Traffic & Transit

Cars explode on Prince William roads

cardinal drive car fire

A mother pulled her two children from a burning minivan this afternoon.

Their 2001 Nissan Quest caught fire at the intersection of Cardinal Drive and George Fyre Circle just before 4 p.m. in Woodbridge.

No one was injured in the blaze, but the children’s mother India Cutler was visibly shaken. Cutler was taking her children out to eat and was waiting to make a left turn from George Frye Circle on the Cardinal Drive. That’s when her minivan exploded. Flames engulfed the front of the vehicle and the front seats. Fire also damaged the middle of the vehicle where her children were sitting.

Fire crews were called to douse the blaze. They were able to save some of Cutler’s personal items including a notebook and purse.

“I guess we’ll eat in tonight,” said Cutler.

In a separate incident earlier in the day, at PT Cruiser caught fire near the intersection of Hoadly Road and Route 234. About noon Friday, 22-year-old Karina Freeman had nearly pulled into her driveway at her home at 13617 Dumfries Road when flames started shooting from the inside air vents, she said. Fire then engulf the front of the car.

Freeman escaped without injury and ran into her house afraid her car was going to explode.

She called fire and rescue crews who came to douse the blaze.

The PT Cruiser was in a Fredericksburg repair shop just last week because the car had been overheating, said Freeman. She had plans to travel to Emerald Isle Beach in North Carolina tomorrow. She must now put off that trip.
“I don’t even want to think about getting another car right now,” said Freeman.

While not as humid as the day before, temperatures on Friday climbed into the low 90’s. It was the latest in a string of days in what has been a summertime heat wave.

Police closed portions of Cardinal Drive, and Route to 234, respectively, were closed during each incident as fire crews mopped up the mess.

I-95 lane closures expected overnight next week

Get ready for some lane closuvdotlogo600pixelsres on Interstate 95 next week.

Overnight on August 3 and August 4, there will be multiple lane closures on I-95 North near Exit 158 (Prince William Parkway).

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) stated that the lanes will be closed at 9 a.m. each night, and then there will be more closures overnight that will last for around 30 minutes.

All of the lanes will be fully reopened at 4 a.m., stated a VDOT release.

If there are any delays due to weather, the work will be completed overnight on August 5.

A VDOT release stated that the closures are being done to install a new overhead sign, as part of the 95 Shoulder Improvement Project.

The project is working to build auxiliary lanes, new guardrails, additional lighting, and widened road shoulders on I-95 between Dumfries Road and Prince William Parkway, according to VDOT.

VDOT announces $18M project to make two I-95 exits safer

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The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) plans to make changes to I-95 exits in Stafford and Fredericksburg.

Using $18 million from VDOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program, improvements will be made to Exit 130 (Route 3/Fredericksburg) and Exit 133 (Route 17/Falmouth).

“Last fall, VDOT reviewed crash data on Interstates 64, 81 and 95 to find spot locations with elevated crash rates where these federal funds could be applied,” said Stafford spokeswoman Shannon Howell.

These two highway exits had crash rates above the statewide average, stated VDOT Communications Manager Kelly Hannon.

During the project, VDOT would make four major changes.

More on the proposed changes, from Kelly Hannon:

Extend the acceleration lane on the interstate for Interstate 95 northbound traffic entering from Route 3 westbound, giving them more time to merge.

Extend the ramp entrance lane on Route 3 westbound for traffic entering the I-95 northbound cloverleaf ramp.

Increases the number of lanes exiting Interstate 95 southbound to Route 3 westbound

Separate, free-flowing ramp lane (divided) leading to the Carl D. Silver Parkway entrance at Central Park. This seeks to reduce the vehicle weaving and conflict point at the end of the ramp today.

Triple (3) lanes on the remainder of I-95 southbound exit ramp to Route 3 westbound.

These lanes would make a slight right turn onto westbound Route 3, controlled by a traffic signal. On a green light, this would give traffic exiting the opportunity to enter Route 3 westbound without any traffic conflict, eliminating the weaving. We have a similar pattern in place for traffic exiting I-95 SB at Exit 143/Aquia.

Extends length of deceleration lane for I-95 southbound traffic exiting at Route 3 westbound.

 Route 17 – Extends acceleration ramp on the interstate for I-95 southbound traffic entering from Exit 133, prior to the Rappahannock River Bridge.

