August 18, 2011
After decades of hearings, protests and lawsuits, the Charlottesville portion of the Meadow Creek Parkway is officially under construction.
CBS19 cameras recorded footage of backhoes and bulldozers digging in Thursday afternoon. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) confirms this work was part of land-clearing activities, which is the first step in construction of McIntire Road Extended.
Albemarle County's portion is already complete and has been unused as city leaders debated and judges ruled on the future of the road.
The Charlottesville portion would connect to the intersection of McIntire Road and the Route 250 Bypass. Opponents of the project say the news is a major setback; they had no idea construction was going to begin so soon.
"It's disappointing," said John Cruickshank, head of the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club. "I don't think any work should begin in [McIntire Park] until the people of Charlottesville have had an opportunity to review and comment on these new plans for the road."
Those new plans are the official plans for the road. VDOT decided to alter the path of the road so that it would no longer interfere with Schenks Branch, a creek that flows to a nearby basin.
VDOT officials say they will present those plans to the City of Charlottesville in the coming weeks.