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Potomac Shores VRE Station Unlike Any Other in System

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WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A new Virginia Railway Express station in Woodbridge will be unlike any other in the system.

Officials broke ground on a new commuter rail station to be built below a bluff on the Potomac River, along VRE’s Fredericksburg line in the developing Potomac Shores neighborhood. Construction on the $14 million station will begin next year, and it will include two walkways, stairs, and an elevator so riders can easily get to their trains.

“The benefit of this location is that we have a beautiful view, and the tracks are down there [below the bluff]. There will be a walking bridge over to a tower, and you’ll take an elevator down to a train station,” said VRE CEO Doug Allen.

A second walking bridge and elevator will take VRE passengers to a second platform on the far side of the tracks. Private developer SunCal, which is building Potomac Shores, will pay the construction cost of the new station while Virginia taxpayer will pay for needed track improvements in the area.
A new VRE station in Woodbridge will also mean new station platforms at two VRE stations in Stafford County. Here’s a portion of a press release from officials in Stafford:

Riders at the Brooke and Leeland Virginia Railway Express (VRE) stations can expect more platform capacity as well as more efficient train service in the coming years. Thanks to a public private partnership between SunCal, a developer building a VRE station in Prince William County, the Commonwealth of Virginia and CSX Transportation, Stafford County’s two VRE stations will each receive a second platform. 

The Leeland Road station in Stafford County has more cars parked at its parking lot than any of the other seven stations with VRE-maintained parking lots on the Fredericksburg line, according to statistics from the railroad. The commnuter railroad carries just under 20,000 daily riders on its trains and has a plan to double that number by 2040.

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To Attract Jobs, VRE says $2 Billion Needed to add Southbound Service from Washington

VRE Chief Doug Allen [Mary Davidson -- Potomac Local News]

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Prince William County has been slow to attract many Fortune 500 companies to the region, unlike its neighbor to the north Fairfax County which boasts many.

Part of the problem is its lack of a the Metro rail system which workers who live in the urban core of Washington, D.C., Alexandria and Arlington can use to get to job centers in Fairfax County. Employers are looking for easy access to mass transit so workers can avoid the daily peril that is commuting while driving on Interstates 95 and 66. Just this week, Springfield, and two locations in Prince Georges County, Md. – all near Metro stations – were named finalists in the search for a new headquarters for the FBI.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said a new Virginia Railway Express station in Woodbridge’s Potomac Shores neighborhood will be a new node in Northern Virginia’s transit system that hopes will help attract new companies to the region when it opens in 2017.

“The companies that I’m trying to bring to Virginia are the 21st century jobs – the cyber, the genome sequencing, all the bio life sciences… if you look at study after study, the folks who work in these industries want to be in communities that are walkable, ride a bike, that’s what they want, and this community is a place where they can do that,” said McAuliffe.

Right now, VRE is designed to ferry commuters from Northern Virginia north into Washington, D.C. on weekday mornings and then back home again in the afternoon.

These high tech, high-paying jobs that the governor wants to bring to Prince William will require VRE to rethink its service, and develop a plan to offer new trains that leave Washington on weekday mornings headed south, to bring workers from the urban center to fill these jobs.

“That is part of our plan, to run trains in both directions, so people can work out here and live in the city,” said VRE CEO Doug Allen.

The cost for this new service is expected to top more than $2 billion for the addition of new track, new rail cars, all to do what the commuter rail system is already planning to do: double it’s ridership to 50,000 riders per day by 2040. The money, Allen says, could come from federal grants.

Improvements to the Long Bridge, which carries VRE and freight trains across the Potomac River into Washington, D.C., will also need to be improved if more trains are to be added to the system, said Allen. While the new infrastructure will cost, operating costs for the system are expected to remain about the same is southbound service is added, said Allen.

News
McAuliffe Breaks Ground for Potomac Shores VRE Station

Elected officials as well as the heads of local transit services join Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe at the groundbreaking of a new Virginia Railway Express station in Woodbridge. [Mary Davidson – Potomac Local News]

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — With a golden shovel and the tossing of dirt, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe broke ground for a new Virginia Railway Express station in Woodbridge.

The $14 million passenger depot will be on the commuter railroad’s Fredericksburg line, and will be built in the developing Potomac Shores neighborhood, a master-planned community already getting attention after it opened its Jack Niclaus-designed golf course in June.

