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Cville Council to Talk Traffic Flow Technology on Rt. 29 - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Cville Council to Talk Traffic Flow Technology on Rt. 29

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Charlottesville City Council will consider spending nearly half a million dollars to shave off drive time on Route 29. 

Albemarle County is getting ready to install new technology that will synchronize 23 stop lights along its stretch of the busy highway. The city doesn't want drivers to hit a red light crossing out of the county. 

Chris Salone shares her trick to drive down 29 without getting slowed down by too many reds. "You just try to keep going to whatever lane is clear as much as possible and hope for the best." She continued, "There's a lot of times you sit at a light and there's only one person that comes through the other side, and you're just sitting when there's no traffic," Salone said. 

In-sync adaptive traffic signal technology promises to change how drivers travel through the county on 29. 

"The more things we can do to efficiently move traffic in the corridor, the better off everyone will be," said Albemarle County Supervisor Dennis Rooker. 

Intersection cameras adjust the lights in real time based on congestion. 

Stopped by two of 17 lights going the speed limit, the drive on 29 from Airport Road to Hydraulic Road takes about 13 minutes and 30 seconds. That's during the midday lunch time rush. 

The company that created the technology says coordinated signals can cut that drive time in half. 

"It will increase the capacity of exiting 29 substantially," Rooker said.

The city of Charlottesville is considering installing the same system on its stretch from Hydraulic Road to University Avenue synchronized with the county's. "Most people that drive 29 don't know when they come in the city or when they leave the city, so it makes sense to have one seamless system through there," said Jim Tolbert, director of Charlottesville Neighborhood Development.

Salone supports speeding up travel time on 29. "A camera to decide, ‘OK, it's time for everyone to go now' would probably be a good thing," she said. 

The city would use capital improvement funds to tag along on the county project. Albemarle's stretch of 29 could have the synchronized system in place by fall.

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