Traffic & Transit
Business leaders in Manassas got another earful from elected leaders on just how bad the state of transportation is in our area.
The region’s top leaders said the Bi-County Parkway, and improvements to Va. 28 which links Manassas and Manassas Park to Fairfax County, must happen if Prince William County is going to continue to attract jobs and investment.
Together, Prince William and neighboring Loudoun County have 800,000 residents. A planned Bi-County Parkway that would link Interstate 95 with Dulles Airport would bridge the two counties.
“Take a look at a map of the Battle of Manassas in 1861, and you know what you are going to find? The road network is the same as it is today,” said Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart.
Stewart, an outspoken supporter of the parkway, said those who oppose it should not be allowed to hold up progress on a road that would link Prince William and Manassas with job centers around Dulles Airport.
“Anyone who is in the way of a highway is going to be opposed to it, I understand that and I feel for them. But you cannot hold back the prosperity of this community going forward because of some opposition,” said Stewart.
The highway has been opposed by residents who live in and near Manassas Battlefield National Park, as the road could be routed through a portion of the park. Several Republicans in Richmond have also voiced opposition to the highway.
The Manassas City Council has not voiced its support for the Bi-County Parkway, but instead has identified improvements to Va. 28 between the city and the Fairfax County line as critical. A hotbed of congestion, Va. 28 now serves as the main link between Prince William County and Dulles.
“If you travel on that road, if you’re business is on that road and your customers travel to you in the morning or the evening, you’re going to have a very difficult time moving around,” said Manassas Mayor Harry Parrish, II. “If we don’t make the tough decisions, Loudoun will continue to grow and we will not.”
Manassas Park Mayor Frank Jones called the roadway a “huge chokepoint” for the region. His day job is at the Mark Center federal building in Alexandria, and it took Jones more than four hours to commute to and from his job last Wednesday, he said.
“I don’t have my own business, Suppose I work in business and I were trying to get to a meeting that could have a million, or two, or three million investment looming on how well that business meeting went and now I have been frustrated, I have been set aside, I am not focused, and I am late to that meeting,” said Jones.
All three elected officials spoke at a Prince William Chamber of Commerce event held on Thursday in Manassas.
Photo: Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, Manassas Mayor Harry Parrish, and Manassas Park Mayor Frank Jones.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — A crash that closed a portion of Interstate 95 Sunday injured five people. A tractor trailer driver is now charged.
Here’s more in a press release from Virginia State Police:
Virginia State Police investigated a multiple vehicle crash that resulted in five injuries Sunday (Feb. 23) in Stafford County. At 4:01 p. m., state police responded to the crash in the northbound lanes of I-95 at the 137 mile marker.
A tractor-trailer is traveling in the northbound lanes of I-95, when it brakes suddenly and swerves to the left to avoid slowed and stopped traffic ahead of it in the northbound lanes. As the driver tries to avoid striking vehicles, it ran off the left side of the roadway and struck a guardrail. The tractor-trailer then came back into the roadway and struck several vehicles causing a chain reaction that ultimately involved a total of seven vehicles being involved.
A total of five individuals in seven vehicles were injured. Two were treated at the scene by medical personnel and 3three were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment for injuries sustained in the crash.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, Dwight Deon Smith, 53, of Elizabethtown, NC, was not injured. He was charged with reckless driving by Trooper H. Jamie who investigated the crash..
Northbound lanes of I-95 were re-opened by 5:21 p.m.
A memorial for Sally Okuly stands at the intersection of Opitz Boulevard and Montgomery Avenue in Woodbridge.
Not made of steel or stone, the monument is simply a teddy bear strapped to a utility pole with a large piece of cardboard with her name, and “in loving memory” written in marker.
Okuly was killed in November when she was crossing Optiz Boulevard at a crosswalk. She was struck by a driver who was later charged in the crash.
A press release from Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi’s office states Okuly was on her way to a gas station to get a newspaper, something she had done frequently.
Now Principi is urging the Virginia Department of Transportation to restripe the current intersection to make it more pedestrian friendly, making a “block style” to be visible to more drivers. He also wants the traffic signal to be retimed so that when pedestrians are crossing the street they are the only ones moving through the intersection.
“I am focused on increasing pedestrian and bicyclist safety,” stated Supervisor Principi in an press release. “We are all motorists, walkers, or cyclists at one point or another. It’s time we learn to better share the road.”
He’s also asked for new signage in the median or overhang at the intersection, and for VDOT to consider modifying the lane configuration in the area.
