University Transit System buses will follow modified routes during the 2012-13 academic year after the Virginia Department of Transportation reduced the maximum weight limit on the McCormick Road bridge over Emmet Street to 8 tons.
Significant deterioration of the bridge's deck was discovered in late May and shielding was placed on the underside of the bridge to protect motorists on Emmet from debris. VDOT officials said the 8-ton limit will be in effect until permanent repairs are made or the bridge is replaced. Engineers are evaluating the bridge and will determine the best option to restore all traffic to the span.
Specific impacts and tips for making transit connections can be found here.
The UTS routes that are being relocated are the Northline, the Inner and Outer University Loops, the Central Grounds Shuttle, the Colonnade Shuttle and the Hereford/IRC Shuttle.
The Green Route and Stadium Hospital Shuttle are not affected by the change, and service will remain the same on the west end of McCormick Road from Alderman Road to the bridge.
Two new UTS stops have been created on McCormick Road at Thornton Hall and the Physics Building, which should shorten the walking distance to destinations on the south end of Central Grounds, such as Clark, Kerchoff, Halsey, Maury, Minor, Bryan, Brown and Monroe halls.
UTS has eliminated the bus stops at Monroe and Garrett halls and at Alderman Library and the Chapel. This portion of Grounds will be served by two stops along Emmet Street, at the U.Va. Bookstore and at the tennis courts, as well as a relocated bus stop on the eastbound side of University Avenue.
The University Avenue stop at the tennis courts has been relocated to the University Avenue/Newcomb Road intersection to shorten the walking distance for most routes to destinations on the north end of Central Grounds, such as the Alderman and Clemons libraries. The Outer University Loop coming from Rugby Road toward Central Grounds will continue to use the regular westbound University Avenue bus stop located near the Culbreth Road intersection. A new stop has been added on Culbreth Road near the parking garage, creating a transit link to the Arts Grounds.
The Charlottesville Area Transit's free trolley route will not travel on McCormick Road during the 2012-13 academic session. Passengers may catch the trolley on Alderman Road and eastbound University Avenue.
The modified routes were created to provide maximum access with minimal walking distance, said Rebecca White, director of Parking and Transportation..
The steel-beam, concrete-deck McCormick Road bridge was built in 1931 to connect central Grounds with Scott Stadium, extending over the then-service road that is now Emmet Street. The bridge was widened in 1951 as the University spread westward and the McCormick Road residence halls were constructed. The bridge also received major repairs in 1981.
The bridge is inspected every year according to National Bridge Inspection Standards.
The bridge carries as many of 2,000 pedestrians per hour, as well as transit vehicles, U.Va. service vehicles, bicycles and emergency equipment, according to a 2010 report prepared for the University by Carol R. Johnson Associates, Inc., landscape architects from Boston.