Traffic & Transit
In the process to relocate the FBI’s national headquarters to Virginia, it appears the CIA was here first.
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and members of a bipartisan congressional delegation in April unanimously chose a site in Fairfax County next to the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station for the new FBI headquarters. Now home to a massive warehouse owned by the General Services Administration, State officials assured the federal government the site has quick access to transit, and to Interstates 95, 395, and the Capital Beltway, and would meet criteria set forth by the General Services Administration.
Virginia, and Maryland with their chosen site in Prince Georges County, have been in the competition for the federal agency and its 11,000 jobs since last fall. The idea is to move the agency out of its aging J. Edgar Hoover Building offices in Downtown Washington and move personnel to a new building in one of the two nearby states.
But the mere existence of the warehouse in Springfield, which can be seen from I-95 and the Franconia-Springfield Parkway, and is said to be the largest wooden truss building this side of the Mississippi River, may stifle any chances the area once had of becoming the new home of the FBI.
It’s rumored that the facility has a large underground room complete with lead-lined walls, accessible only by elevator, and is complete with a state-of-the-art communications system, according to the Washington Post.
But just 30 minutes south, at a new housing development called Potomac Shores on the banks of the Potomac River in Woodbridge, could be the next best choice for the FBI’s national headquarters.
Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart is collecting signatures of locally elected officials in hopes they’ll join him in urging the feds to consider Potomac Shores as an alternative space because of its proximity to Quantico, the FBI Academy, and an FBI screening facility at Manassas Regional Airport. Prince William is also home to the agency’s Northern Virginia bureau.
“Should the Springfield site be deemed unsuitable by the GSA for the new FBI headquarters, we believe it would be prudent to have another specific site ready to immediately advance for this critical project to secure it for Virginia. That alternative site is clearly the Potomac Shores development site in Prince William County,” Stewart’s letter states.
With some 4,000 planned new homes at Potomac Shores, a walkable mixed-use business and shopping district, hotel, a planned Virginia Railway Express station, and access to express lanes currently under construction on I-95, Stewart said those who would work at the building would have a “reverse commute” in a secured space next to the river underneath Quantico’s controlled airspace.
Additionally, 75% of Northern Virginia’s workforce lives within a 30 minute rush-hour commute of Prince William County, according to Stewart’s letter.
As Stewart is a Republican, he’s also got support from across the aisle.
“The important thing here is that we all work together to ensure we get the FBI’s national headquarters in Virginia, no matter what district it’s located in,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Farifax, Prince William.
Another site that’s been proposed sits in Loudoun County, just off the Dulles Toll Road near Dulles Airport where Metro’s new Silver line is slated to run.
But for those eager to move on from the Fairfax County site, one Fairfax County official said taxpayers would save money if the FBI would locate to the GSA property in Springfield as the land is already federally owned. And, if Prince William County trades land from a developer for the FBI site, it’s possible the county could forgo millions of property tax dollars.
“The fact they’re working so hard to discredit this site tells me this site is the front runner,” said Fairfax County Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay.
McKay says the warehouse, which sits in his district, is primarily used to house documents for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and office furniture for federal agencies, does have it’s challenges. He said security is an issue as the warehouse has several independent tenants coming and going on the property who are not controlled by the federal government, but added those issues could be resolved through a partnership with the FBI.
“This site was selected by the governor in April, and since then there’s been no been big revelation that has happened to change things over the past two weeks,” said McKay.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — The Bi -County Parkway is not on a short list of approved road projects sanctioned by Prince William County officials.
The Board of Supervisors Tuesday removed the planned 10-mile extension of Va. 234, known as “234 extended,” that would largely carry traffic from Va. 234 at Interstate 66 around Manassas National Battlefield Park and link Prince William and Loudoun counties.
The roadway project is ultimately a part of the hotly debated “North South Corridor of Statewide Significance” — an overall 45 –mile corridor that could become home to a highway that links I – 95 in Dumfries to Dulles Airport, and Va. 7 in Loudoun County.
Prince William County officials will now meet with state legislators at a special session June 18, where they are expected to hear more information about the “North-South Corridor.”