More lighting, and filling a large pothole along nearby Southampton Street also appears in Principi’s requests. They were presented to VDOT in a letter from his office.
More drivers in Northern Virginia are being cited for texting while driving than any other portion of the state.
New statistics from the police agency show 567 drivers were cited statewide for sending a text message while behind the wheel in 2013. A total of 287 of those drivers were cited while in Northern Virginia, to include Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun counties.
The citations come after a new law that increased the penalties for texting while driving went into effect July 1, 2013. It was championed, in part, by Prince William County Delegate Richard Anderson.
More in a press release from state police:
Since the law went into effect, Virginia state troopers have been enforcing it just like any other primary offense. The trooper must observe the illegal conduct of the vehicle’s operator, thus providing the trooper with reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop on that vehicle. Further investigation determines what, if any, offense(s) the driver will be cited for by the trooper. Troopers have the discretion to warn, summons or arrest a violator.
“Driving distracted puts everybody at risk on a highway,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “According to preliminary data*, driver distraction accounted for 20 percent of all fatal traffic crashes on Virginia’s roads in 2013. That accounts for 131 lives lost last year because of a driver failing to pay attention while behind the wheel of a vehicle.”
The new law passed last year made texting while driving a primary offense punishable by $125 for the first offense, and $250 for a second or subsequent offense. Before, texting while behind the wheel was a secondary offense and state troopers had to stop drivers for another reason before citing them with texting while driving.
Here’s a breakdown of the citations issued statewide:
|Texting Enforcement: July 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013|
Richmond Division 1
|Culpeper Division 2||13|
|Appomattox Division 3||26|
|Wytheville Division 4||28|
|Chesapeake Division 5||92|
|Salem Division 6||27|
|Fairfax Division 7||287|
|Safety Division (statewide)||8|
Transportation officials postponed a meeting about improvements on Interstate 66, originally scheduled for tonight.
Statement from VDOT:
Due to icy conditions, the Virginia Department of Transportation is postponing tonight’s public meeting on strategies being considered to transform 25 miles of I-66 from the Beltway to Haymarket.
The new date for the meeting is:
Wed., Feb. 5, 2014, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Wyndham Garden Hotel, 10800 Vandor Lane, Manassas, VA 20109
The meeting comes as state transportation officials wanted information from the private sector and individuals on how to best improve travel conditions on the 25-mile stretch of I-66 between U.S. 15 in Haymarket and the Capital Beltway.
Some of the things the state is interested in receiving information on:
• Widen I-66 by building additional general purpose lanes that would not be tolled
• Convert the existing high occupancy vehicle lane into either a one or two lane (in each direction) facility that would be free to carpoolers, buses and emergency vehicles. The HOV lanes would operate similar to the I-495 Express Lanes, which were completed late 2012 or the I-95 Express Lanes, which are under construction.
• Locate a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in the median of I-66 extending west from Vienna to Haymarket.
The improvements are advertised under the state’s Office of Transportations Public-Private Partnerships.
Take it slow out there this morning as there are reports of minor ice patches on roads across the region.
In Prince William County, major roads like Va. 234 and Va. 123 all are reported to me in “minor” condition (low on the Virginia’s Department of Transportation’s worry index) but all of the major roads have icy spots on them.
The same goes for roads in Stafford County.
VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon of the Fredericksburg District, which covers Stafford County, released this statement this morning:
Motorists traveling this morning should use additional caution, as primary roads throughout the Fredericksburg District are mostly covered in snow, with complete snow coverage on most secondary roads and subdivision streets.
Interstate 95 is in minor condition, with isolated areas of snow on the pavement. Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) commuter lots have been plowed and treated.
Plow crews worked overnight to continue clearing streets, starting with the major thoroughfares that carry the most traffic. Side streets are still snow covered, so officials advise caution as you travel on them this morning.
VDOT’s goal is to have all roads plowed within 48 hours after the passing snowstorm which moved out last night, so crews will continue to work 24 hours a day in 12-hour shifts until the roads are clear.
PRTC will put its emergency service plan (ESP) into effect for all of its buses at noon today.
Only its OmniLink local buses in Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park, had been running on the ESP.
More from PRTC:
Starting at NOON, PRTC’s Snow Emergency Service Plan will be in effect for OmniRide, Metro Direct, OmniLink and Cross County Connector buses. Rides on ALL PRTC buses will be FREE.
