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Traffic & Transit

VDOT will use 650 Trucks in Northern Virginia to Treat Roads During Storm

With snow in the forecast today, road crews with the Virginia Department of Transportation are getting ready to treat the roads.

More in a press release from VDOT:

This morning, crews are pre-treating roads in 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.

Up to about 650 trucks will be on hand to treat roads in northern Virginia throughout the storm.

VDOT reminds motorists to use caution when driving during wintry weather. Drivers should:

· Check current weather, road conditions and traffic before traveling at www.511Virginia.org or by calling 511

· Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination

· Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges

· Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road

Anderson: Expect Hybrid Proposal to Emerge from Gov.’s Transportation Plan

Del. Richard Anderson, R – Prince William (Submitted photo)

By DELEGATE RICH ANDERSON 

The first week of the 2013 legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly is now history.

Catching my breath in my Capitol Square office on Monday morning after a busy first week in Richmond, followed by town hall meeting that I hosted with Sen. George Barker, D-Fairfax, Prince William, for Prince William County constituents, and it’s apparent that we are in for a fast ride in the Virginia State Capitol over the next five weeks.

Our 2013 session opened on Wednesday, January 9, when House Speaker William J. Howell gaveled us into session for the next six weeks. This year is designated as the “short session” of the General Assembly, during which we meet for a fast and furious six weeks. Next year is designated as the “long session” when we meet for a full eight weeks. The long session is typically dominated by the budget process that results in debate and approval of the biennial (two-year) Virginia state budget. The budget cycle in which we’re now operating is at the $85 billion level and can be viewed at governor.virginia.gov. Most agree that unprecedented fiscal uncertainties drive a need for a cautious budget over the coming year.

After a number of meetings on the opening day, members of the General Assembly gathered in the House of Delegates chamber in a joint legislative session to hear Gov. Bob McDonnell’s annual State of the Commonwealth Address. During his presentation, the governor outlined his proposals for the final year of his administration and reported on the state of affairs in the Commonwealth.

As expected, Gov. McDonnell’s address centered on matters of reform initiatives and monetary investments in transportation and K-12 education. Both are critical issues for the Commonwealth and will consume much of our attention over the next five weeks.

In the area of transportation, our primary challenge is to stop the movement of some $500 million each year from Virginia’s road construction account to the road maintenance account. To do so, we must identify sources of revenue that replenish regularly and are dependable funding sources for Virginia’s large system of roads and highways.

Gov. McDonnell has proposed a transportation package that consists of a number of elements, including repeal of the gas tax of 17.5 cents per gallon. This would be replaced by an increase in the state sales tax from 5% to 5.8%, with the additional 0.8% devoted to transportation needs and start the process of new funding for transportation. His proposal also includes increases in vehicle-related fees.

Both parties will discuss the governor’s transportation proposals in depth over the next several weeks. Delegates and senators from both parties have proposed several alternative proposals, and I predict at this early point that we will see some sort of hybrid proposal emerge from the committee process.

In the area of K-12 education reform, the governor has proposed a state-supported pay raise of 2% for teachers and educators, along with reforms to teacher employment contracts and the development of local incentives for teachers who help students make academic progress.

We are seeing a greater emphasis on programs that recruit and retain high-quality teachers in subjects that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math. They also include creation of a Governor’s Center for Excellence in Teaching for the professional development of our best teachers.

This session, I am patroning comprehensive legislation on protocols to be followed in suspected concussions sustained by youth athletes. I am also carrying a bill to reauthorize the Virginia Commission on Civics Education that I chair to encourage youth participation in civic and public activities in their communities.

This year, Senator Barker and I are teaming together on a bill to ban texting while driving. The bill makes texting a primary driving offense and carries a $250 fine for the first offense and a $500 fine for each successive offense. It’s time to put teeth into state law to dissuade this dangerous activity behind the steering wheel.

As chair of the General Assembly Military and Veteran Caucus, I am joining forces with Sen. Toddy Puller (D-36th) to move a bill to formalize the Virginia Veterans Values (V3) program, which will increase employment of military veterans by Virginia businesses. Also, I have joined forces with House Majority Leader Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, to start the process for constructing the next Virginia Veterans Care Center in Northern Virginia. From my perspective, Prince William County is an ideal venue for such a center.