Currently the design for the project’s improvements is being drafted. Construction will begin in 2016, and will finish in late 2017, stated Hannon.

Haymarket bridge replacement underway

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Old Carolina Road bridge
Old Carolina Road bridge

Work to replace the Old Carolina Road overpass bridge is well underway in Haymarket.

The new $2.7 million bridge will carry drivers on Old Carolina Road onto Jefferson Street in the town, over Interstate 66.

It will be two lanes, and will have shared use paths for bicycling and hiking to connect Piedmont and Somerset Crossing communities on the north side of I-66.

The bridge replaces an old two-lane bridge of the same name.

The new bridge is part of the Interstate 66 widening project that will add one new high occupancy vehicle lane on each direction on I-66, between Route 29 in Gainesville and Route 15 in Haymarket.

“This bridge is a critical artery to our town, and businesses in our town have been impacted since its closure,” said Haymarket Mayor David Leake.

Shops in the town have seen about a 30% reduction in revenue since the old bridge was closed and work on the new bridge began, said Leake.

During construction, drivers must use a the Route 15 bridge over I-66.  That route is congested during the morning and evening rush hours.

Haymarket will also maintain the new lighting that will be installed on the bridge. The lighting will be similar to the lighting scheme in the town, said Leake.

The new bridge is expected to be complete in spring 2016.

Also part of the I-66 HOV lane project, the Catharpin Road overpass is also being reconstructed as part of the project. Virginia transportation officials also estimate a spring 2016 completion date for that project.

Heavy traffic expected for Quicken Loans tournament in Gainesville

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The Quicken Loans National Tournament kicks off today at Robert Trent Jones Golf Course in Gainesville.

More than 100 PGA players, including Tiger Woods, were invited to come participate in the event.

The event is expected to bring traffic congestion on Route 29 in Gainesville.

Prince William police issued this statement:

Quicken Loans National Golf Tournament | Gainesville;
Motorists traveling in and around the area of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club off Lee Hwy and Jiffy Lube Live off Wellington Rd can expect increased traffic and possible delays starting Tuesday in through the weekend during the morning and afternoon commute. Officers will be on site at multiple intersections between both locations to assist with traffic issues. Golf tournament attendees will be directed to park at Jiffy Lube Live via Lee Hwy to University Blvd where shuttle buses will be used to carry them to the venue. Non-event attendees are encouraged to find an alternate route if possible to avoid delays in their commute. Use caution when traveling in the area and follow police direction.

New homes could equal fixing a dangerous curve in Stafford

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A home developer has offered to fix one of Stafford County’s sharpest curves.

Winding Creek Road is a two-lane street that links Shelton Shop and Courthouse roads. It’s a back way for most drivers, and the street weaves through a series of neighborhoods.

There’s a sharp curve just east of where Winding Creek meets Walpole Street. The developer, Winding Creek Property Owner, LCC, has agreed to widnen Winding Creek Road at the dangerous curve.

The developer offered Stafford County nearly an acre of the right of way along Winding Creek Road for the widening. It amounts to 60 feet of space for the widened road, according to county documents that date back to January.

The street widening would come with 97 new homes on Winding Creek Road. The developer has applied for a special use permit from Stafford County for the project that would clear the way for the homes to be built.

The new development — with the road widening as a condition — must be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

The addition of 97 new homes also means the existing Fireberry Boulveard in the adjacent Autum Ridge neighborhood will be extended. The street was accepted into the state network of streets maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation in 2006.

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The plan has always been to to extend Fireberry Boulevard, according to Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kelly Hanon who provided this information on the project:

· The proposed Winding Creek subdivision is required to connect to Fireberry Boulevard under VDOT standards for new subdivision streets that are planned for state maintenance in the future.

· Fireberry Boulevard is an existing state-maintained road. The road was accepted into Virginia’s network of state-maintained roads in 2006 with the intention of being extended in the future. A sign noting the ultimate extension of this street has been present at the road’s future connection point, referred to as a stub, since 2006.

· The proposed Winding Creek subdivision is subject to Stafford County Subdivision Ordinance (Sec. 22-179, 186), which requires subdivisions to contain public roads that are built in accordance with VDOT standards, making them eligible for acceptance into the state maintenance system. The ordinance also requires (Sec. 22-190) streets to connect with adjacent properties.

