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Crime Watch: Woman Abducted, Shots Fired

Warrants issued after woman abducted, assaulted
A woman was abducted by an acquaintance after an argument, police say.

Officers were called to a home in the 1500 block of Walnut Street in Woodbridge after the 33-year-old victim said she was assaulted by a male acquaintance that held her against her will.

The victim was eventually able to leave the house and call police the following day, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Police are unable to locate the man accused in the attack.

Investigators have issued warrants for Juan Carlos Ramirez, 24, of Woodbridge, charging him with abduction, intent to defile and malicious wounding, said Perok.

He’s described as Hispanic, between 5 feet 8 inches tall, with brown eyes and black hair.

Woman hears shots, finds bullet holes
A woman who was watching TV at her home Friday heard gunshots ring out, and then noticed a large hole in her bathroom window.

The shots were fired at 12:03 a.m. in the 3100 block of Chesapeake Drive in Woodbridge, just off Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. 1).

After seeing the hole in her bathroom window, she noticed another one in an adjacent window, police said.

No one was injured.

Home burglarized, cash missing from safe
Cash was reported missing from a safe at a home in North Stafford on Thursday.

Police say a home on Park Road in the Windsor Forest neighborhood was broken into between 8 and 11 a.m. Thursday.

The homeowner told Stafford sheriff’s deputies when he returned home items in the house were out of place, and saw that a window had been opened, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Man robbed in Triangle
A 56-year-old man told police he was robbed in the 18200 block of Graham Court in Triangle at 12:50 a.m. Saturday.

The man was getting out of his vehicle when he was approached by a group of men that took his wallet, which had an undisclosed amount of money inside, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

The men fled on foot and the victim was not injured. The victim was not able to provide a description of any of the men, police say.

News
First Thunderstorms, Then Hot

The Memorial Day weekend starts in the Potomac Communities tonight with the region under a severe thunderstorm watch until 8 p.m.

According to the National Weather Service, there is a possibility of strong thunderstorms after 4 p.m.

If the weather turns severe, turn to us for updates.

Just after 1 p.m. Friday, the temperature at Regan Washington National Airport was 83 degrees. Temperatures were forecast to climb into the upper 80s on Friday, according to the weather service.

The forecast calls for much of the same weather on Saturday, with temperatures in the mid 80s and a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms.

Expect it to be hot on Sunday, as the threat of storms diminishes and the mercury is forecast to climb into the 90s.

On Memorial Day, it’ll be even hotter outside with temperatures with a forecast high of 95 degrees.

Traffic
VRE Preps for Crowding Today

A Virginia Railway Express train pulls into the Woodbridge station. (File Photo: Mary Davidson)

As commuters get ready to head home for the long holiday weekend, Virginia Railway Express has added extra cars to trains to accommodate passengers.

The most crowded trains this afternoon are expected to be Fredericksburg line train #303 and Manassas line train #307.

Those two trains will be the longest VRE trains this afternoon, according to a VRE spokesman.

The transit system also reminds passengers there will be no service Monday in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.

The longer trains come after passengers on the railroad this week experience major delays Tuesday night, when a freight train broke down on the tracks in a critical junction point between VRE’s Fredericksburg and Manassas lines.

The disabled train delayed VRE trains for up to 70 minutes, forcing some passengers to take cab rides to get home.

The railroad offered to reimburse passengers for the cost of those rides in a apology statement sent to its riders Wednesday.

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience this unusual situation caused and will continue to work hard to avoid anything like it in the future,” VRE stated.

VRE says officials from Keolis, the company contracted to operate VRE trains and CSX, the owners of the railroad, were on the scene for hours Tuesday trying to get the train moving.

In the end, Amtrak was able to provide some additional equipment to get the train moving again.

Traffic
Highways to Fill with Holiday Travelers

Drivers travel north on Interstate 95 at Garrisonville Road (Va. 610) in North Stafford. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Traveling by car this Memorial Day weekend? You’re not alone.

Nine out of 10 people in the Washington area are expected to pack the car and head to their vacation destination spot this weekend to herald the unofficial start of summer.

Many of them will travel more than 50 miles to their destinations, a break from the past when more people chose to stay home due to high gas prices and a troubled economy.

“Scrimp and save and still go. That’s the new travel reality and paradigm for Washington area travelers during the first holiday weekend of summer,” said AAA Mid Atlantic spokesman John B. Townsend II. “Amazingly, more Washington residents, nine out of ten, will travel by automobile this year than last, even with sky-high gasoline prices along the way. In fact, automobile travel continues to be the dominant mode of transportation for local residents this Memorial Day.”