It it’s built, a highway along the “North-South Corridor” could see the conversion of Va. 234 to a limited access roadway, and it would carry cargo traffic to and from busy Dulles Airport through Prince William County to I-95.
Supporters of the road say it will spur business in Prince William County and Manassas, and allow for better connectivity to Dulles Airport. Opponents call it a “developer’s road” that will allow more homes to be built in Loudoun County.
Prince William Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan said she worries about increased noise levels that could come with increased freight traffic on such a highway.
“Yes it is a main road, but all of those people who have bought [homes], all those subdivisions, the gated communities, every subdivision along the way, didn’t bargain for this,” said Caddigan.
On the list of 14 priorities for primary roads over the next six years, Prince William officials said they want VDOT to focus on widening I-66 between U.S. 29 and U.S. 15 between Gainesville and Haymarket, widening U.S. 1 in Woodbridge, and building a commuter parking garage at a new baseball stadium for the Potomac Nationals in Woodbridge. The “234 extended” bypass was the only project removed from the primary road list.
The secondary roadways marked for improvement by County Supervisors on Tuesday include widening Telegraph Road in Woodbridge, paving Signal Hill Road near Manassas, and widening University Boulevard. But only the paving of Burwell Road, currently a gravel road, is funded to the tune of $127,000, said Blaser.
While Prince William Board Chair Corey Stewart wanted to add improvements Va. 28 in Yorkshire to the list– which would require changes to the county’s comprehensive plan — Blaser urged Supervisors to adopt a full and immediate list of priorities to present to state officials at VDOT.
“I think this list far exceeds the amount of funding that is available, so, in terms of adding on to it, I don’t think that’s practical if we are going to have a serious negotiation with VDOT about what are priorities list is. I think we should really establish a priorities list rather than a big ‘wish list,’” said Blaser.
MANASSAS, Va. – A public meeting was held Monday at the Hytlon Performing Arts Center in Manassas about the proposed Bi-County, or as others call it, th Tri-County Parkway – a 45-mile road that would link Interstate 95 with Va. 7 via Dulles Airport. See the full video of the meeting below. Look for full coverage of this story tomorrow on Potomac Local News.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Starting today, teenagers or their parents can pick up OmniLink’s Teen Summer Pass.
The permit allows unlimited local bus rides for the entire summer on all OmniLink buses that travel in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
The pass costs $30, and when you consider the price of a one-way trip is $1.20, a teen who takes at least 13 round trips on OmniLink this summer is saving money, transportation officials at the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commissions said.
Passes go on sale today at the PRTC Transit Center in Woodbridge. They’ll also be sold at the following locations:
Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Thursday 5 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday 5 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sharron Baucom – Dale City Recreation Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Friday 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Ben Lomond Community Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Manassas City Hall Treasurer’s Office (cash only), Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Manassas Park City Hall Treasurer’s Office (cash only), Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and 3-5 p.m.
The pass also comes with some included discounts at the following locations:
Potomac Nationals, Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge –$1 off general admission at Friday home games;
Prince William Ice Center, 5180 Dale Boulevard, Woodbridge –$2 off public skate entry;
Bowl America, 13409 Occoquan Road, Woodbridge and 9000 Mathis Avenue, Manassas – one free game per visit, per day;
Manassas 4 Cinemas, 8890 Mathis Avenue, Manassas – $1 off admission (except Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and $1 off jumbo popcorn;
Stonewall Pool, 8531 Stonewall Road, Manassas – $1 off admission.
Teenagers with a photo ID are asked to bring it with them when they come to purchase the pass. They’ll be given a sticker that’ll be applied to the front of the ID, and they’ll show it to a bus driver each time they board, PRTC states.
Those who do not have a photo ID will be issued a OmniLink Teen Summer Pass card with a sticker on it, which they’ll show at time of boarding.
Officials said the Teen Summer Pass also is educational and helps to show children the benefits of, and how to use public transportation in the area.
MANASSAS, Va. – Support for an outer beltway in Prince William and Loudoun counties is growing thanks to a new partnership with major business organizations in region.
A total of 12 administrations today, including the Prince William and Loudoun chambers of commerce, joined to form the Bi-County Parkway Partnership. They say the planned 45-mile road that would link Interstate 95 in Dumfries with I-66 in Manassas via a transformed Va. 234, and then beyond to Dulles Airport and Va. 7 in Loudoun County, will better position the region to accommodate an estimated 300,000 new jobs that will come to the area as population continues to grow.
