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Traffic & Transit

$2 Million Insurance Deal Clears Way for Featherstone Refuge Access

A new plan in the works would allow pedestrian access to Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge via a walkway at the Rippon Virginia Railway Express station in Woodbridge. (Photo: Gary Myers)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Visitors to Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge will soon be able to use an elevator to get there.

A new agreement between Virginia Railway Express and Prince William County will ultimately permit visitors access to the secluded refuge on the Potomac River from a pedestrian platform at the Rippon VRE station. Visitors will be able to use an elevator to access the platform and then go over to the refuge, including weekends when the commuter rail station is not in use, according details of the new deal.

The deal states Prince William County will provide $2 million in insurance coverage that will help cover claims made by those using the station while not in use.

“We are elated and are looking forward to taking the steps necessary, and working with the right people to build the steps and ramps needed to provide access to the property,” said Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi.

The refuge will likely remain closed to pedestrians until spring. That’s when a new walkway and steps are expected to be built which will provide pedestrians smooth access from the station to the refuge. Principi said a land developer working to build new homes nearby has agreed to cover the cost of a new ramp and stairs.

The $2 million in funds from Prince William County is in addition to funds set aside by the commuter railroad in an insurance trust fund to cover the liability costs of non-commuter related accidents. VRE wanted to additional funds to they wouldn’t have to immediately dip into the funds to cover liability cost borne by those visiting the refuge.

The Featherstone refuge opened to the public last year but the only way to access the property has been by non-motorized boat. Pedestrians have been barred from accessing the property because they must park at, and then pass through the commuter rail station, and then cross railroad tracks owned by CSX.

Track owner CSX will also have to approve of the new deal, officials said.

I-95 to Dulles Plan Includes HOV Lanes

Shak Hill, of Centreville, (right) reviews plans for a new highway that would connect Interstate 95 with Dulles International Airport. [Uriah Kiser/PotomacLocal.com]

By URIAH KISER

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Option one: Build a road. Option two: Build a road with toll lanes and dedicated routes for transit buses.

Virginia Transportation officials showed plans for the North – South Corridor – a swath of land between Interstate 95 to Dulles International Airport that has been identified for a new road that resembles an outer beltway to link the outer suburbs with the state’s busiest airport.

The identified route runs along the existing Va. 234 corridor between I-95 and I-66 in Prince William County. Plans include widening portions of the roadway and adding High Occupancy Vehicle and toll lanes. From I-66, planners want to build what is known as the Tri-County Parkway which will traverse Prince William and Loudoun Counties (a plan that once had the roadway also running through Fairfax County was scrapped) to connect with U.S. 50., and then expanding Northstar Boulevard in Loudoun County to a connector road that will take drivers into Dulles Airport.

Residents who came to Wednesday night’s public meeting were presented with two design alternatives.

The first is to simply construct a roadway that could ultimately connect I-95 with Dulles Airport and Va. 7 in Loudoun County. Under alternative two, the roadway would still be built along the same corridor but it would also include High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes and High Occupancy Toll lanes – similar to what recently opened on the Capital Beltway. It would also include expanded bus service between Dale City and Metro’s new Silver line being built from Tysons to Dulles.

The plans are in their infancy and there’s no estimate as to what the new transportation facility would cost, or when construction would begin, officials said.

Reaction to the plans among residents is mixed. Some are tired of sitting in traffic on Va. 28 – currently the most direct route to Dulles from Prince William County – but others said the new road would only open new land to developers.

“Is this a transportation solution? If so, what’s the problem?” asked Harry Lasko, of Manassas. “This is just another way to offer up land to developers who will build and create more of a traffic problem.”

Eileen Kennedy is a Realtor who spends her time commuting from Haymarket to Loudoun County on Va. 28. She supports any solution that would allow her to get out of traffic congestion.

