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Re: “Bypassing Sense

Mr. Salzman is obviously well aware of the facts about the huge expenditure versus the tiny return and I wanted to further illuminate what I, as a Commonwealth taxpayer and a lifelong resident of the Charlottesville area with UVA business and urban planning degrees, think is a major issue.

The design build process under which this project has been suddenly revived displays either 1) the mismanagement of financial resources at best or 2) deception/corruption at worst. Either conclusion is deeply disturbing for those of us who are funding this venture, which was labeled one of the nation’s worst transportation projects even before its design was altered to make it a functional failure as currently proposed.

The administration of our Commonwealth has now put forward a 29 bypass project which includes a new Southern Terminus design that costs less than the grade separated full interchange that was originally part of the project. My years of experience in civil engineering, transportation planning and real estate development allow me to safely say that the new southern terminus design, which includes 11.4% road grades and stop lights to control traffic movements, simply will not function as a “bypass” to move traffic in a northern direction. As currently proposed, it will not function as a “bypass,” which is the project’s stated purpose. To function as a “bypass,” it must include grade separated interchanges, overpasses, etc. that were part of the original design that will be more costly and destructive to the adjacent schools and neighborhoods.

This leads to the conclusion that either the administration in Richmond did not understand that they had proposed a new design that did not work (in which case I have to conclude administrative incompetence) or they intentionally put forward a design that had a lower cost to gain Commonwealth Transportation Board approval with the idea that they would later change the southern terminus design at the additional cost of millions of dollars to Virginia and U.S. taxpayers (in which case I have to conclude “bait and switch” deception). I simply didn’t think that is how we made investments for the benefit of the commonwealth of all Virginians. Either way, it is not how I want my money to be spent.

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Posted by Crawfordk on 03/05/2013 at 4:29 PM

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