More people from our area will be traveling this weekend than last Memorial Day, an expected 1.4 percent increase.

Room rates are nearby beaches, Virginia Beach and Ocean City, Md., are well over $200 per night and many have been sold out.

Travelers told AAA Mid Atlantic they will spend less while at their destination spots to compensate on fuel prices.

The automobile agency says auto travel is expected to be up this year slightly, by 0.7 percent, air travel up by 12.7 percent, and all other forms of travel down by 11.2 percent.

Gas prices are also higher this year than they were last year.  The average price for a gallon of gas in the Potomac Communities averages $3.87 per gallon, according to AAA Fuel Price Finder.

Last year, the average price for a gallon of gas in the same areas was $2.75.

News
Around Town

Fairfax County asks for delay of Mark Center opening
Now, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors have asked for a delay in opening the massive Mark Center building where thousands of federal employees will relocate, reports Mt. Vernon Patch.

House to vote on BRAC delay
And with that request, the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to vote on a bill that would delay the BRAC move and would give officials more time to prepare for the move, reports The Washington Business Journal.

Manassas gets new fire chief
At first he was hesitant, but now Brett Bowman says he’s ready to be the next fire chief for Manassas and took the job on Monday, reports Insidenova.com.

Kaine won’t commit on Obama budget
The president proposed his budget for 2012, but Senate contender and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, would not say how he would have voted on the proposed budget if he were serving in the senate chamber, reports The Washington Post.

Area jewelry shop makes charity a priority
One area jewelry shop has made charity a big part of their business, and now the Washington Post profiles the owner.

News
Memorial Day Closings

It’s the annual, unofficial start to summer! Memorial Day weekend is here, the time where we take an extra day off of work to honor those who have served their country. Because it’s a holiday, it won’t be business as usual for many municipal agencies.

Fairfax County
Government offices – Closed Monday May 30

Courts – Closed Monday, May 30

Libraries – Closed Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30

Prince William County
Government offices – Closed Monday ,May 20, 2011

Courts – Closed Monday, May 30, 2011

Landfill – Closed Monday, May 20, 2011

Libraries – Closed Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30, 2011, neighborhood libraries closed Saturday, May 28 through May 20, 2011. All branches to reopen May 31, 2011.

Stafford County
Government offices – Closed Monday, May 30

Courts – Closed Monday, May 30

Landfill – Closed Monday, May 30. Will reopen Tuesday, May 31 for regular business hours 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Libraries – Closed Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30. Will reopen normal hours Tuesday, May 31.


Traffic and Transit

I-95 / 395 / 66 High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes
HOV Resrtrictions lifted Monday May 30, 2011

I-95/395 lanes to run southbound from 1 p.m. Friday, May 27 until 2 p.m. Saturday, May 28. Lanes will run northbound from 4 p.m. through the remainder of the weekend.
The lanes will CLOSE to regular traffic Sunday for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle event, between 7:30 and 11 a.m.

Fairfax Connector Bus – Sunday schedule on Monday, May 30, 2011

Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission – No service Monday, May 30, 2011

Virginia Railway Express – No Service Monday, May 30, 2011

Metrorail – Washington’s Metrorail will conduct track maintenance over the weekend. Riders are asked to plan ahead for delays.

News
Around Town

Teacher raises on the way
Teachers in Stafford County will get step raises during the next school year, reports Fredericksburg.com.

Unpopular commuter lot
Despite a shuttle bus and two new Slug lines, still too few people are using a commuter lot at the First Baptist Church of Woodbridge, reports Insidenova.com.

Bus fares raised
It’s going to cost you more to ride FRED buses in Stafford and Fredericksburg, reports Fredericksburg Patch.

Fairfax buses to change routes near Ft. Belvoir
Fairfax Connector bus service is expanding as the BRAC closure/open date draws near, reports Mt. Vernon Patch.

No Walmart for Wilderness
Walmart  won’t build a new store on the site of a Civil War battlefield in Wilderness, the Washington Business Journal reports.

News
Slide Show: Countdown to Belvoir’s New Hospital

Ft. Belvoir, Va. –– There’s an air of excitement around Ft. Belvoir as its new hospital inches closer to the date it will accept the first patient.