“I spend a lot of time seeing clients, and the bulk of my commuting is done around Dulles. From an economic standpoint, and from a commuter point of view, this would move us forward,” said Kennedy.

Others supported the idea for the road but do no not like plans to add HOV or toll lanes.

“The government should not be able to restrict who can and who can’t use a road. Taxpayer money is used to build the road so everyone should be able to use it,” said Shak Hill, of Centreville.

The North-South Corridor was identified by Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell as one of 12 transportation priority corridors in the state. Officials will accept public comments on the proposals through Jan. 4.

SUV vs. Train Snarls Traffic in Gainesville

A train collided with an SUV on Wednesday night in Gainesville snarling traffic for hours. No one was injured. [Uriah Kiser/PotomacLocal.com]

GAINESVILLE, Va. – What a mess for commuters on Wednesday night. An SUV that was sitting at a railroad crossing on U.S. 29 in Gainesville was hit by a train about 7 p.m.

The train damaged the front of the SUV  but the female driver inside was not injured, according to a Prince William police official on the scene.

Police closed a portion of U.S. 29 from Va. 55 at the Virginia Gateway Shopping to Heathcoate Boulevard. Virginia State Police also blocked exit ramps from Interstate 66 to prevent traffic exiting the highway from entering southbound U.S. 29 at the scene of the crash.

Needless to say traffic was snarled in Gainesville as police conducted their investigation.

About 8:30 p.m., railroad officials allowed the train to move. That ultimately allowed them to clear the SUV from the scene and to get traffic flowing again.

This is the third vehicle vs. train collision at this intersection in about a year. Highway improvements underway in this area will see the construction of an overpass that will carry drivers above the railway to prevent these types of at-grade collisions. With improvements already made to the I-66 / U.S. 29 interchange nearby, the overall $97 million improvement project should be complete in 2015.

U.S. 29 is expected to carry 57,000 vehicles per day through Gainesville by 2035, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Emergency Road Work on Joplin Rd. at Quantico

4:30 p.m.

Crews are working to repair guardrails along Joplin Road. Traffic will be shifted to one side of the roadway as the repairs are made, according to transportation officials.

3:40 p.m. 

QUANTICO, Va. – Emergency road work will be conducted this afternoon at Joplin Road at Interstate 95.

It’s unclear what prompted the work, but officials with the Virginia Megaprojects office said the work will occur east of the highway. Two-way traffic will run as normal on Joplin Road on the west side of I-95.

This is the same area in which crews have been pile driving for a new bridge that will be a part of the I-95 Express Lanes project. That effort will extend HOV lanes form Dumfries to North Stafford, and when they’re open will allow carpoolers to ride free and single drivers the option to pay a toll to escape congestion on the main lanes of I-95.

The area is heavily traveled as the main gate to Quantico Marine Corps Base is located at Joplin Road and U.S. 1.

Also, a nearby work zone at the back gate of Quantico has been suspended for the holidays.

More in a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

DOT is lifting a work zone lane closure on Interstate 95 southbound near mile marker 147, just south of Exit 148 at Quantico Marine Corps Base.

The right lane has been closed each weekday from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. since Monday, Dec. 10. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is repairing the slope of the roadway over approximately 200 yards.

Work on the project is temporarily suspending due to the year-end holidays. Work will resume on the project on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013.

This work zone is not related to the I-95 Express Lanes Project.

Highway an Attempt to Crack Open Rural Crescent, Opponents Say

Va. 610 at I-95 in North Stafford. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – The future of travel to Dulles International Airport will be on display Wednesday night in Manassas.

Virginia transportation officials identified the corridor where a new North-South highway could be built. The area identified was once home to the much talked about Tri-County Parkway that was to link Prince William and Loudoun counties.

Residents will get to see the plans at a series of two public information sessions – one beginning tonight at 6:30 at Stonebridge High School, 43100 Hay Road in Ashburn, and one tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. at Four Points Sheraton, 10800 Vandor Lane in Manassas.

