Construction starts on new I-295 interchange at Rt. 10

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email

CHESTER, VA (WWBT) - A multi-million dollar project got underway Monday that aims to being more jobs to Chesterfield County.

The new interchange off Interstate 295 will lead right to the Meadowville Technology Park and that could open the door to lots of business opportunities.

One of the biggest obstacles facing the Meadowville Technology Park is accessibility. Local leaders hope Monday's groundbreaking for an interchange at I-295 and Meadowville Road will solve that problem and bring thousands of jobs at the same time.

Right now you have to take two-lane county roads to get to the Meadowville Technology Park. That will soon change with construction of the new on and off ramps at Rt. 10.

Chris Parent lives about a mile from the Technology Park. He says he takes the interstate all the time and the new interchange will make his life easier.

"I just use 295 instead of going up to 95," he said. "To me it's just easier to go to 295."

About a thousand jobs will be created just to build the interchange. County Administrator James Stegmaier and other local leaders hope the easy access from the interstate will encourage more businesses to bring permanent jobs to the area.

"If you have a major customer coming into a project like this, they can't wait for you to decide how to get the access provided and the interchange done," he said. "It needs to be done in advance and that's what we're accomplishing here."

Economic leaders say everything else is there for the Technology Park to take off except easy access.

"It levels the playing field in terms of getting companies to look at the area," said Will Davis, Chesterfield County Economic Development. "The transportation is in place, the park is in place, the residential is in place so we're suddenly open for business now."

Nearby neighbors say they're not concerned about extra traffic from the interstate. They just want to see more jobs nearby.

"It'll be good," Parent said. "We'll get that interchange in here and we'll get more businesses starting to move in here."

The project was estimated at $17 million but bids came in much lower at about $11 million. It's scheduled to be done by the end of 2011.

The Technology Park is geared toward bringing bio-tech companies to Chesterfield County. The park is large enough to house over 7000 workers once it's fully developed.

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