The investigation into a shooting that took place overnight in Dale City has taken police officers to the Montclair neighborhood.
Fire and rescue crews were called to a home in the 15500 block of Winding Creek Drive at 5:37 a.m. for a report of a man who was injured by a firework. Rescue crews detrmined the man had been shot, stated Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.
The 24-year-old victim was taken to a hospital for injuries that did not appear to be life threatening. Investigators later learned that he was involved in a fight about three and a half hours earlier at Center Plaza in Dale City.
Police went to Center Plaza this morning and found evidence of the shooting. Now, detectives are working to identify a suspect in the case, said Perok.
The shooting does not appear to be a random act, police added.
A man was shot outside a Giant Food store in Dale City early this morning.
The male victim was shot about 2 a.m. in then 4300 block of Dale Boulevard, inside the Center Plaza shopping center. Police learned about the shooting at 5:30 a.m and went to the scene.
The victim was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
The shooting appears to have taken place after a fight escalated, according to police.
No arrests have been made.
All aboard the John Jenkins Express.
Jenkins, the longest currently serving Prince William County Board of Supervisors, is recognized for his participation on the Virginia Railway Express Operations Board. He and eight other VRE Board members who played key roles in the development of the commuter railroad since its founding in 1992 will have their names affixed to the front of VRE locomotives.
Here’s a full list of names that will soon appear on commuter trains:
- Edwin King – Prince William County (Original Member)
- James Hugh Payne Sr. – City of Manassas (First Elected City of Manassas Member)
- Bernard Cohen – VA House of Delegates (Original Member)
- Bob Gibbons – Stafford County (First Elected Stafford Member)
- Sally H. Cooper – VDOT (Original Member)
- Sharon Bulova – Fairfax County (Original and Continuously Serving Member)
- John Jenkins – Prince William County (Long Serving Member)
- Hilda Barg – Prince William County (Long Serving Member)
- Elaine McConnell – Fairfax County (Long Serving Member – previously recognized)
The operations board approved adding the names to the locomotives at their monthly meeting this morning.
“Naming locomotives to honor those who helped establish or ensure the success of VRE is a small token of the appreciation we have for the foresight and public service these Board Members have provided in creating VRE,” said VRE Operations Board Chairman Paul Milde in a press release.
The names that will be affixed to the locomotives belong to those who “played a key role in establishing VRE service, were early or long-tenured members, or whose extraordinary efforts contributed to its success, will be honored by having their names placed on the front of VRE locomotives.”
Virginia Railway Express trains carried more than 320,000 riders in November. Over the past year, the commuter railroad carried 2 million riders.
Prince William police officers were out bringing joy and spreading Christmas cheer Thursday.
A very cool looking, sunglasses-wearing Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus rode with several Prince William police motorcycle units on their annual Santa Ride. They visited pediatric patients at Novant Prince William Medical Center, and the group also visited a string of elementary schools in Prince William County.
The traveling troop brought Santa and Mrs. Claus to Chick-fil-A in Bristow where they ordered lunch. While there, Santa and the officers passed out candy canes to children. Santa also asked each child what they wanted for Christmas.
On Dec. 17, police found and arrested the man they said is responsible for pulling a knife on local cab drivers and stealing money from them.
Police say the suspect matched the description given in connection to the five separate incidents reported to the police.
Here’s the latest from Prince William police:
Armed Robbery Series *ARREST – On December 17th, detectives from the Robbery identified a possible suspect involved in a series of armed robberies involving taxi cab drivers which have occurred in the Manassas area of Prince William County since December 9th.
Later that same afternoon, officers were actively patrolling the area of Ashton Ave near Sudley Manor Dr and located a man matching the description of the suspect being sought by detectives.
The man was identified as the accused and was also found to be in possession of a knife. In total, five separate incidents were reported to police and involved a similar suspect description and circumstances.
Following the investigation, the accused was connected to this robbery series and was subsequently arrested without incident. Additional charges are forthcoming.