Officials deemed the 45-mile corridor one of 12 priority project corridors in the state. This North-South corridor is located east and west of Va. 234/Prince William Parkway, and in the area of the Tri-County Parkway between Interstate 95 and U.S. 50. Connections to the Dulles Greenway and Va. 7 have also been identified as part of the corridor, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Expected population growth, shifts in employment centers, and the need for new transit options to  Dulles Airport are just some of the reasons why transportation officials say a new road is needed. At the meetings, residents will be able to give their input on two alternatives being considered for the corridor, according to a press release:

Alternative 1 would improve access to Dulles Airport, link several planned roadway improvements within the North-South Corridor; and expand bicycle and pedestrian trails throughout the corridor.

Alternative 2 would add high occupancy vehicle and high occupancy toll (HOV/HOT) lanes and high-frequency transit from I-95 to Dulles Airport. Carpools with three or more persons would ride free; others would pay a toll during peak periods. Alternative 2 also includes bicycle and pedestrian improvements in the corridor.

And those interested in having a say on this project had better act fast, as comments on the corridor will only be accepted through January 2. They can be emailed or mailed to addresses listed on Virginia’s Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment website.

Opponents of a new north-south highway in the corridor said the meeting was poorly timed during the holiday season, and that the proposed highway does nothing to allieviate traffic on congested Interstate 66.

More from Your Piece of the Planet:

The North-South Corridor is designed to crack open the Rural Area in Prince William, the Transition Area in Loudoun, and the agricultural reserve in Montgomery County across the Potomac River.

Instead of investing scarce funds in expanding the capacity of VRE or existing roads to speed up commuter traffic headed towards DC, VDOT’s priority is… to help trucks get from Dulles Airport to I-81, leaving commuter fixes unfunded. Is that the #1 traffic problem to solve in Northern Virginia?

The Rural Crescent is an area of land in Prince William County that extends from Independent Hill, around Gainesville, to the Manassas Battlefield. Protected by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors in 1998, the idea behind keeping the land open was to reduce suburban sprawl in the area.

Pile Driving Underway at Quantico

Work is underway on the Interstate 95 Express Lanes Project. [Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com]

QUANTICO, Va. – Pile driving work has begun near the Quantico Marine Corps Base as part of the Interstate 95 Express Lanes Project.

The work is underway near Joplin Road (Exit 150) on I-95. Transportation officials said the pile driving work will support the foundation of a new bridge that will run over Joplin Road.

Overall, the new Express Lanes are expected to open in 2015, and they will connect North Stafford with existing HOV lanes in Prince William and Fairfax counties. The new lanes will provide a seamless connection with express toll lanes which opened last month on the Capital Beltway between Springfield and Dulles Toll Road.

When they open, single drivers must have an E-Z Pass or E-Z Pass Flex and will be charged to use the lanes. Carpoolers or vehicles with three or more occupants must have an E-Z Pass Flex to use the lanes for free.

More about the construction in a press release from Virginia Megaprojects office:

Pile driving will take place Monday through Saturday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Daytime lane closures will be in place on Joplin Road to allow for this work. Motorists should expect delays in this area. Due to the holiday, closures are suspended Dec. 24 and 25, and until noon on the 26th. Review the Joplin Road Pile Driving Fact Sheet.

Extending 29 miles from Edsall Road (Rt. 648) to Garrisonville Road (Rt. 610), the 95 Express Lanes will provide new choices, added capacity and improve the performance of the existing HOV system. The Project is scheduled for completion in early 2015. 

Work to repair a slope along I-95 at Quantico is also underway. This work is not apart of the I-95 Express Lanes Project.

The right lane of I-95 south will continue to close during daytime hours near mile marker 147, just south of the Quantico Marine Corps Base. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is repairing the slope of the roadway for approximately 200 yards. This work began Monday, Dec. 10 and will continued through Thursday, Dec. 20 each weekday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Motorists may encounter minor traffic delays as they approach the work zone.

