Traffic & Transit
Over the river, through the woods, to grandma’s house we go – maybe. An early winter storm is bearing down on the east coast and it could make Tuesday – one of the busiest travel days of the year leading up to Thanksgiving – a nightmare in the Northeast.
Snow, ice, rain, and wind are all expected as part of the storm that’s moving east.
Over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday, a wintery mix is expected to impact our area, with heavy rains along the Interstate 95 corridor on Wednesday. With outside temperatures already unseasonably cold, the mercury is not expected to rise above the lower 40s on both days with lows in the 30s, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm may begin as freezing rain for our area on Tuesday and then change over to rain, and continue as rain throughout Wednesday, according the weather service.
The storm is expected to clear the area by Thanksgiving Day, but the cold air is here to stay as forecasted temperatures are listed in the 30s.
The storm is expected to cause major delays from Virginia up through the Northeast. AAA Mid-Atlantic provided some tips to those flying home for the holidays this holiday on how not to get stuck in an airport:
Know your rights
Check with your airline regarding cancellation policies for your specific type of ticket. In advance your departure date, travelers should research whether their tickets are refundable and, if not, whether the ticket can be used at another time. Travelers making changes to their reservations in advance should research what types of fees will be associated with the changes and whether any short-notice changes will cause the loss of the ticket value. Carry a printed copy of the contract of carriage with the airline, so you know what to expect should your flight be cancelled.
Mind the weather
Watch for weather forecasts for every airport you will pass through. The weather may be warm and sunny where you begin your trip, but severe weather in any layover city or at your final destination may cause significant delays. The Federal Aviation Administration maintains flight delay information for general airport conditions, but make sure to check with your individual departure airport as well.
Know how to be contacted
Make sure you have included a cell phone number with your travel reservation so you can receive automated alerts while you are at the airport. Also, make sure to turn your phone back on during layovers to receive the alerts. In advance of your trip locate the social media accounts for your airlines. If phone lines are busy with other callers trying to re-book flights, sending messages by social media is an additional way to contact the airline. Some airlines have dedicated social media accounts solely to help passengers with travel related difficulties. Tweeting for assistance may help you re-book a flight if the phone lines are jammed or disconnected.
Formulate a backup plan
Travelers should research back up modes of transportation, such as other carriers, rental cars, rail or bus service should your flight get cancelled. Driving, taking a bus or taking a train may get you through the last portion of your trip should flights be booked.
Check your traveler’s insurance policy
Read over your traveler’s insurance policy if you have purchased one for your trip. As a general rule, AAA Travel strongly recommends trip cancellation insurance, which reimburses monetary losses if cancellation must be made due to illness or death of passenger or immediate family.
Research your airline policy for unaccompanied minors. Some airlines will not allow unaccompanied minors to travel on flights that may be cancelled due to inclement weather.
Delays. Delays. Given the forecast, be prepared for delays. Once you check your baggage you won’t be able to access it to retrieve items very easily, if at all. Always keep any medication in your carry on. Also, pack an extra change of clothes in your carry on for each family member for any extended delay. Make sure you also keep your battery charger for your phones as well. While at the airport, make sure to check in with the airlines at the gate for last minute changes.
On the roads
Virginia State Police say this is one of the busiest travel times of the year and that paying attention to safety will help you arrive alive:
Last year, 14 individuals died in 13 traffic crashes on Virginia’s highways during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend – the highest number of fatal crashes since 2009 when 16 motorists lost their lives.* With the most heavily-traveled holiday next week, the Virginia State Police are strongly encouraging motorists and their passengers to focus on safe driving behaviors.
“Every year our goal is to have no fatalities to report from a holiday weekend, unfortunately it’s not the reality of the situation,” says Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “It’s critically important for drivers and passengers to make smart and safe choices, to include buckling up and driving distraction-free, when getting behind the wheel or riding in a vehicle. We want everyone to make it to their Thanksgiving destination and return home safely.”
Of the 14 motorists who died during the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday, 11 individuals were not wearing a seatbelt. Virginia State Police will increase patrols and traffic enforcement efforts in order to prevent traffic deaths and injuries as part of the state police’s participation in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints. Motorists can expect to see an increase in troopers throughout the Commonwealth beginning Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, at 12:01 a.m., and continuing through midnight, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013.
