By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
Chip Boyles, Executive Director of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC), updated the Greene County Board of Supervisors at their December 10th meeting on the Route 29 construction progress and scheduling – in Albemarle County. The total funds allocated by for the Route 29 project is $250 million which is comprised of a number of different projects. Inversely the by-pass project has now been killed and all that is left to do is to offer the property back to the last owner – who VDOT purchased the property from (in many cases).
The Best Buy ramp project is to add another on ramp to the Route 250 bypass heading west. Next, Hillsdale Drive and Berkmar extensions will be extended parallel to Route 29. The next project is the one closest to Greene County. Route 29 will have an additional lane in both directions from Hollymead Town Center to Polo Grounds Road with either a bike lane or sidewalks on each side. In addition, improvements to the signal process so that changes can be made to the timing of the lights to improve traffic flow on Route 29.
The biggest single project is the Rio Road / Route 29 interchange at a price of $85 million. It will be a grade separated interchange and three existing stop lights will be eliminated on Route 29.
The contract will be awarded in February with construction starting in late 2015. All construction on Rio/US29 GSI will be completed by no later than Dec. 2, 2016
The timeline for this project provides 103 days will have the east / west traffic on Rio Road closed. The start date for the closure is May 23, 2016 and the targeted completion date for the closure is September 2, 2016. Progress on this project can be tracked at www.Route29Solutions.org.
In order to get the project done early, an incentive of over $8 million is being offered to the contractor if the project is finished early and inversely there is a penalty if the project goes over the timeline.
Mr. Boyles addressed that the Hydraulic Road / Route 29 has more traffic and therefore logically it would have been the first intersection to be done. However, this project requires that some existing structures come down and additional parcels need to be purchased, therefore making it much more complex than the Rio Road project.
Supervisor Davis Lamb, Ruckersville District, asked about the pushback of a group of businesses against the Rio Road project. Mr. Boyles said that the project is going forward and that complications will be dealt with as they happen. The Board thanked Mr. Boyles for the update.
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Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.