Chesterfield board OKs bond issuance to fund Powhite extension, other road projects

Upper Magnolia Regional Chesterfield 1

The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors recently voted to issue up to $350 million in transportation bonds to fund the Powhite Parkway extension, shown in yellow, and other projects such as the creation of a road network at the Upper Magnolia site, outlined in red. (BizSense file)

The effort to line up funding for the long-planned Powhite Parkway extension in western Chesterfield County took another step forward this month.

The county Board of Supervisors in early May approved the issuance of up to $350 million in bonds for transportation projects, among them the first phase of the Powhite extension.

The initial phase of the extension would lengthen the parkway by 2.25 miles to Woolridge Road from its current terminus near its interchange with Route 288. That first stage also involves construction of an interchange at Charter Colony Parkway and overpasses on Watermill and Brandermill parkways.

County officials previously estimated the first phase of the project to cost $170 million, which would be covered by the bonds and other funding sources.

mattharrischesterfieldcounty

Matt Harris

The overall extension project has been estimated to cost $700 million, with an ultimate plan to extend the Powhite Parkway to Hull Street Road.

Chesterfield is pursuing the parkway extension, which has been on the county’s thoroughfare plan since the late 1980s, to improve vehicular connectivity and decrease traffic congestion in the rapidly growing western area of the county, said Bill Arel, senior engineer at the Chesterfield Department of Transportation.

The extension’s first leg is still in its design phase, and Arel estimated last week that stage of the project is roughly 30% to 40% completed. He said a construction contract for the project is planned to be awarded in 2025.

Deputy County Administrator Matt Harris said a contractor bid package for the Powhite project could be finalized in six to 12 months.

County supervisors voted to approve the bonds issuance in early May, and the county plans to sell the bonds in June.

Harris anticipated that the county will actually seek to sell $300 million in bonds for the transportation projects, in line with plans unveiled earlier this year as part of the county’s recently approved fiscal year 2025 budget. The additional $50 million in bonds is intended to provide flexibility in securing the financing for the projects.

“It just gives us some leeway depending on how the actual transaction is structured. We might be in excess of $300 million if it’s got a premium associated with it,” Harris said in an interview with BizSense.

Other projects to receive funding through the bond sale include extensions of Center Pointe Parkway (from its current end at Tomahawk Creek Road to a new intersection with Old Hundred Road), Woolridge Road (from Route 360 to Old Hundred Road) and Nash Road (from Beach Road to Route 10).

Also anticipated to receive bond proceeds are the widening of Woolridge between Genito and Lacoc roads, construction of a road network to serve a new high school and other civic facilities planned for Upper Magnolia Green, and drainage improvements on Otterdale Road.

Bond sale proceeds would finance the projects and Chesterfield plans to pay off the municipal bonds, which are essentially loans, using the county’s share of tax revenue from the Central Virginia Transportation Authority.

The authority, created in 2020, finances regional transportation projects using sales and fuel tax proceeds, half of which is given annually to localities in the region.

Chesterfield brings in about $30 million annually from its CVTA allocation, according to a county news release.

The bonds are legally restricted to transportation projects, and 85% of the proceeds need to be spent within three years, Harris said.

The financing approach is designed to be flexible to provide funding as needed should unanticipated projects crop up or currently planned projects get delayed. Therefore, it’s difficult to say precisely what road projects ultimately will be funded, outside of plans to prioritize the Powhite and Upper Magnolia projects, Harris said.

“The concept for the rest of it is that we have cash funding on hand to accelerate as many projects as possible,” Harris said. “We’ve got no shortage of projects. What it will look like exactly in three years is hard to say, other than those first big two.”

Upper Magnolia Regional Chesterfield 1

The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors recently voted to issue up to $350 million in transportation bonds to fund the Powhite Parkway extension, shown in yellow, and other projects such as the creation of a road network at the Upper Magnolia site, outlined in red. (BizSense file)

The effort to line up funding for the long-planned Powhite Parkway extension in western Chesterfield County took another step forward this month.

The county Board of Supervisors in early May approved the issuance of up to $350 million in bonds for transportation projects, among them the first phase of the Powhite extension.

The initial phase of the extension would lengthen the parkway by 2.25 miles to Woolridge Road from its current terminus near its interchange with Route 288. That first stage also involves construction of an interchange at Charter Colony Parkway and overpasses on Watermill and Brandermill parkways.

County officials previously estimated the first phase of the project to cost $170 million, which would be covered by the bonds and other funding sources.

mattharrischesterfieldcounty

Matt Harris

The overall extension project has been estimated to cost $700 million, with an ultimate plan to extend the Powhite Parkway to Hull Street Road.