Arrested on December 17th:
Matthew Jamaal BROWN, 24, of 10891 Gambril Dr, #31 in Manassas
Charged with 3 counts of robbery
Court date: February 17, 2015 | Bond: held WITHOUT bond
Armed Robbery Series [Previously Released] – Between December 14th and 16th, officers have responded to the Manassas area (20109) of Prince William County to investigate armed robberies involving cab drivers. In all reported cases, a man of similar clothing and physical description displays a knife and robs the cab driver of money before fleeing on foot. The incidents have also occurred in close geographical proximately to one another along Ashton Ave. No injuries have been reported in any of the robberies. The same suspect is also believed to be responsible for an incident which was reported on December 9th. A timeline of the incidents are below.
- December 16th at 3:21AM – Vernon St and Tower Pl in Manassas
- December 15th at 2:57PM – 10700 block of Sudley Manor Dr in Manassas
- December 14th at 1:11PM – Notre Dame St and Hiram Ct in Manassas
- December 14th at 6:05PM – 16000 block of Blendia Ln and Ashton Ave in Manassas
- December 9th at 4:53PM – Adler Ln and Coachcrest Ct in Manassas
Fewer women in the U.S. are having babies.
The national birth rate declined in 2013 to 3.93 million births, continuing a six-year drop off. Women between the ages of 15 and 44 last year bore an average of 1.86 babies, and that’s below the 2.1 average the National Center for Health Statistics said is necessary for a stable population.
Locally, the number of live births at Novant Prince William Medical Center in Manassas fluctuated over the past five years. The hospital was the only local medical center in Prince William and Stafford counties to respond to our records request. The hospital averaged nearly 2,040.8 babies born over the past five years.
Over time, the numbers have remained steady with the exception of this year’s number, which accounts only for the first 11 months of 2014. Take a look at the numbers the hospital submitted to Potomac Local:
- 2014 (through November) =1,572
The down economy is to blame for the decrease in the birth rate. Many millennials are trying to find work or move up at their current job, and that, for some, means putting off starting a family.
In other parts of the U.S., a declining birth rate spells trouble for city populations, as well as companies looking to find workers to fill jobs. In the Washington, D.C. area, things are a bit different. People keep moving here and that, at least for now, offsets any the effect of any population decrease.
“In the last two years, we’ve seen changes in what drives population growth in our metro area,” said Jeannette Chapman, with the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis.
Domestic migration in the Washington area – people moving here from other places in the U.S. – has dropped off while international migration to the area has increased.
Locally, Prince William County and Manassas City has seen more cases of international migration over the past two years while Stafford County to the south has seen more cases of domestic relocation. A number of factors could play into Stafford’s case, including home prices and housing inventory, said Chapman.
The Center for Regional Analysis compares the Washington, D.C. to Houston, Phoenix, and Seattle. In Virginia, military bases have been impacted by sequestration and thousands of jobs have been lost due to federal cutbacks.
Historically, when the economy tanks federal agencies here ramp up to find a solution to the problem, and that brings in more workers and people.
So, that declining birth rate?
“It’s not a big deal for us; that’s only part of the story,” said Chapman. “If in the longer term things continue to decline, that will change the national narrative, and that could have an effect on our economy here.”
It’s a story we first told you about on our Facebook page Tuesday afternoon. Police swarmed the area around Ashdale Plaza and the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission bus terminal about 3 p.m. after an officer was assaulted, according to police.
Here’s an account from Prince William police addressing what happened:
Assault & Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer [LEO] – On December 16th at 3:20PM, a Prince William County police officer stopped a man in the median area on Dale Blvd near Gideon Dr in Woodbridge (22193) for suspected panhandling.
During the encounter, the man provided the officer with a false identity and began to flee on foot. The officer attempted to stop the man and was assaulted. The suspect continued to flee and, at one point, stopped and reengaged the officer.
The suspect assaulted the officer a second time before continuing to flee into a wooded area where officers lost sight of him. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 was used to search for the suspect. During the investigation, officers were able identity the suspect as the accused and further learned that he was actively being sought on multiple warrants.
On December 17th, officers conducted another search of the wooded area on Dale Blvd near I-95 for the accused. After an extensive search, the accused was located in a tent and arrested without further incident.