In short, the 2013 legislative session of the General Assembly is shaping up as a breathtaking event between now and when we adjourn on February 23. If any residents of the 51st House District are in Richmond, please stop by our office in Room 406 of the General Assembly Building where our offices are located. I may be reached at DelRAnderson@house.virginia.gov, or at our office number, 804-698-1051. You may also reach my legislative assistant, Ryan M. Galloway, at the same number or at RGalloway@house.virginia.gov. Regardless of your opinion on an issue or bill, and regardless of your party affiliation, we value your views and are pleased to represent you in Richmond.

Del. Rich Anderson, a retired 30-year Air Force colonel, represents Prince William County’s 51st House District in the Virginia General Assembly. The district runs from Occoquan in the east to Nokesville in the west. He sits on four standing House committees: Finance, Transportation, General Laws, and Science and Technology. He also chairs the General Assembly Military and Veterans Caucus and the Virginia Commission on Civics Education.

Businesses, Residents Along Furnace Road in Lorton Told to Expect Noise

Interstate 95 south at Dumfries [Photo: Uriah Kiser/Potomac Local News]

LORTON, Va. – It’s going to get louder on a stretch of Interstate 95 at Lorton soon. 

More in a press release from the 95 Express Lanes project:

The 95 Express Lanes project will start daytime pile driving on or about January 23, on Furnace Road at I-95. This work is being done to widen the I-95 bridge above Furnace Road for an additional Express Lane that is to be added as part of the project.

Details

Crews will install new pavement along the shoulder of Furnace Road and shift traffic to create the work zone for pile driving. The pavement work is schedule to occur tomorrow, January 15, weather permitting, with a daytime flagging operation.

Crews will then return at night to place barrier along the work zone. Nighttime flagging operations will be in place during this work.

Daytime pile driving will then begin on or about January 23, and is expected to continue into mid-February 2013.

Pile driving will take place Monday through Saturday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. During pile driving operations, a daytime flagging operation may be needed to move equipment or adjust the work zone.

What you can expect

Businesses and residents near Furnace Road and I-95 may experience elevated noise during this time. Pile driving is usually done in intervals of about 15 minutes with a similar break in between activities.

Wild Boar Causes Stir on Aden Road

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Drivers on Aden Road have seen fallen branches or dead animals struck by cars.

But on Sunday, a large boar was reportedly standing in the middle of the two lane road obstructing traffic about two miles past Joplin Road, near the Prince William County Public Schools Headquarters at Independent Hill.

Chris Riley was headed to his farm in Remington when he saw the beast standing in the middle of the road. The animal had long hair, fur that was two inches long, and it appeared to have weighed at least 400 pounds.

“I’m a hunter, and I’ve lived in this area for about 40 years and I have never seen anything like that,” said Riley.

An oncoming car flashed their headlights at Riley warning him of the boar in the middle of the road. Once upon it, Riley stopped, honked his horn not once but twice, and then it finally ran off the roadway into the Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Riley has hunted Russian boar before and said they can be dangerous, as the more wild they are the longer and sharper their tusks can get. He’s even lost hunting dogs to vicious boars, he said.

It’s apparent other drivers saw the boar, too. At 12:19 p.m., Prince William County Animal Control officers were called to the area for a report of a boar. When they arrived, it ran off into the woods, said county police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Another call came in at just before 5 p.m., but no pig was found. At 6:45 pm., police were called to the 14400 block of Aden Road where they found a dead pig. It was removed from the roadway, said Perok.

We don’t know if the pig found dead is the same boar described by Riley, who urged drivers to beware.

“Something that large, larger than a deer, it could’ve done some real damage to my car if I’d had hit it,” he said.

Black Legislators Oppose I-95 Tolls

Interstate 95 south at Dumfries [Photo: Uriah Kiser/Potomac Local News]

By JEFFERY KNIGHT
Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. – Opponents of tolls on Interstate 95 have a new ally: African American legislators.

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said it would fight proposals to levy tolls on the interstate – an idea Gov. Bob McDonnell has floated to finance repairs and construction costs. One suggestion has been to charge cars $4 and tractor-trailers $12.

