The City of Charlottesville has been engaged in a process to reconstruct Belmont Bridge, which crosses BBRR/CSX rail lines and Water Street. While one previous design reached the 35% plan stage, the community requested that alternative concepts be explored before the design is finalized. After 2 years of community input, City Council voted on July 21, 2014 to focus on the “enhanced bridge” concept. This concept is a shortened bridge (reduced from more than 440 feet to approximately 236 feet) to be designed with the following criteria in mind:

  • Belmont Bridge is a gateway into the Charlottesville and its downtown
  • Belmont Bridge should be an enjoyable pedestrian experience
  • Views of the mountains and railroad tracks are appreciated and should be preserved
  • The design should be innovative and entertaining
  • The design should maintain a 25 MPH speed limit with one lane in each direction
  • The design should include space for vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The pedestrian zone should be separated from vehicles and bicycles
  • The design should have a shorter span
  • Bike and pedestrian lanes should be 10.0 feet wide, traffic lanes should be 11.0 feet wide
  • The design should incorporate improvements to the north and south intersections along 9th Street
  • Landscaping should be enhanced on the approaches
  • Accent lighting should be considered to showcase the bridge

Committees and Stakeholders

The planning and design of the new Belmont Bridge occurred, in part, through a community engagement process that generated information integral in shaping the design concepts explored. The engagement process was led by two committees with ongoing participation from five stakeholder groups and public. This process was important to explain to the public why decisions were made and being able to point to milestones in the planning process that led to the resulting decisions.

Steering Committee

The City appointed a Steering Committee to guide the design process and serve in an advisory role to the Technical Committee and City Council. The committee consisted of residents of four nearby neighborhoods, a business representative, a member of the Charlottesville Area Transit Advisory Committee, a Planning Commissioner, and three members of the PLACE Design Task Force (City’s urban design committee).

  • Amy Gardner, Belmont Neighborhood
  • John Harrison, Business Community
  • Patrick Healy, Ridge Street Neighborhood
  • Heather Danforth Hill, North Downtown Neighborhood
  • Harry Holsinger, Martha Jefferson Neighborhood
  • Scott Paisley, PLACE
  • Tim Mohr, PLACE
  • Lyle Solla Yates, Planning Commission
  • Lena Seville, CAT Advisory Board
  • Fred Wolf, PLACE

The following staff members also served and supported this Committee.

  • Brennan Duncan, NDS - Traffic Engineer
  • Tony Edwards, NDS - Development Services Manager
  • Alexander Ikefuna, NDS - Director of NDS
  • Jeanette Janiczek, NDS - UCI Program Manager
  • Carrie Rainey, NDS - Urban Designer
  • Martin Silman, NDS - City Engineer

Technical Committee

The Technical Committee consists of staff from various City departments. This committee considered information received from the Steering Committee, stakeholder groups, and the public as decisions were made.

  • Matthew Alfele - NDS - Neighborhood Planner
  • Mandy Brown - NDS - Assistant Traffic Engineer
  • Christian Chirico - Public Utilities - Gas Utility Project Assistant
  • Missy Creasy - NDS - Assistant Director
  • Jay Davis - Fire - City Fire Marshal
  • Brennen Duncan - NDS - Traffic Engineer
  • Susan Elliott - PW/Environmental
  • Tom Elliott - NDS - Building Code Official
  • Craig Fabio - NDS - Assistant Zoning Administrator
  • David Frazier - NDS - VSMP E&S Specialist
  • Chris Gensic - Parks - Park & Trail Planner 
  • Brian Haluska - NDS - Neighborhood Planner
  • Charles Kanary - CAT - Acting Assistant Transit Manager, Maintenance
  • Juwhan Lee - CAT - Assistant Transit Manager, Operations
  • John Mann - Parks - Landscape Manager    
  • Jason McIlwee - Public Utilities - Utilities Engineer
  • Camie Mess - NDS - Historic Preservation Assistant
  • Heather Newmyer - NDS - Neighborhood Planner
  • Stacy Pethia - NDS - Housing Program Coordinator
  • Amanda Poncy - NDS - Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator
  • Carrie Rainey - NDS - Urban Designer
  • Michael Ronayne - Parks
  • Mary Joy Scala - NDS - Preservation & Design Planner
  • William Sclafani - Police - Crime Prevention Unit
  • Rick Siebert - Parking Manager
  • Martin Silman - NDS - City Engineer
  • Paul Oberdorfer - PW - Director
  • Dan Sweet - Public Utilities - Stormwater Utility Administrator
  • Tich Tablan - PW/Environmental
  • Stephen Walton - Fire - Assistant Fire Marshal

Stakeholder Groups

Decisions on design elements needed to be weighed carefully by a broad representation of community interests. In order for the ultimate decision makers to feel confident that all interested stakeholders had the opportunity to express their views, the Belmont Bridge replacement project included input from the following five groups:

Prior Project Process




Answers to Common Questions