Section of Emmet Street to close over winter break for waterline project

Emmet Street will be closed for construction Dec. 19 to Jan. 14 from Ivy Road to the McCormick Road Bridge


A detour will be set up around the work zone, spanning University Ave. to the intersection with Jefferson Park Ave. and continuing to the intersection of Emmet Street on the south side of McCormick Road Bridge.

Courtesy City of Charlottesville

A section of Emmet Street will be closed from Dec. 19 to Jan. 14 — the University’s winter break — in order to expedite an ongoing waterline project. The project is part of an overall water main replacement program in Charlottesville that began in October.

The closure of Emmet Street will span Ivy Road south to the McCormick Road Bridge. This will allow for multiple construction crews to work throughout the day and minimize the duration of the project.

According to project manager Roy Nester, traffic delays and heavy construction are to be expected during the time. 

The City of Charlottesville announced the closure in a press release earlier this month. By facilitating the construction project during the break, disruption to students and faculty should be minimized.

“We do not take it lightly that we are closing Emmet Street but it is one of things that make the work go quicker,” Nester said in an interview.  “It will speed the process up tremendously,” 

The purpose of the project is to replace pipes that are 50-60 years old and have experienced breakage. According to the press release, the installation of new pipes will improve water service and provide residents with reliable, safe and low-cost water. 

“We have two six-inch water lines and we are going to replace both of them with one eight-inch water line,” Nester said. “We should have better flow in the area. It should also help decrease the maintenance required because the old pipes were cast-iron, which were brittle and break more [easily].”

Faulconer Construction Company — Charlottesville’s contracting company — plans to set up a detour around the work zone. It will span University Avenue to the intersection with Jefferson Park Avenue and continue to the intersection of Emmet Street on the south side of McCormick Road Bridge. 

Access to the Emmet Street Garage will available at the Newcomb Road entrance. 

“We are aware of the City’s project on Emmet Street and are in the process of determining any operational changes due to the construction (i.e. University Transit Service routes),” University Spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn said in an email.

De Bruyn added that any changes to transportation resulting from the project will be communicated to faculty and students once a decision is finalized.

According to Nester, the closure is not planned to extend into the second semester as the increased volume of students and traffic will make such heavy construction infeasible. 

Though most students will be away from the University during this time, international students, participants in Inter-Sorority Council recruitment, athletes and January Term students and professors may be living on Grounds for all or part of January Term, which begins Jan. 2. These groups will be most impacted by the closures and should plan for detours and potential construction-related hazards. 

“At this point in time, we do not have a specific plan for [students staying on Grounds] but we know that Central Grounds Parking Garage is there, and it is a hub, so we made sure that access is provided through Newcomb Road so that parking garage can still function,” Nester said.

Additionally, Nester said students and faculty staying on Grounds are not expected to experience any changes to plumbing or water quality during this time.

Churches on Emmet Street are also expected to be affected by the closure, especially for Christmas services and mass.

“I know there are a couple of churches but they have side access on Lewis Mountain and Thompson [Road],” Nester said. “As far as parking, there should not be any changes.”

The U.Va. Alumni Association on Emmet Street is advised to use side entrances such as those on Lewis Mountain Road during this time.

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