The final project in what’s known as Route29 Solutions is making its way through the last steps of the planning process. Last week, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board got an update on the status for a future project that includes five separate components at the intersection of U.S. 29 and Hydraulic Road.
“We’ve kind of gotten to a situation right now where we’re over budget based on updated estimates and some of the things that we’ve looked at it,” said Sean Nelson, the administrator of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Culpeper District.
Work continues on plans to renovate and expand Buford Middle School in Charlottesville to accommodate the city’s sixth graders as part of the first phase of a major reconfiguration. The School Board got an update on the project Thursday night.
In April, Charlottesville City Council adopted a budget for FY23 that includes $2.5 million toward reconfiguration with $66.3 million in funds projected for FY24. That gave enough of a greenlight for the project to move forward.
“After the City Council approved the project and moved forward, we worked out the next phase and started working about May 1,” said Wyck Knox, a project manager with VMDO. (review the presentation)
In July, more than 110,000 passenger rides were taken on Amtrak trains whose cost is partially covered through the Commonwealth of Virginia. Amtrak released figures for July this week and that month was the first with two new roundtrip services including an additional train between Roanoke and D.C. that serves Charlottesville.
Around 27,375 riders took the Roanoke route in July, up 27 percent from 21,654 in June. The year-to-year increase 72.1 percent for a service that also stops in Alexandria, Burke Center, Manassas, Culpeper, and Lynchburg. An expansion to Christiansburg is planned for the next few years.
The July 2022 numbers were up 31.4 percent over the last summer before the pandemic. A roundtrip service to Newport News was suspended for a portion of the shutdown, but has been resumed.
“Every route saw an increase in ridership with Newport News topping the list,” reads a press release from Amtrak.