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US 29 Sweet Briar Interchange. Sweet Briar, Virginia.

The complex interchange connects the Madison Heights bypass to existing US 29 and separates the bypass traffic from the local US 29 Business traffic. The bypass project received the ACEC/VA Honor Award.

The unique interchange design provides directional ramps connecting the bypass to existing US 29 to the south while also providing full access to the Town of Amherst to the north. The design includes providing a continuous US 29 Business Route through the interchange to completely separate the local low speed traffic from the high speed freeway traffic on the bypass. The project includes the design of three bridges over the bypass and the relocation of one mile of Norfolk Southern mainline track with two railroad bridges. The project was noted by VDOT to be one of the most complex projects in Central Virginia. The interchange is located in the floodplain of Rutledge Creek requiring extensive analysis for the extension of existing and proposed box culverts.

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Project Highlights


The roadway design included 1.25 miles of four lane divided freeway for the bypass and one-mile of US 29 Business. The interchange consisted of six ramps with complex geometry to vertically connect the ramps to 29 Business while the bypass passes under the railroad.


The project relocated approximately one mile of mainline Norfolk Southern (NS) track to accommodate the proposed interchange. Design includes two NS rail bridges the largest a 452’ three-span skewed structure with simple deck plate girder spans of 133’ – 150’ – 169’.

Water Resources

Rutledge Creek traversed the project through a series of three proposed or existing box culverts; double 10’x8’ box culvert at Sweet Briar College entrance, extending a double 6’x8’ box culvert, finally through a 1,000’ double 8’x8’ box.


The three highway bridges were two-span continuous steel girder bridges with spans ranging from 137’ to 203’, and skews ranging from 0 to 45 degrees and designed for seismic performance category B. Route 624 bridge over the Route 29 Bypass includes a jointless deck bridge with semi-integral abutments.


Sequence of construction plans required the NS track relocation be constructed first, then the completion of US 29 Business and the interchange. Design ensured the impact to traffic on existing US 29 was minimized during construction, while providing continuous access to Sweet Briar College and the Town of Amherst.