Route 29 improvements
Improvements planned for Route 29 from Linton Hall Road to I-66 in Gainesville. (Image courtesy of VDOT)

A commuter asked us via Twitter Wednesday morning if we had any information on progress with the new interchange on Route 29 in Gainesville. He saw variable message boards reporting that changes would occur this coming weekend.

In fact, that was the original plan for launching the major transportation improvement of the summer in the D.C. region. The Virginia Department of Transportation is on the verge of opening a new bridge that will separate Route 29 drivers from the Norfolk Southern tracks that cut across this important commuter route just southwest of the Interstate 66 interchange in the middle of Gainesville.

The next phase of the project will put Linton Hall Road over Route 29 and the railroad tracks. That should be done by the end of 2014. The Gainesville project is one of the biggest road jobs in Virginia, and should remove a bottleneck that has slowed commuters, shoppers and long-distance travelers for many years.

This area also is an important route for people going to the Jiffy Lube Live venue a mile away, and it was the prospect of crowds for the sold-out Jimmy Buffett concert on Saturday night that caused VDOT to postpone the traffic switch from this coming weekend to next.

So avoid that area next weekend, because traffic delays of as much as an hour are very likely during the switchover operation. From 9 p.m. Friday to noon Sunday, only one lane in each direction will be open on Route 29 and Linton Hall Road, and some turns will be restricted.