· Based on the proposed 97-lot configuration, the ordinance requires Winding Creek to contain two connections to adjacent parcels. Winding Creek proposes to meet this requirement by providing connections to Fireberry Boulevard in the adjacent Autumn Ridge subdivision, and by leaving a future connection point to a separate neighboring parcel.

· VDOT regulations (24VAC30-92) require subdivision roads to connect with existing state-maintained stub roads in order to be accepted by VDOT for future state maintenance. Fireberry Boulevard qualifies as an existing state-maintained stub road.

Stafford County Garrisonville District Supervisor Luara Sellers said man of the residents who live along Fireberry Boulevard do not want to see the street extended. She said residents are petitioning VDOT not to extend the street as planned.

Hannon said an exception request not to extend the street must be submitted by residents to VDOT and approved by an agency administrator. No such request has been submitted, said Hannon.

The issue is expected to come before the Stafford County Board of Supervisors in August or early September. 

5 things that would get Route 28 traffic moving faster

Drivers turn from Va. 28 south onto Blooms Quarry Lane in Manassas Park. (Uriah Kiser/ManassasLocal.com)

There are five small improvements that can be made to help traffic move faster on Route 28 in Manassas.

These quick, short-term improvements were a result of a study that examined Route 28 from Interstate 66 to Liberia Avenue in Manassas.

2 new lanes in Fairfax County

The largest of the small five is adding new lanes to Route 28 in Fairfax County. The new lane would run from Bull Run River to Route 29, and would cut travel times about a third for commuters driving from Liberia Avenue to I-66. Fairfax County will construct the new lane, taking this portion of Route 28 in Fairfax from four to six lanes, to keep pace with growth in the region. Officials did not say how much this project will cost.

Roundabout / improved intersection

The next is an estimated $6.2 million realignment of the intersection of Route 28 and Compton Road, and the addition of a roundabout at the nearby intersection of Old Centerville Road. Drivers use Old Centreville Road as a parallel to the congested Route 28. Virginia Department of Transportation officials said the roundabout and relocated intersection would improve traffic flow in that area.

VDOT officials called this a “strange” intersection because it does not meet Route 28 at a 90-degree angle. The improvements would correct that.

Longer turn lanes at Liberia Avenue 

Extending the length of left turn lanes from Route 28 onto Liberia Road is Manassas would also improve traffic flow. This spot is often the scene of major traffic tie-ups and rear-end crashes, officials said.

The lanes should be extended so more vehicles may queue up to turn left from busy Route 28. If this project moves forward at an estimated $250,000, nearly Kincheloe Drive could be made a right turn in, right out only. A new traffic pattern for drivers entering Manassas Junction Shopping Center from Route 28 would also need to be considered, officials said.

New sidewalks

Two sidewalks are also a part of the quick fix solutions, to help separate pedestrian and bicycle traffic from vehicles. VDOT said a new sidewalk is needed on the east side of Route 28 at the bridge that carries vehicles across the Bull Run River between Prince William and Fairfax counties. The estimated $1.1 million sidewalks would connect to a walking path on the Fairfax County side of the bridge.

Another sidewalk is needed on the Prince William County side between Leeland Road and Spruce Street, on the westbound side of Route 28. The new sidewalk would be located outside Emanuel Christian School, and is estimated to cost $2.5 million to build due to higher drainage and utility relocation costs.

None of these projects is funded by local, state, or federal monies. VDOT officials said the study and its recommendations will provide elected officials a guide on how to quickly implement these quick solutions. VDOT spokesman Tom Fahrney said Prince William County could choose to fund these improvements. Other dollars could come from the state through the HB2 process, or from federal transportation grants.

A soon-to-begin Phase II study will look at larger improvements such as widening Route 28 in Prince William County, adding a reversible lane on the road for use during rush hours, expanding transit, and examining whether to build a bypass road once known as the Tri-County Parkway.

Prince William County Transportation spokesman Rick Canizales said a bypass road could be substantially cheaper to build than paying right-of-way cost to obtain land to widen Route 28 near Manassas.

“The construction costs of the [Tri-County Parkway] would be big. But the costs to take all of those businesses on Route 28 would be enormous,” said Canizales.