Arrested on December 17th:
Andre Solmon PATTERSON, 48, of no fixed address
Charged with 2 counts of assault & battery on a LEO, 1 count of resisting arrest, 1 count of providing a false identity to law enforcement and 1 count of panhandling
*Additional unrelated warrants also served
Court date: pending | Bond: held WITHOUT bond
The average property tax bill in Prince William County may not increase next year as much as planned.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a plan from Gainesville Supervisor Peter Candland that directs County Executive Melissa Peacor to develop a 2016 budget where the average property tax bill increases no more than 1.7%. That number is down from an annual projected 4% tax bill increase approved by the Board of County Supervisors last April. The average tax bill was to increase by at least 4% per year, every year under the old 5-year plan.
Peacor is expected to a budget to the Board of Supervisors next month. The board will approve the fiscal year 2016 budget in April.
Candland said a staggering economy and job losses throughout Virginia are just some of the reasons to keep taxes lower.
“Can we continue to sustain this level of spending?” asked Candland. “We need to balance the economic realities we see in the county, state, and the nation.”
While the average tax bill in Prince William is lower than neighboring Fairfax and Loudoun counties, Candland said average earned wages of Prince William County residents are 10% lower than Fairfax residents’ income.
County leaders in April passed a $989 million budget with an assessed tax rate of $1.148 of every $100 of assessed property value. New property assessments are due within the next few months, and that will give officials some idea of how much revenue will be coming into county coffers.
With last year’s tax increase, the county funded 25 new police officers, funded improvements to sports fields, and provided money for new libraries in Montclair and Gainesville.
“I did vote for the 4% last year for higher tax bill because someone told me you’re not going to get your library if you don’t vote for the tax increase,” said Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, who on Tuesday voted in favor of the lower 1.7% average tax bill budget guidance.
Supervisors Marty Nohe, John Jenkins, and Frank Principi all voted against the 1.7% budget guidance.
“We were with the school board less than a week ago, and we heard them asking for some consistency, and this does not provide that,” said Nohe.
The Board of Supervisors sets the tax rate, and the county’s public school division will receive about 57% of the next year’s budget and. It it will could be substantially less than what the school division was banking on prior to Tuesday’s vote.
“The schools and Board of County Supervisors will have to look at budgets. The school board might have to go back and reevaluate the price tag of the new high school and not build the two swimming pools, and we might have to go back and look at the $11 million price tag to bury power lines [on Route 1 in Woodbridge] and spend that money on our schools,” said Candland.
“There will be some very critical needs that, at 1.7%, will go unmet, said Principi.
The Woodbridge District Supervisor cited the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission – operators of OmniRide commuter and OmniLink local buses – which is facing a massive budget reduction that could lead to service cuts starting in 2017. Children who need mental healthcare and substance abuse patients may also go without care, added Principi.
*This story was corrected.
The Quantico Marine Corps Band played “We wish you a Merry Christmas” at the 2014 Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Dumfries.
Here are the members of the quartet:
Sgt. Nestor Carrera, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Lance Cpl. Micheal Millott, of Indianapolis, Indiana
Cpl. Derrick Smith, of El Paso, Texas
Sgt. Tyler Scruggs, of Kings Mountain, North Carolina
We took a drive on the new Interstate 95 E-Z Pass Express Lanes this afternoon.
The lanes were free to drivers before 3:30 p.m. today, as the lanes are operating under the old HOV rules that require vehicles to have three or more occupants 6 to 9 a.m. and 3:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Beginning Dec. 29, all vehicles will need an E-Z Pass or E-Z Pass Flex (carpoolers will should use this to not be charged a toll) to use the lanes.
We wanted to drive the new portion of the lanes, from Dumfries south to the Express Lanes’ terminus at Garrisonville Road.
We got on the lanes near Potomac Mills mall, near milepost 156 Dale Boulevard. Midday traffic was light, and we had no issues traveling the stretch of lanes.