The massive $1 billion Fort Belvoir Community Hospital is slated to open August 10. It will replace DeWitt Community Hospital.

The new hospital will boast 120 beds with 10 operating rooms that will be able to treat more than 37,000 patients per year. It will be staffed with more than 1,600 employees; all whom will help make it one of the newest, most cutting-edge medical facilities.

“There’s never been a hospital that’s been built like this before, not in the Army and nowhere else in the nation,” said U.S. Army Col. B. Allan Shoupe, M.D.

The facility broke ground in 2007, and since then crews have been working diligently to meet the government-imposed BRAC deadline of September 2011. That’s when many military basses will be realigned or closed, shifting some 20,000 people to Ft. Belvoir.

The hospital has been built with a design, bid, build approach, said Shoupe. Many of the plans for the hospital weren’t even finalized when the overall construction began.

This construction approach led to what medical professionals believe will promote a better hospital experience, including open access hallways, natural light that beams through large windows throughout the building, colorful murals on walls, and large recovery rooms with space for family members to sit bedside with a loved one on the mend.

“People just heal better when they have family members by their side. If mom wants her hand held while she’s staying in the room, a family member will be able to be at her side to help, and they deserve to stay here,” said Shoupe.

The hospital is laid out in five sections, or pavilions, most of which have two floors. The main section of the hospital, at the center of the structure, has seven floors.

In addition to emergency and primary care, the center will offer 55 specialties, including cancer treatment, cardiac catheterization and treating soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The hospital will also have doctors, nurses and patients communicating in new ways.

Through “Smart Suite” technology, doctors will be able to check a monitor on the wall outside a patient’s room to see basic medical information about a patient, as well as access medical history and X-rays prior to walking into the room. The technology will also allow the patient to easily identify at any time which member of the medical treatment staff is in the room, said Shoupe.

News
Around Town

Community college tuition going up
It’s going to cost more to attend a Virginia Community College next year, TBD.com reports.

You can help tornado victims
After the deadliest tornado in 60 years ripped through Joplin, MO on Monday, there are ways you can help the victims, reports Mt. Vernon Patch.

PWC BOCS member eyes state senate
A Prince William County Board of Supervisors member will run for Virginia’s Senate, reports The Washington Post.

Endangered historical sites named
Some of the most endangered historic sites in Virginia have been named, and at least one of them is in Stafford County, reports Staffordcountysun.com.

FRED bus service to hold hearing on fare increase
FRED is looking at another fare increase, reports Fredericksburg.com.

Metro names too long
The names of some Metro stations in the region are too long, and now transit authorities want to do something about that, reports Greater Greater Washington.

Traffic
Amtrak Train Catches Fire, Sparks Delays

Update 4 p.m.
An Amtrak train that caught fire this afternoon at Quantico is once again on the move.

Train 92 from Miami to New York City made an unscheduled stop when an electrical fire erupted on the train just before 3 p.m.

Amtrak officials say they no one was injured when some rail cars began to fill with smoke, and affected passengers were moved to other cars on the train.

An exact cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Virginia Railway Express service on the Fredericksburg line does not appear to have been affected.

Original Post 3:10 p.m.
Quantico, Va. ––
Virginia Railway Express officials say all rail traffic has been stopped at Quantico.

Fire and rescue crews are working to douse a fire near the town’s train station, were told.

A Quantico spokesman says the base does not have any information at this time about the closure.

VRE says it’s still too early to predict how this might affect the afternoon rush hour on the rails.

Last year, a freight train derailed at Quantico which also halted rail traffic up and down the east coast.

Traffic
Massive Delays Plague 95, U.S. 1

Ft. Belvoir, Va. –– It’s a parking lot outside Ft. Belvoir right now, as delays on Interstate 95 and the scheduled closure of the military installation’s main gate this morning have made for a commuter nightmare.

Ft. Belvoir closed its Tulley Gate at Richmond Highway (U.S. 1), the main entrance to the base, for dedication ceremony for Army Staff Sgt. Jon Linde, who was killed in the line of duty in 2007.

A visitor’s center at the main gate is being named after Linde.

“It’s been a horrendous day for traffic in the area with delays on 95. We planned the closure of this gate to be about an hour this morning to honor the memory of the fallen soldier,” said Ft. Belvoir spokesman Travis Edwards.

Drivers who needed to access the base were told to go to the Pence Gate, about one mile north on U.S. 1.