Prince William County paid $7 million for right-of-way acquisition of properties along Route 1 in Woodbridge for a similar widening project now under construction, he added.

A public meeting on the small five improvements on Route 28 was held Wednesday night at the Manassas Park Community Center with about 50 attendees. A similar public meeting was held two days earlier in Fairfax County, where two residents showed up to get information, said Fahrney.

Express Lane drivers see purple

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There are new purple stripes on the 495 and 95 Express Lanes.

According to a Transurban release, the purple 4-inch stripes were added to the yellow and white road lines that precede entry points on to the Express Lanes.

The purple stripes were added to help signal to drivers that they are about to enter the Express Lanes, stated a Transurban release.

Closures on Route 28 to continue this weekend in Bristow

Expect some nighttime closurevdotlogos on Route 28 this weekend.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is continuing work on the $70 million Route 28 widening project this weekend on Friday and Sunday evening.

The work will take place between Aden Road and Battalion Square, according to VDOT, and Route 28 will be closed in both directions as crews work on storm sewer lines.

More on closure times from a VDOT release:

• 10 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5 a.m. Saturday, July 18
• 10 p.m. Sunday, July 19 to 4 a.m. Monday, July 20

Traffic will be detoured via Fitzwater Drive, Kettle Run Road and Vint Hill Road.

Proposed towing fees higher in Prince William

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Two truck companies could soon be allowed to charge you more to tow your car in Prince William County.

Here’s a breakdown the of newly proposed fees:

Proposed fee Current fee  
$135 $125 For vehicles with gross weight of 10,001 pounds
$250 $175 For vehicles with gross weight between 10,001 and 26,001 pounds
$475 $300 For vehicles with gross weight of 26,001 or more pounds

Tow companies would also be allowed to charge drivers an additional $25 if their car is towed between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. weekdays, on weekends, or holidays, according to the proposal.

Tow companies are not allowed to charge storage or impound fees for the first 24 hours. Companies may then charge $50 per each 24 hours thereafter. 

If the driver of a tow truck offers to release a vehicle before it is towed away, the owner of the car will have the option of paying a release fee up to $50 to have the vehicle released from the tow truck, according to the proposal.

A towing advisory board comprised of various towing companies and the Prince William County Police Department review towing fee on an annual basis.

The public hearing on the matter is set for 2 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Prince William County Government Center. The new fees must be approved by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

VRE could face major fines for delaying safety improvements

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Virginia Railway Express (VRE) could face fines up to $25,000 a day starting in 2016.

This is one of the consequences that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) could levy against Virginia’s only commuter railroad for not meeting full federal compliance standards with implementation of “positive train control” by the end of 2015, according to VRE spokesman Bryan Jungwirth.

Positive train control is a combination of technologies that can automatically stop a train to prevent collisions and derailments, like the Amtrak train that derailed outside of Philadelphia in May.

Another possibility is that CSX, the railroad that owns the tracks that VRE’s Fredericksburg line trains operate on, could stop the trains from using the tracks until they are in compliance, stated Jungwirth.

Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which mandated that all ‘Class 1’ railroads install positive train control by the end of 2015, according to documents from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Will railroads meet the deadline?

According to Jungwirth, many railroads will not meet this deadline.

“Everybody’s been aware of the deadline since 2008…[Congress] set up a compromise [when passing the bill] to have the deadline at the end of this year, but it wasn’t realistic. It’s a massive undertaking to try to do it between 2008 and 2015 – it really couldn’t be done,” said Jungwirth.

When the act passed in 2008, the technology for positive train control didn’t even exist yet, according to Jungwirth.

VRE purchased 19 new locomotives in 2010, which cost $77 million that was funded with state, local and federal government money. The locomotives were built by Motive Power in Idaho.

Jungwirth said positive train control technologies were somewhat available by 2010 when VRE purchased the new locomotives, but they chose not to purchase them at the time.

Additionally, VRE had a $5.1 million budget surplus. $2.5 million was used to acquire the new locomotives, $500,000 went to the company’s insurance trust fund and the remainder went to building a third track in Spotsylvania County.

Jungwirth stated that VRE currently needs to purchase radios and antennas for the positive train control mandate, but that Norfolk Southern, that runs the railroad lines that VRE uses, was also not in compliance with the technology on their tracks.

Amtrak on track to meet deadline

Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said that Amtrak would meet the deadline.

