A NEW artery has opened in North Stafford, offering drivers another option in an area with heavy congestion, along with a lot of ongoing and upcoming work.

Officials opened the final portion of the Mine Road connection last week, putting a bow on the final half-mile of work.

Now Mine Road is a three-mile connector between the heavily used State Route 610 and State Route 630, running about one mile west of, and parallel to, Interstate 95 and U.S. 1.

The developer of the Embrey Mill neighborhood paid for the road work as part of the proffers committed to the county. The three-phase project was finished nearly a year ahead of schedule.

Stafford Supervisor Mark Dudenhefer is glad to see the connection come to fruition, and believes it’s a good step toward alleviating congestion in the area.

The Courthouse area has been a chore to navigate for years, and all of the construction hasn’t helped.

But the pain should lead to some gain.

The Courthouse Road interchange project should improve flow around I–95, along with U.S. 1. The existing U.S. 1/Courthouse Road intersection will be converted for use by local traffic. A new intersection will open just to the south at the entrance to the Stafford Regional Hospital.

Along with the interchange work, Courthouse Road also is being widened.

All of that work is expected to be completed next summer.

According to the county, an average of 16,000 vehicles used that segment of U.S. 1 each day in 2014. By 2040, traffic there is predicted to spike to 38,000 cars a day.

The project calls for widening U.S. 1 to add turn lanes at Courthouse Road (the current intersection) and the intersection of Bells Hill and Hope roads. A concrete median and sidewalk also will be added to U.S. 1. Turn lanes will be added to Courthouse Road.

It’ll be a while before drivers enjoy the fruits of that project.

In an August update, the county said it was still acquiring right-of-way property, some of which it condemned in order to procure.

Crews are expected to start demolishing three buildings and relocating utilities this fall, but actual road work isn’t scheduled to start until the spring of 2021. Completion is slated for the fall of 2022.

Sometimes change, especially with roads, comes slowly.

Dudenhefer thinks drivers will eventually see the benefits.

“Traffic in the whole area is gonna change,” he said.

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Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

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