UPDATED: Rt. 29 Advisory Panel to Meet in Charlottesville

March 26, 2014

An advisory panel will meet in Charlottesville on Thursday, March 27, to help the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) work on recommendations for improvements to the Route 29 corridor in the Charlottesville area.

The advisory panel will offer local input to help identify solutions to the congestion on the Route 29 corridor in our area.

"I expect that in this first meeting we will sort of be throwing things to the wall to see what sticks and have more discussion as we move forward," says Kristin Szakos from the Charlottesville City Council. "I think there's some real varied needs up and down the corridor and I'm sure we'll hear those."

Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane said, "Local input and support are crucial, but we must also consider the needs of the other communities along this vital transportation artery. This group brings all those interests to the table as the Commonwealth develops recommendations for improvements that will benefit those communities as well as the entire state."

The 10-member panel led by Philip Shucet will include officials from Albemarle County, the cities of Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Danville, the towns of Culpeper and Warrenton, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Charlottesville and Lynchburg Chambers of Commerce and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC).

"I think an important piece of common ground that will be uniting everyone at that table is the desire to find solutions to route 29," says Morgan Butler, senior attorney for the SELC.

There is a budget of $200 million for the project and the recommended solutions are expected back in front of the Commonwealth Transportation Board by May 14th. The president of the Free Enterprise Forum doesn't believe that time-frame is long enough to get a solid plan to deal with traffic concerns along 29.

"I believe this panel has been assembled by design to come forth with some solution that will be a band-aid for the US 29 issues and will likely not make a huge difference for the challenges that exist on us 29," says Neil Williamson.

"I think to be stepping back before things get underway and to be complaining about the process is not helpful," says Butler. "Let's get in there, let's all take a productive approach, roll our selves up and let's come up with solutions for route 29."

The meeting is open to the public, but public comments will not be taken during the meeting. Instead, residents can submit their comments online at www.Route29Solutions.org.

The meeting, which begins at 1 p.m., will be held at the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research at 530 Edgemont Road in Charlottesville.

It will also be live-streamed at www.Route29Solutions.org.

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