“These tolls would kill small towns and business owners,” said Delegate Roslyn Tyler, D-Jarratt. She is sponsoring House Bill 1460, which would prohibit state officials from imposing tolls on I-95 without the General Assembly’s approval.

Preventing tolls was among several priorities for the 2013 legislative session that the Black Caucus outlined at a news conference this week. The group is made up of 18 lawmakers and is headed by state Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton.

Another priority is passing a constitutional amendment to automatically restore the voting rights of nonviolent felons who have completed their prison sentences. That’s something McDonnell has called for, too.

MORE to the STORY: Dumfries and several other Virginia jurisdictions also oppose tolls on I-95

Delegate Onzlee Ware, D-Roanoke, urged fellow lawmakers to adopt the proposal.

“I would leave the General Assembly tomorrow if we get that bill,” Ware told caucus members to a roar of laughter. “It’s not a black or white thing; it’s a people thing.”

As caucus leader, Locke said she has her sights set on overhauling Virginia’s 21-day rule in criminal cases. The rule states that no court can review any newly discovered evidence presented 21 days or more after the initial sentencing, and that only an appellate court can consider new evidence.

The rule received scrutiny recently because of the case of Jonathan Montgomery, who had been wrongfully convicted and served more than half of a seven-year sentence for a crime he did not commit.

Montgomery, who is from Florida, was convicted of sexual assault in Hampton in 2000 based on testimony from a woman who later admitted she lied. Last fall, McDonnell issued Montgomery a pardon, and he was released from prison.

Montgomery might have been released earlier, but Virginia’s 21-day rule prevented the circuit court from acting in the case. He had to wait until the Virginia Court of Appeals issued a writ of actual innocence.

“My modification would be if the person is found not guilty, it would go back to the circuit court that heard the case,” Locke said.

Drivers Warned of Possible Delays for Ongoing Transportation Projects in Region Next Week

Virginia transportation officials warned drivers today about three construction projects that could cause delays, including a full closure of a portion of the Capital Beltway, and about a change to an ongoing repair project on interstate 95.

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

All lanes on I-495 South, Outer Loop, will close before Exit 50, Arlington Blvd. (Route 50) during overnight hours this Sunday night, Jan. 13, into early Monday morning, Jan. 14, to safely complete joint repair work. All traffic will be directed to use the access road adjacent to I-495 just north of the Route 50 Exit.

The closure and detour are scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m. Sunday night until 5 a.m. Monday morning.

Drivers are advised to follow detour signs and use caution.

Commuters should also know about a project to install storm drain pipe along Seminary Road near Mark Center in Alexandria:

Beginning on or about January 14th, the left turn lane on Seminary Road (Route 420) west to Mark Center Avenue will be temporarily closed for the construction of two concrete medians and installation of storm drain pipe as part of the Mark Center transportation improvements projects.

The turn lane will be closed each day, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14 thru Thursday, Jan. 17, and again each night, Monday thru Thursday, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Over that weekend, the turn lane will be closed on Friday and Saturday nights, Jan. 18 and 19, from 9:30 p.m. to 9 a.m., and Sunday night, 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday morning.

Motorists will be detoured past Mark Center Avenue to make a left turn on N. Beauregard Street, then left on Mark Center Drive, and follow signs to Mark Center Avenue.

This turn-lane improvement is part of the Mark Center Mid-Term Improvements Project. The project is expected to be complete in the summer of 2013. For more information on this project, go to markcenterroadproject.com.

In Stafford, an ongoing project to repair a slope on the side of Interstate 95 will continue. More in a press release from Virginia Department of Transportation’s Fredericksburg office:

Work to stabilize an embankment along Interstate 95 southbound in Stafford County will continue for several weeks to halt erosion near the travel lanes.

The right lane of I-95 southbound will be closed at mile marker 147 from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, just south of Exit 148/Quantico Marine Corps Base. Lane closures will be lifted whenever congestion surpasses 3 miles. No lane closures will occur Friday-Sunday.

Debris Removal to Close Harrell Road in Stafford County

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Harrell Road in Stafford County will close once to traffic once again on Friday.

The two-lane road will close at Claiborne Run, where the road often floods out after rainstorms. The road will close between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday so crews can clean debris from channels at the water crossing, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Harrell Road links Forbes Street and Deacon Road in the Falmouth area of Stafford County.

