Traffic & Transit
Two cars were involved in a crash about 8 p.m. at the intersection of Route 28 and Sowder Village Square, in front of a Target store near Bristow.
The crash involves a Kia sedan driven by a man and another sedan driven by a woman. According to an eyewitness who spoke with Manassas Local, the Kia was traveling east on Route 28 toward Manassas when it made a left turn into the Sowder Village Square shopping center. The Kia collided with an oncoming sedan traveling west on Route 28 driven by a woman, according to the eyewitness.
Fire, rescue, and police were called to the scene shortly after the crash. The condition of the victims is unknown.
This is the same spot where Prince William police Officer Chris Yung was killed on New Year’s Eve 2012 while responding to a call for help. Yung’s motorcycle was traveling west on Route 28 toward Bristow when another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction made a left turn into the shopping center.
Yung collided with the vehicle and was killed instantly.
At the end of December, the 95 Express Lanes became active toll lanes, running from Edsall Road to Garrisonville Road – following an over $250 million dollar 9-mile extension project.
In order to use the lanes, all drivers need to have an EZ-Pass, or EZ-Pass Flex mounted in their vehicles.
According to Mike McGurk, a spokesperson for the 95 Express Lanes from Transurban, the transition for drivers on the lanes has been smooth, and steadily growing.
“We’ve steadily seen more folks out there, using the [toll] lanes,” McGurk said, continuing, “One of the big observations for us is that we’re very pleased with the road operations to date. A lot of areas that we were keeping a very close eye on – areas like the part where the Express lanes end, and the HOV lanes begin – we have not seen a lot of driver confusion in those areas.”
Looking at primary operations data, McGurk stated that the 9-mile extension has been popular for drivers from the start.
“The 9 mile extension – from below Dumfries down to just before 610 – was popular with drivers right from the get go…we saw a lot of folks opting to get on at that first entry point,” said McGurk.
One thing that has been somewhat of an issue on the HOV lanes, and now the toll lanes, are individuals sitting on the shoulder with their vehicle, waiting for road restrictions to be lifted. To respond to that issue, Transurban has partnered with the Virginia State Police to increase their presence in the shoulder areas.
There were two things that McGurk stressed for drivers that intend to use the toll lanes – check your device before your trip to ensure it’s toggled in the right mode (commuter or single driver). And, if you are new to the lanes and drive without an EZ-Pass, reach out to Transurban before getting an invoice for your toll.
“If you take the 95 Express Lanes without an EZ-Pass, what you can do is you can either call our customer service center or go online and if it’s within five days of your trip, you can actually search for your trip and settle the cost of your tolls,” said McGurk.
They also have a first-time forgiveness program for drivers on the Express lanes.
“Look, if it’s your first time getting an invoice – maybe you didn’t know you needed an EZ-Pass, maybe you didn’t have funding on your EZ-Pass – if you call us after getting that invoice, and it’s your first time, we’ll waive all of the fees and just take payment of your toll,” McGurk commented.
If you’re planning use the toll lanes, it’s also important to note that the toll rates change, according to McGurk, based on real-time traffic.
While Transurban plans to use the toll revenue to recoup the cost of front loading the project initially, there are plans in the works to have a revenue sharing agreement. This agreement could be used to fund future VDOT projects, McGurk commented.
More information on the 95 Express lanes from a release:
All information is from December 29, 2014 to January 31, 2015.
95% of weekday 95 Express Lanes customers are traveling with an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex
33% of weekday trips are HOV-3+ carpoolers who enjoy a toll-free trip at all hours of the day
The average dynamic toll price on the 95 Express Lanes is $4.01
Since we opened just over a month ago, we have seen more than 200,000 unique customers traveling with an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex who have gotten a faster and more predictable trip on the 95 Express Lanes
Nearly 30% of 95 Express Lanes customers have also taken a trip on the 495 Express Lanes during this period, taking advantage of the network of Express Lanes. With the 495 and 95 Express Lanes drivers now have an option to travel at highway speeds for more than 40 miles from Stafford to Tysons Corner
Average weekday toll revenue of nearly $103,000 and average weekday trips just over 37,000. The first quarterly traffic and revenue report with 95 Express Lanes data will be issued in April.
Virginia’s only commuter railroad says it needs to raise fares by 4% to pay for increased operations costs. Virginia Railway Express is giving its customers a chance to weigh in on the proposed increase at a series of upcoming meetings.