Traffic on I-95 was backed up for much of the morning from Prince William Parkway to the Springfield mixing bowl, and  then from Springfield onto I-395 to the 14th Street Bridge.

Drivers encountered a new traffic pattern at the bridge this morning as crews work to rehabilitate the structure.

News
Main Gate to Close Thursday Morning

Ft. Belvoir, Va. –– Drivers at Ft. Belvoir tomorrow used to using the main gate to the base will have to find another way.

The gate is scheduled to close between 9:15 and 10:15 a.m. Thursday, officials say.

Vehicles without official Defense Department decals should enter through the Pence Gate, located one mile north of the intersection of Richmond Highway (U.S. 1) and Belvoir Road.

News
More Suspicious Letters Found

Washington school officials and the FBI are once again this morning evacuating schools after suspicious letters were found.

Officials are taking precautions this morning, investigating if the letters contain harmful substances, according to the FBI.

So far, no one has been injured but officials say each new discovery consumes hundreds of hours of police manpower.

Of the 29 letters found Thursday and the letters found this morning, no harmful substances have been found.

Each suspicious package has been taken to the FBI’s lab at Quantico for further examination.

Investigators say the letters have been mailed from the Dallas area and are similar to other letters being investigated by the FBI in that city. The letters are also similar to letters received by Washington, D.C. schools in October, reports the FBI.

News
Dudenhefer Announces House Run

Mark Dudenhefer

Mark Dudenhefer

North Stafford, Va. –– An open Virginia House of Delegates seat has a contender.

Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Dudenhefer announced he will vie for the newly shifted 2nd District House of Delegates seat.

The district encompasses much of Northern Stafford, Quantico, and Woodbridge east of Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. 1) north to Belmont Bay.

The district was shifted to Northern Virginia from the southwest portion of the state after population there declined, and more residents moved into to the Potomac Communities.

“I know how to keep taxes low, reduce government and create jobs because I have already done it in Stafford County,” said Dudenhefer in a press release.

A Republican and retired Marine Colonel after 30 years of service, Dudenhefer won a position on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors in 2006.

Improving transportation in the region was a focus of his campaign following the death of his 17-year-old daughter, Emily, who was killed in a car crash in Stafford in 2004.

Seven years later, Dudenhefer now serves as the Chairman of the Stafford Board which serves the county’s nearly 129,000 residents. He’s recently tackled issues like hiring and retaining fire and rescue personnel, the county’s mandatory redistricting process, defining where urban growth will happen in Stafford, and stood with Virginia’s transportation secretary Sean Connaughton (the former Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman) to herald construction of new commuter parking in North Stafford.

Dudenhefer said he was approached by Virginia House Speaker Del. Bill Howell about seeking the newly shifted House seat.

“We need more conservatives to stand firm in the House of Delegates, and I’ll be a reliable ally to Speaker Bill Howell as we keep Virginia the best place in the country to conduct business through low taxes and less government intervention.”

So far, no other candidate has come forward to run against the Republican.

News
Tornado Spotted at Quantico, Funnel Clouds Over Stafford

Update 7 p.m.
A tornado has been confirmed at Quantico.

A weather spotter has told the National Weather Service a tornado near Triangle, about two miles west of Quantico.

The tornado was spotted at 6:14 p.m.

Residents in Stafford County spotted funnel clouds in the southern portion of the county, off U.S. 17.

Neighbors said the skies turned green overhead as funnel clouds appeared over their houses.

Stay with us for continuing coverage.

Update 6 p.m.
A tornado warning has been issued for Stafford and Prince William counties until 6:15 p.m.

At 5:40 p.m., National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a severe thunderstorm 10 miles west of Stafford capable of producing a tornado.

The storm was moving northeast at 40 mph.

We’ll bring you more details as we get them.

Please update us with what you are seeing.

Original Post 4:15 p.m.
A tornado watch has been issued for the Potomac Communities until 8 p.m.

Officials at the National Weather Service say 19 Virginia counties are under the watch, including Fairfax, Stafford and Prince William.

Showers and thunderstorms are forecast to move into the region this afternoon and evening, according to the NWS.

Those showers and thunderstorms should continue after midnight.

More showers and thunderstorms are possible tomorrow between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., according to the weather service.