No lane closures
To help speed your trip on the roads, the Virginia Department of Transportation will lift all lane closures on state highways from noon Wednesday until noon on Monday, Dec. 2. Of the 43 million people who will travel this holiday, about 90% of them will do so by vehicle, according to VDOT.
The state agency released a map that shows, historically, where drivers can expect the most congestion over the holiday.
Here’s what VDOT says you can expect in Northern Virginia:
• High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) restrictions on interstates 66, 95 and 395 will be lifted on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 28. Normal HOV restrictions will be in place on Wednesday, Nov. 27, and Friday, Nov. 29.
• Direction schedule for I-95/I-395 reversible lanes: Lanes will be southbound from 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, until midnight Thursday, Nov. 28. Lanes reopen northbound by 2 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 28, and will remain northbound through 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29. Lanes will reopen southbound by 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, and remain southbound through 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30. Lanes will reopen northbound by 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, and continue northbound for the remainder of the weekend.
I-95 Express Lanes construction: VDOT will restrict lane closures on I-95 in the Express Lanes work zone from 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, to Monday, Dec. 2, at noon.
NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Smile. You’re on candid camera from behind the wheel.
New video obtained by Potomac Local News shows a tractor trailer knocking over what the Virginia Department of Transportation calls a chevron sign on Interstate 95, at mile post 143 in Stafford County. The sign denotes an exit number, and, at six minutes into the video, a tractor trailer that has seen consistently swerving on the highway is crashes into the sign, knocking it over, and then continues on with its drive north.
The incident was caught on tape by a videographer who told Potomac Local News they wish to remain anonymous. The video is branded with a logo that states “bad drivers exposed.”
In an email conversation, the videographer stated the video was shot with a dashboard-mounted camera similar to what police officers use in their patrol cars. It’s also simlar to a camera used to capture footage of a meteor falling to earth over the skies of Russia earlier this year.
The video was obtained by Potomac Local on Wednesday, and VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon said the sign was replaced the day before. The video was shot sometime between 7 and 8 o’clock in the morning, the videographer stated.
With its own YouTube page, this is “bad drivers exposed” 27th video posted to the site. It is the first “bad drivers” video to be shot in Virginia. The videographer used to produce bad drivers videos shot during a commute when the videographer lived in North Carolina.
“I started after one of my neighbors was killed by an irresponsible driver… Basically, even the nicest people can become animals when they’re driving as long as they think they’re anonymous,” stated the videographer in an email. “My intent is to remove anonymity, publish license plates, and shame people into driving safer.”
The videographer chooses to remain anonymous to protect family members, the email stated.
“Removing anonymity is a means, not an end. My aim is safety. If people drive safely; they remain anonymous. If I remain anonymous, my family remains safe,” the videographer stated in an email.
The video begins as the videographer’s vehicle is traveling in Fredericksburg and ends when the videographer exits I-95 at Aquia. A male voice can be heard on the video calling police and reporting the driver of the swerving tractor trailer. It’s unclear if the driver of the tractor trailer was ever stopped by police.
PRINCE WILLiAM COUNTY, Va. — The road that will link Sudley Manor Drive with Hornbaker Road near the FBI’s Northern Virginia Bureau off Va. 234 will open on Friday. Prince William County officials will hold a ribbon cutting to mark the opening of the new $20 million dollar roadway expansion near Manassas.
Here’s more in a press release:
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 22 at 10 a.m. to open the University Boulevard extension. The event will be held on University Boulevard at the intersection of Hornbaker Road. Following the ceremony, the road will be open to the public.
The $20 million-dollar University Boulevard extension project is part of the 2006 Bond Referendum, and was completed under budget and ahead of schedule. The project is a 1.32 mile facility, which includes a one mile section of a new four-lane roadway between Sudley Manor Drive and Hornbaker Road and the remaining 0.32 mile half-section (eastbound lanes) on University Boulevard from Hornbaker Road to the Prince William Parkway. The project also includes a pedestrian sidewalk, asphalt bike path, two storm water management ponds, a single-span bridge over the Broad Run tributary, underground utility duct banks, and a 30” waterline funded by the Prince William County Service Authority.
“The opening of this road is critical to improving traffic flow in western Prince William County,” said Chairman of the Board of County Supervisors Corey A. Stewart. “This project is part of a half a billion dollar commitment to transportation in the county as we strive to strengthen our road network and increase the quality of life for our residents.”
