The blasting that caused southbound traffic on U.S. 15/29 to be stopped periodically since July 9 has concluded, the Virginia Department of Transportation reports.
Northbound traffic on the road is still closed, and will be until Aug. 2 unless work is completed sooner. A contractor is leveling two hills and improving the road grade in an area south of the intersection of U.S. 29 and Vint Hill Road (Va. 215). Traffic has been diverted since July 8.
Lou Hatter, communications manager for VDOT's Culpeper District, said that "the project is going well. Chemung is making really good progress."
With the conclusion of the blasting on Monday the work in the coming days will involve excavating the material from the hills, filling the sag areas and regrading the northbound lanes to the final grade. Then the construction of the new northbound lanes will be done, Hatter said.
The intersection of Vint Hill Road and Broad Run Church Road continues to be a congested area as drivers use it as a pass-through alternative while northbound U.S. 29 traffic can’t go any further than Riley Road.
Hatter said, "We have experienced some significant congestion at high traffic times at Va. 600 (Broad Run Church Road) and Va. 215 (Vint Hill Road). We're working with the Sheriff's Office to have deputies at that location during peak traffic times to assist with traffic control. We deployed temporary rumble strips on Vint Hill Road on both sides of that intersection as well as message boards to slow traffic on Vint Hill Road.
"We are recommending that drivers, rather than use the 600/215 intersection, take other routes a bit farther east. The distance may be longer, but there is far less congestion on those roads so the time spent may be less. For drivers coming from Warrenton, Va. 605 (Dumfries Road) to Va. 602 or Va. 603, or if they are farther north, continuing farther east on Va. 676 (Riley Road) to link up with Brookhill Parkway and then Kennedy Road back to Vint Hill Road. All those routes have less traffic and less congestion than Broad Run Church Road as it approaches Vint Hill Road.
“The high volume of traffic [at the Vint Hill-Broad Run Church intersection] includes motorists traveling through Fauquier County, combined with local traffic taking the detour route using Riley Road to Broad Run Church Road,” said Sgt. James Hartman of the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office.
He added that there were some issues with the traffic signal timing at the Beverleys Mill/Broad Run Church road intersection with U.S. 29. Deputies moved in at one point to direct traffic and VDOT looked at the light’s timing.
VDOT had spread the word about truck restrictions on local roads during the approximately three weeks of the northbound stoppage, but some drivers apparently didn’t get the word.
“Truck traffic became an issue during the first week, mostly due to signage and use of GPS,” Hartman said. “VDOT reached out to GPS providers prior to the start of this project, in an effort to show the restricted truck routes and attempted to do so again during the first week of the project. VDOT has also communicated with various trucking organizations and associations to emphasize the restricted routes.”
Hartman said that more signs have been installed to better delineate the restricted roadways; enforcement to stop violators has been stepped up.
Chemung Contracting Corp., of Mitchells, Virginia, is constructing the improvements under a $4.6 million design-build contract. The project in its entirety is expected to the completed by Sept. 30.
Fauquier County Supervisor Holder Trumbo, who represents the Scott District where the roadwork is being done, said during last Thursday’s supervisors meeting, “I appreciate the patience of drivers and I especially appreciate the efforts of the Sheriff’s Office. Please be patient, it’ll all end soon.”
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