Driving to RIC soon to be a little easier

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - There will be a new route to Richmond International Airport this time next year. Crews are working right now on a project to expand Airport Drive in eastern Henrico County.

It doesn't look like a road just yet, but, in a few short months, Airport Drive is going to take on a whole new dimension and your ride to the airport will get a whole lot easier.

It may not be as quick as flying, but the new airport connector road, an extension of Airport Drive, may make you feel as if you're flying.

It's a welcome sign to people like Mary Ellin Arch, Communications Specialist for Transurban, the company that runs the 895 toll road.

"You have to go through the lights and the railroad crossing so this will make it a lot faster," she said.

Not only does she use the light filled Laburnum Avenue now to get to the airport, she's also part of the team making this construction happen.

"It's going to cut off about 10 minutes of their trip and it's going to help with some of the congestion on some of the other routes that are used to go to the airport," says Arch.

The new extended airport drive will be 1.6 miles long and it will connect Charles City Road and 895, and let you bypass four traffic lights and a railroad crossing.

Now, the project manager is watching a new part of the work beginning. "We're also starting to get into the phase of construction when we work on the bridges, which a lot of people see that very visible. We actually set beams over 895 last night," says Rich Prezioso, the project manager. The same work is set for tonight.

When all the work is done, the hope is the road will give back to the community. "It's going to be an economic boost bringing in business and other opportunities to this area," says Arch.

Meaning this new connector, could be more than just a quick trip to the airport.

Construction here is scheduled to be finished by March of next year. But, the project manager tells me the work is slightly ahead of schedule. So, the work may be done a little earlier.

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