The project was administered by Prince William County’s Department of Transportation with the assistance of the Virginia Department of Transportation. This Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA) project was constructed and designed by the team of Shirley Design/Build, LLC and Dewberry.
BRISTOW, Va. — Paving crews will be working on a portion of Bristow Road near Va. 28 this week.
The road work is to pave a portion of Bristow Road near Manassas. The work is expected to be completed by Monday, stated Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Joan Morris.
Prince William police today posted the following message about the paving to warn drivers in the area:
Bristow Rd (Route 619) will be closed between Nokesville Rd (Route 28) and Chapel Springs Rd from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday, Nov 4th through Saturday, Nov 8th and next Monday, Nov 11th for VDOT operations. Motorists use caution when driving in the area.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — It’s a new day for bus riders in Gainesville area as new service from the Cushing Road commuter lot to Washington officially began this morning.
The Cushing Road lot sits near the intersection of Prince William Parkway (Route 234 Bypass) and Balls Ford Road, and provides drivers with direct access to Interstate 66 east. The service will be free to riders between today and Friday to give commuters a chance to try the service and familiarize themselves with OmniRide Gainesville.
More in a press release:
Locally, the new Gainesville OmniRide route will pick up and drop off passengers at the Cushing Road Commuter Lot at I-66 and Prince William Parkway. Destinations include the State Department, stops along 14th Street including the Commerce Department, and L’Enfant Plaza. There will be four trips to D.C. in the mornings and four return trips to Gainesville in the afternoon/evenings. See the map and timetable for Gainesville OmniRide buses.
PRTC currently offers the Linton Hall Metro Direct service, which connects Gainesville residents to the West Falls Church Metro Station where passengers can board a Metro train to complete their commutes. PRTC surveys have shown that some Linton Hall Metro Direct passengers will choose to ride the Gainesville OmniRide service instead. As a result, one Linton Hall Metro Direct morning trip and one afternoon trip will be eliminated as of November 4. See the new map and timetable for Linton Hall Metro Direct buses.
With the change, buses will no longer serve a nearby commuter lot at Kmart store on Sudley Road in Manassas. A parking agreement between commuter bus operator PRTC and the owners of the property on which Kmart sits was not renewed and drivers should instead park at a nearby commuter parking lot on Portsmouth Road, said PRTC spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo.
Kmart announced earlier this year the store on Sudley Road would close.
The changes mean the Manassas OmniRide bus that has been providing service between Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. will have one less stop. Those who have been driving to Manassas to park and catch the bus can now drive to the Cushing Road commuter lot and ride the new Gainesville service, said Rodrigo.
The cost to PRTC of leasing 295 parking spaces at Sudley Manor Square has increased by 57% over the past three years. The Portsmouth Commuter Lot, which is owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation, is just 1.3 miles away and has more than 550 unused parking spaces.
Now that some passengers will be parking at Cushing Road to catch the new Gainesville OmniRide service, PRTC has concluded that termination of the Sudley Manor Square lease is appropriate, saving $44,000 annually. The Portsmouth lot is already served by Manassas commuter buses, and PRTC will reroute afternoon/evening trips on Manassas OmniRide buses to serve the Portsmouth Lot prior to serving Manassas Mall.
The commuter bus service also announced the following changes as part of their annual fall service change:
· Dale City-Navy Yard OmniRide – PM trips renumbered to incorporate a trip added in June;
· Montclair OmniRide – AM and PM trips rescheduled to incorporate new trips added in June;
· Woodbridge-Lake Ridge OmniLink – Minor timetable changes;
· Dale City OmniLink – Minor timetable changes;
· Dumfries OmniLink – Minor timetable changes; and
· Manassas Park OmniLink – Timetable changes
For more information about PRTC’s transportation services, call (703) 730-6664 or visit PRTCtransit.org.
Virginia Railway Express is working to determine which on federal holidays to offer limited service.
A recent test on Columbus Day has yielded no service this upcoming Veterans Day. The state’s only commuter railroad issued an explanation to its riders via email:
We previously communicated to our passengers that we would run an “S” schedule on Columbus Day and from there, based on ridership, determine if we would run an “S” schedule on Veterans Day (Monday, November 11, 2013). Ridership for Columbus Day was extremely low and as a result we will not operate on Veterans Day.