With more than 100 new homes and several new developments planned for the 2,000 acre property, including a new hotel and town center to surround the rail station that will over look the Potomac River, the region’s population – and traffic congestion – is expected to only get worse.

“You cannot grow an economy if your transportation system doesn’t work,” said McAuliffe, who says he’s all too familiar with bad Northern Virginia traffic. “We normally travel [Interstate] 95 several times per week. Today, we couldn’t take the risk and we took a helicopter, to be honest with you.

The station has been a long time coming and is part of the original vision for VRE, developed more than 20 years ago. It will be constructed under a public-private partnership with Potomac Shores’ developer, California-based SunCal building the rail station and Virginia taxpayers footing the $75 million price tag for an 11-mile extension of addition track that will be needed to serve the station.

“Our traffic is terrible and is getting worse and worse in front of us,” said Stafford County Aquia District Supervisor Paul Milde, who is also Chairman of the Virginia Railway Express Executive Board. “…We simply don’t have the money we need to build and maintain the miles of new lanes that are needed to unsnarl the traffic nightmare that has been associated with this county and my county, and our region has to deal with daily.”

The new station is slated to open by 2017 and will sit on below a bluff that overlooks the Potomac River. It will be the center of the development new town center that, when built out completely, will feature a hotel, restaurants, retail stores, new homes, and office space.

“This development will act as a catalyst as an economic engine to spur development in the county and this region for years and years to come,” said Prince William County Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan. “The station will take thousands of cars off the road when it’s built.”

After years of off again-on again development, SunCal purchased the foreclosed property on the Cherry Hill Peninsula on which its Potomac Shores will sit in 2011. Before its previous developer went belly up during the U.S. economic downturn, the development was known as Harbor Station.

Longtime peninsula resident and former Prince William County Woodbridge District Supervisor Hilda Barg has long anticpated the development of this project. “I have waited for much more than 20 yeasrs. I’ve seen different developers on this peninsula. I’ve watched them come and I’ve watched them go,” said Barg. “When we got SunCal we got the real deal.”

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Crash on I-395 to Cause OmniRide Delays, says Transit Agency

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Bus riders should be prepared for delays this evening.

A crash on Interstate 395 in Arlington has closed the northbound portion of the highway. The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, operators of OmniRide commuter bus service, told riders the crash will impact service tonight.

Here’s their statement:

All northbound lanes of I-395 are currently closed due to a crash at VA-402 (Exit 6/Quaker Lane), with delays beginning prior to Route 7, about 1.5 miles.

This incident will cause delays for OmniRide trips this afternoon, including for later evening trips on buses that operate double runs – serving a trip early during the rush hour and another trip later in the evening.

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Effort to Add 1,000 Spaces to Commuter Lot Nears Completion

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Work on an expanded commuter parking lot in North Stafford, next to the popular Stafford Marketplace shopping center, is nearly complete.

Here’s the latest update from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

Construction work is 75 percent complete on a 1,000-space expansion of a Virginia Department of Transportation Park & Ride facility in Stafford County on Va. 610 near Interstate 95.

The project is on schedule for a late October 2014 opening. The expansion doubles commuter parking spaces at this location. The lot is one of the busiest and largest ride-sharing locations for carpooling, vanpooling and transit in the Fredericksburg area.

Construction work began on the $12.9 million improvement in May 2013. The project is estimated to generate 43 jobs over a three-year period, and an additional $6.7 million in personal income earnings, $469,000 in state tax revenue, and nearly $40,000 in local tax revenue, according to an economic analysis by VDOT’s Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research.

While the project was under design, VDOT invited Fredericksburg area commuters to submit suggestions to promote safe and orderly traffic flow. The expanded commuter lot will include:

·         A consolidated, central location for carpool pickup and dropoff  

·         A bus pickup and dropoff bay that can accommodate four passenger buses

·         An extended sidewalk along Staffordboro Boulevard

·         Left and right turn lanes into a new lot entrance on Staffordboro Boulevard

·         A roundabout that connects the commuter lot to Doc Stone Road, Juggins Road and Moncure Lane, improving access management to the site.

Improvements to the existing parking lot are also planned. The existing lot will be re-paved, and new lane and space markings will be painted to clearly define traffic patterns in the lot.

Upcoming Traffic Shifts

Later this week, traffic will start to be transitioned to the newly constructed section of the parking lot.

VDOT will close the triangle-shaped portion of the existing commuter lot at 7 p.m., on Thursday, July 24. This portion of the lot contains approximately 130 parking spaces.