Chesterfield is pursuing the parkway extension, which has been on the county’s thoroughfare plan since the late 1980s, to improve vehicular connectivity and decrease traffic congestion in the rapidly growing western area of the county, said Bill Arel, senior engineer at the Chesterfield Department of Transportation.

The extension’s first leg is still in its design phase, and Arel estimated last week that stage of the project is roughly 30% to 40% completed. He said a construction contract for the project is planned to be awarded in 2025.

Deputy County Administrator Matt Harris said a contractor bid package for the Powhite project could be finalized in six to 12 months.

County supervisors voted to approve the bonds issuance in early May, and the county plans to sell the bonds in June.

Harris anticipated that the county will actually seek to sell $300 million in bonds for the transportation projects, in line with plans unveiled earlier this year as part of the county’s recently approved fiscal year 2025 budget. The additional $50 million in bonds is intended to provide flexibility in securing the financing for the projects.

“It just gives us some leeway depending on how the actual transaction is structured. We might be in excess of $300 million if it’s got a premium associated with it,” Harris said in an interview with BizSense.

Other projects to receive funding through the bond sale include extensions of Center Pointe Parkway (from its current end at Tomahawk Creek Road to a new intersection with Old Hundred Road), Woolridge Road (from Route 360 to Old Hundred Road) and Nash Road (from Beach Road to Route 10).

Also anticipated to receive bond proceeds are the widening of Woolridge between Genito and Lacoc roads, construction of a road network to serve a new high school and other civic facilities planned for Upper Magnolia Green, and drainage improvements on Otterdale Road.

Bond sale proceeds would finance the projects and Chesterfield plans to pay off the municipal bonds, which are essentially loans, using the county’s share of tax revenue from the Central Virginia Transportation Authority.

The authority, created in 2020, finances regional transportation projects using sales and fuel tax proceeds, half of which is given annually to localities in the region.

Chesterfield brings in about $30 million annually from its CVTA allocation, according to a county news release.

The bonds are legally restricted to transportation projects, and 85% of the proceeds need to be spent within three years, Harris said.

The financing approach is designed to be flexible to provide funding as needed should unanticipated projects crop up or currently planned projects get delayed. Therefore, it’s difficult to say precisely what road projects ultimately will be funded, outside of plans to prioritize the Powhite and Upper Magnolia projects, Harris said.

“The concept for the rest of it is that we have cash funding on hand to accelerate as many projects as possible,” Harris said. “We’ve got no shortage of projects. What it will look like exactly in three years is hard to say, other than those first big two.”

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George Macguffin
George Macguffin
1 month ago

“…plan since the late 1980’s.” But instead of getting ahead of it, Chestertucky rubber-stamped the sprawl on Hell, er, Hull Street. Two highway overpasses at Watermill and Brandermill? This extension, guranteed, will not be built to handle the capacity of traffic that now attempts to make way to the epicenter of sprawl on Hull. More disappointingly, what once was a bucolic transition into the bedroom communities will become Northern Virginia Lite. To top it off, the county secretly approved low-income apartments at the vicinity of these future eyesores. NoVa (no go) or Northern Virginia is a veritable hellscape for many… Read more »

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago

Alright. I gotta ask. I know you are trying to be insulting with “Chestertucky” but what do you mean exactly by comparing it to Kentucky? To the best of my knowledge Kentucky, other than Louisville (which is mostly known as “Nicer than you think”) is still bucolic, so is this just an intelligence jab of some kind? Sprawl, yeah, NoVa — I know what you mean by hellscape and absence of planning, but the Chestertucky thing needs clarification. Thing is, most of the time, it is not just suburban sprawl that is relatively unplanned. You want the opposite of that,… Read more »

George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
1 month ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

I suppose there may be a point in this verbiage beyond your penchant for rambling ripostes.

May someone kindly point it out to me?

If you bothered to read, they apparently predicted (growth) back in the 80’s.
#facepalm (how’s that for cute?)

Chesterfield story for three years? Rather arbitrary window.
Denizens of Strip-mall Pump, I’m sorry, “far west end” may bristle at being overlooked with almost 2 decades of runaway growth.

Totum: Latin. totality.

