October 16, 2017

Prince George County and Cameron Foundation celebrate completion of I-95 Exit 45 gateway project

A view along the southbound ramp at I-95 Exit 45 shows the illuminated spires at “The Gardens at Exit 45.”  Photo: John Henley Photography

Prince George County and The Cameron Foundation marked completion of their collaborative $1.2 million gateway project with a dedication ceremony at the site on October 16. “The Gardens at Exit 45,” named for its location off Interstate 95 at Exit 45, includes major lighting and landscaping enhancements. It features two 47-foot-tall glass architectural spires that flank the roadway as well as create a threshold to the commercial district. The celebration follows more than two years of planning, design and construction of the unique gateway.

Percy C. Ashcraft, County Administrator for Prince George County, noted that Exit 45 had served as the county’s major hub for tourism in the past, but had fallen into decline in more recent years. Based on the research and recommendations of Management Analysis, Inc., the County launched a targeted effort to restore this corridor along South Crater Road to once again serve as a key hospitality district. “The enhancements we’ve made here offer a tremendous boost to the area. The Gardens at Exit 45 is expected to stimulate local job growth and increase our tax revenue for the county by attracting visitors and travelers alike,” Ashcraft explained. An estimated 40,000 vehicles travel through that area on Interstate 95 each day.

The Gardens at Exit 45 encompasses a range of landscaping, with the design calling for 139 trees, 363 shrubs, and nearly 3,000 perennials along the exit ramp and at the intersection with South Crater Road. As travelers exit Interstate 95 during the night, the trees along the southbound ramp are accentuated by 28 lights. The gateway site is anchored by two glass towers, one along each side of the entranceway to the district. Colonial garden spires were the design inspiration for these central features in the 32,000 square-foot gateway plan. The spire finials are highlighted by four lights, and internal illumination of the spires comes from four color-changing LED flood lights that are activated at night. The project designer is Chroma Design. The $1.2 million cost for the project was shared equally by Prince George County and The Cameron Foundation.

The Cameron Foundation is working with several localities across the Tri-Cities area to develop distinctive community gateways. The Gardens at Exit 45 is the first such project to be completed. “Gateways can contribute significantly to creating a unique sense of place that is important to promoting tourism and investment in a community,” said Cameron President J. Todd Graham. “By working together with the local governments on these projects, we are combining our efforts to generate large-scale impact,” he added. Community gateway projects are among the Foundation’s proactive investments to help transform the Tri-Cities and surrounding counties into a healthy, vibrant, and economically vital region.

“The Gardens at Exit 45” creates a threshold to the hospitality district along South Crater Road in Prince George County.  Photo: John Henley Photography

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