Click Here to view a map of the lot.

At the same time, 280 new parking spaces will open. The new spaces are located in the northernmost corner of the lot, near the Stafford County water tower. Signs will be posted to guide lot users to these parking spaces.

 

In addition, motorists should be on alert for a new traffic pattern at the roundabout at Doc Stone Road, Moncure Lane, Juggins Road and the commuter lot access road.

 

Workers are completing the curb in the roundabout and building raised islands on each roadway approach over the next two weeks. Motorists should stay alert for signs and barrels guiding traffic through the work zone. 

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Anderson Wants Hands-Free Law in Virginia, Crackdown on Distracted Driving

101512-Telework-andersonWOODBRIDGE, Va. — After the success of his bill that banned texting while driving, a Virginia lawmaker has cell phones in his sights once again.

Delegate Richard Anderson (R-Prince William) says he’s exploring legislation that would require drivers in Virginia to talk on their cell phones hands free. If the bill was passed, Virginia would join its neighbors in Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. that all have hands free law on the books, and where not using a hands-free device such as a Bluetooth headset is a primary offense.

“If we don’t institute a hands-free phone ban, then we should allow someone to drink from a straw from a bottle Jim Beam while behind the wheel,” said Anderson.

If Anderson moves is legislation forward it would be reviewed during the 2015 General Assembly session in January in Richmond. The Delegate’s travel between Prince William County and the state capital via Interstate 95 is one of the impetuses of his desire to push such a ban. He says he often is made to swerve out of his travel lane on the highway to avoid someone using their cell phone.

Because of Anderson’s bill passed in 2013, texting while driving is now a primary offense and is enforced by police throughout the state. The law doesn’t address phone users who enter directional information into a phone’s GPS system, or drivers who use their phones to perform web searches while behind the wheel.

Anderson’s new legislation would require drivers to input directional information into GPS systems prior to pull onto the road, he said.

A report released in May from the builders of the 95 Express Lanes states there have been nearly 355,000 crashes on highways nationwide that have involved drivers distracted by texts on cell phones. That report, Anderson says, is another primary driver in his desire to push for a hands-free law.

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Express Lanes Work Enters Final Laps

Construction of express lanes on Interstate 95 in Fairfax County, Va. [Photo: Virginia Megaprojects]

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — The effort to add toll lanes to a 29-mile stretch of highway in Northern Virginia is entering its final phase.

Construction crews plan to work day and night over the next six months to put the finishing touches on the 95 Express Lanes, converting the High Occupany Vehicle lanes from Dumfries to the Pentagon to toll lanes, and adding new lanes from Dumfries south to North Stafford.

The express lanes run in the center of Interstate 95 and are slated to open in early 2015. They will allow drivers with three or occupants in their cars to ride free while single drivers will be able to pay a toll by using an EZ-Pass transponder.

Here’s more in a press release from Virginia Megaprojects:

To accommodate remaining construction activities, drivers should expect all lanes within the current I-95/395 HOV system, from the Washington, D.C. line to Dumfries Road, Route 234, to be closed during overnight periods and weekends. Critical work that will occur involves the installation of the Express Lanes’ tolling and traffic management equipment including 3.7 million linear feet of cabling and wire, 30 overhead toll gantries, more than 200 cameras used for detecting traffic incidents, over 220 gates, 190 lane control signals and more than 100 electronic message signs. Altogether, more than 950 tolling and traffic management devices will be deployed along the 95 Express Lanes corridor.

When all of the hardware is in place, crews will have to test it to ensure it works. Crews will also complete final paving and lane markings, as well as install guardrails, sound walls, and make sure all work on bridges is completed.

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Paving Work Scheduduled for Staffordboro Boulevard

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Road crews this weekend will do more paving work on Staffordboro Boulevard to improve the roadway that runs alongside an improved commuter lot just off Garrisonville Road (Va. 610).

Here’s in a press release:

Paving work will detour traffic on Route 684 (Staffordboro Boulevard) in Stafford County this weekend.  

Staffordboro Boulevard will be closed between Woodstream Boulevard and Alice Court from 7 p.m. on Friday, July 11 to until 5 a.m. on Monday, July 14.  

Motorists should follow posted signs along the detour route, which is Woodstream Boulevard to Pike Place to Staffordboro Boulevard.

This paving work is part of a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) project to add nearly 1,000 new commuter parking spaces to the Staffordboro Boulevard Park & Ride lot.  