“Amtrak is on schedule to activate PTC in the NEC by the federally mandated deadline of Dec. 31, 2015. Amtrak owns relatively few miles of the infrastructure we use – about 97% of our route mileage is owned by other railroads that host our trains. Installation of PTC is the legal responsibility of the railroad that owns the track,” stated Woods.

According to CSX spokeswoman Kaitlyn Barrett, the company is planning to spend more than $1.9 billion for compliance with the positive train control standards, but agreed with Jungwirth that the end of 2015 is an unrealistic deadline.

“More than 550 employees have been hired to focus on PTC, with 1,000 in total working on the system across our network. In 2015, we are planning to spend an additional $300 million in developing and deploying PTC…the industry has been steadfast in its comments that the 2015 deadline is not realistic. Given the complexity of implementation, we feel that extension is fair and reasonable,” stated Barrett.

What happens next?

The only way an extension for the railroads could be granted is an act from Congress.

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt introduced the Railroad Safety Act and Positive Train Control Extension Act to Congress in March, but no vote has been called on it yet. If passed, the act would extend the deadline for positive train control implementation to December 2020.

Congress will go into recess in August and September, so the timeline for a deadline to be extended is limited.

Rail companies, including CSX and VRE, are going to legislators to request they support the deadline extension, said Jungwirth and Barrett.

Tractor trailer, vehicle, in serious crash on Route 1 in Woodbridge

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Update

New information from the Prince William police has been released on yesterday’s accident.

According to Prince William police, both drivers were injured. The driver in the red Honda is currently in critical condition at a local medical facility and the driver of the tractor trailer was treated for minor injuries, said Prince William police. 

More from Prince William police:

The tractor trailer was stopped at the intersection of Jefferson Davis Hwy at Mount Pleasant Dr. The Honda, straddling both lanes hit the back of the tractor trailer. Speed and alcohol appear to be factors. The investigation is continuing. The driver of the Honda is a 34 year old man from Alexandria, VA and the driver of the truck is a 48 year old man from Woodbridge, VA.

Original post

There was a serious crash this afternoon in Woodbridge, involving a car and a tractor trailer.

According to Prince William police, the crash took place on Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) near Mount Pleasant Drive. A source told Potomac Local the accident took place in the northbound lanes.

One individual was seriously injured and was flown to a local medical facility, stated Prince William police.

Officers were on the scene to close the road at East Longview Drive. The roadway is now reopened for traffic, stated Prince William police.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated.

PRTC: Service cuts, higher fares, won’t save bus service

Many of the OmniRide local bus routes that serve eastern Prince William County stop at the PRTC Transit Center in Woodbridge.

Officials are trying to figure out how to keep PRTC buses rolling in 2017.

There’s been more talk, but not much action to address the looming $9 million annual shortfall for Prince William County’s transit system.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) operates bus service and has a hand in Virginia Railway Express. At the PRTC commissioners meeting last week, they talked about an impending $9 million budget shortfall that could halt bus service in its tracks.

PRTC only has until March 2016 to make changes before they’re forced to make some drastic cuts to bus service. Any changes will be implemented in July 2016.

Current funding is not enough

According to PRTC’s Executive Director Eric Marx, the cost for bus services is exceeding their funding. The transit agency’ is funded primarily through a 2.1% motor fuels tax which is imposed on jurisdictions that are members of PRTC, according to spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo.

The motor fuels tax rate is not enough to sustain current bus services, and by 2017 there will be a $7 million shortfall, and an additional $9 million shortfall every year after, said Marx.

“We’ve known about the [budget] concern for quite a while…and then the fuel prices fell, and we lost about 25% of our revenue, which squarely moved the problem up into fiscal year 2017…cuts alone aren’t going to be able to do all we have to do to solve the problem, unfortunately,” said Marx.

According to PRTC’s fiscal year 2015 budget, it receives $11.5 million in federal funding and $3 million from state grants. It also receives subsidies from the localities – $14.7 million from Prince William, $329,800 from Manassas, $245,900 from Manassas Park, $89,300 from Stafford, $28,500 from Fredericksburg, and $84,100 from Spotsylvania.

There are currently three potential scenarios on the table that Marx presented to the commission.

The first would cut 35% of all service – including local and commuter service – across the board, which would save $1.8 million a year and lose PRTC 2,350 riders a day, according to PRTC documents.

