NEWS CAPTIONS- Shortcuts: New roads thrill locals


Wise men say that building more roads isn't the answer to traffic problems. Try telling that to locals grooving on two new arteries: the North Grounds Connector, which opened five months early, and Old Trail Drive, which opened in December to connect U.S. 250 and Jarman's Gap Road in Crozet.

The $4.1 million North Grounds Connector officially went into service January 13 to steer U.S. 29 northbound traffic to and from the new John Paul Jones Arena. (Southbound U.S. 29 traffic is out of luck.)

The much-heralded road had no ribbon cutting. "We just flipped a switch" on a blinking yellow light, says Dick Laurence, UVA's project director for the arena.

In its first few days of operation, he's seen a lot of drivers on the new thoroughfare. "I use it to go home because it saves me four traffic lights," Laurence says. "It helps a little bit with the congestion at the university."

Laurence also touts the connector's landscaping. "In May and June, it should be beautiful," he promises.

Over in Crozet, developer Justin Beights also notes the beauty of the new thoroughfare through Old Trail Village– and how it has helped with traffic on Route 240 and Jarman's Gap Road, "which is a huge problem in Crozet," he says.

Beights saw immediate improvement in his own commute from Parkside Village, where he lives while his house in Old Trail is being built. "I had to take Rt. 240 to 250 and get stuck in school traffic to get to Old Trail," he says.

Now he avoids the Western Albemarle High/Henley Middle/Brownsville Elementary crush on 250 and enters Old Trail from Jarman's Gap Road.

"It's already relieving traffic," he notes.


Old Trail Drive


North Grounds Connector