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Wouldn't you like a better view of the Western Bypass?'s video poster

Help Cville Tomorrow build 3D models of the U.S. 29 Western Bypass and see the plans in a way we can all understand! Read more

pledged of $7,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on August 10, 2012.

Help Cville Tomorrow build 3D models of the U.S. 29 Western Bypass and see the plans in a way we can all understand!

About this project

The Project

The U.S. 29 Western Bypass has been the subject of heated debate for the past 20 years. The almost $250 million dollar, 6.2-mile road, which has been designed to alleviate congestion on U.S. 29 through Charlottesville, is now scheduled to become a reality with the first shovels hitting the ground in 2014.

But what is it going to look like? How will it actually function? What can you do to shape the outcome? While the 2012 design-build contract has been awarded and the plans have been released to the public, the 323 pages of plans have left a lot of people scratching their heads.

We want to make sure our community understands this road by building a 3D model of it in Google Earth.  


Charlottesville Tomorrow is a non-profit community news organization dedicated to increasing government transparency and accountability by providing clear, non-partisan information, with the confidence that an informed public will make decisions that will protect and build upon the distinctive character of this area.

We have been building 3D models in our community for several years - providing a visual to help everyone understand complex projects and community issues.  We have built roads, dams, gas stations, commercial developments, and even the Charlottesville Downtown Mall.  In fact, we have even developed a 3D model for the Western Bypass in its now-obsolete 1997 design. 

We partner with a local Charlottesville architect named Bob Pineo who creates amazing 3D models using Google Sketchup and Google Earth.  Bob's models include a package of images and a video with moving traffic that explains how the interchanges will work. Charlottesville Tomorrow ensures that the model is an accurate and fair representation of the highway plan, and as a result the public gets a real-world understanding of the bypass.

You can help!

While we are ready to start building the Western Bypass in 3D to be ready for public input meetings this coming Fall 2012,  we need your support to engage Bob on this project. Bob’s work will give our community and elected officials the understanding of this complex project that they need to influence the design and ensure we get the best bypass possible.

Bob is a local architect, and his time is valuable. He’s ready to dedicate the next 3-4 weeks of his life to this project, and how much we raise will dictate what he’s able to produce! Here’s the breakdown of how your tax deductible contributions will help:

If we raise $7,000
, we’ll get the bare minimum: still images of the updated 3D models in real-world Google Earth terrain.

Make that $10,000, and we can have more details from the plans added to the models (e.g. guard rails, shoulders, lane striping), a movie highlighting the northern and southern interchanges, and the changes made from the 1997 plan.

And if we can pull together to raise $12,000, we can produce all the above and Bob can throw in moving vehicle animations so we can convey the exact traffic movements!


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    5 backers

    We’ll thank you all over the place! In our weekly email newsletter, on our Facebook page, and in our Twitter feed.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    11 backers

    We will mail you our brand new bumper sticker! Whether you slap it on your car, your bike, or your laptop, the message “Shop Local, Eat Local, READ Local” says that you support community news!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    15 backers

    We will mail you a Charlottesville Tomorrow T-Shirt that says you support community news!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    6 backers

    We’ll treat you to a lunch with Executive Director Brian Wheeler and Senior Reporter Sean Tubbs, who have been covering the Bypass in-depth for the last year. They’ll tell you everything you wanted to know about this complex project.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    0 backers

    You’ll be the first to see the new 3D model. We’ll be hosting a private party for donors with refreshments, Q&A with Bob Pineo, and an advance viewing of the materials.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    You obviously get the importance of 3D visualizations. The best way we can think to thank you is to have Bob throw some of his talent on a model of your choice. That’s right, Bob will take the building you specify -- your home, your business, your wedding location, your favorite eating establishment -- and he will build it for inclusion in Google Earth. Think how much fun you will have inviting folks to your next event with a map link to the 3D model.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (31 days)