Rio/29 Most Dangerous Alb. Intersection

At the Daily Progress, Jessica Kitchin has reviewed traffic accident reports and found that the Rio Road intersection with Rt. 29 is the most dangerous in town:

Rough police numbers show that, through Dec. 1, there were 55 accidents at the Rio Road and U.S. 29 intersection this year. The Hydraulic Road and U.S. 29 intersection was second with 26 accidents, followed by Airport and Proffit roads and U.S. 29 with 19 accidents and Woodbrook Drive and U.S. 29 with 18 accidents. The U.S. 250 and Route 20 intersection in Albemarle rounds out the top five with nine accidents this year.


Observation of the intersection during 30 minutes of rush hour traffic showed that not a single rotation of the traffic lights was without at least one driver moving on a red signal.


In a 30-minute time frame, drivers in at least three cars appeared to slam on the brakes at the Rio Road and U.S. 29 intersection because the car in front of them stopped at a red light.

The good news is that the traffic lights on 29 have been synched up. The bad news is that doing has all but eliminated flexibility for intersecting roads; that Rio light lasts just 10 seconds, including the yellow.

10 thoughts on “Rio/29 Most Dangerous Alb. Intersection”

  1. The traffic lights have been synched up?? That’s a joke. The need to add a timer to extend the light at Rio crossing 29. Both when going straight accross and making the turns. Same with extending the timer on making left turns (both north and south) from 29 to Rio.

    They need a system at that intersection- where lanes making left hand turns (be it north and south or east and west) are making the turns at the same time.. that is.. north and south lefties get a shot.. then east and west (rio) lefties get a shot.

    That intersection is a joke. And a sad one at that.

  2. The traffic lights have been synched up?? That’s a joke.

    Next time you drive 29, you’ll notice. I hadn’t realized it until somebody pointed it out to me. Every time I drive 29 from the city line to Polo Grounds, I hit a maximum of one light. It used to be I’d hit several lights or, on a bad day, damned near all of them. Now it’s smooth sailing all the way through.

  3. I’m sorry. Yeah I was up that direction (29 north) the other day, and cleared almost all the lights, I still got hung up at the Rio light, but it seemed that the wait going north was shorter. I’ve never really had (or noticed) the north south problems that you mentioned. I guess I’ve been lucky.

    But my main beef was with the crossings.. Historically (thru most of the 1980’s and half of the 1990’s) I’ve always been stuck on Rio trying to go straight or make a left turn (East or West), sitting thru a gazzillion lights.

    I’m glad they’ve fixed the north south problems.. but they really really need to be working on the Rio East and West timers. That’s where my patience runs thin. Until they fix those problems, as far as I’m concerned, it’s still not fixed.

    And I wonder how the sync will effect those trying to make left turns (coming from the 29 north or 29 south).

    Anyway that’s my 2 cents.

  4. I think it just proves how much an interchange is needed at that intersection. Isn’t the Rio/29 intersection one of the largest in the state of Virginia?

  5. UVA08 is right – we need grade-separated interchanges at all of these intersections – or at least the 29N ones. I use the 250/20 on pantops all the time and it’s bad, but not as bad.

  6. Speaking of 29… the updated Albemarle Place is up and running. This center is going to be massive to say the least. Albemarle Place will end up being a city within a city. In my opinion the center is going to be EXTREMELY successful. Opening date is summer 2007. In case you are wondering that’s before construction starts on the parkway.

  7. Speaking of traffic lights, I hope someone can ‘splain me this: When you’re on Barracks Road, heading downtown, and you get to that new light at the top of the hill (the intersection before Rugby Avenue), the light remains red for inbound drivers while it turns green for outbound drivers. Why? (And which government official is responsible for these decisions, and how can we contact him or her?)

  8. If I’m picturing the right set of lights (I don’t go through there often,) the light you are referring to is synched with the one for Rugby Rd. just ahead. When that light allows left turns onto Preston from Rugby Rd, the light you are referring to allows those same cars to continue through the light at Rugby Ave. (what you referred to as “outbound” I believe.) The Rugby Ave. light stays red for those heading downtown (“inbound”) until the Rugby Rd. light also turns green to head downtown.

    I guess that sticks it to the guy who wants to turn right onto Rugby Rd … he should be allowed to go through the Rugby Ave. light and then turn right onto Rugby Rd. If I had to guess, and it’s just a guess, due to the poor visibility around that curve between Rugby Ave. and Rugby Rd. someone decided it would be safer to leave Rugby Ave. red heading downtown while the Rugby Rd. light was red for that same traffic to help prevent people coming around that curve and finding cars backed up at the Rugby Rd. light.

    But as to who made the decision? Hard to say.

    Now if you are saying that the traffic going downtown on Preston has a green light at Rugby Rd. while the Rugby Ave. light for that same traffic is red, then my theory goes out the window.

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