VDOT is requiring the contractor to enhance several segments of Staffordboro Boulevard with roller-compacted concrete as a base layer, which can withstand heavier vehicle weights.

Construction of the $12.9 million improvement project is on schedule to open by October 31, 2014. 

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Security Increased on PRTC Buses, at Transit Center

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Starting today, drivers on Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) buses will pay closer mind to their surroundings.

The transit agency responsible for transporting commuters from Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park to points in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. on weekdays, has heightened their security.

The higher level of security comes during the Independence Day holiday but is not in response to any specific threat.

Here’s more in a press release:

PRTC will implement heightened security measures on all buses and at the PRTC Transit Center on Thursday, July 3 through Monday, July 7, 2014 based on a special recommendation from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The TSA recommendation is not in response to a specific threat but rather a heightened sense of awareness in Mass Transit, Passenger Rail and overall transportation enterprise. 

What does this mean for our passengers?  You may notice bus operators being especially mindful of the surroundings and of any packages and bags that are on or near the buses.  We ask for your assistance by not leaving any personal belongings unattended at bus stops or on board your bus.  In addition, there will be increased security patrols at the PRTC Transit Center.

If you notice unattended property or see something suspicious, please notify your bus operator, local law enforcement, or call 911.  Remember: If you see something, say something!

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PRTC Will Serve Metro’s New Silver Line in Tysons, Discontinue Service to Orange Line

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PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — You’ll soon be able to catch a bus from Prince William County to Metro’s new Silver Line serving Tysons Corner. With the change, PRTC will no longer serve the Vienna or West Falls Church stations on Metro’s Orange Line.

Here’s more in a statement from the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission:

A big change is coming to the Manassas Metro Direct and Linton Hall Metro Direct routes.

Starting Monday, July 28, 2014, both bus routes will serve the Tysons Corner Metro Station where passengers will be able to connect to Metro’s new Silver Line or to other area bus services. Metro has announced that Silver Line train service will start on Saturday, July 26.

The Manassas Metro Direct and Linton Hall Metro Direct routes will discontinue service to the West Falls Church and Vienna Metro stations after Friday, July 25.

Regional transit agencies are changing most of their routes in the area to take advantage of the new Silver Line stations. At the Tysons Corner Metro Station, PRTC passengers will be able to connect with transit services including MetroBus and Fairfax Connector.

Printed Manassas and Linton Hall Metro Direct schedule brochures and online maps and timetables are being revised and will be available in advance of the move.

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Construction Crews Hit Gas Line at Pr. William Parkway and Va. 28

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MANASSAS, Va. — Construction crews working in the area of Prince William Parkway and Va. 28 struck a gas line.

Police have a ramp from the parkway to Va. 28 closed at this hour and traffic in the area is slowed. There’s no word yet on how long the repair will take.

Prince William police posted the following information:

*TRAFFIC ALERT [UPDATE]: WESTERN PWC — Nokesville Rd southbound will be reduced to one lane in the area of the Prince William Pkwy due to a gas leak. There is no ETA for repairs at this time. Northbound Nokesville Rd was previously closed but will reopen momentarily.

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Fredericksburg Man Dies in I-95 Crash at Dale City

Photo: Mary Davidson

DALE CITY, Va. — A 46-year-old man from Fredericksburg was late Saturday when his car ran off Interstate 95 at Dale City.

Here’s more in a statement from Virginia State Police:

At 10:11 p.m. Saturday (June 22, 2014), Virginia State Police Trooper J.B. Zarkuaskas was called to the scene of a single-vehicle crash in Prince William County.

A 2006 Dodge Caravan was traveling north on I-95. As the van took the Exit 156A ramp, it ran off the right side of the road, struck the ditch, and rode the embankment for approximately 200 feet before overturning onto its roof. Its driver, Bruce L. Dickerson, 46, of Fredericksburg, Va., died at the scene. He was wearing a seat belt.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The exit ramp was closed for approximately 3 hours.

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Drivers Cited in HOV Crackdown

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Police officers on highways in Maryland and Virginia cracked down on HOV violators again this week.

A total of 377 drivers were issued first-time offenses for illegally using express lanes. Seven drivers were issues their second offense and 1 driver nabbed their third one.

The traffic enforcement was conducted during rush hour on Thursday and was called “Capital Region HOV Awareness Day.” It included patrols by Maryland State Police, Virginia State Police, Arlington County Police, Fairfax County Police and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police and Prince William County Police.

