Charlottesville Breaking News

Left is right: Zion Crossroads to get innovative interchange

The ever-increasing traffic at Zion Crossroads, where U.S. 15 and Interstate 64 meet, means that it's time for a new interchange, and what the Virginia Department of Transportation has planned is a French import, a novel traffic configuration called the "diverging diamond."

Two selling points are that it can handle more traffic than a traditional diamond, and it eats less land than a cloverleaf. The odd part is that it makes vehicles momentarily drive on the left side of a divided highway. While that's not something to which Americans are accustomed, a VDOT video seems to make it look smooth, as there are no left turns across traffic.

America got its first diverging diamond in 2009 in Missouri, now home to three of them, while Utah and Tennessee each have one. A public hearing on the design for the one planned for Zion Crossroads was held June 22, with the $7.95 million, federally funded project slated to get under way next year.

In the world of unconventional traffic devices, Charlottesville's Meadowcreek Parkway was once considered for a roundabout-centric interchange after then County Supervisor Forrest Marshall delivered a $27 million earmark from Washington in 2005. But in 2008, concerns over cost, land,...

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How are you traveling this summer?

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The week in review

Latest in the Western 29 Bypass resurrection: City Council votes 4-0 June 20 to oppose the controversial roadway. After a more than 10-year hiatus, the bypass revived June 8 at the end of a late-night Albemarle Board of Supervisors meeting.

Biggest foreclosure: "Preservation development" Bundoran Farm in North Garden goes on the block June 29, the Daily Progress reports.

Biggest paychecks: A power failure results in around 800 Charlottesville employees who have direct deposit getting paid twice– and many of those get an email warning not to spend the extra money, according to the Progress.

Biggest bathroom break: Ethyle Cole Giuseppe, 92, donates $100,000 to build a permanent bathroom at Greene County Community Park, the Greene County Record reports.

Most rabid: An infected raccoon sinks its teeth into the leg of hiker Kalie Sealander, 22, while in Shenandoah National Park, according to NBC29. Sealander has finished her rabies shots....

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Charges against renowned UVA hand surgeon dismissed

Back in April, Dr. Abhinav "Bobby" Chhabra, 42, an orthopaedic surgeon and co-director of the new University of Virginia Hand Center, was arrested at his Glenmore home on assault charges stemming from a March 22 incident involving Nancy Heister of Troy, Virginia, a nurse and patient care coordinator at the Center. But at a 1pm hearing June 22 in Albemarle County General District Court, those charges were dropped in less than half a minute.

Chhabra and his wife, who was smiling at her husband throughout the brief afternoon hearing, defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana, and Will Hendricks, Albemarle County assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, were present in the empty courtroom, but Heister, who had Chhabra arrested for allegedly assaulting her in the hallway at the Center, was not present. Calls to Heister have gone unanswered.

"The decision not to proceed was made with the victim," says Hendricks. Asked why that decision was made, Hendricks declined to comment.

According to a UVA Medical Center spokesperson Peter Jump, Heister no longer works at the Hand Center, but is still employed at the Medical Center. Asked if Chhabra or the Medical Center would be releasing a statement regarding the alleged incident, Heister's relocation, or the court decision, Jump said the Medical Center would have nothing to add.

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Riding the rails: It's the only way to fly

news-metro-reagan-nationalAirportNobody brings rail closer to the airplanes than Reagan National and Metro. PHOTO BY HAWES SPENCER

It's late afternoon, and I'm standing inside New York's JFK airport with over a dozen of my favorite relatives, when we suddenly learn that the flight back to Reagan National has been canceled due to a severe weather system in the nation's capital. Even worse, the storm has knocked out the rest of the day's flights as well.

As frequent travelers know, when weather grounds planes, there's no free ride and no free hotel–- just the prospect of lining up a set of hotel rooms (each of which can easily run $500/night in Gotham City) or scrambling to find a squad of large, luggage-ready rental cars and enough drivers willing to launch a five-hour (traffic-willing) trek to the DC area.

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