The be-all and end-all of civilizational growth for some commenters is a shiny new Sheetz.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
29 days ago

Woah! Touche’!! NINE net downvotes for a giving ME a smack — I bet you got some hidden upvotes too, but nine downvotes is an accomplishment! You’d get 7 upvotes for just saying “You are Wrong” I bet. You may be right about the rambling, but I asked questions. I asked why the reference to Kentucky. Doesn’t seem apt unless there is some Latin root -tucky that I am not aware of — I am not a Catholic cleric or something like that. And, I asked what totems you approve of — Carnegie Libraries? City Squares? I don’t know anyone… Read more »

George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
29 days ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

Down-votes are a badge of authenticity in this cheerleading echo-chamber where a majority of posts read like this:

“Congratulations to ____ and his/her team. I had the pleasure of… me, me, me, (self plug) All the best”

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
28 days ago

You’re sorta the HL Mencken of this news site.

George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
1 month ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

I believe Kentucky was once part of Virginia’s frontier-lands. Yes, ____-tucky is dismissive as is the general attitude towards Appalachia (so long Kentucky and West VA!)

Tell me this is not the same attitude of certain Richmonders (the self-aggrandizing offspring of East India Co.’s indentured, AKA “FFV”) towards Chesterfield folk.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
29 days ago

Oh!!! I see you DID answer — sorry, I should’ve scrolled down. Sure, VA DID use to be very big in theory — Augusta County alone was insane-big. Okay, that was what I thought — it was just a snarky, if not very apt way to disparage Chesterfield. I honestly do not know what the snobbier of the Real Virginians, be they either blue blood First Families or what I will call “Upper Passage” cooks and maids think of Chesterfield. I agree that even the gentry in Richmond are fairly provincial — but that is true of the elite in… Read more »

Don O'Keefe
Don O'Keefe
1 month ago

This is a very costly investment in expanding infrastructure that will accelerate suburban sprawl and habitat destruction and ultimately make greater richmond a worse place. There is too much inertia to stop it his project now, but 25 years from now it will be remembered as one of the biggest infrastructure spending mistakes in recent Virginia history.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
1 month ago
Reply to  Don O'Keefe

It won’t make Richmond worse. It will make Chesterfield worse (if that is possible)

Keith Young
Keith Young
1 month ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

Funny how people in the county still want to attach anything negative with the name Richmond. No, it is a Chesterfield issue not a Richmond issue.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago
Reply to  Keith Young

That much is true, but it is a sign of success even if you don’t like it.

Wes Morgan
Wes Morgan
1 month ago
Reply to  Keith Young

He did say, “greater Richmond” and not the City of Richmond.

Garry Whelan
Garry Whelan
1 month ago
Reply to  Don O'Keefe

I’m not sure where you thought the post-war plans for ‘The American Dream’ and subsequent implementations would lead. This has been on the books for decades and is played out in any sprawling suburban areas of every state. Lollipop developments off turnpikes worked when traffic was low, but would never stand the test of time. Americans are sold suburban sprawl as aspirational. In a region with no public transportation to speak of, large plot oversize houses are connected to other places with roads.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago
Reply to  Garry Whelan

………… maybe people are more intelligent than you give them credit for. Many people don’t live in dense cities by choice, and if that makes them, err… gullible, you’d probably only recognize it if they got the chance to move to the suburbs. Listen Mr Superior, I think you should know that there are reasons why people move to the suburbs, and yes, in places that are too popular it becomes a “No body goes there any more; it’s too crowded” phenom. I am old enough to have seen young people move to dense urban environments, love them (my experience… Read more »

George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
1 month ago
Reply to  Garry Whelan

The suburban counties are hell-bent on continuing to make their communities like a majority of American communities: a place you don’t want to go to, but to escape from. A place not worth caring about.

How did that insensitive EU technocrat put it? Oh yes: “Europe is a garden. We have built a garden… The rest of the world… is not exactly a garden.”

Suburban Richmond is fast becoming dung flung at a wall.

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
1 month ago

It’s unavoidable. More people means more houses. Back when Chippenham Pwky was first built Midlo. Trnpk was no motor mile then came Cloverleaf Mall. Similar as Parham Rd. was first built, it opened up the west end to Regency Square. Now the Richmond area beltway has opened the next frontier. The 295-288 Richmond Beltway is being developed in all directions. A bit differently than in the past and hopefully better. From the satellite view the Richmond Metro area is huge. Remember- back when the fan district was the Richmond expansion west. Yeah me neither.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
29 days ago

Man you sound like that Kunstler guy who wrote “The Geography of Nowhere” who was sorta popular for a day back when all the Smart People were talking about Peak Oil. I still have a copy of his Futurementary entitled “The End of Suburbia” that I rewatched a few years ago for a laugh. Thing is, these Jeremiah snobs about the suburbs don’t seem to know that what they call Velveetaville are usually the best that the people can afford or are willing to pay — they want a quiet place to sleep, a decent place to send their kids… Read more »

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago
Reply to  Don O'Keefe

oh boy…

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
1 month ago

I still think the region and state would have been better served if the Powhite eventually extended to Farmville or that general area. However, by feeding back and terminating into the sprawl of Hull Street instead of paralleling it like 64 and Broad in the west end you essentially negate that possibility.