The transit agency says riders can find more about the fare increase on its website.
Here’s a list of upcoming meeting dates, times, and locations:
|Wednesday, February 18, 2015||Stafford County Government Center Board Chambers, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554||7 p.m.|
|Thursday, February 19, 2015||Holiday Inn [L’Enfant], Congressional 1, 550 C. Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20024||Noon|
|Tuesday, February 24, 2015||Burke Centre Conservancy, “The Commons” Community Center, 9837 Burke Pond Lane, Burke, VA 22015||7 p.m.|
|Wednesday, February 25, 2015||Crystal City Marriott, Lincoln Room, 1999 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202||Noon|
|Thursday, February 26, 2015||Manassas City Hall, City Council Chamber Room, 9027 Center Street, Manassas, VA 22110||7 p.m.|
|Tuesday, March 3, 2015||P.R.T.C. Board Room, 2nd Floor, 14700 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge, VA 22192||7 p.m.|
|Thursday, March 5, 2015||Fredericksburg City Hall,715 Princess Anne Street,Fredericksburg, VA 22401
The Stafford County Board of Supervisors has decided to move forward with making sidewalk improvements on Mine Road.
This project would happen along Mine Road, starting at Highpointe Boulevard, and ending at Cathedral Lane.
In order to obtain the funding needed to complete the project, the Board will submit an application the Fredericksburg Transportation Management Area (TMA). The TMA currently has $162, 672 in available funding for these types improvement projects.
According to Jack Cavalier, Supervisor for the Griffis-Widewater district, the improvements to Mine Road are among the County’s top priorities.
“The Mine Road sidewalk project is among the County’s highest priorities to accommodate pedestrians safely and efficiently. If constructed, the proposed sidewalk project will connect to other existing sidewalks in the area, providing a network of opportunities for bicycle and pedestrian traffic to travel safely to and from existing and commercial developments. It will provide for safer access along a busy roadway that is frequently used by pedestrians traveling between their homes and commercial areas,” said Cavalier.
The Board would need to match the funding from the TMA with local funds in the amount of $40,688, according to Cavalier.
The application for funding Mine Road improvements will be considered at the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Technical Committee meeting in March.
If approved, the funding and application for the project would be handed over to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and added to their Six-Year Improvement Program.
And while the road improvements will help many Stafford residents, there may be some challenges up ahead to get the project completed.
“While constructing a sidewalk may not seem complicated, there are a number of unique factors that make this project challenging including the fact that part of the sidewalk has to go over a creek, and we may have to expand the culvert that is under the road to accommodate the sidewalk,” Cavalier said.
The Board is considering additional grant requests for the future, to complete the sidewalk on Mine Road.
Water crews are working to restore service on Botts Avenue in Woodbridge.
A water main broke in the area of Botts Avenue and Sharp Drive in Woodbridge about 4:15 p.m.
2/4/15. Water main repair, 13810 Botts Ave., cross street Sharp Drive, Woodbridge.
— Service Authority (@PWCSA) February 4, 2015
There are 30 to 35 people without water in the area, according to the Prince William Service Authority. There’s no word on when service will be restored.
Traffic on Route 28 south is routed down Yorkshire Lane.
A traffic crash that occurred at 3:10 p.m. and prompted police to reroute traffic in the area.
Traffic delays are an issue at this point, stated Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok in an email to Potomac Local.
Two car were involved. We don’t know yet if anyone was injured.
Submitted News Lane closures on I-95 South continue tonight
Both of the southbound I-95 collector/distributor lanes for Dale Boulevard (Exit 156) will again intermittently close between 9:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 4 and 5:00 AM Thursday, February 5. Each closure will last up to 15 minutes.
During the full closures, southbound I-95 motorists will not be able to access westbound or eastbound Dale Boulevard/Route 784. However, motorists on Dale Boulevard will still be able to access southbound I-95.
There will also be single lane closures in the collector-distributor lanes between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. The southbound I-95 through lanes will not be impacted by the work and will remain open.
Message signs will be posted in advance of the work so that motorists can use alternate routes.
The closures are again needed for overhead sign work.
Promoted Post KO Distilleries opening in the City of Manassas
On Jan. 29, KO Distilleries, a new business in the City of Manassas, opened their doors for a “keel laying.” This is a nautical term for the start of a ship’s construction and is appropriate for this business as both owners are graduates of the Merchant Marine Academy.
Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, Mayor Harry J. Parrish II as well as other City Council members, business owners and residents were onsite to welcome this new industry to the City of Manassas. KO Distilleries, located at 10381 Central Park Drive, will manufacture, store and sell distilled spirits, including bourbon, rye whiskey, corn whiskey, gin, vodka and rum. The distillery will have a visitors center for tours, tastings, merchandise sales and special events.
Owners Bill Karlson and John O’Mara will open their doors in the spring of 2015. This is only the 19th distillery in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is on the forefront of an emerging industry trend. Historic Manassas, Inc. helped the City and KO Distilleries with the event and many members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce welcomed the new owners as members of the Chamber.
The preceding post was written by the City of Manassas.
New lanes will be tolled 24 hours a day, seven days a week
There’s a new plan for Interstate 66 that looks a lot like what just happened on I-95.
Virginia transportation officials want to build more of those famous “managed lanes,” or toll lanes between U.S. 15 in Haymarket in Prince William to the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County, just outside Tysons Corner. Two new lanes would be added to each side of the highway and, like the 95 E-ZPass Express Lanes, drivers will pay a toll 24 hours a day to use them. The new lanes would be free to drivers with three or more occupants in their vehicles.
Officials identified this 25-mile “outside the Beltway” stretch of highway as their target improvement zone because federal laws prevent I-66 from being widened inside the Capital Beltway. Arlington residents saw to that when the highway was built.
“For all of us who have ever traveled I-66, w know we have once choice: congestion. And, that congestion is getting worse,” said Virginia Department of Transportation Deputy District Administrator Renee Hamilton.
A round of winter weather forced the postponement the first few in a series presentations held to educate residents on the proposed changes. The agency held a meeting in Prince William and in Fairfax the past two nights, respectively.
After building toll lanes on the Beltway, and opening new toll lanes last month on I-95, VDOT has learned a thing or two about holding these public meetings. Display boards were set up in a large room, transportation experts posted around the room, and a court reporter made available to anyone who wanted to confess their concerns.
New commuter lots will spur slugging, officials hope
As to how the road will be built, the early favored design appears to be adding two new lanes in each direction with the lanes in the center of the highway, much like the E-ZPass Express Lanes are on the Beltway. The early favored plan also calls for the addition of new park and ride lots that would be served by a new bus rapid transit system in Prince William and Fairfax counties.
The new lots, officials hope, will spur slugging – a free, user-organized carpooling system in use on I-95 and 395 since the 1970s, and never yet implemented on I-66. Options to expand Virginia Railway Express or Metro along the corridor as part of this project don’t seem likely.
“For those asking ‘why not Metro,’ we’re not saying ‘no’ to Metro. We’re saying ‘not today,” said Hamilton.
In traffic congestion hot spots on I-66 in Fairfax County between Routes 29 and 50, a fourth auxiliary lane will be added as part of the project to allow drivers more room to merge on and off the highway.’
Land sits in the way
VDOT must take property to make this new vision for I-66 a reality. Segment one of the project between U.S. 15 in Haymarket and Route 28 in Centreville has 430 parcels of land standing in the way of development. Segment two between Routes 28 and 50 has 108, and segment three between Route 50 and the Beltway has 750 homes. About 70 families could be displaced.
The private firm, Australia-based Transurban was hired to build and maintain the E-ZPass Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway and I-95. The company also maintains the Pochohantas Parkway in Richmond.
State officials guarantee this highway expansion, like the previous two in Northern Virginia, will be a public-private partnership – a contract that will be awarded to a company that completes the state’s bidding process. Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board will meet Jan. 18 to discuss what they want in a qualified bidder for the project, and a request for proposals should go out sometime this summer.
Construction of the new lanes is slated to begin as early as 2017. The new lanes will not open before 2021.
- Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center
- Address: 9100 Freedom Center Blvd, Manassas, Va.
- Phone: 703-993-8444
- Website: http://www.freedom-center.com/
What is the Attack The Fat Challenge?
Submitted News I-95 North near Dale City closing briefly for sign removal
This Wednesday night, Jan. 28, until Thursday morning, Jan. 29, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will close multiple lanes on I-95 North near the truck rest area, mile marker 154.5, just south of Dale City (exit 156), leading up to a full road closure for up to 15 minutes after midnight.
A single lane will be closed after 9 p.m., followed by a second lane at 10 p.m. All lanes will close for up to 15 minutes between 1 and 2 a.m. These closures are needed to replace an overhead sign.
