If hell truly is other people, then they all pass through the same intersection on the way there. Just take a glimpse at the spot where Hydraulic Road meets Route 29 on Google Maps: It looks like Satan’s pitchfork, with Commonwealth and Brandywine drives as a pair of prongs that run parallel to our city’s largest asphalt middle finger.
Routinely one of our city’s most reliable spots to introduce your bumper to another driver’s fender, the Hydraulic/29 intersection is more than a place for rear-ending—it’s a place for ends, period. It’s the spot where shortcuts go to die, whether you’re hopping off 250 before you hit the bypass or you’re playing those Seminole Trail drivers for chumps by taking Commonwealth drive around “the bad parts.” The bad parts? Are you kidding? If you envision the ring formed by Rio Road and Hydraulic, the diagonal of Route 29 cuts right through it and forms the universal sign for “No.”
Abandon all hope, ye who enter, for this intersection employs double right- and left-hand turns that capitalize on the mistakes of the untrained and the anxious! Cling tight to your gods and lap belts, for this unholiest of crosses is overrun multiple times each year by UVA students and parents, who feel that Route 29 is the only righteous path to Wahoo country! (Try Route 20, for crying out loud.) “Road rage,” you say? I say, You haven’t the slightest. The Hydraulic/29 intersection makes “road rage” seem as quaint as picnic baskets and roller skates. (And now, thanks to a recent Board of Supervisors vote, your nasty and negligent moments will be caught on film.) I’m reasonably sure that this intersection is in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
Maybe “Best Intersection to Sell Life Insurance” was a misleading headline. I might opt instead for “Best Place to Unleash Your Inner Mad Max.” I know that it’s impossible to avoid, folks, but follow your gut, your conscience, the universal sign for “No,” and steer clear.