Governor celebrates milestone in Charlottesville-area Route 29 Solutions projects
Local residents and numerous officials recently celebrated the opening of two more major projects designed to alleviate traffic on Route 29: the Berkmar Drive Extension parallel road and the widening of the highway along a notorious bottleneck. These two projects follow last year’s completion of an overpass at a key intersection and upgrades to a heavily used off-ramp. Each is a component of the Route 29 Solutions package of improvements undertaken by the Virginia Department of Transportation to address congestion along the busy corridor.
The projects that make up the Route 29 Solutions have been included in local and regional transportation plans for years as part of an integrated strategy for improving the Route 29 corridor for both local residents and regional travelers. The Route 29 Solutions were finally funded and advanced to construction in 2015 after federal, state, and local officials decided that the outdated and destructive Western Bypass proposal would be an ineffective investment of taxpayer dollars.
Governor Terry McAuliffe and State Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane both were on hand to celebrate the achievement.
The completion of these projects marks a significant milestone in a long-running debate over Route 29 in this area,” said Trip Pollard, Director of SELC’s Land and Community Program. “We have been promoting improvements to this vital corridor for more than 20 years, and the McAuliffe administration, VDOT, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, and numerous citizens deserve enormous credit for making these major improvements a reality. Route 29 will now work better for all users, as local residents have new options for reaching the many destinations located along Route 29, and our friends downstate will have an easier trip through our area.
SELC strongly advocated for the Route 29 Solutions projects and served on the VDOT-convened panels of community representatives that recommended them and guided their implementation. VDOT incorporated many of the panels’ recommendations, which improved the design of the projects and helped minimize disruptions during construction. VDOT is using the panel approach again as it now looks to address another hotspot on Route 29 around its intersection with Hydraulic Road.
Making meaningful improvements to a busy highway corridor presents its fair share of challenges, especially a commercial stretch like Route 29 North,” said Morgan Butler, Director of SELC’s Charlottesville-Albemarle Project. “But with VDOT, the county, and community representatives all consistently gathering around the same table to share ideas and feedback, disruptions were kept to a minimum and these smart solutions are now on the ground. There is still more important work to be done, especially in the area around the Hydraulic/29/250 triangle, but the community now has a clear recipe for success.