WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia



Traffic & Transit

Wire falls onto Hope Road, sheriff’s deputies called for traffic control

A contractor working in the area of Hope Road and Summerwood Drive struck a TV cable causing to fall onto the street. 

Stafford sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene for traffic control about 3:15 p.m. 

Emergency crews from the county’s fire and rescue service called for the owner of the line to be notified so reparis could be made.


Overturned car reported on Brentsville Road

Rescue crews found an overturned car near the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Brentsville Road. 

An emergency worker called the county’s dispatch center to report the crash and said the occupants had made it out of the car safely. At least one person was bleeding, according to initial reports. 

Rescue crews dispatched to the scene reported the crash to be in the middle of the intersection.


Powerlines fall onto Opitz Boulevard, Sentara traffic rerouted

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A crash on Opitz Boulevard near Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center brought power lines crashing down. 

Police and fire and rescue crews were called to the area of Opitz and Potomac Center boulevards in Woodbridge about 9:30 a.m. The eastbound lanes of the Opitz Boulevard were temporarily closed, and at least one lane in the eastbound direction was closed to traffic. 

Ambulances carrying patients to Sentara were rerouted to the hospital’s entrance using Potomac Center Boulevard.

NOVEC was called to repair the lines.

Police have not released details on the crash, or if anyone was charged in the incident.

Car overturns in Widewater area of Stafford County

A car flipped onto its side in the rural Arkendale section of Stafford County. 

Rescue crews were called to the area of Arkendale and Widewater roads about 3:45 p.m. for a report of a car that had crashed into a wooded area. 

Rescue crews arrived on the scene and told 911 dispatchers that they found a car lying on its side and that three teenagers appeared to have escaped safely.

The car was reported to be off the roadway and was not blocking traffic.

Police work to fix signal lights at large Woodbridge intersection

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Police are at the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Smoketown Road in Woodbridge where traffic signal lights are flashing.

Police were notified by drivers that signal lights on Prince William Parkway were flashing yellow and lights on Smoketown Road were flashing red. 

The intersection is one of the largest intersections in Prince Willam County. The intersection is made up of 20 lanes, with three travel lanes and two turn lanes in each direction.

Police are reported to be working to repair the signal lights.


More signal lights are reported to be on flash at the following intersections: 

Smoketown at Old Bridge Road in Lake Ridge 
Smoketown and Minnieville Road in Woodbridge 
Dale Boulevard and Potomac Center Boulevard.
Route 1 and American Eagle Boulevard 

Diverging diamond interchange, new commuter lot approved for Stafford

STAFFORD, Va. — The interchange at Interstate 95 and Courthouse Road in Stafford County will be reconstructed. 

Virginia Transportation officials awarded a construction contract on Tuesday ot build a diverging diamond interchange similar to one being built in Haymarket.

A portion of Courthouse Road will be widened from two to four lanes, and a commuter lot on Courthouse Road will be moved and expanded.

Press release: 

The Commonwealth Transportation Board today awarded a contract  worth approximately $99.9 million to Shirley Contracting Co., of Lorton, Va., to build several projects in the Courthouse Road area of Stafford County.

One project will reconstruct the existing Interstate 95 interchange at exit 140, Courthouse Road, as a diverging diamond interchange. The intersection of Route 1 and Courthouse Road will be relocated to the south to align with Hospital Center Boulevard.

Another project will widen Courthouse Road west of I-95. Courthouse Road will be widened to four lanes between Cedar Lane and Ramoth Church Road/Winding Creek Road.

Commuter parking will be expanded by approximately 500 spaces at the interchange. An existing Park & Ride lot at exit 140 will be relocated east of I-95. The project will expand capacity to around 1,000 parking spaces, and will add dedicated pickup and dropoff areas for buses and carpools. The existing number of commuter parking spaces, 545 spaces, will be maintained during construction.

Construction will begin in spring 2017 and is scheduled to be completed in spring 2020.

Pedestrian struck on Clipper Drive in Lake Ridge

A woman was taken to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center this morning after she was struck by a car.

A call to 911 sent fire and rescue crews to the intersection of Clipper and Huntersbrook drives, near Old Bridge Road in Lake Ridge about 9 a.m. 

Rescue crews found one victim on the scene. She was taken to a hospital for treatment, according to initial reports.

We don’t know the extension of her injuries, and we don’t know yet if any criminal charges were filed in the case.

Cost could outweigh benefit of expanding VRE to Haymarket

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The cost to extend Virginia Railway Express 11 miles west to Haymarket could be as much as $660 million — about $60 million per mile.