*OMNIRIDE passengers should take Metrorail to the appropriate Metro stations, where buses will be waiting. All buses on the Manassas OmniRide, Tysons Corner OmniRide, Manassas Metro Direct and Linton Hall Metro Direct routes will operate to and from the West Falls Church Metrorail station only. All other OmniRide routes and the Prince William Metro Direct will operate to and from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station. Although PRTC bus rides are free, you will be required to pay the Metrorail, Metrobus or Fairfax Connector fare. PRTC Buses will leave Metro stations at least every 20 minutes, except for Tysons Corner OmniRide and Linton Hall Metro Direct which will depart every hour, on the hour. Service will begin at noon and the last OmniRide buses will depart the Metrorail stations at 7:30 p.m. Snow Emergency Routing will be implemented if neighborhood streets are deemed unsafe.
*METRO DIRECT buses will operate according to published schedules; however, road conditions may cause delays.
*OMNILINK off-route trips are cancelled for today. OmniLink will remain on ESP all day. OmniLink buses will stop at all signed PRTC bus stops. Buses continue to operate on regular routing as long as conditons permit but snow routing may be activated during the afternoon/evening.
*CROSS COUNTY CONNECTOR buses will operate according to published schedules; however, road conditions may cause delays.
Transportation officials in Virginia are paying close attention to the weather tonight. By 4 a.m., VDOT says there will be more than 4,000 pieces of equipment out on area highways — salt trucks and plows.
There is at least four inches of snow in the forecast Tuesday, and VDOT officials say that after two inches of snow has fallen residents can begin using the state’s plow map to see the status of snow plowing in their neighborhood.
Here’s more in a press release:
Crews pre-treat state roads in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. On interstates 66, 95, 395, and 495—including bridges and ramps prone to freezing such as the Springfield interchange, I-66 at Route 29 and the Capital Beltway interchange at Route 1—crews use liquid magnesium chloride. Problem spots on other major roads, such as the Fairfax County Parkway and routes 1, 7, 28, 29, 50 and 123, are pre-treated with salt brine.
VDOT reminds drivers to telework or delay travel during winter weather, and:
• Check current weather, road conditions and traffic before leaving
• Slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination
• Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges
Get more information
• Get details on northern Virginia’s snow removal program.
• Follow @vadotnova on Twitter for northern Virginia news, and @511northernva for real-time traffic updates.
• Use the 511 app or visit www.511virginia.org.
• Report road problems to 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The delays stemmed from a crash in Prince William County, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.
A crash was reported after 4 p.m. on Interstate 95 near Quantico which lead to many traffic delays in the area.
NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Traffic delays lead to a heavy law enforcement presence in North Stafford tonight.
One lane of Garrisonville Road west at U.S. 1 was closed by the Stafford sheriff’s office about 6:15 p.m. Thursday. Law enforcement directed traffic through the intersection as driver faced delays in both the north and south directions of U.S. 1, as well as delays for drivers attempting to make their way out of the Aquia Harbour neighborhood.
The Prince William Scanner Bums Facebook page reported that rescue crews were called to a serious crash on Interstate 95 sometime after 4 p.m., and that a helicopter had to be landed on the highway to take at least one person to a trauma center.
Commuters headed south from Prince William County saw backups for about a mile from Sunnyside Nursery.
While there was no official word from the Stafford sheriff’s office as to why they were directing traffic at the intersection, an email alert from Stafford County Government was sent out about 4:20 p.m. warning drivers of heavy traffic on U.S. 1 south from Prince William into Stafford County, in the Quanitco area.
Update 3 p.m.
A woman from Manassas was hit and killed this morning by a Virginia Railway Express train.
More in a police press release:
On Wednesday, January 15 shortly after 7 a.m., officers were called to the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) station at 10399 Premier Court in Burke for the report of a pedestrian that had been hit by a train.
Officers were met immediately by VRE officials who directed them to the scene.
Detectives from the Crash Reconstruction Unit were called to the scene and conducted the investigation in cooperation with VRE personnel.
The preliminary investigation determined that a locomotive was traveling southbound enroute from Washington, D.C. to Manassas; it was foggy and dark, visibility was reduced. As the train passed the Burke station and rounded a slight curve, the engineer saw a pedestrian walking across the tracks from left to right. The engineer immediately applied the emergency brake and sounded the horn. The train slowed but hit the pedestrian in the middle of the southbound track.
Danyelle Lynn Anderson, 22, of Manassas, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Update 10 a.m.
Amtrak reports its Train 20, The Crescent, was delayed for about 30 minutes due to this incident.
Update 9 a.m.
The train that struck a person on the tracks this morning was headed from Washington to Manassas in a reverse commute.
