State approves major fixes for Route 29
Charlottesville, VA – Today the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) allocated $230 million to a package of smart, targeted solutions to relieve congestion on Route 29, including reallocating $200 million from the defunct Charlottesville Bypass proposal. The CTB’s decision, made as part of its approval of Virginia’s statewide Six Year Improvement Program, follows recent endorsements of the solutions package by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, the Charlottesville City Council, and Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization.
After the Federal Highway Administration warned in February that additional investment in the ineffective and decades-old Bypass proposal was likely unjustifiable, the state appointed an advisory panel—which included Trip Pollard, Director of SELC’s Land and Community Program—to develop other options. As a result of the panel’s work, a package of solutions has been advanced to improve the existing Route 29 corridor, and the solutions are closely aligned with the strategy that the Charlottesville-Albemarle community was pursuing prior to the ill-conceived resurrection of the bypass in 2011.
This package will help funnel local drivers—who make up the vast majority of traffic on Route 29—onto an enhanced local roadway network, giving them new options for reaching their destinations along the Route 29 corridor while freeing up capacity on the highway for those making longer-distance trips. By converting the congested Rio/29 intersection to an overpass, installing enhanced traffic light synchronization throughout the corridor, and addressing other bottlenecks along the highway, traffic will flow much more smoothly on Route 29. The package also includes full funding to purchase another train for the hugely successful passenger rail line between Lynchburg, Charlottesville, and Washington, D.C., advancing the much-needed addition of a second daily train on this route.
“I’ve been working on improvements to the 29 corridor for 20 years, and today’s vote is the most significant step taken to advance effective projects for all users,” said Trip Pollard. “SELC applauds Governor McAuliffe, Secretary Layne, the CTB, and local leaders for showing such strong resolve to improve Route 29 and to advance improvements that are far more protective of the community and the environment than the ill-conceived Bypass. This decision, and the priorities reflected in much of the rest of the plan adopted today, indicate a much more positive direction on transportation in Virginia.”