Motorists using Route 29 will see several significant changes to the traffic patterns around the Rio Road intersection in early September. On Sept. 9 the intersections at Albemarle Square and the north entrance to Fashion Square Mall will close and the traffic signals will be removed. This is necessary to make room for roadway construction, which will begin shortly after. Both shopping center entrances will remain open for right-in, right-out movements.
At the same time the existing signals are removed temporary signals will be placed into service at Berkmar Drive and in the vicinity of Myers Drive. The median at Berkmar Drive will be removed to allow full movements, including left turns, from Route 29 onto Berkmar Drive and from Berkmar onto Route 29 north. The signal and median break near Myers Drive will allow northbound traffic only to make u-turns and return south toward Rio Road.
VDOT has begun an extensive multi-media public outreach and advertising campaign to inform all who use Route 29 of the changes to the traffic patterns and access to the shopping centers. A new page on the project website explains the changes and how to navigate the area after the crossovers and signals are removed Sept. 9.
State Bolsters Business Assistance Program
The state is kicking in $200,000 to expand Albemarle County’s $100,000 collective marketing campaign within its Business Assistance Program for the Rio Road grade-separated intersection. Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne announced the contribution at the July 16 Project Delivery Advisory Panel meeting.
Other elements of the county’s Business Assistance Program include a matching grant program, marketing and communications workshops, and one-on-one consulting and mentoring opportunities for businesses most impacted by construction.
The $200,000 in state funds will be targeted to the collective marketing campaign and will be managed by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission and its Route 29 business assistance subcommittee.
Links to Albemarle County’s Route 29 Solutions business assistance program are posted on the Route 29 website at Documents & Archives.
Route 29 Widening Under Way
Work has begun to widen Route 29 from four lanes to six lanes between Polo Grounds Road and Towncenter Drive. It’s the second of the three design-build projects to commence construction.
Crews are installing a barrier wall where the first phase of work will take place. Other construction activities include survey work, temporary lane striping, pavement milling and clearing and grading in the median. Nighttime lane closures will occur periodically throughout construction. Two lanes of traffic will be maintained in both directions during daytime hours. All existing access points will also be maintained.
Beyond construction, right-of-way appraisals are being developed and offers are being made to landowners.
The widening project includes a paved multi-use path on the east side of Route 29 from the southern end of the project to Hollymead Drive as well as reconstruction of some sections of the existing highway to eliminate sight-distance deficiencies and improve overall safety.