Belmont Bridge replacement

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Belmont Bridge Replacement


Project Overview

To replace a bridge that has a sufficiency rating of 47.6[1] out of 100.
Cost $23 million
Location NDS Conference Room, City Hall
Sponsor Charlottesville
Next meeting February 13, 2013, Belmont Bridge Conceptual Design Review, JMRL Central Library

Status Update

According to the MPO's project tracking matrix for February 2008, the City's cost benefit analysis supports full replacement. An Environmental EQ 429 form has been submitted for approval. A design RFP is being developed. According to Jeanette Janiczek, almost $6.1 in state and federal funding has been accrued, but the project needs close to $8.4 million more.[2]

Website Official site
Contact Jeanette Janiczek, VDOT program manager, Charlottesville

Charlottesville has spent several years studying the best approach to replace the Belmont Bridge, which carries Avon Street over the Buckingham Branch railroad line. [3]

The city of Charlottesville signed a $1.98 million contract with Kimley-Horn in late December 2016 to design an urban design plan for the bridge and the surrounding areas. [4] This came after several months of negotiations over the scope and fee to redesign the bridge following the failure of the now-closed MMM Design to produce a satisfactory alternative. [5]

Kimley-Horn is currently preparing a design to take before the Board of Architectural Review and the Planning Commission. [6]

Construction on the replacement is not expected to begin until at least 2018. [citation needed]


The bridge was originally built in 1961. In 2003, the Belmont Bridge was determined by the City of Charlottesville to be “rapidly deteriorating” and a plan was put in place to replace it. According to the staff report prepared for the April 6, 2009 City Council meeting, the elements of the bridge were beginning to crumble, and replacement was recommended rather than repair.[7]

Project History

The project is one of several being administered by the City's Department of Neighborhood Development Services.

In December 2008 the city's cost/benefit analysis supported full replacement. A design request for proposals was developed. [8] [MMM Design]] was selected to serve as the design consultant for the project. [9]

The city received $1 million in VDOT revenue sharing money for the project in FY2012. [10]

Funding cuts

In November 2009, VDOT officials announced plans to cut several hundred million dollars worth of projects to fill a budget deficit, threatening the ability for the city to save for the bridge.[11]

Design process

MMM Design of Charlottesville accepted the commission to draw plans for a replacement bridge.[9] A series of public meetings resulted in a design that did not meet the favor of many in the Belmont community. Filmmaker Brian Wimer held a contest in February 2012 called Project Gait-Way to solicit new designs. The winning concept called for the bridge to be replaced with an at-grade crossing with the Buckingham Branch Railroad.[12] The contest called into question the schedule for the replacement.

Technical details about the bridge's replacement were discussed by the Metropolitan Planning Organization policy board in February 2012. A city representative said they were weighing their options on how to proceed. [13]

City Council considered the matter at its meeting on March 5, 2012. Several members of the public urged Council to consider design when considering a replacement. Mayor Satyendra Huja said doing away with the bridge would be impractical. [14] Tolbert told Council that he was working with MMM, city staff and the chair of the U.Va School of Architecture. He said the PLACE Design Task Force would be initial body to review work of "local architect to work with their design team."

The design firm Siteworks Studio was hired as a subcontractor, and spent the summer of 2012 taking the elements from design contest entries to incorporate into a new design. Two alternatives have been developed. One would be a replacement of the bridge. The other would be an underpass, with Avon Street dipping below the CSX railroad tracks. Both designs also feature a pedestrian-only suspension bridge, a plaza, and a linear park along the railroad.[15] The PLACE Design Task Force reviewed the proposals in December 2012. The task force recommended the adoption of the underpass scheme because it concluded that it would provide easier and more attractive access to the Downtown Mall and give greater development potential to land south of the railroad tracks.[16] Charlottesville sought public input regarding the two designs in February 2013.[15]

2015 search for new design firm

Post under-pass decision, it was decided to hire a new firm. A request for proposals for a new design firm is being reviewed by VDOT and the steering committee and will be advertised by the end of November 2015. [17] Negotiations are still underway.

On October 20, 2016, NDS director Alexander Ikefuna told the PACC-Tech Committee that the Virginia Department of Transportation was reviewing the contract with the unknown firm on issues related to the pay-scale as well as "new provisions from Washington." He said the city attorney's office would have to review any changes that were made.