We will continue to look for other soft holiday opportunities where ridership may allow us to provide a limited (“S” schedule) service.
VRE lists 11 holidays on its operations calendar where limited or no service is offered, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Sean Nelson will lead the Virginia Department of Transportation’s efforts in its Frederickburg region, to include operations in Stafford County.
Here’s more in a press release:
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has named Sean Nelson, P.E., to the position of Fredericksburg Residency Administrator.
Nelson will oversee highway maintenance, emergency operations and snow removal along 2,244 miles of state-maintained roads in the counties of Caroline, Spotsylvania and Stafford. He will also serve as the primary local government liaison for all VDOT transportation programs.
“Sean Nelson has an outstanding record of excellence at VDOT, and I look forward to the energy, enthusiasm and experience he will bring to leading the Fredericksburg Residency,” said Quintin Elliott, VDOT’s Fredericksburg District Administrator. “Since arriving at the Fredericksburg District in 2010, Sean led a dramatic improvement in interstate and primary pavement conditions. He has high expectations for everything he undertakes, and I know he will deliver results for Fredericksburg area motorists.”
Most recently, Nelson was named Assistant Fredericksburg Residency Administrator in August 2012.
Update 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 31
A ruptured gas main near Manassas has been repaired.
Here’s more in an email statement from a Washington Gas spokesman:
Washington Gas crews repaired the line close to midnight last night.
Washington Gas crews were on site at 9 a.m. this morning to conduct the relights for those customers who’s natural gas service was interrupted, the majority of which are commercial buildings.
Director, Corporate Communications
Update 7:20 p.m.
Crews are digging up a portion of Balls Ford Road in Manassas after a gas main was struck.
A contractor stuck a six-inch main late this afternoon in the area of Balls Ford Road and Coppermine Drive, said Washington Gas spokesman Ruben E. Rodriguez.
“We responded immediately and turned gas off at 6:08 p.m., and we currently have 36 outages,” he said.
Those outages are all located in “close proximity” to where the gas leak is. The affected portion of Balls Ford Road remains closed.
Stay with us for updates.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Balls Ford Road in the area of Coppermine Drive, near Sudley Road and Manassas, is closed, police report.
Construction crews in the area struck a gas line and police have been called to the area to help direct traffic, according to police.
Police report that it’s unclear how long it will take to make repairs on the gas main. The incident scene is near the busy intersection of Sudley Road and Interstate 66.
This incident comes as water crews remain on the scene of a water main burst this morning near Dumfries. Police reported this morning crews expected to have the main repaired by 10 p.m. Potomac Local News requested information from the water company, Prince William Service Authority, but those calls were not returned.
Update 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 31
The broken water main that snarled U.S. traffic near Dumfries is fixed.
The water main was repaired about 10 p.m. Wednesday and water was flowing again, and the hole that was dug to access the break was back filled by 1 a.m. Thursday, said Prince William County Service Authority spokesman Keenan Howell.
About eight customers were without water as a result of the break.
Traffic on U.S. 1 north in the area was slow for much of the day as crews closed one lane of the four-lane road to repair the break.
A slide show of photos taken Wednesday afternoon as crews worked to repair a burst water main. Several attempts to gain information from the Prince William Service Authority, the water company in charge of repairs, went unanswered.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — It will take hours to finish repairs on a water main break in Dumfries, police said.
The break occurred early this morning along U.S. 1 at Wayside Drive, near a Walmart shopping center, the Town of Dumfries, and the Southbridge neighborhood.
Here’s the latest message from Prince William police:
*TRAFFIC ALERT: [UPDATE] Repairs to the water main break at RT1 near Wayside Dr is expected to last well into the evening hours. Repair time is now estimated to be around 10:00PM. Only 1 lane northbound is being affected at this time.
We’re working on getting an update from the Prince William Service Authority, the agency that maintains the water lines, on the cause of the break.
NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Road crews will close two lanes of Interstate 95 Thursday and Friday nights so they can inspect gas lines.
Crews will inspect gas lines at the Va. 610 overpass at I-95, at mile post 143, and that means two lanes of the highway will close to traffic at the overpass, and traffic on eastbound Va. 610 headed toward U.S. 1 will not be able to enter I-95 north at the entrance ramp.
