FORT LEE, VA (WWBT) – New numbers out today show a much bigger population growth than expected under the BRAC expansion at Fort Lee. An additional 12,000 soldiers and their family members are now expected to call the area home. That's on top of the 35,000 heading to the region as part of the base re-alignment and closure.
Fort Lee says the numbers are higher than anticipated because of one specific reason.
"The numbers were originally conservative due to the fact that we didn't count all civilian family members, now we're including those family members in the numbers," said project manager, Albert Cruz,
Some 5,000 soldiers have already moved to the area under BRAC since 2007. They've come in spikes. The next big wave is expected over the two months when 1,000 soldiers will arrive.
"July and August of this year we'll have another spike period coming. Soldiers will start training -- then again at the end of this year and January 2011.
It's estimated that some 31 percent of the soldiers and their families will live in Chesterfield; nearly 16 percent on post. About 14 percent will be in Prince George. Just over 11 percent will live outside the region. 8 percent will live in Petersburg. The remaining will reside elsewhere.
"Overtime that's going to add to the economic impact for the areas as far as where they're going to end up settling," said Cruz.
Right now, the population on post stands at 36,000. All soldiers and their families who come to the area because of BRAC are expected to be here by the end of 2011.