Business entities sue VDOT over Rio interchange

A lawsuit wants to halt the grade-separated interchange at Rio Road and Route 29. Image courtesy VDOT. A lawsuit wants to halt the grade-separated interchange at Rio Road and Route 29. Image courtesy VDOT.

The owners of Albemarle Square and a local Wendy’s have hired state Senator and former attorney general candidate Mark Obenshain to file a federal lawsuit against VDOT and Federal Highway Administration officials over the planned grade-separated interchange at Rio Road and Route 29.

The suit, filed March 6, alleges that VDOT failed to get a required environmental impact study and split Route 29 improvements into separate projects to skirt the study and go forward with the $84 million interchange, which is bitterly opposed by a number of businesses in that area.

Opponents of the Meadow Creek Parkway unsuccessfully sued on a similar basis, claiming the project was improperly split into segments to avoid an environmental impact study.

Albemarle Square is owned by Rio Associates LP. Its agent, Bob Hodous, declined to reveal who the owners of the LP are. Wendy’s is owned by Mimosa LLC, and its contact, Frank Birckhead, did not return phone calls from C-VILLE.

The suit says VDOT plans to use eminent domain to take some of the plaintiff’s properties, which they claim is a violation of their constitutional rights. They’re seeking an injunction until the environmental studies are done.