The old HOV exit at Route 234 in Dumfries, where all HOV traffic used to merge with the travel lanes of I-95, has been closed. Drivers now proceed about a half mile south to a new flyover exit ramp that carries drivers back to the highway travel lanes as well as connects them to an exit for Joplin Road, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Quantico National Cemetery, and Prince William Forest Park.
We continued south to terminus of the lanes at Garrisonville Road in Stafford County. All drivers are forced to merge into a single lane before transitioning into an exit flyover ramp that carries drivers back to the main lanes of I-95, or connects them to Garrisonville Road.
The I-95 E-Z Pass Express Lanes carry drivers north to Washington in the mornings and then south each afternoon. Officials say the drivers should remain popular with slugs or carpoolers, who ride together in vehicles of three or more occupants for a faster commute to work. Drivers in vehicles with two or fewer occupants will have the option to pay a toll of about $6 to $8 per 1o to 12-mile trip on the lanes, said express lanes spokesman Micheal McGurk.
The total length of the lanes is 29 miles from Garrisvonville Road to Esdall Road in Alexandria.
Elected leaders spent some time bringing Christmas joy to shoppers at Tacketts Mill in Lake Ridge.
Delegate Richard Anderson, Prince William Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May, and Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi all worked shifts as Salvation Army bell ringers.
Bell ringers seek cash donations to support charitably programs at the Salvation Army.
Anderson was first scheduled to ring the bell from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and may rang the bell from 1 p.m. Principi was kept scheduled to keep the holiday cheer going to the late afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m.
Prince William County School Board Chairman Milton C. Johns will not seek reelection.
Johns’ term will end one year from now on Dec. 31, 2015.
Johns has spent 12 years on the School Board and has overseen the opening of 20 new schools, school expansions, as well as the addition of a Governor’s School in the county.
Johns issued the following statement:
After months of prayer, reflection, and discussions with my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election as Chairman at Large of the Prince William County School Board in 2015. When my term ends at midnight on December 31, 2015, I will have spent nearly a quarter of my life serving on the Prince William County School Board. It is time for me to focus on other matters, including my family and my law practice. I do expect to continue to have a role supporting Prince William County Schools and in local political activities.
When the 12th year of my tenure on the School Board concludes, I will have been part of a Board that opened 20 schools and renovated and expanded dozens more, that brought robotics to every school in the county, and that established the Safe Schools Advisory Council and the Governor’s School @ Innovation Park. We expanded full day Kindergarten county-wide, expanded AP, IB and Cambridge programs, and offered a myriad of specialty programs at nearly all of our schools. By my rough count, over 65,000 students have received high school diplomas during that time, and I personally watched almost half of them cross the stage at graduation.
Prince William County Public Schools are not perfect; they never were and they never will be. But I am extremely proud of the progress we have made – administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and students – in the past 11 years as we have emerged to be one of the premiere large suburban school divisions in the country, and the role I played on the Prince William County School Board. It was a labor of love, but all things must come to an end.
Among the many people who have supported me over the years, I must especially thank my wife Shellie and my children Caitlin and Milton Wyatt for their love and understanding, and I look forward to work hard in 2015 for the citizens of Prince William County.
Johns lives with his family in the Brentsville District, where voters on Dec. 23 will head to the polls in a Special Election to choose a new Supervisor to represent the district on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.
Who ever wins the seat will complete former Supervisor Wally Covington’s term who stepped down to become a judge. The winner of this month’s Special Election must defend it come September during a General Election.
Virginia Railway Express will not operate service the day after Christmas.
The commuter railroad issued the following statement about their adjusted holiday schedule:
December 24, 2014 – “S” Schedule
December 25, 2014 – No VRE service in observance of Christmas
December 26, 2014 – No VRE service
December 29-31, 2014 – “S” Schedule
January 1, 2015 – No VRE service in observance of New Year’s Day
January 2, 2015 – “S” Schedule
January 19, 2014 – No VRE service in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
“No VRE service” is easy enough to figure out but if you are new to our service, we operate an “S” Schedule on certain days. The only trains that will operate on those days are those that are marked with as “S” next to its train number on the schedule. (We also implement this reduced schedule when inclement weather warrants it.)
