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Changes ahead at Stafford exit
Residents see updated plans for massive I-95 interchange on Courthouse Road in Stafford County. The McDonald's will be razed as part of the project.

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Date published: 12/1/2012

BY SCOTT SHENK

With each update, designs for the planned State Route 630 interchange project in Stafford County make it clear there will be big changes to the courthouse area.

The huge interchange loop will divide east- and westbound lanes of Courthouse Road and impact dozens of properties. The eastern portion of the road will be rerouted, with the intersection of Courthouse Road and U.S. 1 moved south to meet the Stafford Hospital entrance.

And there will be two commuter lots instead of one, adding about 500 more spaces than the original plans had. Lots will be on each side of Interstate 95.

Those updated plans for the nearly $200 million project were on display Thursday night at Colonial Forge High School.

Many of the 110 people who attended the meeting moved in close to see the numerous maps and renderings, using their fingers to trace out how they will get around once the change happens.

The new loop interchange will replace the existing diamond-style on- and off-ramps--the last of their kind on I-95 in Stafford.

Something else also caught the eye of attendees: The project will bring an end to a longtime fast-food icon on Courthouse Road. The McDonald's near the I-95 exit will be razed for the eastern commuter lot. Four gas stations around the exits and one private residence also will be lost to the project, which is still in the planning and design phase.

"This is a massive undertaking," said retired schoolteacher Dudley Fowler, who has lived off Courthouse Road for 40 years. He used to be able to pull out of his driveway without hardly looking.

Now, he said, it's hard to get out at all.

"It's just progress," he said.

Fowler added that all of Courthouse Road needs to have four lanes.

There is a project in the early planning phases that will widen Route 630 west from the planned interchange, VDOT's Michelle Shropshire said at Thursday's public meeting.

The next step for the interchange project is to get Federal Highway Administration approval of right-of-way and utility plans, in late 2013.

Plans call for the project to be advertised for construction in early 2016.

It is expected to take up to three years to finish the estimated $183 million project, which isn't yet fully funded, Shropshire said.


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