The project was dormant for many months after the summer of 2014 but a request for proposals had been advertised was the end of November 2015. [17] Negotiations proceeded throughout 2016 before Kimley-Horn was announced. [18] A design committee

Development timeline

  • November 30, 2010: Kick-off meeting at CitySpace. [19] [20]
  • January 2011: Meeting held with adjacent neighborhoods.[21]
  • January 2011: Meeting with Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville. [22]
  • January 12, 2011: Meeting with bike and pedestrian community. [23]
  • January 20, 2011: Meeting with Economic & Government Affairs Committee of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce. [24]
  • March 2, 2011: Public design charette. [25]
  • June 20, 2011: Council briefed on design progress. [3]
  • September 14, 2011: Design Preview Meeting[26]
  • March 5, 2012: City council to be briefed on contest results, next steps in design
  • February 13, 2013: Belmont Bridge Conceptual Design Review meeting at Central Library>
  • November 12, 2015: City urban designer Carrie Rainer said request for new proposals should be advertised by end of month [17]
  • November 27, 2015: City issues request for proposals. [27]
  • October 20, 2016: Ikefuna updates the PACC-Tech Committee
  • April 2017: Kimley-Horn holds design charrettes [28]

Map and images

Underside of Belmont Bridge from East Water Street

"A Tale of Two Bridges" - A video made for Project Gait-Way


  1. Dixit, Rachana. "Revenue Matching Funds for Roads Cut." Charlottesville Daily Progress. 27 June 2010. Web. <>.
  2. E-mail. Jeanette Janiczek, City of Charlottesville. "amount of money saved up for belmont bridge." Message to Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow. June 22, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Web. Belmont Bridge design coming into focus, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, June 22, 2011, retrieved June 29, 2011.
  4. Web. City signs design contract for Belmont Bridge replacement, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, December 26, 2016, retrieved December 27, 2016.
  5. Web., Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, June 29, 2016, retrieved October 24, 2016.
  6. Web. Belmont Bridge Steering Committee endorses design elements, Kayli Wren, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, June 15, 2017, retrieved June 26, 2017.
  7. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, April 6 2003.. Also available in older archive.
  8. Web. Project Tracking Matrix, MPO Policy Board, December 15 2008, retrieved 9 Nov 2009.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Web. MMM Design selected to oversee new Belmont Bridge design work, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, April 8, 2009, retrieved January 6, 2014.
  10. Web. FY 2012 Revenue Sharing Allocations, Virginia Department of Transportation, retrieved June 29, 2011.
  11. Strong, Ted. "Belmont Bridge fix funds in danger | Charlottesville Daily Progress." Charlottesville news, sports, business, events and jobs | Charlottesville Daily Progress. Web. 25 Nov. 2009. <>
  12. Web. Winning design for Belmont: No bridge, more connectivity for Belmont and Downtown Mall, Courtney Beale, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 21, 2012, retrieved February 28, 2012.
  13. Web. Design work on U.S. 29 widening to start this summer, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 24, 2012, retrieved December 27, 2016.
  14. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, March 5, 2012.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Web. Conceptual Design Review, City of Charlottesville, Belmont Bridge Replacement Project, Feb 2013, retrieved 8 July 2013.
  16. Web. Memorandum to City Council, PLACE Design Task Force, Belmont Bridge Replacement Project, 28 January 2013, retrieved 8 July 2013.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Web. [1], Sean Tubbs, Twitter coverage of PLACE Design Task Force, Twitter, November 12, 2015, retrieved November 16, 2015.
  18. Web. Negotiations continue for firm to design new Belmont Bridge, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, June 29, 2016, retrieved January 11, 2017.
  19. Web. November 30, 2010 Kick-Off Meeting, City of Charlottesville, retrieved April 8, 2011.
  20. Web., Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, December 1, 2010, retrieved November 16, 2015.
  21. Web. Adjacent neighborhood meeting, City of Charlottesville, retrieved April 8, 2011.
  22. Web. DBAC meeting, City of Charlottesville, retrieved April 8, 2011.
  23. Web. [2], City of Charlottesville, retrieved April 8, 2011.
  24. Web. Chamber of Commerce meeting, City of Charlottesville, retrieved April 8, 2011.
  25. Web. Public design charette, City of Charlottesville, retrieved April 8, 2011.
  26. Web. Belmont Bridge Replacement Design Preview Meeting, Charlottesville Tomorrow, retrieved September 1, 2011.
  27. Web. Charlottesville seeks ‘urban design plan’ for Belmont Bridge, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, November 29, 2016, retrieved April 27, 2016.
  28. Web. [3], Charlottesville Tomorrow, retrieved May 9, 2017.

External links

Official project site