Reversible Lane Could Ease Va. 28 Woes

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

MANASSAS PARK, Va. – Drivers who use Va. 28 in Manassas Park and Prince William County could soon see a reversible lane to help ease traffic congestion.

The $4.8 million project would see the addition of a new lane from Manassas Drive to the Bull Run River at the Fairfax County line. The lane would carry drivers headed north from Prince William into Fairfax County in the mornings and south back into Prince William and Manassas Park in the evenings.

READ MORE in ManassasLocal.com

 

 

Expect Overnight I-95 Closure

Three lanes of Interstate 95 south will close overnight as part of the 95 Express Lanes Project.

More now in a press release:

Saturday morning, December 15, between 3 and 4 a.m., the Virginia Department of Transportation will close three left lanes of I-95 south at Exit 166, Fairfax County Parkway (Route 286) with a total temporary full road closure of up to 30 minutes to allow crews to move a crane to a new position across the interstate. Motorist should be aware the HOV facility will be closed overnight as well.

While the thirty-minute closure will occur at the low traffic volume hour’s motorists may find delays in the closure area.

This work is a part of the 95 Express Lanes Project that is scheduled for completion in early 2015.

Harrell Road Reopen in Stafford

(Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

UPDATE

Harrell Road was reopened after repairs were reportedly made to a broken gate at a water crossing there.

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – A broken grate has forced the closure of a road in Stafford County.

More in a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

Route 623 (Harrell Road) in Stafford County is closed to through traffic at Claiborne Run until further notice.

A broken grate at the water crossing has damaged the roadway, necessitating repairs.

Harrell Road is located between Forbes Street (Route 627) and Deacon Road (Route 607).

Motorists are encouraged to use the most convenient alternate route.

Real-time listings of travel times, work zones, and traffic incidents in Virginia are available on VDOT’s 24-hour traffic information website, 511Virginia.org. Motorists can also access 511Virginia by calling 511 from any telephone in Virginia.

Transportation officials did not say when repairs are expected to be completed.

Harrell Road is often flooded out during large rainstorms.

Daytime Lane Closure on I-95

By KJ MUSHUNG

QUANTICO, Va. – The right lane of Interstate 95 southbound will close during daytime hours near mile marker 147, just south of Exit 148 at the Marine Corps Base Quantico.

“This work is regular maintenance of the interstate, and is not connected to the I-95 HOT Lanes project underway in the same area,” said VDOT spokesperson Kelly Hannon.

Beginning Monday, Dec. 10 through Friday, Dec. 14, the right lane will be closed each day from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Virginia Department of Transportation is repairing the slope of the roadway over approximately 200 yards.

Motorists may encounter minor traffic delays as they approach the work zone.

“Erosion was noticed along the outer edge of the right shoulder of I-95 near mile marker 147. The erosion at this time is occurring only near the shoulder, but due to concern that the erosion could eventually spread to the area of the general travel lanes undermining the pavement, this repair was scheduled for next week. The right lane is needed for equipment staging involved in the repair,” reported Hannon.

Real-time listings of work zones and road conditions in Virginia are available on VDOT’s 24-hour traffic information website, 511Virginia.org. Motorists can also access 511Virginia by dialing 511 from any telephone in Virginia.

PRTC Tries Again with Western Bus Facility

PRTC training supervisor Delwyn Harvey, on left, goes over a safety check for one of the buses with prospective operators. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – It’s a game of back and forth between the federal government and a local transit agency when it comes to building a new $4.8 million bus maintenance facility.

Last night, officials at the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission agreed to have land for a new Westerly Bus Maintenance facility near Manassas re-assessed at the direction of the federal government.

PRTC says the planned facility is crucial to their operation, and the re-assessment process should be complete in January.