That number brought pause to members of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors who on Tuesday said the costs of the project might outweigh the ridership benefits, and that could lead to the project’s demise.

Transportation officials last fall began a $4 million study on what it would take to extend the commuter rail line west of Manassas. While Haymarket would be the ultimate end of the line, the railroad is evaluating other options like building a shorter extension only to Innovation Park just outside Manassas, or one to two stations in Gainesville.

The cost for shorter track options ranges between $572 and $631 million. The railroad must add an additional track in the right of way it will use for its rail line expansion, the existing Norfolk-Southern freight line, dubbed the B-line. It splits off the main line near the intersection of Wellington Road and Prince William Street in Manassas.

If VRE expands west, it must also increase capacity at its storage yard at the Broad Run Station at Manassas Regional Airport, today’s terminus of the Manassas rail line. A new station would be built just east of the airport, possibly in the area of Godwin Drive and Prince William Parkway (Route 234 Bypass) at the new Manassas Gateway planned mixed-use development. 

The train yard would be expanded and would consume the existing parking lot at the Broad Run station. A flood plain behind the station prevents the railroad from having enough room to expand the station at the railyard at Broad Run, said Christine Hoeffner, whose headed up the westward expansion study for VRE.

With the enlarged storage lot, VRE will be able to increase the number of daily trains from 16 to 22. More trains would mean more frequent service, reducing average wait times from 30 to 20 minutes between trains on the Manassas line during rush hour.

While the costs are high, the numbers that show anticipated ridership growth following the expansion are small by comparison. Today, VRE’s Manassas line carries 10,220 riders. An extension west to Haymarket would net the commuter railroad 6,240 more riders by 2040.

“If money were not an issue, this would be a slam dunk,” said Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi, who has long supported extending Washington, D.C.’s Metrorail from Springfield to Woodbridge. “The concerns that I’m hearing is the cost benefit.”  

Funding for the expansion would come from state and federal sources, and local funds. At $9 million a year, Prince William County residents already pay the majority of VRE’s local subsidy. That’s more than Arlington, Fairfax, Stafford, and Spotsylvania counties and the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, and Fredericksburg.

The VRE expansion study also states that riders travel from western counties like Fauquier and Warren to the Board Run station to catch trains. 

“We see that VRE  riders ar willing to drive,” said Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland. “I don’t know why we would build another VRE station in the D.C. area unless you are building it very far away.” 

The number of local subsidy dollars that localities pay to VRE would increase if the extension is built, said Hoeffner. She assured Supervisors the cost of the expansion would be felt in places like Fairfax County, where riders would benefit from more frequent train service if the line is extended.

Hoefner also briefly discussed the potential economic development benefits of building new VRE stations in Haymarket, Gainesville, and Innovation Park. The population around VRE’s Lorton station increased by 43% between 1990 and 2014, according to VRE’s report. She added stations could support greater tax revenue, minimize sprawl, and conserve open space. 

But county leaders on Tuesday were far more inclined to talk about immediate cost taxpayers to expand the line rather than forecasting transit-oriented growth in western Prince William. 

Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe suggested the county’s planning staff review VRE’s study and come back to the Board with a recommendation on whether or not to move forward with the expansion.

Two of the proposed four stations along the B-line could be built in the county’s Brentsville District. 

“I need to be really convinced that the ridership numbers justify the cost,” said Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson. 

VRE plans to hold another public meeting on December 7 to discuss the final findings of the expansion study. If approved, construction of the line should take about two years, with the line opening for service in 2021.

PRTC turns 30, holds celebration in Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission is 30 years old. 

The transit agency that operates OmniRide and OmniLink buses in Prince William County, as well as plays a role in Virginia Railway Express, held a celebration on October 8 to mark the occasion, at the PRTC Transit Center in Woodbridge. 

Former Virginia Delegate David Brickley, who sponsored PRTC’s founding legislation, talks about the history of the agency during its 30th anniversary celebration. Joining him (l –r) were Eric Marx, PRTC Interim Executive Director, and PRTC Board Chairman Frank J. Principi.

Former Virginia Delegate David Brickley, who sponsored PRTC’s founding legislation, talks about the history of the agency during its 30th-anniversary celebration. Joining him (l –r) were Eric Marx, PRTC Interim Executive Director, and PRTC Board Chairman Frank J. Principi.