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
1 month ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

Original maps from the 1980s did show the parkway that was to go down to Petersburg/Dinwiddie and tie into I-85. I think that got abandoned quickly for an extension to 95 near Walthall with a “north-south” freeway going down from Powhite and 288 to I-85 in Dinwiddie. Page 10 – 2011 Chesterfield Plan – Priority Project #12 https://chesterfieldva.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=447&meta_id=54751

Peter James
Peter James
1 month ago

Thanks, Michael. This is good and quite interesting information. I wonder whatever happened to the “East-West” and “North-South” freeway plans? Based on what you mentioned, I’m guessing they were dropped?

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter James
Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
1 month ago

It would be interesting if Interstate 85 was extended along Route 288 and the Powhite Parkway and then extended to Northern Virginia to act as a bypass of Interstate 95. But it would be funded like the New Jersey Turnpike with tolls though.

karl hott
karl hott
1 month ago

Should have been built decades ago. Residents who live along Hull Street want this.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
1 month ago
Reply to  karl hott

Also read, residents who bought into sprawl now want everyone else to pay for their problem.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
1 month ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

The area the project is in is apart of a 7 mile by 5 mile wild trapezoid that eats up 80% of Chesterfield County’s road dollars.

Drew Harrison
Drew Harrison
1 month ago

That’s a crazy stat! Can you please share a link to where that information is?

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew Harrison

I made this map by adding up and mapping all of the major road projects and the value of them in cost in Chesterfield County on google maps. I would share this information if I could post it here.

Drew Harrison
Drew Harrison
1 month ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

How much of the Powhite Parkway’s bond will be paid by tolls? If its a majority, then the residents of the Hull Street corridor, the people who bought into the sprawl, will be the ones paying for it.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew Harrison

I really think they should use Toll money for this in that the New Jersey Turnpike collects 2.5 billion in tolls a year. But the Powhite Parkway at least collects a 11 million a year in tolls and they plan to raise the toll this year. If they could set it up to raise a extra 3 to 5 million a year they could make the Powhite Parkway self funding.

Jim McConnell
Jim McConnell
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew Harrison

The bonds for Phase I of the Powhite Extension will be repaid with part of Chesterfield’s local CVTA revenue.

No tolls needed or contemplated.

Jay Emory
Jay Emory
1 month ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

Isn’t any road widening project or extension going to benefit some more than others? My tax dollars pay for firefighters I’ve never needed and to send millions of kids who aren’t mine to school. It’s called being a part of a functioning society.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago
Reply to  karl hott

Well, that would’ve been too expensive. Most of the time, it is smart to let the growth happen first, THEN build the infrastructure, hopefully a little bigger than you think you need to. Schools are a great example — people when I lived in NoVa would moan about all the trailers and overcrowding — I would tell them that they can’t just get into a cycle of constantly expanding or building new schools — they have to wait as long as they can just to be fiscally responsible and THEN build a big new school that is just a bit… Read more »

George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
1 month ago

$170M for 2.25 miles. That’s only $14,310 a foot.

Let’s see who is “awarded” this contract.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
1 month ago

We could have had 58 to 70 miles of sidewalk for that project.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
1 month ago

At least the sidewalks got zero funding in this and at least is Zero and Zero is a number. We can’t have people walking or riding bikes in Chesterfield. I really think the Powhite Parkway extension is going to charge up away sprawl in the way crack cocaine charges up Cocaine Bear. And unless they make this beast eight lanes wide it will get jammed up super fast. What is really a embarrassment about this is they have the new Bus Route on Route 60 and it is really taking off with now dozens of people standing at bus stops… Read more »

Peter James
Peter James
1 month ago

Sidewalks, benches/bus shelters and more than just adequate street lighting is an absolute must along the new GRTC route. What’s more, within a decade or so (or how ever long it takes to actually build it) the PULSE BRT line along Midlothian Turnpike is coming eventually.

That said, I agree, Carl, that these components of basic infrastructure are greatly needed as public transit begins to really take root along the Route 60 corridor. I hope the county will include funding for these necessities.

Paul Burford
Paul Burford
1 month ago

I hate to break it you, but the Richmond area will never be the same as Northern Virginia. You are safe, I promise.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Burford

I think Chesterfield could be a lot worse in that Northern Virginia does have a large metro system.

Lynn Smith
Lynn Smith
1 month ago

Glad I left Chesterfield 10 years ago for rural area.