Drivers can instead use the on-ramp from U.S. 1 to I-95 to access the highway, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
On Friday night, two southbound lanes of I-95 will close as crews continue their gas line inspections. Traffic from Va. 610 west will not be able to enter the highway via the entrance ramp, while drivers on Va. 610 east will be able enter I-95 via the southbound on ramp, according to VDOT.
Detour signs will be in place to guide motorists, VDOT states.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The annual fall homecoming parade is a tradition for Woodbridge Senior High School.
And, because the school is located on busy commuter route Old Bridge Road in Lake Ridge, the event can tie up traffic. That’s why the Virginia Department of Transportation is giving drivers a heads up about the parade that will roll down Old Bridge Road on Friday.
Here’s more in an email from VDOT:
This email is to advise you of the annual Woodbridge Senior High School Homecoming Parade that will be crossing Old Bridge Road on Friday afternoon, October 25th, between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
The parade will start on Deepford Drive, proceed on Antietam Road, then cross over Old Bridge Road into the student parking lot of the High School. The crossing of Old Bridge Road is planned to be completed by 5 p.m. The parade will be broken into segments with intermittent crossings to avoid traffic delays on Old Bridge Road.
Traffic control during the parade will be provided by the Prince William County Police Department. Message boards are being placed on Old Bridge Road advising the public of the upcoming event. Parade information has been communicated to media outlets.
The parade is the first in a series of homecoming events for the high school of 2,500 students. Following Friday’s parade is a football game, the Woodbridge Vikings will take on the Potomac Panthers of Woodbridge at 7:30 p.m. at home.
On Saturday, students will attend the annual homecoming dance from 8 to 11 p.m.
NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Highway crews in Stafford County spent a portion of their weekend installing new steel beams on a new flyover ramp at Garrisonville.
New steel was hoisted in place as part of a new ramp that will eventually carry traffic from newly paved High Occupancy Toll lanes that will extend from Dumfries in Prince William County to Garrisonville in Stafford County. Several lane closures and a temporary closure of the portion of the highway where work took place were put in place on Friday and Saturday nights.
The new steel comes as Gov. Robert F. McDonnell said the overall 95 Express Lanes Project is making progress and is expected to be completed late next year. The express lanes from Garrisonville to Edsall Road in Alexandria will allow drivers with three or more occupants inside their vehicles to use the lanes free with an E-Z Pass transponder, and single drivers will be given the option to pay with an E-Z Pass transponder to use the lanes.
More in a press release:
In the coming weeks, crews will complete the last major steel lifts within the project corridor, including beams for the future flyover ramp across I-95 near Garrisonville Road in mid-October and the future flyover ramp across I-395 near Edsall Road in early November.
Since starting construction of nine new bridges for the Express Lanes this past March, crews have placed more than 100 steel beams. A local disadvantaged business enterprise, Interlock Steelworkers, Inc., is performing the steel operations for the project, exemplifying VDOT’s and its partners’ commitment to providing opportunities to small and disadvantaged businesses in the local area.
As crews complete these steel operations, drivers can expect fewer full closures and detours of I-95 during the Express Lanes’ final year of construction.
Crews also are scheduled to complete the majority of new paving that must occur throughout the future Express Lanes alignment by late 2013 – placing nearly half a million tons of asphalt along I-95. The completion of paving will provide drivers with smoother and safer travel lanes, more than a year before the Express Lanes are slated to open. The paving also allows workers to shift traffic within the HOV lanes, which is necessary to complete the new Express Lanes.
QUANTICO, Va. — Drivers should expect another closure of a portion Interstate 95 south this weekend near Quantico Marine Corps Base.
More in a press release:
Weather permitting, this Friday night, October 18 and Saturday night, October 19 starting at 9:30 p.m., the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will begin to close lanes on I-95 south just before Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCBQ) Russell Road, Exit 143 to Garrisonville Road, Exit 148, Route 610 progressing to a full closure of I-95 south from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., Saturday and Sunday mornings.
This closure will allow crews to safely lift steel beams for a new bridge that will carry traffic from the future 95 Express Lanes located in the median to the right side of I-95 south, just north of the Garrisonville Road (Route 610) exit.
A detour will be in place overnight once all lanes close:
All I-95 southbound traffic will be directed to Exit 148, MCBQ, Russell Road east to U.S. Route 1 south to Garrisonville Road (Route 610) and back to I-95 south. One lane on U.S. Route 1 south will also be closed prior to Russell Road to accommodate detour traffic.
