Smart Scale

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Smart Scale refers to a transportation funding mechanism that scores projects submitted to the Virginia Department of Transportation based on how they would address congestion, provide acccess to jobs, increase safety and other benefits. The project was created as a result of House Bill 2 in the 2014 General Assembly. [1] [2]

Round 1

This was the first year that VDOT used the process. Albemarle submitted a very large project that ranked near the bottom of the scoring when scores were released in early 2016. Charlottesville, however, fared much better and were awarded three projects which are at various stages of planning in 2020. The Commonwealth Transportation Board made their final decisions in June of 2016. The PACC discussed the issue at their August 2016 meeting. [3]

Albemarle

Scores were first released in January 2016. A project to rebuild Exit 118 on Interstate 64 ranked 282 out of the 287 projects submitted statewide and the application was not funded. [4] Chip Boyles of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission said that did not mean the project was not needed, but that officials would have to streamline their application to fund it. The $146 million cost of the project had no other source of funding except VDOT funding, causing the score to be much lower. [1]

Charlottesville

Three projects submitted by the City of Charlottesville were approved ended for funding. [5]

On October 20, 2016, NDS director Alexander Ikefuna told the PACC-Tech Committee that there was no schedule for the projects to be implemented. The University of Virginia has expressed interest in participating in the Emmet Street project. [6] In an email to Charlottesville Tomorrow, Ikefuna said there would be a request for additional resources to help implement the projects.

Round 2

In the second cycle, Albemarle County fared much better. The city of Charlottesville, however, failed to secure $18.6 million in funding for the West Main Streetscape. [7] Charlottesville was successful in obtaining more than $8 million for improvements at the intersection of Barracks Road and Emmet Street. [8]

Albemarle County

Project Description Total Project Cost Engineering of Roadway Plans Right of Way Acquisition Construction UPC
Interstate 64 at exit 118 Interchange Modifications This project involves eliminating the loop ramp from southbound Route 29 to eastbound I-64. A dual left-turn lane and a connection to the existing ramp from northbound Route 29 to eastbound I-64 will be constructed. This modification will eliminate two weave movements that have been identified as a factor in many crashes. $1,000,000 $265,000 $0 $735,000 111727
Interstate 64 at exit 124 Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) This project will build a diverging diamond interchange (DDI) on Route 250 and make other low-cost improvements for safety and congestion relief. The work also includes ramp improvements, new signals and signal upgrades, drainage improvements and utility relocations. $18,400,000 $2,300,000 $1,100,000 $15,000,000 111814
Fontaine Avenue Ramp Improvements This project involves adding an option lane—through/right-merge lane—at the Fontaine Avenue exit from northbound Route 29. The project will ease current weaving issues and remove conflict points. $2,900,000 $600,000 $300,000 $2,000,000 111813
Construction of Roundabout at Route 250 and Route 151 The intersection of Route 250 (Rockfish Gap Turnpike) and Route 151 (Critzers Shop Road) in Afton, near the Nelson County line, will be reconstructed as a roundabout. $5,800,000 $950,000 $850,000 $4,000,000 111730
Construction of Roundabout at Route 20 and Route 649 This project will convert the intersection of Route 20 (Stony Point Road), Route 649 (Proffit Road) and Route 1494 (Riggory Ridge Road) to a single-lane roundabout to improve safety and traffic flow. $4,000,000 $700,000 $1,000,000 $2,300,000 111733
Rio Mills Road/Berkmar Drive Connection This project will construct a quarter-mile, two-lane road to connect Rio Mills Road to the recently completed Berkmar Drive Extended. The work will include a sidewalk and shared-use path that connects to the bicycle and pedestrian facilities on Berkmar Drive Extended. $3,800,000 $850,000 $500,000 $2,450,000 109397
Total: $35,900,000

[9]

Charlottesville

Charlottesville City Council agreed on September 6, 2019 to submit applications for four projects. They were the West Main Streetscape, Barracks Road and Emmet Street improvements (which was funded), and various ADA proposals throughout the city. [10] [11]

Round 3

Changes were made for the third cycle, including a provision that smaller localities could only submit up to four applications. This changed the decision-making process by forcing localities to be more strategic in what they put forward.

Charlottesville

Charlottesville once again applied for funding for the West Main streetscape project, as well as three other initiatives.

