A major interchange could dramatically alter the landscape of New Bohemia, as officials sign the dotted line this week to finance the project.
The new Route 460, in the planning stages since 2003, will span 55 miles from Petersburg to Suffolk. The four lane toll highway will charge drivers electronically, leaving the thoroughfare without toll booths.
A major interchange for the route could slice through the center of New Bohemia, an area where the new highway will meet Interstate 295. Plans have not been finalized, but a preliminary map released by the Virginia Department of Transportation worries County officials and residents.
"We would like the road to go around New Bohemia's businesses," said Jeffrey D. Stoke, Prince George director of economic development. "There's plenty of room if you look south where Route 460 could connect with 295."
In a preliminary map released by VDOT, an area with few houses and farmland lies to the south of the proposed interchange. A VDOT spokesperson said Tuesday once financing is approved this week, engineers can begin the process of revising the proposal.
Anastasia Skordas, co-owner of Prince George Family BBQ said in an interview Tuesday she is anxious to learn the final plans and prepare for the future.
"It's kind of hopeless." Skordas said during a bustling noon lunch-hour. "People criticized me when I bought this place. They said, 'what are you going to New Bohemia for?' But I did the research. I knew Rolls Royce was coming in… I thought the risk of possibly having to move for the highway would be worth it."
The price tag for the project totals $1.4 billion. Final design plans will be made in 2013, with construction beginning in 2014. The new Route 460 will run parallel to the original 460, leaving drivers with the option to travel old 460 free of charge. The new highway is expected to open in 2018.
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