KERNSTOWN – While taxpayers will be paying for a $25 million interchange project designed around one of Frederick County’s largest planned developments in years, Glaize Developments, the firm behind Crosspointe Center, says it expects to spend upward of $40 million on more transportation improvements needed for the commercial and residential development, including an extension of State Route 37.
Crosspointe plans call for the phased construction of up to 960,000 square feet of commercial space and 1,578 residential dwelling – 1,042 single-family homes, 200 age-restricted units – on more than 626 acres. Commercial space could include a regional mall, outlet center or mixed use.
Construction continues on a reconfigured interchange at the Kernstown exit 310 on Interstate 81 that connects Route 37 and U.S.Route 11, with completion expected in 2018. Part of the project design calls for a realigned Tasker Road, moved east from the interchange to Route 37 and connecting with Hillandale Lane.
Designs for Crosspointe show commercial development inside the new interchange, to the west of the new section of Tasker Road and south of Hillandale Lane and east of the interstate, across roughly 70 acres, as part of Phase I. The first phase of the project continues to the east of the new Tasker Road and north of Hillandale Lane with a mix of commercial and residential development.
Glaize Developments Vice President J.P. Carr said Tuesday the agreement with the Virginia Department of Transportation calls for the developer to build bridges over the new Tasker Road that connect to the Route 37 extension. The developer also must build the Route 37 extension, the cost of which increased when the design changed from a boulevard to an interstate.
“The cost to do the remaining work out there has gotta be north of $40 million,” Carr said. “The bridges alone will be $8 to $10 million by themselves.”
The developers must build the extension of Tasker Road and its new intersection with Warrior Drive, Carr said. The new interchange at Va. 37 and I-81 is “a drop in the bucket compared to what’s left,” Carr added.
Developers sought rezoning for Crosspointe in 2002 and its approval anticipated the eastward extension of Route 37, Frederick County Director of Planning and Development Mike Ruddy said recently. Designs initially showed the extension as a boulevard rather than an interstate as later adopted in the plans.
“So, what occurred, VDOT, (was) being very proactive about addressing that interchange and planning what would be needed for that interchange well into the future, while still at the same time taking into consideration what was happening Crosspointe development project,” Ruddy recalled.
VDOT and the developer reached an agreement early on that called for the state agency to build transportation improvements in the first phase of the project, Ruddy said. VDOT did this in order to move forward with a road project to address Route 37 and I-81 as well as to realign Tasker Road to accommodate the Crosspointe project. Crosspointe developers later revised the voluntary contributions, known as proffers, associated with the project, to reflect the changes agreed upon with VDOT, Ruddy explained.
Parties involved worked together to coordinate the two projects, though VDOT was and is ahead of the developer’s schedule, Carr said.
“But VDOT has taken sole responsibility, without our input, for the design and construction of Phase I,” Carr said.
VDOT also provided information this week about the federal- and state-funded project.
VDOT identified the Kernstown Exit 310 as one in need of reconfiguring in the Interstate 81 Improvement Study Area No. 10 drafted November 1998 and in the Winchester Area Transportation Study, also created that year. The WinFred Metropolitan Planning Organization 2030 Transportation Plan and the I-81 Tier One Draft Environmental Impact Statement, both approved in 2005, also identify the interchange as in need of improvement. VDOT added dual, left-turn lanes to the ramp 2006, in advance of the current project, based on a need to accommodate traffic backing down the northbound off-ramp.
Traffic counts conducted last year show 57,000 vehicles travel I-81 south of Route 37 each day; 51,000 travel north of Route 37. The actual counts fall in line with the study estimates.
VDOT performed an interchange modification report as required by the Federal Highway Administration. The study, while similar to a traffic impact analysis, evaluates a larger area and looks at traffic volumes further into the future – 20 years beyond construction – including proposed commercial and residential development. The federal agency approved VDOT’s report in 2007 and reconfirmed a version updated in 2011.
The developers have not increased the number of houses planned for Crosspointe since the rezoning, Carr said.
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