Scope of 5th and Cherry project

The $6.1 million Ridge Cherry project moved forward as did the second phase of the West Main Streetscape. [13]

Albemarle

Albemarle County submitted four applications and only one was funded. That was the US 250/Route 20 Intersection Improvement. The others are improvements at the intersection of Route 20 and U.S. 250 on Pantops, Berkmar Drive to Airport Road, improvements to intersection of Route 20 and Route 53 and a roundabout at Rio Road East and Pen Park Road. [12]

Round 4

Project Title Smart Scale Request Jurisdiction Recommended for funding?
US 29 and Fontaine Ave Interchange Improvement $21 million CAMPO Yes
Hillsdale Drive South Extension $29.7 million CAMPO No
Hydraulic Road and US 29 $24.6 million CAMPO Yes
107 Park and Ride Lot $2.6 million TJPDC Yes
Rt. 29 Shared Use Path $6 million TJPDC Yes
Rt. 29/Fray’s Mill/Burnley Station Intersection Improvements $9.6 million TJPDC No
5th Street Hub and Trails $6 million TJPDC Yes
W Main Streetscape Ph 3 – 8th St NW to Roosevelt Brown Ave $7.9 million Charlottesville Yes
Preston Ave & Grady Ave Intersection Improvements $6.1 million Charlottesville Yes
Emmet Street Multimodal Phase Two $4.5 million Charlottesville Yes
Ridge Street Multimodal Improvements $5 million Charlottesville Yes
Access Management on US 250 East from VA 20 (Stoney Point Rd) east to Hanson Rd. $11 million Albemarle County Yes
John Warner Pkwy / Rio Rd Intersection Improvements $8.2 million Albemarle County Yes
Belvedere/Rio Rd Intersection Improvements $7 million Albemarle County Yes
Old Lynchburg Rd./5th St. Ext. /County Office Bldg. Intersection Improvements $8.5 million Albemarle County Yes
Rt. 20/53 Intersection Improvements $7.5 million Albemarle County Yes

On July 20, 2020, Council gave support four proposals the city will submit to the Virginia Department of Transportation for the fourth Smart Scale round. [14][15]

Some city residents expressed concern about the city's decision to include the Preston/Grady project in this round. [16] [17] Council voted 3-2 to move forward. [18]

Round 5

Initial discussions of projects got underway at public meetings in the spring of 2021. An advisory committee will be appointed to review projects that will be submitted by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission and the MPO. Pre-applications will be due in May 2022. [19]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Web. Transportation officials discuss low ranking for Exit 118, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 27, 2016, retrieved February 22, 2016.
  2. Web. State transportation official explains new prioritization rules, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, September 25, 2014, retrieved February 22, 2016.
  3. Web. Regional and university leaders discuss streetscape projects, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, August 18, 2016, retrieved January 11, 2017.
  4. Web. I-64-U.S. 29 interchange overhaul ranked near bottom of state priorities, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 22, 2016, retrieved February 22, 2016.
  5. Web. State transportation panel to vote on Charlottesville streetscape projects, Charlottesville Tomorrow, June 13, 2016, retrieved October 24, 2016.
  6. Web. Regional and university leaders discuss streetscape projects, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, August 18, 2016, retrieved October 24, 2016.
  7. Web. MPO gearing up for next long-range transportation plan, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 25, 2017, retrieved December 26, 2017.
  8. Web. City Council Approves Grant Funding for Barracks Road Area, Victoria Wresilo, News Article, WVIR NBC29, April 2, 2018, retrieved April 9, 2018.
  9. Web. Albemarle County Design-Build Projects (6), Virginia Department of Transportation, retrieved October 12, 2018.
  10. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, September 6, 2019.
  11. Web. Charlottesville project submissions for House Bill 2 (HB2/ SMART Scale), and Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Program Transportation Funding, Tony Edwards and Amanda Poncy, Staff Report, City of Charlottesville, September 6, 2016, retrieved November 8, 2019.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Web. Resolution Endorsing the Submission of Smart Scale (HB2) Applications Requesting Transportation Funding By Localities, MPO Staff, Resolution, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, retrieved July 30, 2018.
  13. Web. Ridge-Fifth-Cherry-Elliott intersection project awarded funding, Staff Reports, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, June 20, 2019, retrieved September 23, 2020.
  14. Web. Resolution of Support for 4 SmartScale Grant Applications, Tony Edwards, July 20, 2020, retrieved July 19, 2020.
  15. Web. July 21, 2020: Preston-Grady moves forward, mobile home development, and latest COVID numbers, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Community Engagement, Town Crier Productions, July 21, 2020, retrieved September 12, 2020.
  16. Web. Preston Avenue and Grady Avenue Intersection Improvements, retrieved June 25, 2020.
  17. Web. Residents push back on planned Preston-Grady road project, Nolan Stout, News Article, Daily Progress, July 1, 2020, retrieved July 2, 2020.
  18. Web. Charlottesville city leaders move forward with application for SMART SCALE grant, Chelsea King, News Article, CBS19, July 22, 2020, retrieved July 24, 2020.
  19. Web. TAP grant and Smart Scale briefing for CAMPO Policy Board, June 2021, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, retrieved July 12, 2021.

External Links

Official site