Here’s the very latetest in a statement from VRE:
VRE Train 321 (Southbound) struck an individual near the Burke Centre Station. All passengers on 321 were provided alternate transportation.
(This is a Southbound train doing a reverse commute, so there were only a couple of passengers on board.) Trains 330 and 332 were cancelled.
No trains are stopped with passengers on board.
There’s no word yet from Amtrak on whether that passenger rail system is experiencing delays.
MANASSAS, Va. — Someone has been struck by a Virginia Railway Express train in Fairfax County and two Manassas line trains are canceled this morning.
Trains 330 and 332 from Broad Run to Washington are not running this morning after someone was struck near the Burke VRE station in Fairfax County. VRE on their website this morning states riders can choose to take Metro instead and that transit system will honor their VRE fare cards.
More as we get it.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday will bring some changes to bus service.
Monday, Jan. 20, is a federal holiday and is when the nation will honor civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission announced the following bus schedule changes for Monday:
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, PRTC buses will operate as follows on Monday, January 20:
• OMNIRIDE COMMUTER BUS AND METRO DIRECT – Modified Holiday schedule – limited service. See designated trips on schedules.
• OMNILINK LOCAL BUS AND CROSS COUNTY CONNECTOR – Regular service.
No counter transactions will be processed at the PRTC Transit Center on Monday, January 20.
There will also be changes to Virginia’s only commuter rail service – VRE – on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Trains on the system’s Fredericksburg and Manassas lines will operate on an S schedule on Monday.
The date is one of 10 federally observed holidays in which the transit system does not provide service.
*This story earlier incorrectly stated Virginia Railway Express would not provide service on Monday.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — It appears several large potholes have formed on Interstate 95 in Stafford County.
Those potholes caught the attention of highway crews and state police that were called to the Falmouth area to repair them and divert traffic, respectively.
More in a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation:
Several large potholes have developed on I-95 south at Exit 133 (Rt. 17/Falmouth) in Stafford County closing one travel lane on I-95 south and the ramp acceleration lane to Route 17 towards Falmouth. The potholes are located on the bridge over Route 17.
Infrastructure Corporation of America (ICA), VDOT’s interstate maintenance contractor, is on scene to repair the potholes that range from 1 to 5 feet in diameter.
The repairs are expected to take several hours to complete.
OmniRide and OmniLink buses in Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park will have limited service on Tuesday.
More from the operator of the buses, the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commissionv:
TUESDAY, DEC. 31
Regular service. PRTC will provide a few extra midday and early afternoon OmniRide buses to handle anticipated overflow. To avoid possible overcrowding you may consider taking Metrorail or other regional bus and transfer to a Metro Direct bus to complete your commute.
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 1
Virginia Railway Express will also have modified service next week leading up to New Years Eve.
More from VRE:
VRE will operate an “S” schedule on December 26th, 27th, 30th and on New Years Eve December 31st. VRE will not operate on January 1st. Regular service will resume on Thursday, January 2, 2014.
In Stafford County, there will be no FRED Bus Service on New Years Day (Wednesday).
DUMFRIES, Va. — A Dumfries riding a motorcycle crashed and died from his injuries.
More in a police report:
Crash – Fatality – On December 23rd at 11:36AM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the 17800 block of Mine Rd in Dumfries (22026) to investigate a motorcycle crash.
The investigation revealed that the operator of a 2002 Yamaha 250 motorcycle was riding on an open field in the above area when he lost control and struck guide wires attached to a utility pole. No other vehicles or persons were involved. The operator returned to his residence where he died from apparent internal injuries later in the day.
The operator of the 2002 Yamaha 250 motorcycle was identified as Samuel James SCITES, 48, of Dumfries
QUANTICO, Va. — A new bridge that will connect the west side of Quantico Marine Corps Base with U.S. 1 is nearly complete.
The reconstructed bridge carries traffic via Telegraph Road over Interstate 95 onto a portion of the base where the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is located, as well as the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
Work to rebuild the bridge began this past spring.
More in a press release:
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) announced that the new Telegraph Road Bridge, which crosses over I-95, near Marine Core Base Quantico (MCBQ) is in its final stage of construction. Crews are completing finishing work on the new bridge deck, as well as the fencing.
The bridge will remain closed to traffic until early February 2014 to accommodate a MCBQ construction project at the nearby Russell Knox Building. MCBQ will use the Telegraph Road corridor (specifically areas west of the bridge on Quantico property) for staging and the safe delivery of concrete beams to the construction site at the Russell Knox Building. Truck deliveries may occur 24 hours a day using Telegraph Road, Tallmadge Road and Russell Road, but will not be crossing the bridge.
