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Airport Connector Road to Open

Road Links 895 with Richmond International Airport
Getting to Richmond International Airport is about to get a little faster.

The 1.6-mile Airport Connector road – which links Airport Drive with the Pocahontas Parkway (Route 895) – opened to the public Jan. 14, culminating a two-year construction period and years of planning. The new route, constructed by Transurban as part of the state's Public Private Transportation Act, provides a more direct link to the airport from points south via the Pocahontas Parkway and I-295.

Varina District Supervisor Jim Donati addresses
guests at a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the
Airport Connector.
The new road connects to the existing portion of Airport Drive at Charles City Road, then travels through the Seven Hills industrial park and connects with the Pocahontas Parkway, where travelers can head south to I-95 or north to I-295.

The road is considered an extension of the Pocahontas Parkway, so commuters who travel both will pay just one toll. Only customers using the Airport Drive Connector and traveling between the airport and Interstate 295 will pay $1.25 at the ramp linking the connector to Pocahontas 895. The toll will be collected electronically, with payment made by E-ZPass or Visa/Mastercard credit or debit cards. Other commuters will pay their normal tolls on 895.

Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate the road's completion and take a tour of the new road.

“The Airport Connector Road is a showcase of how the commonwealth can use public-private partnerships to create jobs, improve our transportation network and strengthen our economy,” Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton said.

Transurban, the long-term manager that operates and maintains Pocahontas 895, agreed to finance and construct the nearly $50 million Airport Connector Road as part of a public-private partnership with VDOT established in 2006. The project did not require Virginia taxpayer funding and was supported through a loan provided by the federal government and backed by Transurban.

“As a long-term operator, Transurban is always looking at ways to improve service for its customers and work collaboratively with its partners, “said Tony Adams, Transurban’s vice president, major projects. “This project will benefit the airport, local travelers and businesses and fulfills a long-term goal of VDOT and Henrico County.”
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Film industry training program planned for this weekend

The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), in partnership with the Virginia Film Office, will offer "Get Your Start in the Film Industry," a two-day seminar designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia. The course will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Workforce Development and Conference Center, 1651 Parham Road in Henrico, on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

The training will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, an accomplished assistant director for film and television projects, which include the television series Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses. > Read more.

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

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The Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond will present Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer, two of contemporary music’s most commanding and creative instrumentalists, at 7:30 p.m.… Full text

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