The facility is planned for Doane Drive near Intestate 66 and Prince William Parkway in Manassas, and it will help to alleviate overcrowding at the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission headquarters in Woodbridge. The Woodbridge facility houses a mix 140 OmniRide commuter and OmniLink local buses when not in use, but the facility is only designed to accommodate 100 buses. It’s also home to all PRTC staff and contracted employees who operate and maintain the fleet, so the need for a new facility is great.

Earlier this year, PRTC had the Manassas area property for the Westerly Facilityappraised at $4.78 million. Before PRTC takes ownership of the property, it’s in need of road and storm water runoff upgrades — improvements that are under contract to be performed by the current owner of the property before it’s turned over to PRTC.

The new facility is crucial to PRTC’s operation and its construction has been talked about for years. Excited about the appraisal and eager to move forward, PRTC took their $4.8 million assessment to the Federal Transit Administration – the agency that will cough up about $3.8 million for the new facility, leaving the remaining 20 percent to be paid for by state and local matching funds.

But as the transit agency learned it was far from a done deal.

“The Federal Transit Administration balked because the improvements are not yet done,” said PRTC Director Alfred Harf.

PRTC was told to wait until the improvements to the property were complete and then have the land re-appraised, or have the land valued without the upgrades.

Since then, the road upgrades have been completed and now all that’s left are the storm water improvements. The agency plans to have the land re-assesed at a lower rate and then take the new number to the federal government. But PRTC still plans to pay the original assessed price, as Harf says it’s a value to be able to have the storm water upgrades completed for less money by the current owner than having the transit agency do the work.

Another added value says Harf — the seller is completing the improvements to PRTC’s specific designs. Those deigns have prolonged the project but, overall, the effort is not behind schedule.

“If there’s been a delay, there’s been a delay of having submitted an appraisal that we thought would win FTA’s approval only to find out they had a different notion about this, and we have to go back out and do an appraisal a second time,” said Harf.

Also last night, officials moved to give an additional $41,100 for preliminary engineering work for the Westerly Facility property to contractor Kimley-Horn, making for a total contract of $590,000 to complete the work. According to a PRTC document, Kimley-Horn was originally awarded a $499,000 contract with about a $50,000 contingency fund. But “changed conditions” and “additional work efforts” will require additional funding, the document states.

When complete, the new facility will expand PRTC’s bus storage capacity and allow the transit agency to dispatch buses that serve stops in western Prince William County and Greater Manassas from the new facility. This will cut down on the agency’s “dead head” time where buses are driven across the Prince William County with no passengers on board.

PRTC’s OmniRide buses carry commuters from Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park to destinations in Arlington and Washington, D.C. OmniLink buses serve local stops in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

 

Wilson Bridge will be Raised Several Times Overnight

The drawbridge that links Maryland and Virginia is going up overnight.

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge will raise several times overnight as part of what transportation officials say is planned maintenance on the bridge.

The first raising of the bridge begins at 10 p.m.

Here’s more in a statement from transportation officials.

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge will be conducting monthly maintenance openings on Thursday December 6th & 7th. The first opening is at 10:00 pm on Thursday night December 6th. The openings are scheduled to run through Friday morning December 7th until 2:00 am. The bridge will be in the upright position at multiple points during the night for maintenance; traffic will not be able to cross the bridge when the bridge is in the upright position.

 

Officials to Request $5 Million for Stadium Parking Garage

Scott Rogers, a Potomac Nationals fan, lives across the street from where the new stadium will be built. He adjusted a display of a the new stadium to make it easier to see in the sunlight. (Uriah Kiser/PotomacLocal.com)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – While a new Potomac Nationals stadium may not be official – leaders in Prince William County are moving ahead with plans to build a parking garage for the planned structure.

A request for $5 million from Virginia’s Transportation Partnership Opportunity Fund is expected to be approved today by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. With this money, construction of a 1,250-space parking garage could begin, and those spaces would serve shoppers at Potomac Town Center at Stonebridge – home to Wegmans grocery store — Potomac Nationals game time fans, and commuters who would park during the day and leave before games begin, officials said.