Drivers will continue to follow current detour signs to U.S. Route 1 or Russell Road in order to access I-95 or Telegraph Road. Drivers should continue to expect an additional five to eight minute delay during peak travel times.
Construction of the new Telegraph Road Bridge began last April, at which time the old bridge was closed and demolished. The bridge spans over I-95 and the future new Express Lanes.
Starting a noon today, all regularly scheduled highway construction lane closures were lifted for Christmas. This will allow for easier travel on the state’s highways and Interstates, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The lane closures will resume Thursday.
There are also changes to the HOV lanes between Dumfries and the Pentagon.
More in a press release:
NORTHERN VIRGINIA HIGH OCCUPANCY VEHICLE SCHEDULE:
High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) restrictions on interstates 66, 95 and 395 will be affected by the year-end holidays.
Tuesday, Dec. 24: Normal HOV restrictions are in effect. Interstate 95/395 reversible lanes will remain southbound Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day.
Wednesday, Dec. 25: HOV restrictions on I-95, I-395 and Interstate 66 are lifted. I-95/395 reversible lanes will remain southbound until midnight Christmas Day and switch to northbound by 2 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 26.
Thursday, Dec. 26: Normal HOV restrictions are in effect.
New Year’s Tuesday, Dec. 31: Normal HOV restrictions are in effect. I-95/395 reversible lanes will remain southbound New Year’s Eve night and New Year’s Day.
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014: HOV restrictions on I-95, I-395 and I-66 are lifted. I-95/395 reversible lanes will remain southbound until midnight New Year’s Day and switch to northbound by 2 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.
Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014: Normal HOV restrictions are in effect.
I-95 Express Lanes construction: VDOT will restrict lane closures on I-95 in the Express Lanes work zone from 5 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, until 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26, and again from 5 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, until 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.
Additionally, there will be no daytime lane closures in the 29-mile work zone during the weekends of Dec. 21-22, Dec. 28-29 and Jan. 4-5, 2014. All overnight lane closures must be reopened by 7 a.m. on these weekends in the general purpose lanes.
There will be limited bus service in Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park today and no service tomorrow, Christmas.
More in a press notice from the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission that operates OmniRide and OmniLink buses:
TUESDAY, DEC. 24
• OmniRide Commuter Bus and Metro Direct – Modified Holiday schedule-limited service. See designated trips on schedules. PRTC will provide a few extra midday and early afternoon OmniRide buses to handle anticipated overflow. To avoid possible overcrowding you may consider taking Metrorail or other regional bus and transfer to a Metro Direct bus to complete your commute.
• OmniLink Local Bus and Cross County Connector – Regular Service
NOTE: The PRTC Transit Center will be closed on Tuesday, December 24.
Virginia Railway Express trains will offer regular service today, but no service will be offered on Christmas Day.
Additionally, all trains will operate on an “S” schedule Dec. 28 through Dec. 30. Only trains with S marked on the schedule will operate.
HAYMARKET, Va. — Some Alvey Elementary School students suffered minor injuries Thursday morning after riding on a school bus that collided with a car this morning.
More in a statement from Prince William County Public Schools:
Emergency crews responded to a minor accident after Alvey Bus #355 was hit by a car this morning. Some students complained of minor injuries, and two were transported to the hospital to be checked out. Injuries do not appear serious. Parents of all students aboard are being contacted directly.
A second bus was transporting the students to school.
Alvey Elementary School is located near Haymarket.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Road crews are working this morning to clear icy spots on area roads.
More in a press release from VDOT:
Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are patrolling Interstate 95 this morning in the Fredericksburg District, along with primary and secondary roads in Caroline, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties, to apply abrasives for isolated areas of ice. Motorists should proceed with caution as they drive this morning, especially on low-volume roads, bridges, interstate ramps and overpasses. Due to lower surface temperatures, or less traffic, these areas are more likely to develop ice.
MANASSAS, Va. — A car drove up an embankment at the Bull Run Shopping Center near Manassas.
Police, as well as fire and rescue crews were called to the scene near the intersection of Sudley Manor Drive and Ashton Avenue about 12:30 p.m.
A portion of Sudley Manor Drive in the direction of Ashton Avenue was closed following the crash.
It’s unclear at this time if there were any serious injuries.
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WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Crews on Thursday were out affixing traffic signals to steel poles at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Featherstone Road in Woodbridge.
The new poles will eventually replace the lines that have been used to suspend signal lights over traffic at this busy intersection.