Wawa, Harbor Freight projects move forward

Published 1:14 am Thursday, May 30, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Some of the planned construction in Prince Edward County will soon be taking shape, with both the Wawa and Harbor Freight almost ready to go up. 

According to both Wawa officials and Prince Edward County staff, the building pieces are set to be delivered within the next few weeks. One of the reasons it’s been delayed a bit is due to Mother Nature. The storms we’ve had over the past month have caused the ground to be extremely soft and caked in mud, not exactly prime conditions to start building. But once construction starts, company officials say you can expect it to go pretty quick. On average, Wawa officials say it takes between 30 to 60 days to get a store up and ready for customers. But that’s again somewhat dependent on the weather.

In March of last year, the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors approved the Wawa store, planned for the corner of Commerce Road and Highway 15. Aside from the actual construction, most everything else is complete.

Email newsletter signup

That includes a full traffic impact analysis of the intersection, done by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). That study looked at traffic at the intersection that includes Zion Hill Road, Highway 15 and Commerce Road. Previously the road had been getting backed up in the mornings during the school year and there was some concern about what impact placing a Wawa there on the corner would have.
But VDOT helped reduce a lot of those traffic concerns over the last year, cutting student dropoff time from 12 minutes to 4 minutes. As a result, VDOT has signed off on the traffic impact study for Wawa.

Over the last six months, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) also gave the project its stormwater permit, saying they felt construction would not cause water to pool up and flood the area. The same goes for erosion and sediment control (E & S) and finally, zoning permits. 

Wawa and Harbor Freight

And beyond the Wawa project, there’s another commercial building going up in front of the corner of Lowe’s, where Dominion Drive is. That’s where Harbor Freight is moving in. 

Now this one is a bit different from the other construction projects going up in Prince Edward County, as it has a much faster track. That’s because in order to get built, Harbor Freight still has to get permits, but they don’t need to go before any groups for approval. The business is going in front of the corner of Lowe’s, where Dominion Drive is. For that zoning district, a business like Harbor Freight is a use permitted by right. It means once an applicant meets the requirements and checks off all the boxes, they can move forward instead of waiting on a vote. And the Harbor Freight developer, Twin River Capital LLC, has done all that. 

Harbor Freight has their land disturbance permit already, the building structure steel is on the site already,” said Prince Edward County Planning Director Robert Love. 

The only thing we’re waiting on with Harbor Freight is a construction date for them to start grading the property. But again, it’s hard to do that in the pouring rain. And after the storms, you have to wait for the mud to dry. 

Harbor Freight officials say they can’t give an estimated timeline as to when it will open. That’ll depend on when they’re able to start the grading work.