It’s been more than two years since the state vowed to build a road around Charlottesville - allowing truckers and travelers headed for DC or Danville, Lynchburg or Northern Virginia to avoid local congestion. Environmentalists have fought the plan at every turn. Now, with a new governor set to take office, opponents are hoping for a permanent road block, and for many reasons, they might get their way.
The story of the 29 bypass is filled with surprising twists. When last we checked, the road had been blocked by the discovery of an African-American cemetery where prominent members of that community were laid to rest after the Civil War.
The National Register of Historic places said it deserved federal protection, so state planners have now offered five possible changes to the route. One of those plans would put six homes in jeopardy and raise the price of the project by more than three million dollars. It’s already expected to cost more than $244 million to construct less than seven miles of road.
Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe has not said whether he supports building the bypass, although the man he’s appointed to head the department of transportation had voted for it.
Then there are environmental questions. The federal government is now reviewing a report from the state on what impact the bypass could have on air, water and wildlife.
Finally, November’s election put Democrats in control of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors - political allies of the new governor, and they oppose the road.