A pilot from Woodbridge was killed in a plane crash Sunday.
Benjamin J. Hammel, 33, was the sole occupant of a single-engine fixed wing Titan Tornado II that crashed at 12:30 p.m. in Catlett, Virginia.
Virginia State Police, Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office, and volunteer fire and rescue personnel were called to the scene.
Thanks to local residents providing witness accounts and four-wheel drive vehicles, emergency responders were able to successfully locate and access the remote crash site,” said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
Witnesses told police the plan appeared to have been having trouble prior to the crash. The FAA and NTSB are investigating what led to the pilot’s death.
Update 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15
There appears to be no foul play involved after police found a body inside a home on Cedar Cove Way in Woodbridge on Sunday.
Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok today said the death does not appear to be suspicious.
Original post 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14
Neighbors told Potomac Local the body of a man was found inside a home in Woodbridge today.
A real estate agent attempting to show a condominium at on the bottom floor of 1865 Cedar Cove Way, just off Prince William Parkway near Interstate 95, made the discovery about 11 a.m., according to neighbors.
Neighbors said police investigators arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and remained there until about 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
A Prince William police spokesman Sunday afternoon said he hadn’t been notified of a major event in the neighborhood.
Neighbors who talked to Potomac Local said the man was living in the house, and that there has been a realtor lock box on the handle of the front door for some time. Neighbors said they didn’t know if the man’s death was considered by police to be suspicious.
A group of concerned residents gathered outside the condos to talk about the incident and police presence.
The condos on Cedar Cove Way are a part of a larger group of homes nestled on an embankment on the eastbound side of Prince William Parkway. The neighborhood lies between Route 1 and Interstate 95.
The home where the body was found was built in 2006, according to county property records.
Marines met the public last night in Woodbridge.
The Civilian-Military Council evening social was held at the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building and was attended by local elected officials and Quantico Commander Col. David W. Maxwell.
Several staff members from Quantico mingled among the public at last night’s meeting.
Santa arrived following an invocation by Rev. Luke Torian from 1st Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dumfries, and remarks from Col. Maxwell and Prince Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan.
A Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant closed this morning at 11:20.
A gas leak was reported at the restaurant in Gainesville, according to a woman who answered the phone
Fire and rescue crews were spotted outside the building shortly after the restaurant closed.
Those who work at the restaurant did not know how long it would take crews to repair the gas leak, or when the eatery would reopen for business.
No injuries have been reported.
Scott Jacobs is no longer a member of the Prince William County Republican Committee.
The group dropped him from their member list on Tuesday prior to debate featuring Jacobs and two other candidates hoping to fill the position of Brentsville District Supervisor.
Jeanine Lawson is the official Republican candidate in the race, unanimously chosen to run for the seat at a mass meeting of Republicans earlier this fall. Jacobs failed to meet proper filing deadlines imposed by the committee and was not able to seek the nomination of the party.
Prince William Republican Committee Chairman Bill Card on Thursday described Jacobs as a man who wasn’t active in the county Republican committee prior to his campaign, and as someone who was seeking to take advantage of Republican branding.
Here’s a portion of the story that appeared on Bristow Beat:
…Chairman Bill Card defended the committee’s decision when speaking with Bristow Beat Thursday. He said the decision was appropriate because Jacobs, “violated our trust, and he violated the letter and the spirit of the agreement in which he joined us.”
Card said that although Jacobs lived in Brentsville almost his entire life, he only joined the Prince William Republican Committee this year.
“I didn’t even know Scott Jacobs until January. He came to us seeking our brand. He came to us because he wanted an R by his name,” Card said.
In addition to not meeting the application deadline, Card said the committee was concerned with some of Jacob’s other behaviors such as posting campaign signs before the election board sanctioned such forms of political campaigning.
And, while Jacobs said he embodies Republican ideals, Card disagrees.
“We believe in following our word, and keeping our word, and being honest and upfront with everyone,” Card said.
