Mon Sep 15 20:36:48 PDT 2014
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VDOT Work to Close Rt. 29, Rio Rd. Intersection
Colleen Quigley

Sept. 12, 2014 The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is warning drivers about a potential headache two years from now, during construction for the 29 Solutions Project. The intersection of Route 29 and Rio Road will be closed for a few months while work is underway. The $81 million makeover will turn one of Albemarle County's busiest intersections into a grade separated intersection, which VDOT Residency Administrator Joel DeNunzio says will ease congestion and make the road safer. However, there are going to be some bumps in the road for drivers. From May 23 to September 2 2016, several lanes of the intersection will be completely shut down. "From Rio Road east to west you would not be able to cross there, nor would you be able to make left turns from 29 northbound to Rio west, or 29 southbound to Rio east," said DeNunzio. According to DeNunzio, three north bound lanes and two southbound lanes on Route 29 will remain open, but drivers can only make right turns onto Route 29 from Rio Road. He says closing the intersection will speed up the construction process. "The access will be limited, but it will a small period of time compared to what it would be if we kept the intersection open," DeNunzio said. Shoppers say improvements along Route 29 have been a long time coming. Tina Mehta who frequently crosses the intersection to shop at the Indian Bazar along Rio Road West says she is willing to accept the temporary headaches. "I think it's going to be great for the long run. Even if it's inconvenient for the three months, I think people will appreciate what's being done." Several shop owners in the Rio West Shopping Center are not happy with the plans. Many, including Albemarle County Firearms manager Ron Alabanza, say the construction could hurt their bottom line. "The business we lose in that three months, when it opens is it going to be great yes. Will it make up for that three months of possible profit loss? Highly unlikely," said Alabanza.

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