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April 11, 2019

State formally OKs Rt. 29 “Cut the Hills” proposal

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Half the Route 29 traffic volume in this area — about 25,000 northbound vehicles a day — will use detours during the construction this summer.
This location has a significant crash history and consistently ranks as the top-targeted safety need in the Culpeper District.
— Virginia Department of Transportation
“Cut the Hills” Schedule
• April 10: Commonwealth Transportation Board approves Chemung Contracting Corp.’s $3.54-million bid to remove two humps from northbound Route 29 approaching Vint Hill Road.

• July 8-Aug. 2: Closure of northbound Route 29 lanes affected by construction.

• Sept. 30: Project completed.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
As expected, the Commonwealth Transportation Board on Wednesday awarded a $3.54-million contract to remove two dangerous hills along about a half-mile section of northbound Route 29 near New Baltimore.

Only one construction team — Chemung Contracting Corp. and Volkert Inc. — bid on the “Cut the Hills” project.

Based in Pine City, N.Y., Chemung has offices in Orange and Prince William counties. Mobile, Ala.-based Volkert has offices in Springfield and Virginia Beach.

Work to remove the humps should start July 8 and be completed Sept. 30, according to VDOT.

The portion of northbound Route 29 affected by the project would be fully closed from July 8 to Aug. 2. Detours would redirect traffic accordingly along the highway, which in places carries 50,000 vehicles a day.

The project will require closing the northbound lanes of Route 29 from just north of the entrance to Battlefield Baptist Church to just south of the Vint Hill Road intersection, a distance of about one-half mile.

During that time, northbound traffic will detour using Route 17 north from Warrenton to Interstate 66 at Marshall. Local traffic will detour using Broad Run Church Road (Route 600) and Vint Hill Road. The closure will not affect southbound traffic and drivers will be able to turn onto and from Vint Hill Road during the closure.

The state’s “design/build” process doesn’t require it to receive multiple bids to award a project contract, Virginia Department of Transportation Engineer Mark Nesbit explained in an interview last month.

“As long as we have one bidder that meets the (technical) criteria and meets the budget, we can accept one bid,” Mr. Nesbit said.

The transportation agency has budgeted almost $4.7 million for the project — an amount that also must cover construction and inspection management and other related costs.

Because of the hills, “this location has a significant crash history and consistently ranks as the top-targeted safety need in the Culpeper District,” VDOT stated in a press release Tuesday.

From 2013 to 2017, there have been 113 crashes in area’s northbound lanes, according to VDOT.

Besides Fauquier, the Culpeper District includes eight other counties.

VDOT officials believe removing the humps will improve sight distance and therefore make safer that portion of Route 29 just south of Vint Hill Road.

A citizens’ advisory panel, which began meeting last August, has endorsed the “Cut the Hills” and Route 29 improvements to 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 east.

The panel, which also includes Fauquier and Prince William county representatives and merchants, has focused on ways to enhance safety, traffic flow and access along an approximately three-mile stretch on Route 29 between Warrenton and New Baltimore.

Appointed by the governor, the 17-member state transportation board sets administrative policies for the state’s transportation system, allocates funds for highway projects, seaports, airports and public transportation.

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300. 
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RGLJA · April 13, 2019 at 2:52 pm
@Silii, I've been driving that route almost daily since the 70's. It was not a terrible problem until the stoplight arrived, which backs up stopped traffic into a blind spot for following traffic. Tons of rear end collisions there, and some were fatal. It has been the number one safety problem in the area for a very long time. But I fully agree with you about the project schedule. Re-opening those Northbound lanes in less than a month? Wow. I'll believe it when I see it.
Silii · April 12, 2019 at 4:36 pm
The truth, nothing but the truth. Please. From VDOT. How long will this project really take? VDOT is never within contract timelines. Will the contractors be required to work 24/7? Probably not. Will this job go way beyond published timelines? It's worth a bet, a big one, that they won't. I agree with Tony Bentley. I've been driving 29 N and S for almost 40 years and it didn't used to be a problem. Drivers now just don't care and they're waaaaay too busy on their devices. To the credit of the county cops, I did see a speed trap on 29 N on Thursday. First one I've ever seen. Oh well, fix the blind hills and drivers will find another way to endanger others.
Tony Bentley · April 11, 2019 at 6:33 pm
"to remove two dangerous hills along about a half-mile section of northbound Route 29 near New Baltimore."

The "HILLS" aren't dangerous it's the idiots that drive over them. The hills have been there forever and haven't hurt a single being.
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