Motorists may experience up to 20 minutes additional travel time as crews set-up the lane closures and detour route.
All lanes will be restored by 9 a.m. Saturday morning, October 19, and 10 a.m. Sunday morning, October 20.
Motorists should expect continued nightly lane closures, Mondays through Saturdays.
Rain date: Sunday night October 20, into Monday morning October 21.
The driver of a tractor trailer that overturned on I-95 on Wednesday faces charges.
More from Virginia State Police:
The driver of the tractor-trailer, Dean A. Brames, 48, of Palm Bay, Fla., was transported to Potomac Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. He has been treated and released.
Brames has been charged with reckless driving.
Update 1 p.m.
A crashed tractor trailer should be cleared from Interstate 95 south at Dale City by 3 p.m.
Police said the truck was still lying on the roadway just before 1 p.m. The clean up will be a “labor-intensive process” and should begin shortly as crews begin to upright the truck.
Traffic backups were reported to be seven miles in the area of the crash.
DALE CITY, Va. — A tractor trailer carrying caulking adhesives overturned this morning on Interstate 95 south at Dale City.
More in a police press release:
At 10:23 a.m. Wednesday, Virginia State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 at the 156 mile marker in Prince William County. A tractor-trailer has overturned onto the Jersey wall. The impact of the crash ruptured the trailer which is loaded with [caulking adhesives].
Clean up of the [caulking adhesives] will be lengthy and take several hours before the scene can be completely cleared. Motorists should be prepared for delays or find alternate routes to avoid the area. Prince William County Police are assisting with traffic control and diversion at the Dale City/I-95 on/off ramps.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured in the crash. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
They say they’re going to clog Washington area traffic for three days starting today. They say they have demands for leaders in Washington, including a mandate that states the president must leave office.
We know many of them have 18 wheels on their trucks. But will they use them to tie up your morning commute?
More than 10,000 truckers are scheduled to participate in the “Ride for the Constitution” and slow traffic on the Capital Beltway in Virginia and Maryland. The ride is billed as a three-day event where big rigs will take up at least two lanes of the Beltway, leaving the left lanes open for emergency vehicles.
The roadway rally is in response to the government shutdown which has put federal workers out of their offices, caused many government websites to go dark and closed many public destinations like National Parks.
And, unlike what you may have read earlier in the week from major media outlets, they say this ride is no hoax.
“Demonstrators under the banner of Truckers Ride for the Constitution will arrive in DC tomorrow morning to snarl traffic as part of “a shot across the bow that will ripple across all branches of government.” 10,000 truckers are expected to continually circle the Beltway for three days, taking up two lanes and keeping a third clear to allow access for emergency vehicles.”
— Ride for the Constitution Facebook page statement
In Virginia, state police will be out on the roads to monitor the situation and the impact it could have on traffic. As of Thursday, there were no plans for troopers to intervene in the rally, according to a statement form spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
So, what do the truckers want? They’ve posted a list of demands on their website, and they say Rep. Louis Buller “Louie” Gohmert, Jr. (R-Texas) will receive those demands Friday at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall.
There are new changes in the times the HOV lanes on Interstate 95 and 395 on weekday mornings.
Here’s more in a press release:
Beginning October 15,the reversible high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on northbound I-395/I-95 will close during the week at 11 a.m. rather than 10 a.m. The southbound HOV lanes will open to traffic by 1 p.m.
The recent schedule, where the lanes were closed and the direction reversed at 10 a.m. has helped ease congestion on I-95 southbound to accommodate VDOT’s routine summer road maintenance work, as well as intensified construction on several major improvement projects along I-395 and I-95 including the 95 Express Lanes, 95 Shoulder Lane project in Prince William County, and BRAC related work in the I-395/Seminary Road area.
The lanes, which allow vehicles with three or more occupants to travel north toward Washington each weekday between 6 and 9 a.m., close during the late morning hours so crews can clear the lanes and reopen them in the southbound direction for commuters returning home each weekday afternoon in vehicles of three or more occupants, between 3 and 6 p.m.
NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — It’s raining, it’s pouring, and the work to repave Staffordboro Boulevard ahead of a project to add 1,000 new commuter parking spaces to at adjacent Staffordboro commuter lot next to Stafford Marketplace mall is postponed.
More in a press release:
Paving work scheduled for Route 684 (Staffordboro Boulevard) in Stafford County this weekend has been cancelled due to weather conditions.