Letter: Like Metro, Ferries Would Spur Development

Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi

Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi

By Frank J. Principi
Woodbridge District Supervisor

In 2007, as I was campaigning to be your locally elected representative on the Board of County Supervisors, I brought a ferry to Woodbridge from Boston to promote the use of a commuter ferry service up the Potomac River. During this time, we conducted several runs and were able to complete the Quantico to Navy Yard run in under 55 minutes one-way, giving us hope that a commuter ferry option was feasible as another viable transit alternative to help alleviate gridlock on our roads. I also brought a ferry here in 2009 and replicated the service time for a series of origin/destination pairs.

Now as the Woodbridge District Supervisor, I am still actively pursuing alternative transit options for our community. As you know, traffic gridlock is among the most pressing challenges to our quality of life in Prince William County. In addition to an aggressive road building initiative, elected officials must work together to build smarter transit alternatives (wiser, not wider) that will alleviate this gridlock and reduce auto emissions. Commuter ferry service is a timely, outside-the-box, solution to several challenges facing Northern Virginia.

In addition to a new form of transit, ferry service also makes sense from a homeland security and tourism perspective as well. In doesn’t take a natural disaster or a terrorist incident to paralyze our road system, we experience gridlock in bad weather, peak commute times, and with fatal accidents. A fleet of high-speed ferries capable of evacuating residents or moving military equipment and personnel during a declared emergency would improve our capacity to respond and recover quickly to a wide range of incidents.

Too, the availability of a fleet of ferries on nights and weekends could shuttle residents and tourists to a local baseball game, airport, or to dining and museum locations along our river system. Ferry origin and destination points would be expected to generate economic development opportunities as Metrorail Stations have done in this region in the past.

Given the forecasted population growth, pending impacts of the BRAC decisions, existing gridlock, limited capacity of our road system, and our history with water-based transportation alternatives, a commuter ferry service along our river system holds promise as a transit alternative to our region’s multi-modal transportation network. Commuter ferry service would take advantage of an existing, unused transportation asset and provide commuters with a convenient alternative to traveling on the region’s congested roadways.

A Commuter Ferry Stakeholder’s group has been created and has met several times over the last few months. This is a planning group that is comprised of federal, state and local officials representing Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The private sector, military and academia are also part of this group. We are on track to conduct a regional market analysis this fall. It will determine whether there is a need for the service and more simply put, if we build it, will you ride it. The group is also tasked with coming up with a funding formula that will ensure the success of the project. For this to work, it needs to be done through a public, private, and military (BRAC) partnership. We will not ask the taxpayers, nor will they accept taking on the brunt of this burden.

In Prince William County’s Future Commission 2030 report, citizens envisioned a water-based transportation service to serve the region. “A water ferry provides transportation to Washington, D.C. and Maryland along the Potomac River…These services are used for commuting, as a regular means of transportation, and for residents and tourists to reach historic towns and sites along the shoreline.” The thousands of residents who participated in the 2030 visioning process clearly stated the vision for an effective, efficient commuter ferry service. It’s now up to area governments, public officials, private employers and individual residents to help make the vision a reality. I am very committed to this cause and will continue to push for a commuter ferry service on the Potomac River.

To may submit an open letter to PotomacLocal.com, please email it to news@potomaclocal.com and write “Open Letter” in the subject line.

You may also mail letters to:
PotomacLocal.com
Unit 115-10
Stafford, Va. 22554

By Frank J. Principi

Woodbridge District Supervisor

In 2007, as I was campaigning to be your locally elected representative on the Board of County Supervisors, I brought a ferry to Woodbridge from Boston to promote the use of a commuter ferry service up the Potomac River. During this time, we conducted several runs and were able to complete the Quantico to Navy Yard run in under 55 minutes one-way, giving us hope that a commuter ferry option was feasible as another viable transit alternative to help alleviate gridlock on our roads. I also brought a ferry here in 2009 and replicated the service time for a series of origin/destination pairs.

Now as the Woodbridge District Supervisor, I am still actively pursuing alternative transit options for our community. As you know, traffic gridlock is among the most pressing challenges to our quality of life in Prince William County. In addition to an aggressive road building initiative, elected officials must work together to build smarter transit alternatives (wiser, not wider) that will alleviate this gridlock and reduce auto emissions. Commuter ferry service is a timely, outside-the-box, solution to several challenges facing Northern Virginia.

In addition to a new form of transit, ferry service also makes sense from a homeland security and tourism perspective as well. In doesn’t take a natural disaster or a terrorist incident to paralyze our road system, we experience gridlock in bad weather, peak commute times, and with fatal accidents. A fleet of high-speed ferries capable of evacuating residents or moving military equipment and personnel during a declared emergency would improve our capacity to respond and recover quickly to a wide range of incidents.

