The Route 29 Advisory Panel, the group responsible for helping guide improvements along Route 29 north in Albemarle County, met Thursday afternoon at the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research in Charlottesville to see where things stand, where they're going, and what needs to happen next.
The panel met for the third time Thursday to review scheduling for the Route 29 improvement projects and figure out the best way to keep the public in the know.
"Not everyone is going to receive their news by television or by the website or by word of mouth, so we've got to figure out, ‘OK how can we reach these people so that they won't be surprised when this construction starts?'” said Lou Hatter, communications manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Clear communication is key to keeping the Route 29 improvement projects on schedule. Panel members are taking every business's concerns into consideration.
"When's construction starting? How's it going to impact me? Is it going to keep people from being able to get to my business? And all of that is understandable,” said Philip Shucet, a panel advisor.
Albemarle County supervisors wants to make sure residents have easy access to the information they need.
"We'll be getting some materials today that are kind of like one-page cheat sheets that follow the different projects so we can kind of start handing those out as well when people have questions,” said Albemarle County Supervisor Brad Sheffield.
One major question that will soon be answered is who is going to construct this massive project? "VDOT will begin to receive responses from companies or teams of companies that may be interested in bidding on this project,” said Hatter.
VDOT will award a $230 million contract to the most qualified firm.
"Once that contractor is on board we'll have a schedule of designs to review and provide input into,” said Shucet.
County supervisors know once construction begins next year, all of their hard work will be worth it. "People will be able to move faster. Little small tweaks will actually help eliminate congested points and even the stopping that goes on,” said Sheffield.
The panel has recently involved the Albemarle County Police Department traffic unit in the planning meetings to keep them informed as to how traffic may be affected as the project proceeds.
Virginia Department of Transportation Press Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE – The Route 29 Project Delivery Advisory Panel will hold its third meeting at 2 p.m. today at the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research, 530 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903. The meeting agenda is available on the Route 29 Solutions page on VDOT's web site. The presentation that will be used during today's meeting will also be posted on the web page before the meeting begins.
The meeting is open to the public to observe the discussions, but public comments will not be taken during the meeting. The public can submit their comments on line at www.Route29Solutions.org. Members of the public may access a web link to watch the meeting live online. The meeting will also be recorded and posted online for the public to view at a later time.