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July 29, 2019

Route 29 detours should conclude by weekend

Photos/Lawrence Emerson
With the hills removed, Route 29 northbound approaching Vint Hill Road (background), should reopen by Saturday, eliminating the need to detour about 25,000 vehicles a day.
Looking south: The contractor has begun to lay a base for new pavement on the heavily-trafficked highway.
“Cut the Hills” Project
• Purpose: Removal of two hills along northbound Route 29 to enhance visibility approaching the Vint Hill Road intersection near New Baltimore.

• Cost: $3.5 million.

• Contractor: Pine City, N.Y.-based Chemung Contracting Corp.

• Construction schedule: VDOT on July 8 shut about a one-mile stretch of northbound Route 29. As required by its contract, Chemung appears on track to reopen the affected lanes by midnight, Friday, Aug. 2, according to a transportation agency spokesman.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Barring foul weather, Route 29 northbound approaching Vint Hill Road will reopen Friday as scheduled, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

“It’s looking like it’s on track,” VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter said Monday morning of the “Cut the Hills” project.

The transportation agency on July 8 shut an approximately one-mile stretch of northbound Route 29 to remove two hills near the New Baltimore intersection.

The improvements will increase visibility approaching the intersection — one of the most dangerous in the area, according to VDOT officials. From 2013 to 2017, the agency reported 113 crashes in area’s northbound lanes.

In places, the busy highway carries an average 50,000 vehicles per day.

“At this point, it’s looks like” the lanes will reopen on Aug. 2 “later in the day, rather than earlier,” Mr. Hatter said.

Pine City, N.Y.-based Chemung Contracting Corp. on Thursday will install an “intermediate layer” of asphalt. On Thursday and Friday, workers will stripe lanes and install guardrails, “where needed,” he said.

After VDOT reopens the road, “people will see single-lane closures” of the affected project area from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. to allow workers to install the final layer of asphalt and permanent signs, paint rumble strips, grade roadside ditches and the like, Mr. Hatter added.

Under its $3.5 million contract with the state, the Chemung has until midnight Friday, to reopen the road.

For each day the road stays closed after Aug. 2, Chemung must pay VDOT a $16,000 penalty, according to VDOT.

However, VDOT will pay Chemung $16,000 a day for every day it can shave off next the deadline. The contract caps the total incentive payments at $110,000.

“They’re anticipating final completion the project in late August,” Mr. Hatter said of Chemung.

The contract calls for contractor to wrap up its work by Sept. 30.

During the closure, detours have directed:

• Local traffic to secondary roads in the construction area. The detour plans bans tractor-trailers and other trucks with more than three axles from Old Tavern Road, Blantyre Road, Beverley’s Mill Road, Broad Run Church Road and Rogues Road between Dumfries and Vint Hill roads.

• Northbound traffic to Route 17 north from Warrenton to Interstate 66 at Marshall, then using I-66 east to Gainesville.

Contact Don Del Rosso at or 540-270-0300. 
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awsmithjr · July 30, 2019 at 4:22 pm
Congratulations to VDOT, a great agency provide wonderful service to the community, for getting this important project completed on schedule.
Billy S · July 30, 2019 at 10:18 am
Chemung has done a near impossible job with the site and weather conditions they had to contend with. Rock, unbearable temperatures, rain and long days 7 days a week. You can say that they knew all this going in but to make it happen is a different story in this short time frame with liquidated damages hanging over their heads every step of the way. Hats off to all of them and I hope they make their deadline on a project that had to be done to save lives.

This has been a short inconvenience to all of us who travel on this road. 3 weeks have now come and gone quickly and the road will be open soon. The complainers are still out in force. Don't panic,there will be something new to complain about soon.
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