McDonnell Wants to End Gas Tax, Raise Sales Tax, Fees to Fund Transportation

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell

By MARK ROBINSON
Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. – With the General Assembly set to convene, Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed Tuesday increasing Virginia’s sales tax and abolishing its nearly 27-year-old gas tax, making Virginia the first state in the country to do so.

The measures are a part of the governor’s proposed $3.1 billion plan to fund improvements to Virginia’s transportation system over the next five years. The funds would supplement $14 billion of transportation projects already under way in the commonwealth, the most in Virginia’s history.

“Declining funds for infrastructure maintenance, stagnant motor fuels tax revenues, increased demand for transit and passenger rail and the growing cost of major infrastructure projects necessitate enhancing and restructuring the commonwealth’s transportation program and the way it’s funded,” McDonnell said at a press conference.

McDonnell described the state’s gas tax as “outdated” because of inflation and better fuel economy since it was last changed in 1986. He said boosting funding for transportation was the only way to ensure Virginia could continue its economic growth.

Among his proposed changes:

• The current 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax, which accounts for more than 30 percent of the state’s transportation revenues, would be eliminated; instead, the sales tax would increase from 5 percent to 5.8 percent. McDonnell predicted this would generate more than $600 million in additional transportation funds. The 17.5 cent tax on diesel would remain intact.

• To supplement the increase in sales tax, a higher percent of the state’s sales tax would go directly to transportation funds – from .5 cents to .75 cents over the five years.

• The plan would impose an increase of $15 for each vehicle registration, resulting in an average vehicle registration cost of $56 per vehicle, McDonnell said.

• The state would impose an annual $100 alternative fuel vehicle. The governor dismissed the idea that the fee would deter people from buying alternative fuel vehicles. More than 91,000 are currently registered in Virginia.

McDonnell’s plan would use new revenues and more money from the general fund – an approach he said would appease lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. In the past, Republicans have supported using money from the general fund for roads as a core function of government. Democrats, on the other hand, have rejected previous attempts to use general fund dollars for transportation.

The General Assembly will consider the governor’s proposals during the 45-day legislative session that begins Wednesday.

If passed, the measures would take effect July 1. The Republicans hold a majority in the House of Delegates and a tie-breaking vote in the Senate. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who presides over the Senate, expressed support for McDonnell’s plan.

I-95 Slope Work Resumes at Quantico This Week

122212-Interstate-95-traffi

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – They put it off before but it had to get going again at some point.

Virginia transportation officials are warning drivers to expect daytime closures on Interstate 95 in the area of Quantico Marine Corps Base this week. The work is to repair a slope along the highway and it’s not considered a part of the larger effort to bring I-95 Express toll lanes to North Stafford.

More in a press release:

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

Beginning Monday, Jan. 7 through Thursday, Jan. 10, the right lane will be closed each day from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) continues to repair the slope of the roadway over approximately 200 yards. Due to the materials being used, this work must be performed when temperatures are warmer during daytime hours. Work on the project has been suspended since Dec. 20 to avoid congestion delays over the year-end holidays.

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

Crash Takes Life of Prince William Police Officer

[Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

4:30 p.m. 

A Prince William police officer was killed this afternoon in an apparent fiery crash.

More in a press release from police:

On December 31st at 2:04PM, a Prince William County police officer was involved in a crash at the intersection of Nokesville Rd and Piper Ln in Bristow while responding to a separate crash.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the driver of a mini-van was making a left hand turn from northbound Nokesville Rd into the shopping center crossing in front of the officer who was traveling southbound on Nokesville Rd.

Yung

Yung

The officer was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. No other injuries were reported.

The crash investigation is continuing. More information will be release when available and we respectively ask for your patience during this time.

Acting Chief Barnard asks for the public’s thoughts and prayers as the department copes with the loss of a colleague and friend.

Identified:

The officer has been identified as Officer Chris Yung, 35

 Officer Yung was on the department for 7 years and was assigned to the Traffic Unit as a motorcycle officer

A crime scene unit as well as the Prince William County Police Department’s Mobile Command RV unit are at Va. 28 and Piper Land to investigate a crash near the Manassas Regional Airport.