“This road is about improving the quality of life in our communities by untangling our region’s transportation mess; getting traffic off our neighborhood roads, making it easier for people to get to work, school, church or the grocery store and about creating jobs,” said Prince William Chamber of Commerce President Rob Clapper.
Their support of the proposed highway project, officially known at the North-South Corridor of Statewide Significance, comes as Prince William County residents opposed to the project continue to fill seats at public meetings. They voice opposition to locally elected leaders who, in turn, tell them to complain to state officials.
Those with a vested interest in the road, which would create more truck traffic as shippers move freight to and from an underutilized Dulles Airport through Prince William County, will have another chance to voice their opinions at a meeting with the Virginia Department of Transportation Monday June 3 at 6 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas.
The proposed outer beltway corridor, a new highway that would link U.S. 50 to Va. 606 in Loudoun County to provide better access to the western side of Dulles Airport and future Metro stations being built there, and for a Manassas Battlefield Bypass road, will all be discussed at the meeting. Visitors will see display boards and ask questions from 6 to 7 p.m., and then they’ll move into an auditorium for a presentation and question and answer session that’s scheduled to wrap-up at 9 p.m., according a press release from VDOT.
The Manassas Battlefield, the homes around it, and the roads that carry traffic through it – U.S. 29 and Va. 234 Business – are also a heated topic in this discussion. If an outer beltway is built, a portion of it would run through the battlefield. In exchange for the land, portions of U.S. 29 and Va. 234 that currently traverse the national park will close, in agreement between the state and National Park Service. Residents argue that if portions of these two roads, and nearby Pageland Lane close under the proposal, it would negatively impact their quality of life.
And for officials at Prince William County who say their hands are tied, five organizations in a letter dated February 22, 2013 seem to disagree. The letter, among other things, questions the legal procedure in which the roads through the battlefield will be closed, and names Prince William County as a possible owner of the roads even if state and federal officials decide to shut them down, essentially making Prince William County the new owner of the portions of closed roadways.
A Woodbridge man faces charges in a fatal crash on Virginia roads over the Memorial Day weekend – one of seven deadly crashes that occurred on state roads.
Thomas J. Smith, of Woodbridge, faces reckless driving charges in a crash that occurred early Saturday morning on Interstate 95 near Lorton. Rashid K. Humphreys, 30, of Yonkers, N.Y., was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car. He was taken to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, Virginia State Police reported.
A second passenger inside the car, Robert D. Brown, Jr., of Fredericksburg, suffered minor injuries and were not transported for treatment.
Overall, there were seven traffic deaths on Virginia roadways overt the holiday Memorial Day weekend (observed by police from midnight Friday to noon Tuesday). The number of deaths is the lowest they have been in four years, when the fatality count for the same time period was also seven in 2009.
In 2012, a total of 12 people were killed on Memorial Day weekend in traffic-related crashes. In 2008, a total of 13 people lost their lives on Virginia roads over the holiday weekend.
This year, The seven reported traffic deaths occurred in the City of Newport News, and the counties of Amelia, Carroll, Fairfax, Patrick and Southampton.
LORTON , Va. — One man was pronounced dead after he was ejected from a car traveling on Interstate 95 at 5:48 this morning. A Honda sedan was traveling near Lorton at the 164 mile post when it ran off the right side of the highway and flipped over and the passenger ejected.
The victim was taken to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center where he later died.
The driver and a second passenger were not injured, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
There’s no word yet on what caused the crash or the identity of the victim.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — “Immature,” “unfounded,” and “frivolous spending,” were some of the comments Mark Dudenhefer heard when he wanted to improve Stafford County’s antiquated roads.
In 2004, his 17-year-old daughter Emily was killed in a car crash on Mountain View Road. Nine years later, Stafford County celebrated the implementation of new road fixes following a $70 million voter-approved road bond passed in 2008. The very road on which Emily lost her life will be improved to help prevent others, including more than 400 student drivers at Mountain View High School, from being injured or killed in car crashes.