Message signs will be posted on I-95 north to advise motorists of the closures and Virginia State Police will be on-site for traffic control.
-Information from VDOT.
Snow prompted the cancelation of two public meetings designed to provide residents more information on what Virginia officials plan to do to Interstate 66.
A meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. at Bull Run Elementary School in Centreville is canceled. It comes after a meeting scheduled last night in Vienna was also canceled due to snow.
Meetings are still scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday that residents may attend.
Here’s a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation:
Weather permitting, there are still two opportunities to attend an I-66 Public Information Meeting this week. Meetings are scheduled for:
- Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at Battlefield High School in Haymarket from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. (with a snow date on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, if necessary)
- Thursday, January 29, 2015, at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office in Fairfax from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
If you cannot attend in person, the meeting on Thursday, January 29, 2015, will be shown live at Transform66.org between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
There will also be two meetings next week due to yesterday’s and tonight’s cancellations. The make-up dates and locations are:
- Tuesday, February 3, 2015, at Oakton High School in Vienna from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
- Thursday, February 5, 2015, at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office in Fairfax from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
Please visit the project website at Transform66.org for more information.
A contractor laying fiber optic cable in struck a gas line this morning.
Stafford fire and rescue crews were called to the area of Eustace Road and Legal Court just before 10 a.m. A boring device stuck the line, which is believed to have been at least two inches in diameter, sending the smell of natural gas through a residential neighborhood.
“We arrived on scene, monitored the area, established a hot zone, and then we determined that there was no risked to any of the homeowners in the area,” said Stafford Assistant Chief Mark Doyle.
Stafford sheriff’s deputies blocked streets and neighbors were told to stay inside their homes. The gas company found the broken line and is now in the process of repairing it. The fix could take hours to repair, but streets should be reopened to drivers before noon, according to Doyle.
Fire crews also checked area storm drains for the residual smell of natural gas following the rupture.
A gas line was struck this morning in the area of Eustace Road and Legal Court in North Stafford.
The leak sprang about 9:50 a.m. Stafford fire and rescue crews were called to the scene.
There’s no word on what caused the leak or if anyone was injured.
We’ll bring you more on this story as we have it.
Transportation officials in Virginia say they can improve Interstate 66.
The idea is to make a 25-mile stretch of the highway between Haymarket and the Capital Beltway a multi-modal corridor. This means adding express toll lanes like the I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes that opened last month and new high-frequency bus service to the corridor.
Some key interchanges along the highway also need to be reevaluated to improve transportation along the corridor.
Now, officials plan a series of public meetings to solicit feedback on the roadway project. The meeting locations listed below:
Monday, Jan. 26, 2015
Oakton High School
2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181
Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015
Bull Run Elementary School
15301 Lee Highway, Centreville, VA 20121
Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015
Battlefield High School
15000 Graduation Drive, Haymarket, VA 20169
Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015
VDOT Northern Virginia District, 1st Floor, Occoquan Room
4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030
Each meeting will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m. during each meeting, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Police in Manasssas released the following information about the pedestrian who was struck this morning along railroad tracks in the city.
Here’s the latest info:
Pedestrian Struck by Train
At approximately 3:20AM on January 22, 2015, an adult male was struck by a train on the 8400 block of Kao Cir just south of Osbourn Park High School. The victim, whose name is withheld pending notification of next of kin, was pronounced deceased at the scene. No foul play is suspected at this time.
railroad expected to open shortly…once open we will notify riders as to what schedule we will be operating
— VRE (@VaRailXpress) January 22, 2015
still unknown delay times on the manassas lines due to a pedestrian having been struck . recommend passengers find alternative transport
— VRE (@VaRailXpress) January 22, 2015
Riders on Virginia Railway Express from Manassas could be delayed this morning.
The transit agency stated via Twitter that it appears a pedestrian was struck by a train.
manassas trains possibly delayed an hour due to a pedestrian having been struck by an Amtrak train near Manassas. metro option is open
— VRE (@VaRailXpress) January 22, 2015
With the Metro option in place, regular VRE riders can now use their VRE ticket to board the Metro subway system to get to work. The closest Metro station near Manassas is the Vienna station on the Orange line in Fairfax County.
We’ll have more on this as it develops.
A woman from Woodbridge was killed on the Capital Beltway this afternoon.
Here’s the latest in press release from Virginia State Police:
A Woodbridge woman was killed Sunday (January 18) in a two car vehicle crash in Fairfax County. The crash occurred 1:10 p.m. at I-495 westbound 100 feet west of Route 613.