From Interim Executive Director Eric Marx: 

PRTC celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this month by hosting a community celebration with family-friendly entertainment, bus excursions and tours of the Transit Center. We didn’t invite the rainy weather, but it showed up anyway. Yes we got a little wet, but it was dry under the large tent that was temporarily placed in our parking lot.

Those who didn’t let the raindrops discourage them had a fun time watching the talented young folks who performed in our Youth Showcase, laughing with our juggler/entertainer, being amazed by many fabulous balloon art creations, taking silly photos in our photo booth, watching a police K-9 demonstration , climbing in and out of various emergency vehicles , and enjoying delicious treats from multiple food trucks.

The public was amazingly generous, donating so many non-perishables and toiletries that we were able to fill 10 good-sized boxes that will be distributed to area homeless shelters over the next week. What great timing with the holiday season just around the corner!

I want to publicly thank the many groups and individuals who made our day special:

·        The elected officials and dignitaries who kicked off our celebration by recalling our 30 years of history;

·        The youth groups who showed off their skills and kept us entertained;

·        The Prince William County police and fire/rescue departments who brought vehicles so the children could experience them up-close;

·        The county’s Public Works department, which staffed a table educating people about pests and even brought along a snake;

·        The Virginia State Police who brought an explosives-sniffing K-9 for a demonstration;

·        The many members of the public who helped us to celebrate our day; and

·        My wonderful staff who poured their hearts and souls into planning the celebration

Among the dignitaries celebrating PRTC’s 30th anniversary were Virginia Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, Virginia Delegate Richard Anderson, Prince William County Supervisor Ruth Anderson, former Virginia Delegate David Brickley, and former Stafford County Chairman Robert Gibbons.

Among the dignitaries celebrating PRTC’s 30th anniversary were Virginia Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, Virginia Delegate Richard Anderson, Prince William County Supervisor Ruth Anderson, former Virginia Delegate David Brickley, and former Stafford County Chairman Robert Gibbons.

Unconscious driver found in Manassas crash

MANASSAS, Va. — Rescue crews found an unconscious driver behind the wheel of a car involved in a two-car crash.

Fire and rescue crews were tipped off by a bystander who called 911 that two cars collided in front of a Weight Watchers store at 9962 Liberia Avenue in Manassas, at a shopping center near the intersection of Prince William Parkway.

A caller to 911 told an operator the door to the car that belonged to the unconscious driver was locked. 

Fire rescue crews arrived on the scene about 12:40 p.m. and were able to open the car door. Crews then reported the victim had regained consciousness. 

Rescue crews called then called for police to come to the scene. 

We’ll post more information as we get it. 

Traffic, school quality concerns common of those moving to Woodbridge

As Woodbridge continues to grow, planners are focused on easing traffic congestion and bringing new transportation options to the area.

Those considering moving to Woodbridge are families with elementary-school aged children, according to realtor Mark Worrilow, who has sold real estate in the region for nearly 20 years.

“I’m not getting questions about Metro expansion to Woodbridge, or if there is a ferry that can take people to work in D.C.,” said Worrilow.

The Realtor does field questions about what types of shopping are available, what are the quality of the public schools, and questions about how bad is the traffic congestion?

“My customers like to hear about Stonebridge and all of the new stores coming there,” he said.

Worrilow points curious parents to the county school’s website for educational information and test scores. As for traffic: While some people don’t want to make the drive from Woodbridge to Washington, D.C. every day, they quickly learn that they can have more house for the same money than if they moved to Burke in Fairfax County to the north, said Worrilow.

Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi has long labored under the term “New Woodbridge,” and has touted new growth in the area — to include Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center — as well as the widening of traffic-clogged Route 1. He’s also been an outspoken proponent of a Metrorail extension to Woodbridge, and for a water taxi service from Occoquan to Alexandria and Washington.

Principi at 7 p.m. Thursday will hold a public meeting focused on transportation, called “Get Woodbridge Moving.”

From Principi’s website:

Let’s talk traffic! Traffic congestion in this region has been ranked worst in the country, negatively impacting the environment, and costing area families and businesses time, money and productivity. Come hear about the state of our transportation system and the need to link land use with transportation policies. We’ll also explore:

What is the relationship between land use policy decisions and traffic congestion?

Are we ready for Metrorail? Expanded bus and rail service? Bus rapid transit? Fast ferry?

How you can help the county make the right policy and budget choices?

Residents who attend the town hall are asked to weigh in and comment. Representatives from the Prince William County Planning Office, the Potomac, and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, and VDOT are scheduled to attend.

