Much-needed road project in Charlottesville area reaches important milestone

A new underpass for through traffic on Route 29 north of Charlottesville has been opened to traffic ahead of schedule, unclogging a major intersection in the area. (© Bill Sublette/SELC)

Rapid progress is being made on a package of targeted transportation improvements SELC has championed to address chokepoints along the existing Route 29 corridor in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area, and a major milestone was reached this week—twice as fast as scheduled.

Work is already far enough along on a new underpass at the Route 29 and Rio Road intersection that it was opened to traffic a month and a half ahead of the September 3 deadline the Virginia Department of Transportation had set. Through traffic is now completely separated from local traffic at this intersection, smoothing flow at a busy confluence that will play an increasingly vital role in the area’s transportation network as other new projects that will interconnect there are completed.

Another important improvement to unclog the entrance ramp from southbound Route 29 onto the Route 250 Bypass was finished earlier this summer, and traffic is already moving better at what has been a notorious bottleneck.

These are two pieces of a larger package of projects that SELC has strongly advocated for many years and played a significant role in moving forward. Other pieces include two parallel roads—the Berkmar Drive Extension and Hillsdale Drive Extended—that will give local drivers alternatives to using Route 29 when heading to destinations along the highway. Construction of Berkmar is well underway, and the contractor working on Hillsdale was recently given its official notice to proceed. Both projects, as well as the ongoing Route 29 widening work (another piece of the package), are scheduled to be complete by October 31, 2017.

In addition, the package of improvements includes adding a second daily train to the popular line that crosses through Charlottesville on its way between Lynchburg and Washington, D.C.  SELC continues working with the state and our partners to help bring this key commitment to fruition.

SELC’s work to advance this set of common-sense traffic fixes to an existing highway corridor is part of our work to promote more sustainable transportation solutions throughout the Southeast and its special communities like Charlottesville. Making our existing transportation infrastructure work as efficiently as possible helps avoid building costly and destructive new highways. 

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