The work has been rescheduled for the weekend of October 18-21.
Two lanes of Staffordboro Boulevard will be closed from Stafford Marketplace to north of Woodstream Boulevard from 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18 to shortly after 12 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 21.
The Staffordboro Boulevard entrance to Stafford Marketplace will be closed to all traffic. Motorists traveling to Stafford Marketplace should use the Route 610 or Prosperity Lane entrance to the shopping center.
Northbound Staffordboro Boulevard traffic will be detoured to Pike Place to access Woodstream Boulevard
This paving work is part of a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) project to add nearly 1,000 new commuter parking spaces to the Staffordboro Boulevard Park & Ride lot.
VDOT is requiring the contractor to enhance these segments of Staffordboro Boulevard with roller-compacted concrete as a base layer, where construction vehicles will be traveling during the project.
Construction of the $12.9 million improvement project is scheduled to take 16 months, and will open to users in October 2014.
Update 12:20 p.m.
A woman from Bronx, N.Y. was killed this morning in a crash on Interstate 95 north.
Here’s more from Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller:
At 5:27 a.m., Tuesday (October 8, 2013), Virginia State Police were called to a multi-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes of I-95 at the 135 mile marker in Stafford County.
A 2004 Mercury sedan was traveling south on Interstate 95 when it ran off the left side of the highway. The car crossed through the median, struck an embankment, and continued into the northbound lanes of I-95 where it struck a 2010 Toyota sedan. The Toyota subsequently collided with a northbound 2008 Chevrolet HHR and then a northbound 2013 two-axle box truck.
The driver of the Mercury, Ty Shaun L. Holloway, 20, of Hampton, Va., was transported to Stafford Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. His passenger, Dejonniza Q. White, 20, of Bronx, N.Y., died at the scene.
The driver of the Toyota, David J. Schwartz, 36, of Fredericksburg, Va., was transported to Stafford Hospital and has already been treated and released.
The drivers of the Chevrolet and box truck were not injured in the crash.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Holloway has been charged with reckless driving.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — A fatal crash has involving four cars has led to major backups on Interstate 95 in Stafford County.
The crash happened just before Centreport Parkway in the northbound lanes of the highway. Four cars were involved in the wreck, which remains under investigation.
The name of the crash victim has not been released.
Traffic is backed up to Va. 3 in Fredericksburg, and WTTG-TV reports police have set up orange cones to close a the main travel lanes of I-95 north but drivers are ignoring them. Traffic is getting by on the left shoulder of the highway at the crash scene.
All school buses in Stafford County are delayed this morning due to the crash, said Stafford schools spokeswoman Valerie Cottongim.
Stafford sheriff’s deputies are monitoring traffic at intersections throughout the county this morning, said spokesman Bill Kennedy. U.S. 1 is a bailout route for I-95 drivers.
Virginia Railway Express is running normal service today, Oct. 2, 2o13.
A government shutdown has impacted commuters on Virginia Railway Express.
The commuter railroad announced changes to service for Tuesday afternoon. Those changes are listed in full below.
VRE said it will decide by 6 p.m. whether to operate limited service on Wednesday due to the Federal Government shutdown.
More in a press release:
In anticipation of early afternoon commuter rush, we are moving the longer trains earlier in an attempt to accommodate heavy passenger loads. The regular schedule is in effect and unfortunately we do not have the flexibility to operate VRE trains earlier.
301 (Departs Union Station at 12:55p) – 8 cars
303 (Departs Union Station at 3:35p) – 7 cars
305 (Departs Union Station at 4:10p) – 7 cars
307 (Departs Union Station at 4:40p) – 6 cars
309 (Departs Union Station at 5:15p) – 6 cars
311 (Departs Union Station at 6:00p) – 5 cars
313 (Departs Union Station at 6:40p) – 4 cars
325 (Departs Union Station at 1:15p) – 8 cars
327 (Departs Union Station at 3:45p) – 7 cars
329 (Departs Union Station at 4:25p) – 8 cars
331 (Departs Union Station at 5:05p) – 8 cars
333 (Departs Union Station at 5:30p) – 6 cars
335 (Departs Union Station at 6:10p) – 6 cars
337 (Departs Union Station at 6:50p) – 6 cars
As information, Amtrak Cross-Honor trains are available to VRE riders with a valid multi-ride ticket (Monthly, TLC, 10-Ride, 5 Day) and an Amtrak Step-Up ticket, which can be purchased at all Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) and authorized VRE vendors. The available Amtrak Cross-Honor trains are listed in the columns to the right of the VRE trains on our schedule page. Please be aware that Amtrak Cross-Honor trains make limited VRE stops; if you plan to ride one, please double check to make sure it makes your stop. We monitor the on-time performance of these trains and will send out notifications if the Amtrak Cross-Honor trains are late.