HOV violators on Interstates 66, 95, 395, and the Dulles Toll Road in Virginia were targeted. In Maryland,

state police conducted its HOV enforcement efforts on Interstate 270.

Here’s more from Virginia State Police:

In addition, Maryland and Virginia law enforcement cited 12 drivers for speeding and reckless driving. Twenty motorists were cited for driving on a suspended license. Law enforcement issued 16 summonses for inspection violations and 12 summonses for expired registrations. Five seat belt violations were cited, along with four child restraint violations. Forty-two motorists were given warnings

for various violations. Two impaired drivers were charged with DUI.

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Potomac Shores VRE Station Gets Green Light; Improvements to Stafford Stations Coming

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First on PotomacLocal.com 

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — A new Virginia Railway Express station in Prince William County, and improvements to two stations in Stafford County are coming thanks, in part, to a private developer building the Potomac Shores neighborhood near Dumfries. 

Gov. Terry McAuliffe next month is expected to announce the construction of a new VRE station at Potomac Shores, a new 2,000 acre community on the banks of the Potomac River in Prince William County.

The long-awaited commnuter rail station is expected to be a catalyst of growth for the area, one that will attract new residents to homes, as well as workers to new offices and businesses to a future town center that will be erected around the VRE station.

While home construction at Potomac Shores is well underway, the VRE station has been a lynchpin in the development of the property on the Potomac River that last month opened its public golf course designed by golf great Jack Nicklaus.

“The new station will bring things to the peninsula that we need,” said Prince William County Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan. “…It will have a tremendous impact not just for folks who live in the area…they will now be able to get onto the trains and [stop commuting] on Route 1.”

The new station will be funded entirely by California-based developer, SunCal, which is developing Potomac Shores.

The new station won’t be the only VRE improvement funded by the developer. New concrete waiting platforms will be added at the Leeland and Brooke VRE commuter rail stations in Stafford County.

The new platforms, at a combined cost of about $30,100, will be built across from the current station platforms on the opposite of the tracks. They should provide more capacity for waiting passengers and should improve on-time performance throughout VRE’s Fredericksburg line.

The platforms will be paid for, in part, with funds from SunCal and by federal and state funds. As it sits now, SunCal will cover half of the cost of the construction of the new platforms and and public monies from the Rail Enhancement Fund will cover the other half.

An an official announcement Gov. Terry McAuliffe about the extended platforms is expected to be forthcoming and included in the announcement about the new rail station in Prince William County.  Talked about since the early 2000s, construction of the Potomac Shores station — once known as the Cherry Hill station — has long been held up by the recession and the slow-to develop neighborhood.

“The Governor has always been a strong advocate for rail and public transportation that will ease congestion and provide more pathways for families, our workforce, and businesses to connect with communities within and outside the Commonwealth—something especially critical for Northern Virginia,” a McAuliffe spokeswoman said.

The platform extensions along the rail line are just some projects that will receive some $13.1 billion in transportation funding allocated to them over the next six years.

“This will be a much needed improvement that ties in nicely with out parking lot expansions and proposed increased of service,” said Stafford County Aquia District Supervisor Paul Milde.

Milde also has a seat on the VRE Operations Board and says the platform expansions will come at a time when the parking lots at the Brooke and Leeland stations have been expanded, and at a time when VRE is planning to add a new train to the Fredericksburg line to increase capacity on its system, to carry more commuters from the Virginia suburbs to Washington, D.C.

In Northern Virginia, the funding list includes $35 million to complete a environmental study of Interstate 66 from the Capital Beltway to Haymarket — a stretch of highway where the addition of high-occupancy toll lanes are being considered, much like the ones being built now on I-95 in Prince William and Stafford counties.

A total of $50 million will also be spent to design a new interchange at I-66 and Va. 28 in Centreville, just west of Manassas. Other improvement projects in the state’s six-year plan also include the addition of a mile and a half long shoulder lane at the end of the Express Lanes on Interstate 495, just north of Tysons Corner, which will ease congestion by accommodating more vehicles.

Of the money going for transit improvements, McAuliffe’s office noted that funding for a transit center in Arlington, transit funding for the 95 Express Lanes project, and the Potomac Shores VRE station are top priorities.

Construction of the two new platforms in Stafford County is slated to move forward in July 2018 and should open for service two years later.

