The Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors has selected a local contractor to build the parking lot for the county’s Virginia Railway Express station.

At Tuesday’s meeting the board accepted the lowest bid of $7.3 million from Stafford County-based Henderson Construction Inc.

The work will include a 1,500-space parking lot for commuters and changes to the entrance to the Crossroads Industrial Park at the intersection of Benchmark Road and the U.S. 17 Bypass. Turn lanes will be improved at that intersection and a traffic light will be installed. Benchmark Road also will be realigned.

Construction has already started on the Spotsylvania station and a new third track that will run from there to Fredericksburg.

Henderson should soon start work on the 1,500-space lot, too.

The lot and Benchmark Road work is expected to take about six months to complete.

“The bid came in for less than we expected, which is good for the county,” said Spotsylvania Supervisor Gary Skinner.

Spotsylvania has spent several of its five years as a VRE member trying to get a station planned and built.

County officials initially hoped to have the station open by late 2013. But technical and funding issues caused delays. Once those matters were solved, the county ran into a problem securing the 25 acres needed for the lot.

The county rezoned the land around the station for mixed-use development before negotiations started for the lot.

After that, the landowners, George Lester and Fitz Johnson, and county officials weren’t able to come to an agreement to acquire the property.

County officials aren’t interested in leasing the land or the price the developers have said they want for it.

The county eventually asked the Virginia Department of Transportation to intervene and secure the property through eminent domain. In July, VDOT filed a “certificate of take” in Spotsylvania Circuit Court.

That allows the county to start the construction process, even if the property owners and VDOT go to court to settle the price for the land, which seems likely.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436


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