When the project was announced earlier this year, Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton said the state would fund a portion of the construction costs because the garage would benefit commuters. In total, the project costs amount to $15 million, according to county documents. 

No deal between Prince William County’s minor league baseball team and county officials has been announced, but Potomac Nationals owner Art Silber earlier this year said he is ready to “write a check” and move forward with plans to build a new 6,000-seat stadium complete with restaurants and other amenities found at newer ballparks – a far cry from their current home at Pfitzner Stadium off Prince William Parkway Woodbridge.

A big part of the puzzle for who a new stadium is how it would affect traffic in the area where it will be built – specifically along Optiz Boulevard and Neabsco Mills Road, between Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center and a Wegman’s grocery store. This is a mixed-use area with retail shopping, residential homes, and it’s frequented by emergency vehicles traveling in and out of the hospital here.

The developer of the Stonebridge property, Roadside Development, and state transportation officials are working on a traffic impact analysis study that would show just how many cars the new stadium would bring the roads.

During a public meeting earlier this year, team owner Silber told concerned residents he does his part to help alleviate traffic congestion by scheduling games around rush-hour traffic, with start times at 7 p.m. weekdays and at 2 p.m. on weekends.

The segment of Prince William Parkway between Hoadly and Old Bridge roads – the segment that carries traffic to Pfitzner Stadium – carried 48,000 vehicles a day in 2011, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

OmniRide Bus Stop Signs Replaced in D.C., Arlington

NEWS FROM COMMUNITY SPONSOR PRTC

Have you noticed a change at your bus stop in Washington, D.C. or Arlington? All Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission bus stop signs in those areas were replaced this spring.

The new signs are the result of a partnership with Metro to create unified bus stop signage within the service area. In an effort to keep all of the local bus service signs consistent, a simple flag-style design was used.

Due to the limited space on the signs, PRTC route names were abbreviated using the trip designation system for each route. These designations, such as “D100″ for Dale City-Washington, correspond to the trip designations on OmniRide schedules.

For the first time, PRTC drop-off stops as well as pick-up stops are now outfitted with signs.

Dump Truck Spills Dirt onto Highway

TRIANGLE, Va. – Virginia highway crews are on the scene of an overturned dump truck.

Virginia Megaprojects reports the truck overturned at mile post 148 on Interstate 95, near the back entrance to Quantico Marine Corps Base. Dirt was spilled in the left lane but no one was injured.

Crews state the mess should be cleaned up just before 4 p.m.

Traffic has not been severely impacted by this, according to Virginia 511.

 

New Transit Buses Arrive

Dozens of OmniRide busses are lined up ready to go out on the afternoon runs at PRTC in Woodbridge.

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Bus commuters in Prince William County will now have new seats on 13 new buses.

Providers of OmniRide and OmniLink, the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission said the new buses have been delivered to their headquarters in Woodbridge. They will not be used to increase service, but to replace older buses that are rapidly aging.

PRTC Director Alfred Harf said PRTC had one of the oldest bus fleets in Virginia 20 years ago, but now it has one of the newest and youngest thanks to state funding and federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

More in a press release:

Each of the new Gillig brand buses is 40-feet long with a seating capacity of 43, featuring low floors for easier boarding and disembarking. They will be used for commuter bus services.

The buses were purchased through the USDOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program, which is part of the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In May 2009, the USDOT announced that it had $1.5 billion in discretionary TIGER funding and would accept applications for projects that promised a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area or a region. In late 2009, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) applied for $266 million for multiple projects in the region including $10 million for PRTC projects. In February 2010, the TPB was informed that its application was partially approved and that 100% of the PRTC proposals would be funded.