Virginia State Police Trooper A. M. Hoye investigated the crash.
A 2001 Nissan Pathfinder was coming onto I-495 west from the Van Dorn Ramp when the driver lost control and struck a 2007 BMW that was traveling west on I-495. The 2001 Nissan upon impact overturned partially ejecting the driver.
The driver of the Nissan, Dinora Del Carmen Guzman, 49, of Woodbridge, Virginia died at the scene; she was not wearing a seatbelt. The driver of the BMW, Anthony Adams of Lorton was not injured.
Speed is being considered a factor in the crash.
Gas for $1.99 – are they out of their minds?
Not in North Stafford where the price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas fell below $2 on Tuesday. That’s a drop considering six months ago the price for the same was $3.55 in the same neighborhood, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Fuel Price Finder.
At some gas stations on Route 1 in Stafford, the price fell even lower to $1.97 per gallon at a FasMart and Wawa stations.
The cheapest place to buy gas in Woodbridge on Tuesday was a Wawa at Daniel Stuart Square at Route 1 and Opitz Boulevard, priced at $2.03 per gallon. The area gas price average was higher at $2.13 per gallon.
It’s important to note that the Fuel Price Finder doesn’t list prices for price clubs Costco and Sams Club that normally have cheaper gas than roadside service stations.
Nationally, the average price for a gallon of unleaded fuel is $2.14. It’s the lowest national average price since May 4, 2009.
Fuel prices should continue to decline, according to the short-term outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Prices will remain low, but creep back up in time for the summer vacation driving season in July to a national average of $2.33 per gallon, according to the forecast.
Consumption of fuel has increased to 9.2 million barrels of oil per day in the U.S. in December. Government officials said that the number should increase to 9.5 billion barrels per day in 2016, putting the U.S. on track to near to the all-time high of 9.6 billion barrels of oil per day not seen since 1970.
Cooper Starfire Tires offer superior life and performance for just a few dollars more than the cost of a used tire
Instead of buying a used tire that you might have to replace sooner than later, consider a new Cooper Starfire Tire.
It’s a great option for someone looking for an inexpensive tire that will help keep their vehicle on the road longer and their occupants of the car safe.
Cooper Starfire Tires are available for multiple makes and models of vehicles. They’re manufactured in Asia and designed in the U.S. to compete with premium brands without the higher price tag of comparable tires.
The tire offers high-performance ability, improved grip and road handling, with an improved overall tire life.
Cooper Starfire Tires are great for drivers who may have purchased a vehicle that is more costly to maintain than first thought, but are still looking for a quality tire that delivers great handling and a quiet performance on the road. With the Starfire option available, drivers should think before purchasing a used tire.
Typically, drivers have no idea what type of life the used tire had before they obtain it. Used tires could be six to eight years old, perhaps older, and have spent the majority of their life as a used tire strapped to a vehicle. While used tires may look good, the rubber can be worn down or degraded after years of sitting idle. Some used tires may also be missing tread and show signs of wear.
Purchasing a Starfire Tire costs about $30 more than what a used tire might cost, but a new tire, on average, will provide three times the life of a single used tire. The price of a Starfire Tire is up to 30% less than other newer tires. There are many Starfire Tires produced for SUVs, trucks, and the popular Honda Civic and Toyota Camry models.
Hometowne Auto Repair and Tire in Woodbridge, Virginia is now an authorized Cooper Tire dealer and offers a full line of Starfire Tires.
Roads in Northern Virginia pretreated for ice, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Drivers are urged to delay their trek into work Monday by at least a few hours to allow highway crews the opportunity to continue to treat roads during the morning rush hour.
“We ask drivers to plan ahead and to use extreme caution if they must drive,” stated Branco Vlacich, VDOT assistant district administrator for maintenance in a press release. “The pretreatment crews have laid will help, but with pavement temperatures below freezing, we will need to treat icy conditions repeatedly during this hours-long storm.”
About 1,450 trucks will be out on area roadways overnight treating roads throughout the area. The rain is expected to begin any time after midnight, and is expected to freeze on contact with the ground surface creating slippery conditions are expected during the early morning hours Monday. Much of the freezing rain is expected to changeover to all rain by late morning.
Highway crews spent time over the weekend pre-treating major roads in Prince William, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington counties, in advance of the storm.