New station platforms will be added to the Lorton station and Rippon station in Woodbridge and each is slated to open in 2017 and 202o, respectively. These platforms are not apart of the packaged improvements associated with the Potomac Shores VRE station or platform extensions in Stafford County.

When the new Potomac Shores VRE station opens,  Caddigan says it will take more cars off area roads and provide a new commuting option for those living in Prince William County developments such as Southbridge, Brittany, Ashland, and Montclair.

Currently, those who live near Dumfries have the option of driving to VRE stations in Quantico and Woodbridge.

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Stafford Explores Acquiring Abandoned Home on U.S. 1, Demolishing It, Erecting Traffic Light

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — The donation of a home could lead to a better, safer U.S. 1.

Stafford County leaders are expected to learn more this week about a home at 3298 Jefferson Davis Highway in North Stafford. The home on the corner of U.S. 1 and Woodstock Lane is owned by Janet Borden, and the total property is valued at $114,300, according to county documents.

The house sits on the opposite corner of Taylor’s Grocery / Aquia Creek Outfitters.

If donated, the home would be demolished to make way for an improved intersection that would include a signal light at U.S. 1 and Woodstock Lane. This would mean drivers traveling on nearby Telegraph Road who are used to going to the southernmost point of Telegraph Road and turning onto U.S. 1 — an intersection that sits at a dangerous angle — could instead turn onto Woodstock Lane from Telegraph Road, and then turn left onto U.S. 1 south or right onto U.S. 1 north.

It would remove the need for drivers to make a turn at a dangerous intersection where Telegraph Road meets U.S. 1 at the Aquia Crucifix, a monument symbolizing the Brent Colony in Stafford County that encouraged members of all faiths to settle in the area in the 1640s.

“Drivers going south of Telegraph Road are forced to make a left turn on Route 1 at what is an intersection that is at a bad angle, which makes it hard to make a left turn,” said Stafford County Deputy Administrator Keith Dayton.

There is not a signal light at the intersection at the crucifix, and making current traffic conditions worse is ongoing roadwork on a bridge that carries traffic on U.S. 1 over Aquia Creek. Traffic backs up here, especially when drivers on a congested Interstate 95 jump onto U.S. 1 during rush hour.

VDOT is studying just how much a signal light at U.S. 1 and Woodstock Lane would cost as well as how it would be built, said Dayton. The results of the study could be made available in about two weeks.

Improvements will also need to be made to Woodstock Lane. Currently, the narrow road is a difficult one for large vehicles to travel.

“It’s hard for school buses to get down the road because it’s so narrow and it’s almost impossible for big trucks to turn onto it,” said Dayton.

The house at 3298 Jefferson Davis Highway is not occupied at this time and is uninhabitable, according to county documents. Stafford would pay all closing costs for the sale as well as cover the $10,000 cost of demolishing the house.

*This story has been corrected.

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VRE Offering Rides to D.C.’s July 4 Fireworks Show

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WOODBRIDGE, Va. — It’s been 10 years since a Virginia Railway Express train rolled on the 4th of July.

This year, VRE trains will once again bring passengers from Virginia to Washington’s Union Station so they can attend the National Mall Independence Day Celebration, which offers the area’s most spectacular fireworks show, or A Capitol Fourth concert to be held on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

“We hadn’t done it in 10 years so we said ‘let’s give it a try again,’” said VRE spokesman Bryan Jungwirth.

Two “Firecracker Special” trains will run this Independence Day – one on the Fredericksburg line and the Manassas line, leaving the Leeland Road station in Stafford County at 3:45 p.m., and the Manassas Park station at 4:45 p.m., respectively.

The Fredericksburg line train will serve several stations along the line to include Leland Road, Brooke, Quantico, Woodbridge, and Lorton, and the Manassas line train will serve the Manassas Park, Burke Centre, and Backlick Road stations.

Both trains will drop off passengers at Union Station – the Fredericksburg train at 5:34 p.m. and the Manassas train at 5:58 p.m. It’s a about a 20 minute walk from Union Station to the National Mall where the Independence Day festivities are held.

Fireworks begin at 9:10 p.m. and last for a full 17 minutes. They’re launched from the base of the Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln and World War II memorials and the Washington Monument.

After the show, VRE passengers will need to head back to Union Station to catch their trains. The Fredericksburg train leaves at 10:45 p.m. and the Manassas train at 11 o’clock.

There’s a total of 1,000 tickets on sale for each train. Each round-trip ticket cost $10 and can be purchased online.