The second option would be to eliminate all local OmniLink services, which would save $3.1 million a year and lose 4,300 PRTC riders a day, said PRTC documents.

And the third scenario: cut all local OmniLink service, and eliminate the remaining services in half, which would save only $6.1 million. The transit system expects to lose 7,450 riders a day under this plan, according to PRTC documents.

None of these scenarios would allow PRTC to make up the full $9 million budget shortfall.

PRTC has a few options

Marx stated that PRTC had some options to find some cost savings and generate additional revenue.

An audit from the county’s independent auditor will be done this fall, to take a closer look at PRTC’s budget. Then the Prince William board of supervisors will provide budget guidance in December, and authorize any service reductions in March.

“Because we’ve been as lean and as self-critical as we have when trying to provide as much service, I don’t think there are an awful lot of [efficiencies] out there…we could consider additional revenue sources…any major services are going to result in a large reduction for riders,” said Marx.

According to Marx, PRTC budgets for a 7.5% fare increase to riders every other year, but a more frequent increase is possible – with a potential consequence.

“Obviously we can consider higher fares – again, what that will definitely do – because it will chase people away from the system…we will just chase people away [from riding],” said Marx.

Marx said adding a floor to the motor fuels tax could help alleviate the budget shortfall. This change would need to be made through the General Assembly in Richmond.

“Because of the drop in fuel prices, we lost about $2.1 million per year…and [we’re] going to lose roughly another $3 million in revenue [because of fuel prices],” said Marx.

A floor on the motor fuels tax would provide a bare minimum that PRTC could account for in their budget each year, which currently fluctuates based on the gas prices.

Additionally, Marx asked for general fund monies from the county, and some funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.

“Treading water”

Fredericksburg City Councilman Matthew Kelly, who serves on the PRTC Commission, spoke about his concerns on how Prince William County has been handling transit.

“Let’s face it in Prince William; you’ve been treading water on transportation for decades, barely keeping your head above water,” said Kelly.

Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine Lawson stated that she had concerns with the lack of riders she has seen on the OmniLink local service.

Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe stated that OmniLink service needs to be preserved as the community continues to change.

“We have some very serious challenges. There’s no question that Prince William County’s going to continue to be in the transit business – both in terms of providing commuter service…but as well as that local service around town, which is going to grow more and more important as the community changes and grows. I don’t know how we’re going to solve the problem…I look forward to doing the work to make sure we continue to keep Prince William County commuters moving,” said Nohe.

Flashing school zone signs still active this summer

When you see flashing school zone signs this summer, you still need to slow down.

According to Prince William police, summer school is in session in several county schools until July 24.

More from a Prince William police release:

That means that motorists must obey the flashing lights that indicate lower speeds for school zones, even if you believe the lights are on in error.

Virginia law states that school zone lights come on 1/2-hour before the school’s first bell (AM and PM) and go off 1/2-hour after the first bell. This occurs during the regular school year, but also during summer school.

The Prince William County Police Department reminds motorists to obey all traffic signs and signals, and to use caution while driving through school zones or approaching stopped school buses that have their lights activated.

They’re moving the Vint Hill Road intersection south, widening Route 28

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Route 28 in Bristow is being widened to four lanes.

The work also includes untangling busy dual intersections at Route 28 at Vint Hill and Bristow roads. Traffic backs up at both of these intersections — that sit about 200 feet apart from each other — during the morning and evening rush hours.

Route 28 will be widened from two to four lanes from Vint Hill Road south to Fitzwater Drive in Nokesville. Crews have already begun demolishing old buildings along the southbound side of Route 28 to widen the roadway.

A key part of this project is building a new intersection of Vint Hill Road at Route 28, about a quarter of a mile south of where Vint Hill Road meets Route 28 today. Moving the intersection will not only help to ease some of the congestion near Bristow Road, but it will also allow for better timing of traffic signals in the area, said Prince William County Transportation Chief Tom Blaser.

The new intersection of Vint Hill Road at Route 28 will allow drivers to head in any direction on both roads. Drivers who use the old Vint Hill Road intersection, to be dubbed “Old Vint Hill Road,” will only be able to turn right from Route 28 onto Old Vint Hill Road, and right from Old Vint Hill Road to Route 28.

