A major, weekslong highway closure is less than a month away, and the Virginia Department of Transportation wants drivers to plan ahead.
A crash-prone stretch of U.S. Route 29 between Warrenton, Virginia, and Gainesville, Virginia, will be closed near Vint Hill Road beginning around noon on July 8. The closure of the northbound lanes could last through early August.
The southbound lanes, and the Vint Hill Road intersection, will remain open.
Northbound long-distance drivers will be directed toward U.S. Route 17 and Interstate 66, from Warrenton to Marshall, for up to three weeks while the northbound lanes are regraded and rebuilt. Local traffic will be detoured onto Route 605.
“This is the top-identified safety improvement needed in VDOT’s Culpeper district,” said VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter.
The work will be focused on a hilly portion of the northbound lanes between a small run near Riley Road and the Vint Hill Road (Route 215) intersection, where more than 100 crashes have occurred since 2013.
“The problem we’ve had is there are several hills on the approach to that intersection that limit the sight distance for drivers as they’re heading north toward Prince William County,” Hatter said.
The vertical profile of northbound Route 29 near Vint Hill Road provides sight distance for an equivalent 35 mph design speed, well below the 60 mph design speed of the corridor, VDOT said in a press release.
Chemung Contracting was awarded the $3.5 million design-build contract by the Commonwealth Transportation Board earlier this year. Hatter said the contractor’s expertise with quarry operations and monetary incentives means that the closure could lift sooner than the Aug. 2 deadline.
“They have a lot of experience with rock removal, and demolition, and the kind of excavation work that is going to be done out there,” Hatter said.
Site preparation on the median strip began last week. Periodic single lane closures will occur during off-peak hours until the full northbound closure in next month.
Access to private driveways will be maintained through the closure.
A public meeting where residents can learn more about the project is scheduled for Tuesday evening from 6-8 p.m. in Warrenton.
Approximately 50,000 vehicles use this section of the corridor every day, including significant commercial truck traffic. The project was timed to coincide with summer vacation, so as not to interfere with school bus routes.