Documents on file with Prince William County Government state both Card and Jacobs served on the 2012 committee that formulated the county’s strategic plan to guide the community over the next five years in areas like economic development, public safety, and transportation. Those committee meetings took place more than a year before January 2014, the time Card told a reporter he had first met Jacobs.
When asked about his participation in the strategic plan meetings, Card emailed the following statement to Potomac Local:
I went to the initial meeting and one other meeting of that committee. They determined to hold the meetings on Monday evenings. Our Monthly Prince William County Republican Committee meetings are generally held on the fourth Monday of each Month and my Executive Committee Meetings (of the Prince William County Republican Committee) are held on Monday evenings as well.
After missing so many of the initial meetings when I did return for one I found that I was hopelessly behind, and I didn’t return.
If I did meet Jacobs, he didn’t make an impression as I don’t recall.
Jacobs said he sat beside Card at the very first strategic planning committee meeting, and he corroborated the claim that Card missed some meetings.
“We did meet one another there, and he was there for more than one meeting,” said Jacobs.
The Republicans issued a statement to the press Tuesday about Jacobs’s removal from the GOP committee. While he continues to run as an independent, Jacobs said he remains a deeply rooted conservative.
The committee took issue when an audio recording surfaced of a campaign worker making a phone call to a voter in who lives in the district and described Jacobs as a Republican. It was the impetus for his removal from the group.
“This is a company that our campaign called and hired to make phone calls for us,” said Jacobs. “I listened to the phone calls on couple different occasions, they say I’m a Republican, and I am. “We certainly asked [the hired company] to clearly state that I am an independent candidate.”
Voters will go to the polls to decide on who the next Brentsville District Supervisor will be during a Special Election Dec. 23.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – On December 8, police went to Saks Fifth Avenue department store at Potomac Mills Mall after an unknown man tried to steal a pair of shoes and assaulted an employee when they tried to stop him. The man left the scene in a car and officers were not able to find the man after searching the nearby area.
Here’s the latest from Prince William police;
Strong Armed Robbery – On December 8th at 6:30PM, officers responded to the Saks Fifth Ave in Potomac Mills Mall located at 2700 Potomac Mills Cir in Woodbridge (22192) to investigate a shoplifting. Officers arrived at the business and were informed by an employee with loss prevention that an unknown man entered the store, took a pair of shoes and attempted to leave the store without paying. As the employee went to detain the suspect, the man assaulted the employee and fled in a vehicle. No injuries were reported. Officers searched the area and did not locate the suspect.
Black male, between 20 & 30 years of age with a medium build, medium complexion and tattoos on his chest and neck
Last seen wearing a black jacket, black shirt, black pants and a black cap with white stripes
MANASSAS, Va. – On December 3, a physician at a Patient First facility in Manassas was arrested for sexually assaulting a 23-year-old male victim during an examination. According to the report, the incident occurred on November 10.
Here’s the latest from Prince William police;
Sexual Battery – On November 10th, detectives from the Special Victim’s Unit responded to investigate a sexual battery allegation which was reported to have occurred at the Patient First located at 9715 Liberia Ave in Manassas (20110). The victim, a 23 year old man of Manassas, reported to police that during an examination he was sexually assaulted by the accused, a physician at the facility. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested on December 3rd.
Arrested on December 3rd: [No photo available]
Tony Chieuvan Bui NGUYEN, 35, of 10294 Greenspire Dr in Oakton
Charged with sexual battery
Court date: January 13, 2015 | Status: released on a court summons
Potomac Local continues its effort to keep you informed ahead of the opening of the EZ-Pass Express Lanes on I-95 from North Stafford to Edsall Road in Fairfax County.
Here is the latest information provide to us about the switch over from HOV lanes to express lanes, which begins Sunday afternoon. The information comes to us via the form of a media briefting from EZ-Pass Express Lanes operator Transurban:
Beginning tomorrow, December 12 through Sunday, December 14, we will unveil all Express Lanes signage. All HOV lanes will be closed starting the evening of Friday, December 12 until the evening of Sunday, December 14.