A traffic light at “old” Vint Hill Road and Route 28 will be moved to the intersection of “new” Vint Hill Road and Route 28. A traffic light at Bristow Road and Route 28 will remain in place.

Work on this project has required several closures and detours on weekends. Here is information on the upcoming detour for July 17 to July 29: 

Route 28 (Nokesville Road) between Aden Road and Battalion Square will again be closed in both directions Fridayand Sunday nights so that crews can continue storm sewer line work, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.Closure times:

  • 10 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5 a.m. Saturday, July 18

  • 10 p.m. Sunday, July 19 to 4 a.m. Monday, July 20

Traffic will be detoured via Fitzwater Drive, Kettle Run Road and Vint Hill Road.

Funding for the nearly $25 million project comes from federal and state sources, as well as some developer proffer monies said, Blaser. It’s not being funded with local tax dollars.

The project is set for completion next summer.

Extended trail would link Prince William Forest, Manassas Battlefield National parks

Planners are talking about extending a walking trail that would join two National Parks in Prince William County.

An asphalt walking trail on Prince William Parkway ends at the intersection of Liberia Avenue and Wellington Road in Manassas. Transportation officials last month were directed to find out how much it would cost to extend the trail from that intersection to Manassas National Battlefield Park.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman, At-large Corey Stewart asked for the numbers. The trail would connect to another walking trail on the Route 234 bypass portion of Prince William Parkway, allowing both Prince William Forest Park and Manassas National Battlefield Park to be connected via the county’s expanding trail system.

The county’s transportation department is working to compile the information to present to the chairman. As of now, there is no cost figure or date of when construction on this project could begin, said transportation department chief Tom Blaser.

Prince William County has made the construction of both sidewalks on one side and paving hiking and biking trails on the other standard when it widens or constructs new roads.

The county’s parks department is working in conjunction with the transportation department to find out what it would take to extend the trail.

“Certainly on the wishlist of the master plan is to have connectivity between both Prince William Forest Park nd the battlefield, because what you would end up with is a patchwork of trails that we could market on a master trail map,” said Prince William County Parks and Recreation Department spokesman Brent Heavner.

Ultimately, whether or not this project goes forward will depend on taxpayer funding. Both Heavner and Blaser said the new trail could run through Innovation Park at Prince William — a key economic development area for Prince William County just outside Manassas, home to the Science and Technology Campus of George Mason University.

Lane closures on Route 28 again this weekend in Bristow

vdotlogoThe Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will be detouring drivers on Route 28, while they continue sewer line work.

According to VDOT, Route 28 between Bristow Village Boulevard and Battalion Square will be closed in both directions on Friday and Sunday night.

More on closure times from VDOT:

10 p.m. Friday, July 10 to 5 a.m. Saturday, July 11
10 p.m. Sunday, July 12 to 4 a.m. Monday, July 13
Traffic will be detoured via Fitzwater Drive, Kettle Run Road and Vint Hill Road.

Virginia to mark completion of Gainesville Interchange Project

The construction project that has spelled headache for commuters for the past four years is complete.

Virginia Transportations Secretary Aubrey Lane will visit Gainesville tomorrow morning to note the completion of the Gainesville Interchange project.

And while orange cones dot the roadway here as crews put the finishing touches on the interchange, it’s important to point out that this $230 million project includes four new bridges, and it separates the traffic on U.S. 29 north and south from Linton Hall and Gallerher roads, and a railroad crossing.

So what we have now in Gainesville, traffic on U.S. 29 flows underneath Linton Hall and Gallerher roads, and it flows over a railroad crossing.

Before the interchange was built, that railroad crossing was the site of multiple train vs. car accidents that took hours to investigate, and caused major traffic delays in the area prior to construction of this interchange.

This interchange is located just south of Interstate 66, so this is a very busy and congested area. With the completion of this $230 million project, traffic officials hope traffic will flow a bit better here in Gainesville.

Lane is expected to join several other officials from Prince William County at 10 a.m. at the Virginia Gateway Shopping Center for a ribbon cutting to herald the completion on of the project. The Gainesville Interchange Project is considered one of the largest highway construction project in the state.

In addition to the four new bridges, a five-foot sidewalk, and 10-foot walking path were also built as part of the project. Ten retaining walls and new highway lighting was added as part of the project.