“This is not meant to be a sad day… this is a happy day for Stafford County because today we take a step forward out of the blame me, blame someone else for our problems, and we have now decided we are going to take charge…” said Dudenhefer.
Now a State Delegate representing portions of Stafford County and eastern Prince William, the Republican gathered with friends and county officials to break ground for improvements to the roadway to include wider 12-feet lanes and 8-feet shoulders.
A string of firsts, it’s the first major project of the county’s first road bond, and it’s the first time Stafford County residents have not waited for state help in fixing their own roads.
Following Emily’s death, a Youth Driver Taskforce convened for 21 meetings and identified roads in the county in need of improvement. All but one of them – U.S. 1 at the intersection of Potomac Creek Drive – were 2-lane roads that have not seen improvements since they were built in the early 20th century, despite Stafford’s ballooning population.
The road bond money will now be used to improve areas along Brooke, Eskimo Hill, Poplar, and Rock Hill Church roads.
On Mountain View Road – the largest of the improvements – the price tag will top $7 million and is expected to be completed next year.
Dudnehefer’s time serving on the Stafford Board of Supervisors was largely consumed with trying to advance transportation improvements in the county. He thanked some of the Supervisors he once worked with, and recalled some negative comments that strengthened his resolve.
“I had a former member of the Board of Supervisors that basically said that I was deranged and that all my views on the world were skewed because of an accident with my daughter, and while those comments hurt my feelings, it gave me more and more of a determination to move forward and step out and do something to try and help this community,” he said.
Megaprojects Mega Mike
Residents & Elected Officials Oppose Highway Project
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A decision whether or not to endorse an outer beltway in Prince William County will have to wait.
County leaders Tuesday deferred endorsing a list of projects for a six-year roadway construction plan which will ultimately be presented to the Commonwealth Transportation Board in Richmond. On the list is the “North-South Corridor of statewide significance,” also known as the Tri, or Bi-County Parkway, and known to others as a proposed outer beltway.
However they referred to it, opposition to the road continues to mount in Prince William, and so have complaints from residents who say they’ve been in the dark about plans for what would be a 45-mile road linking Interstate 95 in Dumfries to Va. 7 in Loudoun County. Opponents fear the road will spur economic development in Loudoun, not Prince William, will force the closure of small streets near Manassas National Battlefield, and lead to urban sprawl in the protected Rural Crescent.
“There’s been a lot of misinformation about this parkway,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart to a line of speakers urging the outer beltway be removed from the list of county-endorsed projects.
Stewart maintains the road will be built one way or another because the region’s population continues to grow. But to those who lined up in front of him Tuesday afternoon, he urged them to contact their state legislators instead.
“The place to stop the road is in Richmond with your State Delegates and your State Senators. You can talk to us all day long about the road, and that’s fine… but it’s a state-designed road, funded with state dollars… there’s no county money in this road,” said Stewart.
The proposed highway would transform Va. 234 from Dumfries to Interstate 66 to a limited access highway, then extend it through a portion of Manassas National Battlefield Park, through Loudoun County and ultimately connecting with Dulles International Airport and then on to Va. 7. The highway would make for a faster connection to the airport for drivers looking to catch a flight and for freight haulers carrying cargo from the airport – a major commerce hub for the state.
The residents who live on and around Pageland Lane in Prince William County, near Manassas Battlefield, have been the most vocal opponents to the highway so far. A portion of their street would close under the current highway plan, and so would portions of Va. 234 Business and U.S. 29 that run inside the battlefield park.
“You say that there is a lot of misinformation. Why is there so much misinformation? Why are we asking the questions? Why are we here talking about something that we think we can change if you say we can’t change it,” asked Shannon Gunn, who lives in Bristow.
Others who commented referred to a press conference held late last month where GOP legislators joined in opposition of an outer beltway. Residents also said they’ve heard little from the Virginia Department of Transportation about what would be a landscape-altering project.
“If you think as citizens we are uninformed or just don’t understand the rationale for this project, you’re right. Public involvement has been minimal and highly orchestrated by the proponents [of the project],” said Barry Kline.
More than just residents, Delegate Bob Marshall, R – Manassas, also spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, and warned Prince William residents of increased truck traffic if the highway is built, not only near Manassas but also in the Coles and Potomac districts and at Dumfries.
