Route 29 Advisory Panel Weighs Options for Reducing Traffic
The Route 29 advisory committee made progress Thursday toward determining what should be done to fix traffic congestion.
The committee met at the Virginia Department of Transportation’s transportation center in Charlottesville to hash out the options.
The panel began the day with nine options on the table for improvements to the corridor. Their task is to develop a plan that comes in under the $200 million budget, and earlier than the four-year timeline.
After some discussion, the panel whittled its decision down to two major options. The first would be to extend local roads Berkmar and Hillsdale drives running adjacent to Route 29. That's something that had originally been proposed as an alternative to the Western Bypass.
"The parallel roads and other improvements that were part of Places 29 are all in the packages that are moving forward, at least some of the packages moving forward,” said advisory board member Trip Pollard.
The second option would be an expressway running through the center of the corridor. Charlottesville representatives feel this option might not be cost-effective.
"There's the idea of filling in the median and putting express lanes in there. That's something that I'm not sure can be done within the cost limits that we've been given,” said Kristin Szakos, advisory board member and Charlottesville city councilor.
There are also several projects to consider that already have funding from the city and county.
"There's a number of other projects that are in the six-year plan that need some additional funding, and those are ones that the community has already agreed to, the Commonwealth Transportation Board has already agreed to,” said Pollard.
With all these decisions, members say they need to be careful to stay under budget.
"We were given a very clear charge that we needed to stay within $200 million, plus the money that's already been appropriated by public transportation, so I'm hoping we will be able to do that as we come down to the wire,” said Szakos.
The panel's final meeting will be on April 24. After this, they will be required to issue a recommendation to the state Board of Transportation.
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