A total of 392 tickets for the Fredericksburg train and 142 tickets on the Manassas train had been purchased as of Thursday afternoon. The trains will still run as scheduled even if the tickets do not sell out.

“We might run less cars on the trains if the tickets don’t sell out but the trains will run,” said Jungwirth.

The Firecracker Special is one of three special events VRE will operate trains for this year. The railroad ran a special train at the Manassas Heritage Railroad Festival earlier this month, and it’ll run another special train for Clifton Day in October.

VRE hopes that some people who normally cannot ride the train to work are able to take a ride on the Firecracker Special.

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Boswells Corner Road Work Ramps Up, Residents say Flooding at Homes Persists

A rendering of what Boswell's Corner in North Stafford could look like as the area continues to grow.

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — A new bridge on Telegraph Road means drivers can get to work faster, and it has also led to more flooding at homes along the two-lane road.

Each time it rains, homeowners say water rushes into yards located next to a new bridge that carries drivers on Telegraph Road in North Stafford’s Boswell’s Corner from U.S. 1 to the large Russell-Knox Building on Quantico Marine Corps Base. The reconstructed bridge opened in March after being closed for nine months. It was rebuilt to accommodate new high occupancy toll lanes on Interstate 95 that runs beneath it.

“Under my house is horrible,” said Ola Jackson, 63, whose lived in the house all her life.

Water not only runs into Jackson’s yard but also up to and underneath her house where it pools. She’s had to drill holes into the bottom of her home to release the water, and a portion of the floor insider her home is wet.

“We’re trying to let it dry out so we can repair it,” said Jackson.

Kimberly Wood and her husband live near Jackson and bought their home on Telegraph Road five years ago. She’s says the neighborhood is quiet and that the young couple has put a lot of work into their home, so they don’t want to leave. They just want the mud problem to go away.

“There’s like a river the back yard – it’s pretty bad,” said Wood.

State transportation officials told Jackson and Wood last week they would look into who is responsible for the flooding, which could ultimately lead to a fix. Those same officials were also showing plans for new work that is about to begin on U.S. 1 near the new bridge, where some turn lanes will be created, extended, and some lanes widened to accommodate more traffic in the area.

Construction crews next month will begin taking all or part of seven parcels of land located on the east side of U.S. 1 at Telegraph Road, near the busy Quantico Corporate Center which is home to several businesses and a science and technology research park. A right turn lane from U.S. 1 north to Telegraph Road will be extended. A left turn lane from U.S. 1 south onto Telegraph Road will be widened, and that means the travel lanes of U.S. 1 north must be widened to accommodate the new lane widths.

A new turn lane from Telegraph Road to U.S. 1 south will also be added, improving the two-lane route drivers use to get on and off the military base.

The construction should be complete by September. It is not apart of a larger study that ultimately calls for widening U.S. 1 from four to six lanes from Telegraph Road to Joplin Road in Prince William County.

News
PRTC Redesigns Website, Integrates Google Transit

Many riders begin and end their commutes, or transfer to other PRTC buses at the agency’s Transit Center in Woodbridge.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — A newly redesigned website and Google should help bus riders better plan their trip.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission that operates OmniLink local bus service and OmniRide commuter bus service has implemented Google Transit information on its newly redesigned website. The information allows users to log onto Google, plug in their destination, and find out which is the fastest route to take by way of public transportation.

The Google integration appears on the agency’s new website, and Google transit data also includes information from other area transit companies like Metro and Fairfax Connector bus service.

“Having PRTC bus information included on Google Transit is a useful tool for both seasoned and occasional riders,” said PRTC Executive Director Alfred Harf in a press release. “By making transit services more comprehensible, Google Transit becomes a catalyst for convincing those who don’t regularly use public transportation to give it a try.”

There is also a new trip planner feature on PRTC’s website, under the rider tools section, that allows users to search for bus stops as well as routes. This is the first time the website has been updated since 2008, and it comes on the heels of a new RiderExpress email notification service that was updated late last year.

While the online trip planner is available online all day, every day, PRTC has customer service agents available for questions from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling 703-730-6664.

News
Plans Ready for U.S. 1 Improvements at Quantico Corporate Center

082711 boswells corner lights out

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — The Quantico Corporate Center on U.S 1 in North Stafford’s Boswell’s Corner is growing.

Now home to a group of technology firms, government contractors, and the new Stafford Research and Technology Park, the influx of people the center draws has prompted new transportation improvements for the four-lane highway on which it sits.

