Culbreth Road to close for at least a year

Culbreth Theater is about to get a new neighbor in the form of a 554-space parking deck, and it means you won't have Culbreth Road as your favorite Rugby to Emmet cut-through for at least a year.

UVA announced Tuesday that Culbreth Road, which connects Rugby Road to University Avenue near Emmet Street, will close to through traffic on December 11. That will give Donley's Construction of Richmond time to do some heavy lifting on the six-level Arts Grounds Parking Garage that will stand between the tracks of the Buckingham Branch Railroad Co. and UVA's Culbreth Theatre.

"After the parking garage is completed," UVA project manager Craig Booth assures motorists, "Culbreth Road will again connect
University and Rugby."

The road will remain closed to through traffic until it is reopened in February 2008– yes, 2008!– with a reconfigured traffic pattern. Besides its role as a short cut, the road has long been enjoyed by locals as a broad swath of surface parking in the dense Rugby Road fraternity/arts area, but the so-called A9 parking lots are already mostly history.

The A9 South parking lot, in front of Culbreth Theatre, has already been closed for the construction of a new $16.7 million studio arts building called Ruffin Hall while the A9 North parking lot, across the road from Culbreth Theatre, will be reduced to 23 spaces.

In a release, UVA says that both ends of the road will remain open to accommodate construction traffic, permit local deliveries, and provide access to two small parking lots. The two open sections of the road, from University Avenue to the loading dock of Culbreth Theatre, and from Rugby Road to the two parking lots, will carry two-way traffic.

The $12 million parking garage, which will be paid for with University funds, is part of an overall arts precinct plan including the construction of Ruffin Hall, the $19.8 million studio arts building, as well as two additions to Campbell Hall, home to the School of Architecture, and renovations to Fayerweather Hall, which now houses the Art History Department.

A site map of the project also indicates a planned addition for Culbreth Theater, further closing the space between the theater and the parking garage, but Booth says he has no information on when UVA plans to construct that addition.

The parking structure, designed by Charlottesville's Bushman-Dreyfus Architects with Kimley-Horn, will replace surface parking lost due to construction of Ruffin Hall and the future Arts Common. Landscape design is by Olin Partnership. Ruffin Hall will be designed by Schwartz-Silver Architects.

1 comment

Not good news for many--except the UTS drivers, who have to deal with the cars that cut around stopped busses to make the right from Rugby onto Culbreth. You know, the bus is only there for 15 seconds ... would it kill you to wait?