as a significant obstacle," says Lou Hatter, VDOT spokeman. "Anytime an agency is processing an application and needs more information, they send a letter to ask for it," he explains.

Parkway opponents remain optimistic that the Army Corps letter strengthens their cause. They're also using legal maneuvering to stop construction, although the first two forays– a preliminary injunction and lawsuit to stop construction on grounds an easement was unconstitutionally approved by City Council– were unsuccessful, they're ready for federal court now.

And Rich Collins has a suggestion for media coverage of the longstanding controversy: Instead of saying "when" the Meadowcreek Parkway is built, he prefers use of the more hypothetical "if."


Whether you are for or against the Parkway, everyone should insist that the project be viewed as one entire roadway. To try and claim that this is 3 separate projects, in order to avoid federal oversight, should be offensive to all law-abiding citizens.

Has there been any research done as to whether or not the roadway would indeed be beneficial?

Hey TJ - I respectively suggest that you reconsider your contention that the state of Virginia needs "federal oversight" for a simple roadway. Additional requests for federal oversight will lead to more obstructions of state and personal business for our own fed-determined good, and eventually more taxes for this help by the feds.

Hey CvilleDave, take a drive down RT 29 between 7-9AM and 4-6PM, and then get back to us. The traffic congestion gets worse each year. More and more people want to live and work in our great town. They aren't going away.

Hey OneFed, I agree.

Just do it. Have the VDOT foreman on the site call a press conference, take the letter, pi$$ on it, and promptly get back to work.

I have lived in Charlottesville, off and on, for decades and just don't get it!!! What the heck is everyone thinking? Since I got my license there has been discussion of a by-pass. Everyone agrees we are in desperate need of one but nobody wants to committ. Money for this study then that. Not in my back yard. Preserve this. I don't like that. STOP and GET OFF YOUR DUFFS! Council members saw how bad traffic was getting on Rt 29 years ago and in their great wisdom decided to resolve the problem how? Oh yeah, build more shopping centers and subdivisions on the route. That's been effective, hasn't it. Put your thumbs back in your mouths and get it done already. I'm sick of my money being flushed away and I know I'm not alone. You have studied it to death. Everyone is not going to be happy. That's life.

And who put more shopping centers on 29 --the county
And who killed the Western By-Pass --the county
And who killed the Eastern By-Pass --the county
And who upzoned Biscuit Run for more than the allowed density --the county

looks like you've misidentified the culprit in this problem