February 18, 2019
Route 29 “Cut the Hills” project will start in July
File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Rerouting traffic during construction will represent a major challenge along this section of Route 29, which handles about 50,000 vehicles a day.
A hilly half-mile stretch along northbound Route 29 near New Baltimore should get a lot safer this summer.
If all goes according to plan, removing two humps from the busy, four-lane highway just south of Vint Hill Road (Route 215) and related work would start July 8 and be completed by Sept. 30, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
VDOT engineers believe eliminating the hills will improve northbound Route 29 “sight distance” for motorists approaching one Fauquier’s most dangerous intersections.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board hopes to award a contract April 10.
The portion of northbound Route 29 affected by the “Cut the Hills” 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.
As a backup plan, VDOT has prepared a nearly identical construction schedule to complete the project in 2020.
But the transportation agency remains confident it can get the job done this summer.
“It’s definitely feasible,” VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter said of the 2019 construction schedule. “That’s what we’re aiming for. The 2020 schedule is if we run into something unforeseen.”
VDOT first advertised the project Feb. 4. Contractors have until March 15 to submit “design and build” proposals for review.
Besides providing design and build documents, contractor proposals must address a range of related issues, including:
• Right-of-way acquisition.
• Environmental compliance.
• Utility relocation and design.
• Quality assurance and quality control.
• Construction management.
The cost of the project remains unknown, according to VDOT officials.
A citizens’ advisory panel, which began meeting last August, has endorsed the “Cut the Hills” as well as 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 along Route 29 between Warrenton and New Baltimore.
The panel plans to meet at least two more times: Feb. 28 and March 28. Meetings will take place 1 to 3 p.m. in the Warren Green Building in Warrenton.
Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.
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vipermike98 · February 20, 2019 at 8:49 pm
This is going to be yet another VDOT failure... Like the "round about" in front of Wal-Mart.. lol.
But at least we get the chance to pay for it. Keep practicing VDOT.
JDwarrenton · February 20, 2019 at 12:20 pm
Fauquier County Econ. Devel. Authority (EDA), who developed Vint Hill, and the County, who approved the 300 houses developed there, should have paid for and built the hill removal years ago. The 300 houses built there send 3,000+ cars through that intersection every day. The business added after the base closure, also at the hands of the EDA, and these 300 houses, caused the development that caused the need for the traffic light in the first place.
Had a private developer developed Vint Hill, the county would have made them fix the intersection at their own expense.
Tony Bentley · February 18, 2019 at 5:20 pm
Anyone that uses the Opal interchange knows how well VDOT designs it's interchanges and projects. Fix the Opal area before starting another FUBAR project.
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