May 28, 2014
A package of planned changes to Route 29 is getting the green light from some local leaders.
The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) voted Wednesday to support the Route 29 Advisory Panel's $203 million proposal to relieve congestion on the corridor.
This vote moves the project one step forward when it comes to securing funding, but it isn't really a surprise that the MPO is deciding to back it.
When this plan was first presented earlier this month, MPO chair Kristin Szakos wrote a letter to Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne saying the MPO had strong support for the recommended improvements.
Wednesday night’s unanimous vote solidifies that.
On Tuesday, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted 5-1 to throw their support behind the plan.
Two of those supervisors are also voting members of the MPO.
Before the MPO vote, there was a public hearing for residents.
Some concerns were raised about the grade separated interchange that's included in this plan at Rio Road and Route 29.
It has been the most controversial part of the plan so far.
Some people worry businesses will be negatively impacted and could possibly shut down because of limited access to their shops due to a grade separation.
MPO member Mac Lafferty's response to that was that it will eliminate one of the deadliest intersections along Route 29.
The MPO's vote Wednesday was not the final piece of this plan.
Another key element in securing funding for this project is getting the Commonwealth Transportation Board on board. They are scheduled to vote on June 18th.