More than half of PRTC’s funding, $5.7 million, was used to purchase the 13 buses. With the remaining funds, PRTC has purchased security cameras for 15 commuter buses and a Computer Aided Dispatch / Automated Vehicle Locator (CAD/AVL) system for the entire bus fleet. The CAD/AVL system, which will allow passengers to receive real-time bus information, is expected to be complete in 2014.

PRTC contracts with Ohio-based First Transit, Inc. to operate and maintain their bus fleet.

 

VRE’s Prancer Express Leaving Later

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Do you hold a ticket for the Prancer Express? It’s leaving the station later than some might think.

Virginia Railway Express has corrected the departure time for the holiday express train – one of several Santa Trains the agency will run on Saturday Dec. 8. The train will leave the Woodbridge station at 10:30 a.m., not 9:30 a.m. as was originally posted online.

The Prancer Express is the only Santa Train scheduled to leave the Woodbridge station Dec. 8.

VRE officials said the tickets have the correct departure time printed on them, and the time schedules have been corrected online.

The annual Santa Trains are a popular holiday staple for children and families in our area, and tickets sell out fast. When they went on sale Monday, more than 3,000 tickets for all 11 Santa Trains sold out in just minutes.

Santa Trains will leave the Leeland Road and Woodbridge stations on the Fredericksburg line, and the Manassas and Burke Center stations on the Manassas line.

The Santa Trains are used to help promote rail safety and Operation Lifesaver.

*This story has been corrected. 

 

13 Die, Thousands Cited on Roads over Thanksgiving

Photo: Mary Davidson

It was a deadly weekend on the roads this Thanksgiving holiday in Virginia where 12 people lost their lives.

State police were out in force Wednesday through Sunday night during the holiday weekend. The number of fatalities rose slightly from the same time in 2011 when 11 people were killed on state roads.

Two of the fatal crashes occurred in Prince William and Stafford counties, and three crashes statewide – including the incident in Stafford – involved pedestrian deaths.

More in a press release from Virginia State Police:

Of the 13 individuals killed in holiday traffic crashes statewide, three were pedestrians, one was a motorcyclist, and one crash involved a double fatality. The victims ranged in age from 17 years to 71 years old. Alcohol was a factor in at least three of the crashes. Five of the fatalities involved individuals who were not wearing a seatbelt which included four drivers and one passenger. Except for one Maryland resident and one Pennsylvania resident, all those killed in the holiday traffic crashes were from Virginia.

The pedestrian fatalities occurred in the counties of Chesterfield, Loudoun and Stafford. The fatal motorcycle crash took place in Fauquier County. The double fatality in Fairfax County on Interstate 66 was the only one to occur on an interstate during the holiday weekend. Of the seven remaining crashes, one occurred in the City of Richmond; and the counties of Brunswick, Buckingham, Franklin, Louisa, Southampton and Prince William.

During the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Virginia State Police cited 9,976 for speeding; 3,099 for reckless driving; 115 for driving under the influence; 832 individuals for failing to wear a seat belt, and 280 for not using child restraints.

Orange Cones to Sprout in Dumfries

DUMFRIES, Va. – Improvements are coming to U.S. 1 and Va. 234 in Dumfries.

Crews will soon begin re-aligning a right turn lane that carries drivers from Va. 234 to U.S. 1 south. The improvements will also come with some changes to traffic signals in the area, said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jennifer McCord.

Construction is expected to cost $380,000 and is scheduled to be completed in June.

 

Crash Closes Portion of I-95 North

2:30 p.m. 

All lanes of I-95 north have reopened. More from Virginia State Police:

Call came in at 12:59 p.m. Northbound I-95 at the 149 mile marker. Two-vehicle crash. No serious injuries. All lanes opened at 1:47 p.m.

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – A crash has closed a portion of Interstate 95 north at the Stafford / Prince William County line.

Two cars are involved in the crash, and delays back up for more than three miles, according to state transportation officials.

More as we have it.

 

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