The evening of Sunday, December 14 the new roadway improvements will open including:
- Nine-mile extension from Dumfries to Garrisonville Road
- Third lane from Prince William Parkway to the vicinity of Edsall Road on I-395
- All new entry and exit points
From December 14 – 28, when the new capacity is open, HOV rules will continue to be in effect. The HOV regulatory signs will remain in place and dynamic message signs (DMS) will communicate the HOV rules.
The new lane use management system and the variable speed limit system will be turned on. Drivers should follow the speed posted on the variable speed limit signs. The lane use management system will alert drivers if a lane is closed to traffic. If a red “X” is displayed above, drivers should exit that lane as soon as it is safe to do so.
For two weeks, until Sunday, December 28, the Express Lanes (new capacity and new entries/exits) will be toll-free to allow travelers to benefit from the additional capacity during the holiday season. Standard HOV rules apply (with the exception of holidays).
Transurban will assume gate operations along the entire I-95 and I-395 corridor on Sunday, December 14. Gate transition time on the HOV and Express Lanes facilities is expected to increase due to the nine mile southern extension and new gates. Drivers should expect delays in the afternoon transition to reverse the flow of the traffic southbound. Ultimately, the gates transition will return to standard times experienced today.
On Monday, December 15, the gates will begin to close at 10:30 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. This will help accommodate southbound traffic in the afternoon.
Tolling begins Monday, December 29. All drivers will need an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex (carpoolers) to use the Express Lanes.
Virginia Railway Express extension, commuter bus expansion popular
Metro to western Prince William County doesn’t appear to be a popular idea.
The three candidates seeking to be the next Brentsville District Supervisor said bringing the heavy commuter rail service west from Vienna is a non-starter.
“I don’t know why we’re talking about metro; It’s not in the strategic plan so I don’t think it’s a good use of time to even talk about it,” said Eric Young, a Democrat.
His Republican opponent Jeanine Lawson agreed.
““I do not want metro to Prince William County,’ said Lawson to an applauding audience. “We have better transportation solutions than Metro.”
A better idea is to expand Virginia Railway Express service to Gainesville, as well as increase the number of commuter buses on Interstate 66, the candidates said.
“If we can put more buses on the road, that is a great solution before extending VRE to Gainesville,” said Scott Jacobs, an independent.
All three candidates spoke about improving transportation in western Prince William at Tuesday night’s Brentsville District Candidates Debate, organized by this news organization in partnership with Bristow Beat. Each seeks a seat on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors vacated by Wally Covington, who is now a county judge.
The Bi-County Parkway, a skeleton of a hotly-debated road project in 2013 that would link Interstate 95 in Dumfries to Dulles Airport via Manassas, was once again a part of the discussion.
“Brining high paying jobs to district, if we’re really going to make that happen, we need to provide thoroughfares that don’t exist,” said Jacobs, who called the parkway a “value proposition and said businesses outside Prince William are watching and waiting to see if the highway will be built before deciding to relocate to Prince William.
The highway as it’s proposed would use the existing roadway of Route 234 from where it begins I-95 and ends at I-66. The road would be extended through a portion of Manassas National Battlefield Park, and also would connect drivers to Dulles Airport.
Lawson called the proposed highway a “developers road” and said there “is no study to prove the Bi-County Parkway would bring economic development.”
Lawson said a better use of regional transportation dollars would be to improve the interchange at I-66 and Route 28 in Centreville.
“Study after study does show the congestion is still east-west. If you fix that Route 28 interchange on the curve, that will alleviate a lot of the north-south traffic on Route 28,” said Lawson.
There are plans to add two new express toll lanes in each direction on I-66 similar to what will open on I-95 in Fairfax, Prince William, and Stafford counties next week. The plan also includes express bus service.
Young claims traffic at Dulles Airport is diminishing, however, does say the airport is important to the region’s economic growth.
“If we want Dulles Airport to be a part of our economic growth engine we’ve got to tie in somewhere…soon,” said Young.
Voters who live in Prince William County’s Brentsivlle District will head to the polls Dec. 23 for a Speical Election to decide who will win the open seat. Click here for more information about the election, if you are eligible to vote, and where to vote.