The Jefferson Park Ave. bridge, constructed in 1916, spans Norfolk Southern Railway tracks and connects the Jefferson Park Ave. and Fry’s Spring neighborhoods. The bridge’s deterioration has long been noted by the City of Charlottesville. In December 1996, engineers deemed the condition of the bridge poor and recommended its replacement within 2-4 years. In January 2000 a public hearing was held by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to review and discuss the preliminary plans for the replacement of the JPA bridge. In January 2002 City Council authorized VDOT to establish a project for the replacement of the bridge noting that the City’s Urban Design Committee would review bridge design for final approval by Council.
The Urban Design Committee dissolved before providing input to City Council regarding the bridge. VDOT and the City anticipate the bridge project will go out to bid in the Spring of 2008. During construction, the bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic which will be redirected across Shamrock Rd. The bridge will remain open to pedestrians and bicyclists during construction. The replacement of the bridge will result in, among other things, a higher and wider bridge, the closure of Todd Ave. at its western end and the elimination of street front parking for the JPA Fast Mart.
Recent efforts by FSNA members and city councilors have resulted in ongoing dialogue with VDOT regarding the width of the replacement bridge. The neighborhood and City’s argument: the bridge’s width should be significantly reduced to reflect the scale of the neighborhood, to save on construction costs and to remove excess width with out compromising vehicular, pedestrian or bicycle traffic.