Businesses along Route 29 are bracing themselves for big change. A day after Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board unanimously approved funding to alleviate congestion along the Route 29 corridor, employees worry it will affect their livelihood.
Simona Holloway-Warren has been selling cars at Colonial Auto along Route 29 for about 25 years and says she is worried changes on the road will put her out of work because no one will want to drive through construction.
“Customers stop coming and when customers stop coming the employer is not making enough money to pay the employee,” said Holloway-Warren.
Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce President Timothy Hulbert said that he is absolutely thrilled with over $130,000 of those changes of the $230 million approved by the CTB - including synching lights and an additional Amtrak train through Charlottesville to Lynchburg.
“Our chamber has long supported about $130 million of improvement projects on highways in our region which yesterday were approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. We are very pleased with that,” said Timothy Hulbert, President of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce.
But Hulbert says he does not favor the $80 million designated to fund grade changes at Rio Road and a study for similar changes at Hydraulic.
“Spending $80 million on a bad idea is a bad idea twice over,” said Hulbert.
“The overpass that could come at Rio could make it difficult to get into businesses along this whole corridor,” said Holloway-Warren.
Employees like Holloway-Warren are not alone. Hulbert estimates a total of 600 businesses and $800 million will be affected along Route 29.
Hulbert says over 45 percent of tax revenue for Albemarle comes from the part of Route 29 that faces change.
He says that every stage of the grade changes require local approval and vetting. As those specific changes come to light, business leaders and commerce say they will be watching closely.
Read the full list of projects that will affect traffic in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area and their price tags here.
Businesses Worried about Future Construction on Rt. 29More>>