Rt 29 Recommended Improvements Presented to Transportation Board
A recommendation to improve the Route 29 corridor in the Charlottesville area was made to the Commonwealth Transportation Board Tuesday. The recommendation is a package of improvements, including a grade-separated intersection, completion of a parallel road network to the east and west of Route 29 and widening of a four-lane section in Albemarle County. At the direction of Governor Terry McAuliffe and under the guidance of Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne, an advisory panel of local officials representing communities along the Route 29 corridor was formed to provide input on solutions. The panel's facilitator, Philip Shucet, developed the recommendation based on discussions and input from four panel meetings that were open to the public. Layne said, "I charged the panel to take the first step toward finding a solution that addresses the two major issues facing Route 29: mobility along the corridor and congestion within the corridor, specifically in the Charlottesville region. The first step involved organized discussions among local officials that provided the information needed for Shucet to develop a recommendation for the CTB's consideration. The recommendation represents a major stride toward improving transportation in the corridor." The recommendation includes additional money to complete four projects already partially funded in the current Six-Year Improvement Program as well as three new construction projects and partial funding to add additional Amtrak train service between Lynchburg and Washington, D.C. The total cost of the proposed improvements is $203 million. Projects included in the recommended package and the estimated costs are: Six-Year Improvement Program projects (additional funding to complete) Route 29 widening, Polo Grounds Road to Town Center Drive, $18 million Hillsdale Drive Extension, $16 million Route 29/250 interchange improvements, $6 million Adaptive traffic signal technology at Route 29 intersections, $3 million Proposed construction projects (total estimated cost) Hillsdale Drive Extension, Hydraulic Road to Holiday Drive, $10 million Berkmar Drive Extension, $54 million Route 29/Rio Road grade-separated intersection, $81 million Preliminary engineering only Route 29/Hydraulic Road grade-separated intersection, $10 million Amtrak regional service, Lynchburg to Washington, D.C. Fund 25 percent of an additional trainset, $5 million Layne added, "I want to recognize the members of the advisory panel for their service and thank Shucet for his leadership. This was a difficult assignment and I recognize that the recommendation is short of what some wished to achieve. As I said at that first meeting, this is not the final solution but it represents progress toward a solution that is long overdue." Virginia Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick said, "The recommendation, if approved by the CTB, represents a major investment in the Route 29 corridor. VDOT stands ready to develop and deliver these projects to ensure the continued safety and efficient movement of people and goods along this vital highway."The CTB will consider the Route 29 panel's proposal for inclusion in the annual update of the Six-Year Improvement Program, which will be on the agenda at the board's meeting June 17 in Richmond.