Rio, Rt. 29 Surveyed to Assess Planned Changes

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Virginia Department of Transportation surveyors were out Wednesday on Rio Road and Route 29 assessing changes approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in June.

This comes as the new Route 29 Project Delivery Advisory Panel gets ready to meet for the first time Thursday. The 12-member group will advise VDOT on the Route 29 projects approved last month by the CTB.

Albemarle County Supervisor Brad Sheffield, a member of the panel, says it is part of a new approach.

“We are trying to make sure we are getting all the stakeholders at the table during the actual process so that if people understand that if there is a delay that is not just being communicated by the media so that people can find out before,” Sheffield said.

The group's 12 members include business leaders and government officials. In a telephone interview, facilitator Philip Shucet told NBC29 that the first substantive issue the panel tackles will likely be the elevation near Rio Road, a project that has emotions running high. “The concerns that the business folks have are very real concerns. They are certainly very real to them,” Shucet said.

Shucet says he is optimistic that they will strike a balance between traffic, and public and business interests.

The panel will offer feedback to VDOT and get answers to questions. It has no decision-making authority.

“There are questions about ‘what is this design going to look like?’ ‘What is this?’ that I think this committee will be fed that information that they can turn around and pass on,” Sheffield said.

The panel’s first meeting starts at 2 p.m. at the Virginia Center for Transportation Education and Research. It is open to the public.

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