The meeting will be held at Homewood Suites by Hilton, located at 2650 Neabsco Commons Place in Woodbridge.

People are excited to learn about the widening of Route 1, and like the idea of using Virginia Railway Express to get to their place of employment added Worrilow.

Stafford drivers will see new all-way stop on Wednesday

Press release from VDOT: 

STAFFORD, Va. — The intersection of Route 628 (Ramoth Church Road) and Route 651 (Kellogg Mill Road) in Stafford County will be converted to an all way stop during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Stop signs will be installed on each corner of the intersection between midnight and 5 a.m. Wednesday. Stop bars will be painted on the pavement.

To warn motorists of the new all way stop, “New Traffic Pattern Ahead” signs with orange flags will be posted on all approaches. Flags will also be attached to the stop signs. These warning features will be left in place for approximately one month.

New pavement markings will be painted on Ramoth Church Road northbound to create two lanes approaching the intersection. Beginning Wednesday morning, motorists can choose from a shared left turn and through lane, or a right turn lane.

The all way stop is being installed to enhance safety. A review of the intersection’s crash history found installing an all way stop could reduce the number of crashes and injuries at this location.

Children evacuated from school bus in Lake Ridge

A school bus that left Rockledge Elementary School in Lake Ridge carrying children caught fire under the hood.

The children were evacuated and fire and rescue crews were called to meet the bus near the intersection of Old Bridge Road and Harbor Drive.

More from Prince William County Public Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer:

Rockledge Bus 232 had a mechanical issue and another bus, #76, transported the children home. There was minimal delay in the normal bus schedule.

The children that were off-loaded from bus 233 were loaded onto bus 76 by 4:30 p.m., according to initial reports.

Another Prince William County school bus broke down Thursday afternoon in the area of Hoadly Road and Galveston Court near Dale City. Fire crews were called for what was reported to be a fire under the hood, but they found a broken belt and no fire. 

On Wednesday, another county school bus hit a parked police car in Woodbridge. 


Prince William school bus with children on board collides with parked police cruiser


Prince William County Public Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer tells us the bus was a “Potomac View [Elementary School] bus transporting Head Start students. No injuries were reported and parents are being contacted. Another bus was sent to transport the students.” 

Original post

A Prince William County School bus collided with a parked police car in Woodbridge. 

Bus 423 hit the police cruiser parked in the area of Mount Pleasant Drive and Bayside Avenue, according to initial reports. 

Children were on the bus, but no injuries were reported.  Police tell us the cruiser was parked legally and was sitting unoccupied.

We’ve asked a Prince William County Public Schools spokeswoman where the bus was coming from, and where it was headed. We’ll update this post with new information once we receive it.


More nighttime road closures in Haymarket

From VDOT: 

Drivers can expect nighttime lane closures on I-66 next week at Route 15, weather permitting, for crews to install overhangs on girders for the new southbound Route 15 overpass, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

On eastbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 8 p.m. each night Sunday, October 9 through Tuesday, October 11. Beginning around 10 p.m., all eastbound traffic will be detoured onto the Route 15 exit/entrance ramps back to I-66. All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m.

On westbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 9 p.m. each night Wednesday, October 12 through Friday, October 14. Beginning around 10 p.m., all westbound traffic will be detoured onto the Route 15 exit/entrance ramps back to I-66. All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m.

Police will be on site to direct traffic. Drivers should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

The work is part of the I-66 and Route 15 diverging-diamond interchange I-66 and Route 15 diverging-diamond interchange project. Diverging-diamond interchanges shift vehicles to the opposite side of the road and eliminate left turns that cross into oncoming traffic, improving safety. The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2017.

3-car crash snarls early morning traffic in I-66 near Manassas

A three-vehicle crash led to the closure of all lanes of Interstate 66 east this morning.

The crash occurred near milepost 47 at Roue 234 / Prince William Parkway near Manassas.

One driver was flown to a local hospital with serious injuries, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Police cleared the scene by 7 a.m., added Geller.

Drivers sat in a stand-still back-up of more than an hour, according to a reader who submitted the photo for this post.


Work to replace storm water pipe on Dale Boulevard starts Monday night

The Virginia Department of Transportation will replace a stormwater pipe at the intersection of Dale Boulevard and Darbydale Avenue. 

From VDOT:

DALE CITY – A flagging operation will be in place at the intersection of Dale Boulevard and Darbydale Avenue/Forestdale Avenue from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3 through Wednesday, Oct. 5 for pipe replacement, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and use alternate routes.

All work is weather permitting.

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