“This “North-South outer beltway” was missing from December publications from VDOT. Last year, the publication did not specify the names of any roads affected, communities or postal areas that would be affected or that were mass presented to the public. You’ve got public assimilation, not public information,” said Marhsall.
The Delegate urged for improvements along I-66 and Va. 28, especially where the two roads meet in Fairfax County, as an alternative to building an outer beltway.
After Marshall left the podium, Stewart disappeared from view. When he came back nearly an hour later, he said state legislators should answer more questions about the proposed project and not leave locally elected officials twisting in the wind.
“…they want us to save them from themselves. It’s a state road, and, no offense, frankly, we need better representation at the state level and we’re not getting it right now… in both parties,” said Stewart.
Still licking political wounds from last weekend’s Republican Convention in which he lost his bid for Lt. Governor to Bishop E.W. Jackson, of Chesapeake, in what almost seemed like a campaign speech, Stewart reminded residents about a $800 million transportation bill that could mean higher taxes for those living in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. He also urged residents to question politicians about why the Tri-County Parkway – a highway proposed in the early 2000s that was to traverse Prince William, Loudoun, and Fairfax counties — was defeated by some of the the same Republicans who now oppose this road project, said Stewart.
“Every one of those elected representatives from the state who is opposed to the road, and are not offering an alternative, is a coward,” said Stewart.
A public hearing on the proposed highway is scheduled on Monday, June 3, at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. A presentation will begin at 7 p.m. followed by a question and answer session where those who sign up to speak will be given two minutes each to make their case for or against the road.
Supervisors will once again take up their list of preferred road projects — which includes widening I-66 between U.S. 29 and U.S. 15, widening U.S. 1 in Woodbridge, and building a parking garage at a new Potomac Nationals baseball stadium planned to open in 2015 — until after a meeting of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board next month.
DUMFRIES, Va. — Brian Gudmundson rode his bike to work on Friday.
It was Bike to Work Day in the Washington area, and he rode his all the way from Frederickburg to his office at Quantico. Along the way, he rode into a rest stop at the Dumfries Community Center next to Town Hall where water, snacks, and goodies like free “Bike to Work” t-shirts and water bottles were waiting for him.
It took Gudmundson about an hour and a half to reach Dumfries before heading to the office. He took U.S. 1, which is built for cars, not bikes.
“It was a good ride, but contending with all of the other cars along the road can be a little unnerving,” said Gudmundson.
A total of six people came to the Bike to Work Day pit stop in Dumfries where they were welcomed by Councilman Charles Brewer and Dumfries Business Association President Daniel Cosner. Cosner had his bicycle chained up to a fence post Friday while Gudmundson visited, while Brewer pointed his preferred mode of transportation – his pickup parked nearby.
The pit stop in Dumfries was organized by Community Services Coordinator Cydny Neville.
There were seven Bike to Work Day pit stops in Prince William County (including the stop in Dumfries) and one in Manassas, in Old Town’s Virginia Railway Express station. More than 10,000 commuters were expected to take part in the special annual event.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — An accident involving a dump truck, a mail delivery vehicle, a Ford Taurus and a Nissan pick-up truck snarled traffic on Garrisonville Road and Green Acre Drive during rush hour today. A Stafford County deputy talks with both the truck drivers. [Mary Davidson / PotomacLocalNews.com]
All lanes of Interstate 95 are open following the crash.
D COUNTY, Va. — It’s been a mess all morning long on Interstate 95 south in Stafford County. It will remain closed at mile post 133 just before Fredericksburg until at least noon today following a HAZMAT spill.
More in a press release from Virginia State Police:
At 5:12 a.m. Friday (May 17), Virginia State Police were called to the scene of a two-vehicle crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 south of Exit 133/Falmouth in Stafford County. Two southbound tractor-trailers collided with one another. The two tractor-trailers came to a stop on the right shoulder of I-95. Both tractor-trailers are upright and neither driver was injured.
One of the tractor-trailers is hauling barrels of an organic, corrosive, liquid material. The impact of the crash caused several barrels to fall off the tractor-trailer and land in the right southbound lane. Stafford and Fredericksburg HazMat crews are on scene working to contain and clear the minor leakage from at least one of the damaged barrels.