The collision took place between a police motorcycle and a minivan at an intersection at a popular shopping center that houses restaurants and a Target store. Traffic along busy Va. 28 has been shut down and police are directing drives away from the crash scene.

Picture 1 of 5

3 p.m.

MANASSAS, Va. – Police are on the scene of a crash on Va. 28 near Piper Lane in Manassas.

The cash involves a Prince William police officer. We don’t know the extent of injuries at this time, nor do we know what led to the crash.

Manassas officials have warned drivers to stay away from the crash scene. Police said the intersection is closed to traffic. 

The crash happened sometime after 2:30 p.m. this afternoon, according to initial reports.

Now in Dumfries, PRTC Moves Fairfax Transplant

SPONSORED POST

Ama Mian had never used public transportation until 2005 when she moved from Fairfax to Dumfries. These days, she’s a regular PRTC passenger who frequently rides OmniLink and Cross County Connector buses.

Being able to use public transportation to go to work and school helps her to feel independent and is less expensive than other means of travel, Ama said, adding that she doesn’t want to have to ask people for rides.

“It’s very easy to get a Weekly Pass and ride all week,” she said.

When Ama first moved to Prince William County, she noticed a bus stop sign across from her house and frequently saw buses traveling nearby. She got the Customer Service phone number from the sign and called to learn more.

“At first, I got lost many times, but now I know all of the routes,” she said.

In the future, she would like for PRTC to offer a Monthly Pass and run more weekend service – specifically on the Prince William Metro Direct and Cross County Connector buses as well as Sunday service on the eastern OmniLink routes.

Update: 3 Victims in Highway Crash were Traveling to Family Funeral

Photo: Mary Davidson

9 a.m. Friday

Police have identified the three people killed in last night crash at the Capital Beltway. Officials said they were traveling to Florida to attend the funeral of a family member.

More from Virginia State Police:

The driver of the pickup truck was Peter Stesney Jr, 87, of Allentown, Penn. The two passengers were Bernice Supinski, 85, of Bath, Penn., and Laura Kordelski, 51, of Allentown, Penn. All three were related and traveling to Florida to attend a relative’s funeral.

9:30 p.m. Thursday 

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. -- Three people were killed tonight in a crash involving tractor-trailer where Interstate 95 meets the Capital Beltway in Springfield. 

More from Virginia State Police:

Virginia State Police are on the scene now of a two-vehicle fatal crash at the Springfield Interchange. At 7:03 p.m., state police were called to the scene on the Interstate 495 westbound flyover ramp leading to Interstate 95 south.

A tractor-trailer in the travel lane was stopped in traffic when it was rear-ended by a pickup truck. All three occupants of the pickup truck died at the scene. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured in the crash.

The Virginia State Police Accident Reconstruction Team is also responding to the scene to assist with the ongoing investigation. The cause of the crash is still being determined.

At this time, the I-495 flyover ramp to I-95 south is closed to all traffic. Traffic is being diverted to the new ramp from I-495 to southbound I-95 HOV lanes. Traffic is moving through the area, but slowly, so motorists are advised to be prepared for delays.

 

Wintry Weather Brings I-95 Delays

It is slow going on Interstate 95 this afternoon as the region has been hit by a mix of rain, sleet, snow, and wind.

Traffic is particularly heavy along I-95 south in Woodbridge past Opitz Boulevard through Dumfries at Va. 234 where the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes merge. There are also delays on I-95 in Stafford County on both the northbound and southbound sides of the highway – particularly near Va. 610 in North Stafford and near U.S. 17 near Fredericksburg.

There have been no major crashes reported along the roadway, so the delays appear to be caused by volume.

I-66 in the region is not experiencing similar delays as reports state the roadway is running at speed.

I-81 in western Virginia and Maryland is running slow. Problems persist in the Harrisonburg area in Virginia as traffic is moving slow. In the Hagerstown area of Maryland traffic is crawling along the highway. More snow is expected to fall along this corridors and other areas west of Washington, D.C.

A winter weather advisory has been extended to 7 p.m. for Prince William County, Manassas, Manassas Park, Fairfax, northern Fauquier County, Arlington, Alexandria, Washington, D.C., and the Maryland suburbs. Temperatures are hovering in the mid 30s as rain and sleet continue to fall in the area.

$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.

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