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Route 29 Charlottesville Bypass

Project activities suspended as of March 2014

Project at a Glance

Begin Date
October 1984

Est Completion Date
Project activities suspended in March 2014

$244.6 million

Lengths and Limits
6.2 miles, from Route 29 to Route 29/250 Bypass

Skanska-Branch / JMT


Lou Hatter

Current Status

All activities on the Route 29 Charlottesville Bypass project were suspended in March 2014 following notification from the Federal Highway Administration that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement would be required before the environmental process could be completed. 

The current Six-Year Improvement Program, approved June 18, 2014 by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, removed most of the funding from the Bypass project and reallocated that money to the projects that were recommended by the Route 29 Solutions initiative.

Project Purpose

The Route 29 Charlottesville Bypass will improve efficiency and safety along the existing Route 29 corridor. It will also address a gap in ongoing improvements to Route 29 through Central Virginia and provide an alternate route for regional traffic that will avoid the existing developed corridor along Route 29 north of the city of Charlottesville.

The road will bypass 13 traffic signals along the Route 29 corridor, reducing the time for motorists traveling from north of Charlottesville to destinations along Route 29 south of Charlottesville. It will also provide an alternate route for motorists traveling to the University of Virginia or UVa Medical Center.

Public Involvement

VDOT held a citizen information meeting on Thursday, May 23, 2013, to provide the public an opportunity to review and comment on three design concepts for the southern interchange of the Route 29 Bypass project.

The meeting was held at the Holiday Inn Charlottesville (University Area) from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in an open forum format. The hotel is located at 1901 Emmet St., Charlottesville, VA 22901.

Written and oral comments were taken at the meeting. Written comments were also submitted by June 3, 2013, to Mr. Harold Jones, PE, Project Manager, VDOT Culpeper District, 1601 Orange Road, Culpeper, VA 22701, or by email to Please put “Route 29 Charlottesville Bypass Southern Interchange” in the subject line.

Design Features

The Western Bypass will be constructed as a four-lane divided, limited-access highway. The road will run 6.2 miles from its northern terminus at Route 29 north of the South Fork Rivanna River to the southern terminus on the Route 29/250 Bypass at Leonard Sandridge Road and the North Grounds of the University of Virginia.

Access to the new highway will be limited to the north and south termini, with no intermediate access points to crossroads or properties adjacent to the highway.

Project History

A western Route 29 bypass around Charlottesville was originally proposed in 1979. Engineering and environmental work on the project began in late 1984 and the location was approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in 1990.

Acquisition of right of way for the project began in 1991 and continued until 2001. No additional right of way has been purchased since then. VDOT owns 36 properties that are currently leased and occupied.

In 1998 a lawsuit was filed challenging the project, alleging that the environmental impact review of the project violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In 2001 the federal court ruled in favor of VDOT on the suit but required the agency to complete a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement addressing the road's impacts on the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir and the mitigation to minimize those impacts. That document was completed and accepted by the Federal Highway Administration in 2003.

In 1996 the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) inserted language into its Transportation Improvement Program that prevented additional funds from being allocated to construction of the Western Bypass. That language was removed by the MPO Policy Board in July 2011.

Since the MPO changed its position on construction of the Bypass VDOT has been reviewing the project to determine what work must be done to move it to construction. That work will include a re-evaluation of the environmental documents to ensure that impacts to air, noise, cultural resources, hazardous materials and endangered species have been considered and mitigated.

The project plans will also be reviewed to ensure that they meet all current standards. The northern terminus interchange is yet to be designed and the design of the southern interchange is also being reviewed. VDOT's project team is currently working with two community task forces made up of local residents and chaired by members of the county's Board of Supervisors to gather input and comments on the roadway's design and other issues.  

VDOT plans to advance the project to construction using the Design-Build process. A Request for Proposals for the project was advertised on Sept. 27, 2011. Information about the RFP can be found via the link below.

Remaining right of way will be acquired by both VDOT and by the design-build project team. Right of way around the northern interchange will not be acquired until the design is finalized. 

Information and Resources

Federal Highway Administration letter to VDOT, February 18, 2014 (99 KB)

Route 29 Charlottesville Bypass Financial Plan Adobe Acrobat PDF (9.3 MB)

Materials from the Sept. 27, 2012, citizen information meeting on the environmental assessment:

Environmental assessment, Aug. 23, 2012 (4 MB)

Technical reports

Skanska-Branch/JMT Technical Proposal, June 20, 2012 Adobe Acrobat PDF

Skanska-Branch/JMT Price Proposal, June 20, 2012 Adobe Acrobat PDF

Financial Plan, June 20, 2012 Adobe Acrobat PDF (314 KB)

FHWA Concurrence, June 20, 2012 Adobe Acrobat PDF (88 KB)

Seven Firms Submit Price Proposals for Route 29 Bypass, May 11, 2012

Extension Announced for Route 29 Bypass Price Proposals, May 3, 2012

Seven Firms Submit Technical Proposals for Route 29 Bypass, April 18, 2012

10 Firms Respond to Route 29 Bypass Proposal, Dec. 6, 2011

Route 29 Meeting Draws 100 Industry Representatives, Oct. 6, 2011

Route 29 Bypass: Design-Build Request for Proposals

Southern Terminus Concept Drawing, Sept. 26, 2011  Adobe Acrobat PDF  (6 MB) 

Northern Terminus Concept Drawings, Sept. 26, 2011

(Note: These concept renderings were developed based on recommendations of the Northern Interchange Task Force and may not reflect the design developed by the design-build project team. These concepts do not meet the current RFP design requirements.) 

Presentation to Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, Sept. 7, 2011  Adobe Acrobat PDF  (554 KB)

Project Location Map  Adobe Acrobat PDF  (570 KB)

(Note: This map includes the North Grounds Connector/Leonard Sandridge Road as part of the project. That road was built by UVa and completed in 2006.)

Environmental Impact Statement, 1993  Adobe Acrobat PDF  (27 MB)

Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, 2003

  • Part 1 (pages 1-248) Adobe Acrobat PDF  (28 MB)
  • Part 2 (pages 249-488) Adobe Acrobat PDF  (22 MB)

Route 29 Bypass Design Plan, 1999  Adobe Acrobat PDF  (1.4 MB)
(Note: This roll plan of the entire project is subject to change; dimensions are in metric measure) 

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Page last modified: Nov. 9, 2017