The southbound lanes of I-95 are estimated to remain closed until approximately noon Friday.
Crash remains under investigation at this time.
Due to the crash, traffic is being rerouted onto nearby roads, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation:
All southbound traffic is being detoured at Exit 133 to southbound Route 17 Business, and then onto southbound Route 1. Traffic can return to southbound I-95 at Exit 130/Route 3 or Exit 126/Spotsylvania.
Due to the additional traffic, heavy congestion is expected on southbound Route 17 Business and southbound Route 1 this morning in the Fredericksburg area.
QUANTICO, Va. — Drivers can expect delays tonight and tomorrow night on Interstate 95 south at Joplin Road.
More in a press release from Virginia Megaprojects.
Starting tonight, May 15, and Thursday night, May 16, from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., and again on Friday night, May 17, from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will close a single right lane of I-95 south at Joplin Road, Exit 150 for approximately a half-mile. This will allow crews to safely install concrete beams for a new 95 Express Lanes bridge over Joplin Road.
On Joplin Road, (Route 619) two-way traffic will be directed by flaggers during overnight work hours.
All closures are weather permitting. Police will be on site for motorists safety.
STAFFORD, Va. — After Delegate Mark Dudenhefer stood behind Virginia’s governor and voted for an $800 million transportation reform package last winter, Stafford County will receive some of the spoils.
In a press release today, Dudenhefer, R-Stafford, Woodbridge, outlined $268 million in new transportation funds coming to the county as part of the deal. With it, Stafford County’s six-year transportation plan will be updated to reflect the changes.
The projects include:
Repair and Paving:
1) $28.7 million to replace or rehabilitate structurally deficient bridges, including:
– Route 1 over Rappahannock Canal in Fredericksburg
– Route 1 over Potomac Run in Stafford County
2) An estimated $45-55 million a year is expected from combined construction and maintenance funds for interstate, primary, and secondary paving over the next six fiscal years. In addition, $20.5 million is targeted for Interstate 95 in the region. Among the pavement improvements that will be seen as soon as 2013:
– Route 1 in Stafford
– Route 3 in Stafford
– Numerous secondary and subdivision streets, in all 14 counties
New Construction Projects:
1) $184 million to reconstruct the Interstate 95 interchange at Route 630 (Courthouse Road) in Stafford County.
2) $55 million to fully fund preliminary engineering work and right-of-way on the Rappahannock River Crossing improvements on I-95 between Route 17 in Stafford and Route 3 in Fredericksburg.
3) $2.2 million to advance the study and design work for the addition of a fourth travel lane on I-95 between Garrisonville Road and Centreport Parkway in Stafford, as well as shoulder widening.
4) Route 17 Widening in Stafford County
5) Staffordboro Boulevard Commuter Parking Lot Expansion in Stafford County
6) Falmouth Intersection Improvement Project in Stafford County
“I am pleased to see that the decision we made in Richmond to improve and adequately fund Virginia’s transportation needs is bearing fruit. Less congestion and safer roads in the region is no longer a fantasy. We can now see real improvements on the horizon. None of this would have been possible without passage of the transportation bill,” said Delegate Dudenhefer stated in a press release.
The transportation bill divided Republicans in the General Assembly because the final version of the bill will bring higher taxes – a jump in sales taxes from 5 to 5.3% statewide and to as much as 6% in the state’s most congested regions in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Also under the new transportation law, the gas tax not touched since 1986 will be replaced with a 3% tax on fuel at the wholesale level. Democrats supported the bill as the GOP agreed to compromise for an expansion of Medicare in the state.
Dudenhefer also represents Woodbridge, and is the Republican Delegate from Prince William County who voted for transportation reform.
DALE CITY, Va. — What once worked in construction zones on the Capital Beltway is now in use on Intestate 95: Orange Cones, No Phones.
The program sponsored by the builders of new Express Lanes coming to the interstate highway is meant to call attention to distracted drivers who use their cell phones to text, email, or talk behind the wheel. With $1 billion in construction happening along 29-mile express lanes corridor from Va. 610 in North Stafford to Edsall Road in Alexandria, officials said drivers need to pay attention while on the roads.
