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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

New Henrico biscuit shop thrives with grandmother’s recipe

Tim Laxton rises at 4:30 a.m. every day for a biscuit. But he’s not rushing out to any restaurant to get his favorite Southern comfort food; he’s baking his own from scratch and serving them up from his bakery on Lakeside Avenue.

Laxton opened Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery in early July and since then biscuits have been flying out of there.

The self-taught baker draws hungry crowds in with a biscuit of the day like the Old Bay Cheddar, but the buttermilk biscuits are the staple.

“On a Saturday I generally make about 400 biscuits with my two hands,” Laxton said. “I’m constantly making biscuits all day long.” > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

CAT Theatre announces cast of Sherlock Holmes play

CAT Theatre’s 51st season will open with Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which will run from Oct. 24-Nov. 8. Adapted by Steven Dietz, it is based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was the winner of the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.

The plot follows what seems to be the end of the career of the world’s greatest detective as he is confronted with a case far too tempting to ignore. When the King of Bohemia faces blackmail by famed opera singer Irene Adler, Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, find themselves falling into the trap of evil genius Professor Moriarty. As Holmes says, “The game is afoot Watson, and it is a dangerous one!” > Read more.

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Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting at 7 p.m. at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave. The meeting will provide an update… Full text

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