The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Raceway plan likely needs VDOT approval
BY BILL FREEHLING
The Dominion Raceway will probably need a waiver from the Virginia Department of Transportation in addition to the various approvals from Spotsylvania County to locate at the proposed site off Interstate 95 in Thornburg.
The proposed entrance into the 160-acre property off the north side of Mudd Tavern Road is about 400 feet from the northbound ramp onto Interstate 95, Spotsylvania planning officials estimate.
VDOT requires that new commercial entrances be at least 750 feet from the start of the taper to the interchange ramp, said VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon. Major intersections must be at least 1,320 feet from the interchange start.
A 630-acre cattle farm owned by Jerry Sklar is directly east of the property that Dominion Raceway is under contract to purchase. Sklar is opposed to the raceway and has a conservation easement on his land, so it is doubtful that the raceway entrance would be allowed to go through the property onto Mudd Tavern Road.
That means Steve Britt, who is developing the raceway, will almost certainly need a waiver from VDOT to enable the project.
Charlie Payne, Britt’s attorney, noted that there is commercial development off Mudd Tavern Road on the west side of 95 that is closer to the interstate than Dominion’s proposed entrance. Projects that were approved prior to VDOT setting new standards a few years ago are grandfathered in.
Payne also said the conservation easement creates challenges for economic development in a part of the county that is targeted for commercial growth. He said Dominion Raceway plans to make road upgrades to improve the traffic flow.
Payne hasn’t yet filed all the required paperwork seeking the VDOT waiver and the rezoning and special-use permit from Spotsylvania for the racing-focused entertainment complex, which could also be used year-round for festivals, karting, collector-car auctions, drive-in movies and other special events.
Many area residents are excited about the prospective facility, which has operated in Manassas as the Old Dominion Speedway for more than 60 years. Plans call for stock car and drag racing as well as a road course.
But some Thornburg-area residents have expressed concern about traffic and noise issues.
Earlier this month, VDOT held a public meeting at Massaponax High School focusing on future transportation projects. A handful of people who live close to the proposed raceway, including Joyce Ackerman and Clay Huber, said the Thornburg interchange is already congested and dangerous and could get significantly worse with the raceway.
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405