Too, the availability of a fleet of ferries on nights and weekends could shuttle residents and tourists to a local baseball game, airport, or to dining and museum locations along our river system. Ferry origin and destination points would be expected to generate economic development opportunities as Metrorail Stations have done in this region in the past.

Given the forecasted population growth, pending impacts of the BRAC decisions, existing gridlock, limited capacity of our road system, and our history with water-based transportation alternatives, a commuter ferry service along our river system holds promise as a transit alternative to our region’s multi-modal transportation network. Commuter ferry service would take advantage of an existing, unused transportation asset and provide commuters with a convenient alternative to traveling on the region’s congested roadways.

A Commuter Ferry Stakeholder’s group has been created and has met several times over the last few months. This is a planning group that is comprised of federal, state and local officials representing Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The private sector, military and academia are also part of this group. We are on track to conduct a regional market analysis this fall. It will determine whether there is a need for the service and more simply put, if we build it, will you ride it. The group is also tasked with coming up with a funding formula that will ensure the success of the project. For this to work, it needs to be done through a public, private, and military (BRAC) partnership. We will not ask the taxpayers, nor will they accept taking on the brunt of this burden.

In Prince William County’s Future Commission 2030 report, citizens envisioned a water-based transportation service to serve the region. “A water ferry provides transportation to Washington, D.C. and Maryland along the Potomac River…These services are used for commuting, as a regular means of transportation, and for residents and tourists to reach historic towns and sites along the shoreline.” The thousands of residents who participated in the 2030 visioning process clearly stated the vision for an effective, efficient commuter ferry service. It’s now up to area governments, public officials, private employers and individual residents to help make the vision a reality. I am very committed to this cause and will continue to push for a commuter ferry service on the Potomac River.

Traffic
Funds Approved for U.S. 1 Widening

Ft. Belvoir, Va. –– Congress on Friday passed legislation that includes funding the widening of U.S. 1 at Ft. Belvoir.

Included the entire bill was $300 million, and only a portion of the money will be used for road widening. But the move comes in advance of the military’s Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, which is expected to move 20,000 new federal, military and civilian jobs to the base.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11) says the money will be a much-needed boost to help ready the region for the influx of BRAC employees.

“With the deadline for BRAC completion less than six months away, the federal government has come late to the party to help Northern Virginia address the transportation challenges created by BRAC, but thankfully it has arrived. This new funding will help make significant improvements to the Richmond Highway, which is one of the two primary access routes for Fort Belvoir and the Army’s new premier medical campus. It builds on the recent investments made by the Recovery Act to complete Fairfax County Parkway, but still falls short of what is needed to ensure BRAC is a success in our community,” Connolly said in a press release.

In addition to Ft. Belvoir, Quantico Marine Corps Base and North Stafford will also see an influx of new workers shifted to facilities there as part of BRAC.

Traffic
Steel Girders, Signs to Cause Delays

(File) Drivers travel past the Pohick Road overpass at Lorton on the new fourth lane on Interstate 95 in Lorton. (VDOT)

Update 10 a.m.
It appears drivers tonight will get a brief reprieve from planned delays on U.S. 1 near Ft. Belvoir.

Steel girders were supposed to lifted into place beginning tonight near the military base to lay the groundwork for the future expansion of the four-lane highway.

That construction was supposed to begin tonight, but has been postponed until tomorrow night, officials at Ft. Belvoir say.

When crews do put the steel girders in place, traffic is expected to be stopped in both directions for 20 minute intervals during the process.

We’ll post more here when we have it.

Original Post
Lorton, Va.—
Expect nighttime delays this week on U.S. 1 and Interstate 95 in the Potomac Communities.

Construction crews will begin lifting a series of steel girders into place for a bridge that will accommodate the future expansion of U.S. 1, adding room for mass transit options and the expansion of the Army garrison.

The work will begin at 7 p.m. and last until 6 a.m. tonight through Saturday, according to a press release from Mt. Vernon Supervisor Gerry Hyland’s office.

Each night, contractors will lift three girders into place using a 110-foot steel crane. The process will force the closure of the highway for 20-minute intervals.

One the girder is securely in place and bolted down, the road will reopen to traffic, officials said.

Messaging signs have been put in place by the Virginia Department of Transportation to warn drives about the change.

For drivers headed north, Interstate 95 may not be the best alternative route.

