CTB Hears Recommended Improvements for Rt. 29

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May 13, 2014

The Commonwealth Transportation Board heard plans for recommended improvements to Route 29 on Tuesday at a meeting in Albemarle County.

The recommended changes -- which amount to $203 million -- were the result of multiple meetings held by a panel tasked with coming up with ways to alleviate congestion along the corridor.

The panel's facilitator, Philip Shucet, took all the input and came up with a "hybrid" plan of recommended changes for presentation.

Shucet says the first part of the plan is to fully fund four projects currently included in VDOT's six-year improvement plan. Those projects are the widening of Route 29 North, Hillsdale Drive Extension, the Best Buy ramp and an adaptive traffic signal system.

$18.8 million dollars have been allocated for those four projects. To fully fund them, which is being recommended, would require an additional $43 million.

The recommended plan also includes $145 million in new construction.

Shucet says the total package is $3 million over budget.

Albemarle County supervisor Jane Dittmar says changes could come quickly.

"The MPO, which is the decision-maker as far as funding, will need to approve this, but we just heard that our MPO chair has written a letter formally saying that they would support it, so I don't think it will stall, providing the CTB supports it in June, then we'll see progress made almost immediately," said Dittmar.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board will consider the recommendations at its meeting on June 17 in Richmond.

"If it is approved by the MPO and funded by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, these are things that can be done and started within the next year, frankly," said Shucet.

Here's a breakdown of the recommended project costs, according to VDOT:

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

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