VDOT Celebrates Opening of Route 29 Interchange

| July 9, 2015 | 0 Comments | News
The VDOT ribbon-cutting at the Route 29 Interchange in Gainesville.

The VDOT ribbon-cutting at the Route 29 Interchange in Gainesville. Elected leaders and VDOT representatives cut the symbolic ribbon at Atlas Walk.

The Virginia Department of Transportation celebrated the opening of the Route 29/Linton Hall Road interchange in Gainesville with a ceremony and ribbon-cutting Thursday morning.

The interchange project was one of the biggest in all of Virginia, costing $230 million. VDOT says the changes will help residents, commuters and businesses and make the area much safer as the Route 29 overpass and Linton Hall/Gallerher Road overpass now runs over the Norfolk-Southern Railroad. Additionally, Route 29 was widened to six lanes with several driveway entrances and two traffic signals eliminated between I-66 and Virginia Oaks Drive.

Bill Cuttler, Northern Virginia District Construction Engineer with VDOT, noted the interchange is a “multi-mobile” project. At one time, the railroad that crossed over the road caused accidents, but no more. The new design will allow the railroad to expand. It also includes paths for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Cuttler

VDOT’s Northern Virginia Construction Engineer Bill Cuttler explains that the interchange project has made traveling in the area much safer.

He thanked the leadership in the county, the Prince William Transportation Department and the Prince William Police who worked with VDOT throughout the project.

New Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne credited Virginia Governors Tim Kaine, Bob McDonnell and Terry McAuliffe for supporting the project, which he said was “worth every penny.”

Although many road projects were placed on hold during the recession, Layne said McAuliffe picked the right project to support in the Gainesville Interchange. He said it is great to have VDOT “moving and delivering roads.”

Between the widening of I-66 from 234, and this interchange project, Layne said that a half a billion dollars have been spent on Gainesville’s access to I-66, not including construction on Routes 55 and 15.

Sen. Charles Colgan told the crowd that he had “never seen VDOT look better.” He remarked that the nation could be proud of its engineers.

State Sen. Richard Black called it a “magnificent project.” He praised Shirley Construction calling them “an asset to the region.” He also thanked Secretary Layne, saying he applied money where it was needed, rather than where it was politically desired. Black also contrasted the successful I-66 interchange with the flailing 460 project.

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Keynote speaker Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne said three governors made the interchange possible.

Del. Bob Marshall said Atlas Walk looked very different from when he first took office in 1992. He said everyone would be standing, “in an open field with just one housing development across the road.”

He said it was Sen. Colgan who had the foresight to separate the I-66 widening in 2006 and this interchange project, which ultimately helped them to retain funding. He thanked Colgan for helping in securing the funds, “before some other part of the state, like Hampton Roads, would have stolen it.”

“This is a wonderful day for Prince William County,” said Board of County Supervisors Vice Chairwoman Maureen Caddigan, who filled in for Chairman Corey Stewart who was out of town.

Caddigan said the project involved a lot of people the Board, including former supervisors John Stirrup (Gainesville) and Wally Covington (Brentsville). It also involved hard work from Sen. Colgan, whom she said Prince William County will miss.

“I’ve been told this is the biggest project in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” she said, saying that the county supervisors are “very, very proud.”

Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson explained the residents needed this project.

Colgan

Sen. Charles Colgan thanked VDOT for sucessfully completing the interchange project.

“As someone who does travel this, and someone who is married to a commuter,” she said she and the residents of Brentsville are “very grateful.”

She said the light at Route 29 was somewhat of a “Berlin Wall” for western Prince William County dividing eastern and western Gainesville, but this interchange will hopefully connect the communities.

Brooke Stark spoke in place of Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland, who was unable to attend. She thanked VDOT for fixing the “previously gridlocked intersection” that served 57,000 motorists a day. She said it would greatly improve lives of the people living in the area by creating jobs, boosting businesses and allowing parents to spend more time with their children.

Lastly, Scott Muir, Government Relations Representative for Norfolk Southern called the interchange a “huge safety enhancement” that would benefit motorists, residents, railroad investors and clients.

He reiterate the words of Jimmy Buffett at Jiffy Lube Live last year when he said, “Thank you, VDOT.”

After the speeches, representatives gathered for a ribbon-cutting.

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Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson explained that residents will really appreciate the quicker traffic flow.

Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe explained the interchange opening is huge for the county.

“Ten years ago, the 66/29 Interchange was the worst bottleneck in NOVA, probably one of the top five bottlenecks in the state. This is a solution that has been needed in the region for years,” Nohe said.

He said the area is already a thriving business center and community center due to decisions made before he was on the county board. However, the new configuration should make it easier for consumers to come to Gainesville from all over the region.

© 2015, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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