The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
NEW RACEWAY ROAD FOUND
The developers of the planned Dominion Raceway in Spotsylvania County have come up with a new entrance that will not require a special waiver.
The originally planned entryway off Mudd Tavern Road in Thornburg had been a sticking point for months because it was much closer to an Interstate 95 northbound on-ramp than state guidelines allow. The raceway applied for a waiver for the entrance earlier this year, but the Virginia Department of Transportation said it couldn’t approve the request at the time.
But the newly proposed entrance won’t require such an approval, Angela Foroughi, transportation and land use director for VDOT’s Fredericksburg District, confirmed in a letter Thursday to raceway attorney Charlie Payne. That’s because it will be accessed from a state-owned service road that is already connected to Mudd Tavern Road.
The service road is in the general vicinity of the raceway’s initial entrance proposal.
“We’re going to allow them essentially to put their entrance at the outer edge of that frontage road,” VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon said.
Payne notified VDOT of the entrance change in a letter last week and concluded that the waiver was no longer necessary.
The only requirement for the new entrance is that it be at least 225 feet from Mudd Tavern Road. Raceway officials say it will be 300 feet away—about 50 feet beyond the end of the service road.
The raceway will have to upgrade the service road, which is now an overgrown gravel path. In fact, VDOT had contemplated abandoning the road, Payne wrote in his letter to the agency.
Payne also said in the letter that the developer is working with a property owner to provide a right-of-way for the entrance. That property owner is an affiliate of Spotsylvania-based developer W.J. Vakos & Co., according to Spotsylvania land records. Vakos has plans for commercial development in Thornburg.
The latest news doesn’t mean the raceway is finished with VDOT.
In a review of the raceway’s site plan earlier this month, VDOT pointed out its continued concerns with traffic backups into the venue. Raceway officials must address those issues before starting necessary roadwork.
Among the concerns is that the left-turn lane into the raceway site needs to be more than 200 feet longer. The left-turn lane will now lead to the service road, based on the latest proposal.
“We are still interested in the length of the left-turn lane, and our comments and questions in the previous letter stand,” Hannon, the VDOT spokeswoman, said in an email.
The 160-acre raceway development is scheduled to open next year. It will include an oval track for stock car racing, a drag strip, a road course and a go-kart course. In addition to racing, it will host concerts, drive-in movies and other events.
Several people who live near the raceway site have expressed concerns about noise and traffic problems. The county Board of Supervisors approved the project in May, citing its economic development potential.
Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402