The new Gainesville interchange is the last in a series of improvements that date back to the early 2000s. That’s when a portion of I-66 was widened from U.S. 29 to Sudley Road and a new interchange at U.S. 29 and I-66 was built.

A total of 87,000 vehicles is expected to pass through the interchange by 2035, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

New lane opened on I-495 inner loop to ease congestion

There is a new lavdotlogone for commuters to use on the Capital Beltway (I-495) inner loop.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the shoulder lane on I-495 has been opened.

VDOT stated that this has been done to improve driving conditions going northbound, when I-495 Express Lanes join the regular driving lanes.

More on the new lane from VDOT:

The 1.5-mile lane will allow traffic to travel on the left shoulder of northbound I-495 from where the 495 Express Lanes end to the George Washington Parkway. The shoulder will be open to all traffic from 7-11 a.m. and 2-8 p.m. on weekdays. A lane-use management system, with green arrows and red “X’s,” similar to the lane-control system on I-66, will alert travelers when the shoulder is open.
In addition to the extra lane, several safety enhancements have been implemented such as upgraded concrete barriers in the median of I-495, new cameras and electronic highway signs to help with incident response and traveler information, and new pavement.
All travelers and buses will benefit from the new capacity and improved merge. There will be no barrier separation between the shoulder lane and the regular Beltway lanes, ensuring easy access for travelers.

I-95 traffic already congested for upcoming July 4 weekend

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For those planning to head out of the area for the Fourth of July weekend – prepare for some heavy traffic.

Currently Interstate 95 going southbound in North Stafford was already seeing congestion at 9 a.m. this morning.

Additionally, there will be some lane changes for those traveling on the I-95 Express Lanes this weekend.

More on the changes from Transurban:

Friday, July 3:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from northbound (NB) to southbound (SB) will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

Saturday, July 4: 

Reversal from SB to NB will begin at midnight with the NB lanes open around 2 a.m.

Reversal from NB to SB will begin around 7 p.m. with the SB lanes open around 9 p.m.

Sunday, July 5:  Reversal from SB to NB will at midnight with the NB lanes open around 2 a.m.

Monday, July 6:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from NB to SB will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

SoberRide offers free cab rides on July 4

Make sure 11666199_871854766197291_5909740074273665784_nthat your Fourth of July is both fun and safe.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is offering their SoberRide program from 10 p.m. on July 4 to 4 a.m. on July 5.

According to a WRAP release, individuals can receive a free cab ride home, up to a $30 fare.

In order to utilize the program, riders must be 21 years and older.

More on July 4’s SoberRide program:

Important note: All requests for SoberRide service must be called to and dispatched from 1-800-200-8294. Do not call a taxi company directly for SoberRide service as the ride will not be covered under this program.

General SoberRide Information
WRAP’s SoberRide , called one of the nation’s most successful free cab ride programs for would-be impaired drivers, has helped to ensure greater Washington, DC residents have a safe way home on high-risk holidays. Since 1993, WRAP has provided over 62,536 safe rides home. Currently, SoberRide operates during the December/January holiday season, St. Patrick’s Day, CInco de Mayo, Independence Day and Halloween.
WRAP’s SoberRide provides a free cab ride home up to a $30 fare.
Callers are financially responsible for anything over $30.

You must be 21 or older to use the SoberRide service. All calls must originate in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland; the Cities of Rockville, Bowie, College Park, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt and Takoma Park in Maryland; the District of Columbia; Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and Eastern Loudoun Counties in Virginia; and the Cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park in Virginia.

You cannot reserve a SoberRide or schedule a pickup in advance. To receive a ride, you must call 1-800-200-8294 (TAXI) during the program hours. A SoberRide call operator will direct your request to the correct participating cab company.

Participating Taxi Companies:
Alexandria Yellow Cab (Alexandria)
Barwood, Inc. (Montgomery County)
Fairfax Yellow Cab (Fairfax County)
Loudoun Yellow Cab (Eastern Loudoun County)
Northern Virginia Checker (Prince William County)
Red Top Cab Company (Arlington County)
Silver Cab of Prince George’s County (Prince George’s County)
Yellow Cab of District of Columbia (District of Columbia)
Yellow Cab of Prince William County (Prince William County)
When waiting for a SoberRide, please watch for a cab from the participating taxi company in the area from which you are calling.

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