The Route 29 Project Delivery Advisory Committee reconvened Thursday to discuss updates on a project which aims to reduce congestion and improve safety and movement of traffic from Route 29 onto the Route 250 Bypass, as well as improve the flow of traffic continuing south on Route 29 — or Emmet Street — into Charlottesville.
The panel consists of local government representatives, business owners and environmental groups which represent the communities along the Route 29 corridor. The group is working to assist the Virginia Department of Transportation with project delivery and issues ranging from design and construction to traffic maintenance and public safety. The Route 29 Solutions Package was approved for funding by the Commonwealth Transportation Board Jun. 18.
“This project will improve the southbound entrance ramp from Route 29 onto the Route 250 Bypass by adding an additional lane on the ramp and an associated merge lane on Route 250 westbound to the Barracks Road exit," the press release reads. "It also adds an additional southbound lane to Route 29 by widening the median from just south of Hydraulic Road to the Route 250 Bypass interchange.”
The project is estimated to cost $17.15 million.
The panel’s initial recommendation consists of three main projects: the widening of Route 29 from Polo Grounds Road to Towncenter Drive, the extension of Berkmar Drive from Hilton Heights Road to Hollymead Town Center and the grade separation of Rio Road and Route 29.
Utility relocation began Sunday, with a series of nightly lane closures. The first set of closures is affecting the median break opposite the Comfort Inn and Raising Cane’s. This will be in effect until Friday. The lane closings are in effect from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.
The next set of closings will occur from Oct. 12-17 in the crossover at Holiday Inn, just south of Hydraulic Road. The third closure, from Oct. 18-24, will affect the intersection of Emmet Street and Angus Road.
Advisory Panel Facilitator Philip Shucet said he is on the phone with project managers every Monday morning to ensure the project stays on schedule.
The panel will hold a design public hearing on the three design-build projects from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 14 at Albemarle High School. At that hearing, members of the public can learn about the projects, talk with members of VDOT involved with the project and comment on the proposals.
Officials expect to complete the project on or before Oct. 30, 2017. However, VDOT is providing an incentive package for early completion of the Rio Grade-Separated Intersection, which would be no later than Sept. 2, 2016.
The Project Delivery Advisory Panel meetings are open to the public, and information about the projects is posted on VDOT's website.