Tonight, federal and state transportation officials will present plans for improving the Boswell’s Corner area, where U.S. 1 meets Telegraph Road, which also serves as an entrance to Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Officials say they work to improve the following areas:

  • Design turning lane improvements based on the government provided conceptual plan;
  • Construct an eastbound Telegraph Road to southbound Rte 1 turning lane, on Telegraph Road West of U.S. Rte 1;
  • Lengthen the U.S. Rte 1 northbound left turn lane;
  • Provide connections to all driveways connecting to U.S. Route 1 and maintain access during construction.

Tonight’s public meeting is advertised as an open forum exchange between project officials and those who will work to improve the intersection. It will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. at University of Maryland University College at Quantico Corporate Center, 525 Corporate Drive in Stafford.

Project officials have placed documents online for review.

News
‘MyLink’ Teen Summer Bus Pass On Sale, Offers Discounts at Area Attractions

New OmniLink buses that serve Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. The buses have a new look more aligned with the overall color scheme for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission. [Submitted photo]

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Teens can rely on OmniLink once again this summer to get around town.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation is now selling its MyLink pass for teens, formerly known as the teen summer bus pass. The $30 pass is good for unlimited rides on OmniLink local buses that service Dale City, Dumfries, Lake Ridge, Quantico, Woodbridge, Manassas, and Manassas Park, as well as the Cross-County Connector bus that runs between Manassas and Woodbridge.

The transit agency released a statement on where to get the MyLink pass which will be sold through August 1. The pass is valid through August 30 and also comes with several discounts on area entertainment.

Here’s more in a statement from PRTC:

Teens ages 13-19 may use MyLink on OmniLink and Cross County Connector buses between Monday, June 2 and Saturday, August 30, 2014.  The pass costs $30, and in return teens get an unlimited number of local bus rides for the entire summer!  With the cost of a regular one-way bus ride currently at $1.30, a teen who takes at least 12 round-trips during the summer will save money by riding with a MyLink pass.  Passes will be sold at multiple locations from June 2 – August 1, 2014.

Getting three months of unlimited bus rides for $30 is a bargain, but teens can save even more when they showing their MyLink pass at these attractions:

— Potomac Nationals, Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge –$1 off general admission at Friday home games;
— Prince William Ice Center, 5180 Dale Boulevard, Woodbridge –$2 off public skate entry;
— Bowl America, 13409 Occoquan Road, Woodbridge and 9000 Mathis Avenue, Manassas – one free game per visit, per day;
— Manassas 4 Cinemas, 8890 Mathis Avenue, Manassas – $1 off admission on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays;
— Stonewall Pool, 8531 Stonewall Road, Manassas – $1 off admission.

With MyLink, teens won’t need to borrow the family car or beg for gas money to get around town.  MyLink enables teens to have a safe, reliable ride to get to summer jobs, shopping centers, recreation centers, libraries and lots of other places where they want to go.

For the convenience of teens and their parents, passes will be sold June 2 – August 1 at:

— The PRTC Transit Center, at the intersection of Potomac Mills Road and Telegraph Road in Woodbridge, Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
— Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Thursday 5 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday 5 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
— Sharron Baucom – Dale City Recreation Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Friday 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
— Ben Lomond Community Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
— Manassas City Hall Treasurer’s Office (cash only), Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
— Manassas Park City Hall Treasurer’s Office (cash only), Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and 3-5 p.m.

Teens who have a photo ID should bring it with them when purchasing a MyLink pass because a sticker will be applied to the front of their ID.  Teens who don’t have a photo ID will be given a MyLink card with a sticker.  Teens simply show their ID or MyLink card to the bus operator each time they board.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, PRTC, provides transportation services in Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.  OmniLink local buses serve routes in Manassas and Manassas Park on Mondays through Fridays and serve routes in Dale City, Dumfries, Lake Ridge, Quantico, the Route 1 Corridor and Woodbridge on Mondays through Saturdays.  The Cross County Connector operates Mondays through Fridays and connects eastern Prince William County with the Manassas area.

MyLink is one of three PRTC programs designed to educate youth about public transportation.  PRTC also offers a preschool and elementary program focusing on bus safety, and a middle school program that shows how public transportation helps to preserve our environment and natural resources.

For more information about MyLink or any of PRTC’s transportation services, contact Customer Service at (703) 730-6664 or visit PRTCtransit.org. 

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