A new Belmont Bridge is inching closer to reality.

The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review on Tuesday approved a certificate of appropriateness for the $24.7 million project, allowing the city to move forward with right-of-way acquisition for it.

The certificate of appropriateness is required for development in certain areas of the city to ensure projects align with design standards.

The bridge carries Avon Street over the Buckingham Branch Railroad line. It was constructed in 1961 and sees about 14,000 vehicle trips a day, according to Virginia Department of Transportation estimates. The city decided to replace it in 2003.

Earlier this month, VDOT approved right-of-way acquisition.

The application shows several design aspects of the proposed bridge.

It has a staircase along the southwest edge, pedestrian lighting features, benches and bike racks.

The bridge will have access points from Water Street and a sidewalk underneath it.

According to the application, CSX supports removing the fencing along the Buckingham Branch Railroad line, though with several conditions.

The railroad’s stipulations include video monitoring of the bridge and a liability agreement between the railroad and the city.

The project appears poised for construction after a series of snags.

Initial designs were met with public opposition, and the original consultants in charge of the process, MMM Design, went out of business in 2014.

In 2017, Kimley-Horn took over the project. The City Council approved a design in October of that year.

The conceptual design includes a 7-foot-wide bicycle lane and a 10-foot-wide sidewalk. The bike lane and sidewalk will be separated from cars by a median.

Jeff Werner, the city’s preservation and design planner, said construction is expected to start in 2020 and finish by 2022.

For more information or to view renderings of the new bridge, visit tinyurl.com/belmontbridgebar.

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City hall reporter

Nolan Stout is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7274, nstout@dailyprogress.com, or @nstoutDP on Twitter and Facebook.

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