“According to this report, distracted driving remains a significant problem and vexing problem in the D.C. metropolitan area, particularly in construction work zones. I probably don’t have to tell you that navigating work zones is extremely challenging and requires full time and attention, and anyone who drove the Express Lanes work zones on the Capital Beltway knows what we are talking about,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman Lon Anderson.
Express Lanes on the Beltway opened in November, and now the concept is being expanded to I-95. The report Anderson references is authored by AAA Mid Atlantic and Fluor-Transurban, the builders of the Express Lanes. It surveyed 943 drivers between Feb. 27 and March 7. It found:
— Nearly one in five drivers on I-95 text while behind the wheel
— 17% of respondents admit to reading texts while behind the wheel
— 11% admit to writing text messages while driving
— 24% of I-95 drivers surveyed say they talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving
— 39% of those surveyed say they talk while using a hands-free device
— Three out of four drivers recalled using their phones while behind the wheel in the previous week
Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton called attention to the safety of highway workers along the 95 Express Lanes corridor.
“In this work zone alone, almost 1,500 workers are out here pounding the work site. Every one of them is out there doing great work for the people of the commonwealth, making sure we get transportation improvements, helping make sure we help the quality of life and the economy of Virginia, at the same time they’re putting their lives in danger,” said Connaughton.
He cited a new texting while driving law set to take effect July 1 championed by Prince William County Delegate Richard Anderson that will make it a primary offense, and beef up fines for drivers caught by police texting behind the wheel.
Officials hope the Orange Cones, No Phones message is received by drivers as the busy summer construction season is ramping up. In the 95 Express Lanes corridor, drivers will see increased work on new flyover construction, barrier work, utility relocation, and sound wall installation that will cause delays.
The new Express Lanes, which will replace the current HOV lanes between Dumfries and the Pentagon, and see the construction of new lanes nine miles south of Dumfries to North Stafford, are expected to open in early 2015.
DUMFRIES, Va. — Two lanes crash on Interstate 95 at Dumfries has severely slowed traffic this afternoon.
The crash is at mile post 152 south at Va. 234, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
It’s not clear what caused the crash, or if anyone was injured.
Traffic is snarled not only in the southbound direction, but also on I-95 north. Drivers are also moving slowly on the highway as they leave Stafford County and enter Prince William County in the area of Quantico.
STAFFORD, Va. — A Stafford man died Friday when his car collided with another.
Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said a 2005 Honda Accord driven by 35-year-old Jeffery L. Bolling, 35, crossed the double yellow lines of Shelton Shop Road near Courthouse Road and collided with a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche traveling in the opposite direction at 11:59 a.m.
Bolling died at the scene. Police said he was not wearing a seatbelt and said alcohol was a factor that led to the crash.
Geller did not offer any further details on the occupants of the Avalanche.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Traveling Interstate 95 in our area tonight? Watch out for more closures on the HOV lanes from Dumfries to Washington.
Starting at 11 p.m., the HOV lanes will close until 10 a.m. Saturday, when the lanes will reopen at the Franconia-Springfield Parkway for drivers headed south into Prince William County. The northern section of the lanes from Springfield to Washington will stay closed until 5 p.m. that afternoon, when the lanes will reopened in their entirety in the northbound direction, according to a press release from the Virginia Megaprojects office.
Traveling on I-395 between the Capital Beltway and Seminary Road in Alexandria? One left lane of that portion of highway will also close at 11 o’clock tonight and reopen at 10 a.m. tomorrow.
All of these closures will allow crews working on the 95 Express Lanes Project to install new signage, and perform work on drainage, grading, and barriers along the project corridor which extends from North Stafford to Edsall Road in Alexandria.
Transportation officials urge drivers to expect delays and find alternate routes if possible.
The region is under a dense fog advisory from the National Weather Service.
Until 10 a.m., visibilities are expected to stay at a quarter a mile or less.
Traffic on area highways like Interstate 95 and 66 were moving without incident about 6:45 a.m. Thursday. The weather service still urged drivers to slow down in the face of dense fog to prevent accidents.
The sun has been absent from our area for most of the week. Thunderstorms are once again possible for today, but warmer temperatures near 80 degrees are on the way today.