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November 30, 2018

Route 29 advisory panel likes improvement concepts

It’s progress. Slow as a turtle swimming through peanut butter, but progress.
— Supervisor Holder Trumbo
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Work to make long-awaited safety and traffic-flow improvements along Route 29 between Warrenton and New Baltimore could begin in late summer 2020.

A citizens’ advisory panel, which began meeting about four months ago, on Thursday endorsed concepts to enhance the Vint Hill Road (Route 215) and Route 600 intersections. The latter has Beverleys Mill Road on the west and Broad Run Church Road on the west.

The Vint Hill Road plan also calls for removing two hills on northbound Route 29, just south of the intersection.

The proposed improvements to the busy, four-lane highway could take about three months to complete, according to Virginia Department of Transportation Chief Engineer Garrett Moore.

About 50,000 vehicles a day travel that section of four-lane highway. VDOT and Fauquier representatives have struggled to reach a consensus on how to improve the congested commuter and commercial corridor.

Proposed changes, which Mr. Moore hopes will cost about $5 million, would be phased, beginning with those related to the Vint Hill Road intersection.

Besides removing two hills to improve northbound Route 29 “sight distance,” the plan’s key features would:

• Add a second turn lane from Route 29 south onto Vint Hill Road, which would taper to one lane after passing through the intersection.

• Add a second turn lane from Vint Hill Road onto Route 29 North. A signal would be installed at there to control that traffic.

• Enhance the existing turnaround to include a deceleration lane and a traffic signal just south of Vint Hill Road.

Key proposed changes to the Route 600 intersection include:

• Construction of a turn lane from Broad Run Church Road onto Route 29 North, adjacent to The Fauquier Bank branch.

• Extension of the existing turn lane onto Route 29 South from Broad Run.

• Move median break and remove another south of Route 600.

The concepts also recommend extending the Route 29 medians at both the Vint Hill and Route 600 intersections.

VDOT still must address stormwater and environmental issues associated with the proposed improvements.

And the agency must determine the potential effects proposed upgrades to the Vint Hill Road intersection and removal of hills on northbound Route 29 just south of the intersection could have on the adjoining, historic Buckland Battlefield.

“It’s progress,” Supervisor Holder Trumbo, whose Scott District includes the approximately three-mile stretch of Route 29 under review, said of the concepts. “Slow as a turtle swimming through peanut butter, but progress.”

Mr. Trumbo, who has pushed for Route 29 improvements for two decades, backs the plans.

The three-term supervisor has talked to merchants and residents and received no pushback on the proposals.

“They are not objecting, don’t see significant problems,” he said. “They’re saying, ‘We can live with it’.”

“I’m very satisfied with the solutions,” said advisory panel member Ike Broaddus, who co-owns Old Bust Head Brewing Co. at Vint Hill. “I’m very optimistic that, at the end of the process, we’ll have the results we’ve been seeking for more than a decide.”

Mr. Broaddus estimates he has served on five Route 29 study groups in the past dozen years.

He credits Mr. Moore for providing focus and keeping the panel on track.

“I’m very impressed with the way he has moved this process along,” Mr. Broaddus said. “He runs a good meeting, is a good listener and is effective at developing solutions that meet the needs of the community.”

The nine-member panel includes Fauquier and Prince William county representatives, merchants and citizens, has met four times.

It plans to meet three more times: Jan. 24, Feb. 28 and March 28. Meetings will take place 1-3 p.m. in the Warren Green Building.

VDOT’s review process also requires a design public hearing before the state will approve the project, Mr. Moore said.

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.





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sshrader · December 1, 2018 at 1:34 pm
Holder Trumbo replied to an email that I sent to clarify that Beverley's Mill rd will still be able to make left hand turns and cross over 29.
The changes made to the turn lanes from Broad Run Church Rd and Beverley's Mill Road will likely improve the flow of traffic from those roads on to 29 but will have little impact on the overall issue of such heavy and fast traffic on a stretch of road that has so many neighborhoods, driveways, and businesses that people must turn in to and out of.
sshrader · November 30, 2018 at 9:14 am
"• Enhance the existing turnaround to include a deceleration lane and a traffic signal just south of Vint Hill Road."
Why is this needed? For the small business area directly across from the light?

No left hand turns or straight across access from Beverley's Mill Road onto 29 and Broad Run Church Rd? The purposed turn around area for anyone coming from Beverley's Mill Road is right after the soft curve that greatly limits visibility of oncoming traffic. Anyone coming from Beverley's Mill Rd that needs to continue across onto Broad Run Church will have to turn south onto 29, use the median to head north AND cross both lanes of traffic. This is a terrible area to have to do that due to the curve and the length of 29 from the median to Broad Run Church Rd is not long enough to easily cross over two lanes of traffic to the far right hand turn lane. Past iterations of a similar idea had a stop light for any cars needing to use a median to turn back onto 29.

So much time has been spent on trying to make little fixes to 29. These fixes, besides improving sight lines at Vint Hill, will likely not be major improvements for safety or traffic flow. The availability of land for a bypass is unlikely but the only way to fix the issues of such high traffic through an area of highway so heavily used by residents, businesses, and schools is to find a way for commuter traffic to have an alternate route (BYPASS- A bypass is a road or highway that avoids or "bypasses" a built-up area, town, or village, to let through traffic flow without interference from local traffic, to reduce congestion in the built-up area, and to improve road safety.) The creation of a service district right along 29 was so short sighted and has only added to the problem.
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