VDOT says bridges and highway on-ramps are especially prone to freezing. Ramps at the Springfield interchange, at Interstate 66 and Route 29, and at the Capital Beltway and Route 1 in Alexandria were all treated with a special mixture of magnesium chloride.
Major routes like Fairfax County Parkway, and Routes 1, 7, 28, 29, 50, and 123 were all treated with a salt brine mix.
Drivers are urged to check VDOT’s website for road conditions prior to beginning their trip on Monday
In December, City of Manassas resident Mark Johnson had an idea for the #SayIWont video contest put on by Grammy Award winner Lecrae Moore and Reach Records. The video contest asked participants to make a 15 second video showing how “you’re not scared to be different.” Mark’s video featured members of the Manassas City Police Department.
Mark Johnson had the idea, in light of current happenings in other areas of the country, to show a positive relationship between the Manassas City Police Department and a City resident. His video shows him coming into MCPD Roll Call and encouraging the officers about to go out in the field.
Mark went to Osbourn High School in the City of Manassas. After a rocky start, including being expelled from school, Mark went back to Osbourn to finish high school with an advanced diploma. When asked why he chose the Manassas City Police Department to feature in his video, Mark said he remembered the great conversations he had in high school with Officer Cahill and he used that contact to make the video happen.
On Dec. 12, while attending the Manassas City Police Department holiday luncheon, Mark received a phone call from Reach Records saying he had won the national video contest and had won a trip to New York City to accompany Lecrae Moore to a Brooklyn Nets game.
“We are honored that Mark chose the MCPD to feature in his video,” said Chief Doug Keen from the Manassas City Police Department. “Mark Johnson’s video sheds a positive light on relationships with police officers and those relationships are something we want to promote in the City of Manassas. We congratulate Mark on his award winning video.”
Johnson traveled to New York City in December.
The preceding promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.
Measure would move $12 million away from project, killing it
Spend $12 million to bury power lines in Woodbridge? Not so fast.
Prince Willaim Count officials in late 2013 approved funds to bury power lines lines along Route 1 in Woodbridge, between Mary’s Way and the Occoquan River. The lines would be placed underground in conjunction with an effort to widen that same portion of the road from four to six lanes.
The $12 million was taken from two pots of surplus money in county government coffers. The big idea: make the gateway to the heavily populated, traditionally more blue collar eastern section of Prince William County more aesthetically appealing to drivers entering it from Northern Virginia juggernaut Fairfax County.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, At-large, in October praised the effort. “No other jurisdiction on the east coast from Maine to Florida has put more money into the revitalization of Route 1,” said Stewart.
On Jan. 6, more than a year after deciding to bury the power lines, The Board of Supervisors will once again vote to stay the course and put the lines underground or to reallocate funds elsewhere.
Leading the charge is Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland, who said the Board needs to “reprioritize its spending plans to accommodate revenue constraints, resulting from the current lagging local economy,” according to a resolution in Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting agenda. It’s the latest move from a Republican who often says local government spends too much, and enacts taxing plans that are too burdensome for the county’s middle class residents.
“The economy doesn’t listen to our five-year plan. The people sitting around doing their budgets, their paychecks don’t listen to our five year plan, and we’re still seeing this economy struggle,” Candland said.
Candland has continually criticized his Board’s vote in late 2013 to bury the lines. The Supervisor’s Gainesville District in western Prince William has residential and retail subdivisions that are only a fraction as old as what sits in Woodbridge. Most if not all power lines are buried in Gainesville.
The ball is already rolling on the plan to bury the lines as engineers have designed working plans to get the job done. The development of those plans also stalled the effort to widen Route 1.
Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi says Candland has rehashed this issue too many times, and he equates the debate over the burial of the power lines to Congressional Republicans’ effort to repeal Obamacare.
“We’ve already spent $2 million in engineering funds on the project. If we turn back, that would be a stupid policy and budgeting decision, and it would require significant delays in Route 1 widening project,” said Principi. “We’ve already put off widening Route 1 for a year to accommodate the design of the underground power lines.”
Corey Stewart still supports burying the lines and suspects Candland won’t have the votes he needs to reverse course.
“We’ve spent 25 years revitalizing Route 1. If we don’t bury them, the power lines will be there forever, and underground forever if we do bury them. To not bury them is being pennywise and pound foolish.”
Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe agrees though he first voted against the project because he didn’t approve of the funding sources.
“Now that’s it’s underway, we can’t stop it now,” said Nohe.