On Sunday night, crews began closing multiple lanes on I-95 north, between Gordon Boulevard (Va. 123) in Woodbridge and milepost 161 in Lorton, to begin erecting new overhead signs.

The lanes will be closed intermittently for up to 30 minutes at a time.

Traffic
Expect Closures on I-95, U.S. 1

(File) Drivers travel past the Pohick Road overpass at Lorton on the new fourth lane that opened Friday on Interstate 95 in Fairfax County. (VDOT)

Get ready for some major closures of Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 in the Potomac Communities.

Interstate 95
The Virginia Department of Transportation announced between Friday April 15 and Thursday April 21 work on widening Interstate 95 will have an impact on drivers.

At midnight Friday, the High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes between Dumfries and Washington will close, and then reopen at 3 a.m. Monday April 18.

A portion of the lanes, between Edsall Road in Alexandria and Washington, will reopen at 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon, said VDOT.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the HOV lanes between Dumfries and Newington will close from 10 p.m. and then reopen at 5 a.m.

Drivers will be able to get onto the lanes at Springfield and use them to travel into Washington.

Additionally, work on the exit ramps in Woodbridge –– at mile posts 160 and 161 –– will force the closure of those ramps for up to 30 minutes at a time Sunday through Wednesday nights.

U.S. 1

Crews will temporarily close a portion of U.S. 1 near Ft. Belvoir in 20-minute increments between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. between Monday April 18 and Saturday April 23.

Short delays are expected as crews raise a steel girder into the air for a new bridge that will accommodate the expansion of the nearby military base, said Ft. Belvoir spokeswoman Jacqueline Leeker.

News
Belvoir’s New Hospital to be Larger, Brighter

An artist’s rendering of the new Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital.

Ft. Belvoir, Va. –– The hospital that will replace Ft. Belvoir’s aging Dewitt Army Community Hospital will be three times its size and will have the fourth largest pharmacy in the Department of Defense.

The new Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital on the Army base is nearing completion, and area business owners got a sneak peak of the new facility at a Mount Vernon – Lee Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday.

The hospital is being constructed as part of the military’s BRAC relocation, which is will to bring 20,000 military and federal jobs to the region by the fall.

The facility will boast more well more than 120 beds, a recovery center and x-ray facility.

It’ll also be more open, with large windows that allow more sunlight to pass into the building ultimately aiding in the healing process, said Col. Susan Annicell.

“In my 30 years in healthcare I have never seen the level of care and detail placed into a facility like this,” said Annicell, who will lead the staff at the new hospital.

Col. Susan Annicell speaks about the new Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital at a luncheon of area business owners. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

The new hospital will be 1.3 million square foot larger than Dewitt, which will close once the new facility opens.

Hospital rooms will also be larger and more inviting, accommodating family members who want to stay overnight with patients.

The overall goal, explained Annicell, is to make the hospital and its surrounding campus a medical center by adding additional facilities like a 288-bed wounded warrior recovery center, and a 20-bed substance abuse recovery center.

Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital has also been designed to operate on a green scale, with its swooped roof doubling as a rainwater collector. Cisterns beneath the hospital collect the rainwater, process it, and then send it back to the surface where it will be used to water a series of gardens outside the facility.

News
Counties Join Together to Clean U.S. 1

U.S. 1 in Woodbridge, at the intersection of E. Longview Drive and Prince William Parkway.

Lorton, Va. –– Residents of Fairfax and Prince William counties will work together for the first time to clean up one of the region’s busiest highways.

It’s called the “Fairfax and Prince William Connecting Counties to Clean Up Route 1 Corridor” event, and it’ll take place beginning at 9 a.m. April 30 at various spots along the U.S. 1 corridor.

“Not only do we want to clean up Route 1, but we also want to highlight that there is a lot of trash along the road and it needs to be cleaned up consistently,” said Kayne Karnbach, with Prince William Clean Community Council. “It’s important to note that civic groups for a long time have worked to clean the area, but this is the first time we have come together and worked as a team.”

Members of the Mount Vernon – Lee Chamber of Commerce, those from Ft. Belvoir and Quantico, as well as the Woodbridge Potomac Communities Civic Association will all work in their respective teams to clean the roadway.

Churches have also been recruited into the effort, and many have all agreed to help clean in some portions between Ft. Belvoir south to Triangle, said Karnbach.

Those interested in volunteering to participate may call 571-285-3772 for more information.

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