We will notify riders by 6pm tonight whether we operate an “S” Schedule or a full schedule tomorrow, October 2, 2013
Update 8 a.m.
The crash has been cleared from the road, police said. There were no reports of any serious injuries.
GAINESVILLE, Va. — Witnesses reported a major crash involving multiple cars on Va. 234 near Balls Ford Road in near Interstate 66 in Manasass.
We’re told the crash is on the northbound side of Va. 234. One lane of traffic gets by northbound after Sudley Manor Drive, according to initial reports.
More as we have it.
GAINESVILLE, Va. — Commuters, shoppers, school buses, and freight trains used to converge at U.S. 29 in Gainesville.
For years the mix of travelers, and a growing population in western Prince William County, made the intersection problematic for not only drivers, but also for Prince William’s finest.
Five train vs. car crashes in the past 18 months at the intersection made things especially hectic. And, while no one was seriously injured in any of the incidents, responding to the train crashes was a major feat.
The accident clean up regularly snarled traffic on surrounding roads because the train was never allowed to move until an “all clear” was given from railroad investigators.
When an SUV headed south on U.S. 29 collided with a train on Dec. 19, a total of 16 Prince William police officers were called to redirect traffic around the mess and assist in an investigation. That doesn’t include a string of Virginia State Police Troopers who helped divert traffic on nearby Interstate 66, fire and rescue crews, and the county’s sheriff’s office that pitched in to help.
It was, at least back then, a typical emergency response for a train vs. car incident in Gainesville.
“We would often hear drivers say ‘I thought I was far enough off the tracks’ or ‘I didn’t even hear a train coming,’” said Prince William police Capt. Heidi Braun.
But all that changed this summer when a new bridge over the train tracks opened to traffic. Now, as part of major ongoing interchange improvements in Gainesville, drivers will no longer have to tussle with trains.
It’s good news when it comes to the safety of drivers, and for police officers who, during a car vs. train crash, would be forced to stand along roadways to direct traffic, risking the chance of being hit by another car.
“You’re going to see more of a smooth transition from Route 29, as shoppers will be able to get from Linton Hall Road and Gateway Center into the shopping center and be separated from all of those commuters who just want to simply go home,” said Braun.
The past five car vs. train crashes took place during evening rush hours, when drivers are out running errands at the adjacent Virginia Gateway Shopping Center, or are simply headed home from work.
Prior to the new bridge opening, the police department worked with the Virginia Department of Transportation to implement new safety measures at the intersection.
“VDOT has been very responsive to us. Last year we had some hard-to-see markings that caused drivers not to see the train tracks. So they came out and painted lines, and added lots of signage that said ‘train starts here, stop here,’” said Braun.
The intersection is where U.S. 29, the railroad, Linton Hall Road, and Va. 55 all converge. When the $267 million interchange improvements are complete, U.S. 29 will be widened to six lanes, and a pair of overpasses — one that now carries traffic over the railroad tracks, and the other that will carry traffic over Linton Hall Road and Va. 55 over the railroad and U.S. 29 — will be in place. It will create a limited-access roadway between I-66 and Virginia Oaks Drive.
More than 57,000 cars a day travel on U.S. 29 in Gainesville, according to VDOT.
Capt. Braun’s intersections to watch out for:
With more than 23 years of law enforcement experience, Capt. Heidi Braun has seen a lot of crashes — some of them fatal.
But you can protect yourself and other drivers by paying attention when behind the wheel while staying safe on the roads. Braun urges drivers to pay close attention at these known problematic intersections Prince William County —
— Sudley Road and Balls Ford Road — Manassas
— Sudley Manor Drive at Sudley Road — Manassas
— Dumfries Road at Prince William Parkway — Manassas
— Dale Boulevard at Minnieville Road — Dale City
— Dale Boulevard at Gideon Drive — Dale City