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Traffic & Transit

13 Die, Thousands Cited on Roads over Thanksgiving

Photo: Mary Davidson

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

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

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

More in a press release from Virginia State Police:

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

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

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

Orange Cones to Sprout in Dumfries

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

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

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


Crash Closes Portion of I-95 North

2:30 p.m. 

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

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

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

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

More as we have it.


Flashing Warning System Installed on Courthouse Rd.

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Drivers on Courthouse Road now have some help knowing when other cars have come to a stop on the two-lane road.

The Virginia Department of Transportation on earlier this month planned to activate a new flashing warning system to alert drivers to stoped cars near Winding Creek Road.

More in a press release from the agency:

On Thursday, Nov. 15, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) plans to activate the recently installed Advance Warning Flasher on Route 630 (Courthouse Road) near Winding Creek Elementary School in Stafford County.

The Advance Warning Flasher will provide advance warning to motorists travelling east on Courthouse Road just west of Ramoth Church Road (Route 628) that vehicles are stopped and waiting to make a left turn onto northbound Route 628 (Winding Creek Road).

VDOT conducted testing of the warning system today in preparation of the full activation.

Transportation officials estimate Courthouse Road carries some 11,000 cars per day. 

Winding Creek Elementary School sits at the intersection of Courthouse and Winding Creek roads.


Drivers Told to “Move Over” for Thanksgiving


It’s the busiest travel time of the year and already drivers have packed area roadways to head over the hills and through the woods.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says more than 1 million people in the Washington area will travel more than 50 miles away from home this Thanksgiving holiday – about a 1.3 percent increase in the number of travelers over the same time last year.

One of the ways they’ll be getting where they’re going – the 495 Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway which opened last weekend, states AAA Mid-Atlantic in a press release:

Chances are, the brand spanking new Express Lanes will be jammed with Thanksgiving travelers. On top of that, the competition will be fierce for every inch of lane miles on every highway, thoroughfare, toll road, alternate-route, street, side-road, back-road, and exit ramp in the region. They will be filled to the hilt with nine-out-of- ten holiday travelers (an estimated 977, 600 persons) originating in the metro area, projects AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The automobile agency adds travelers will also take to planes and trains this weekend.

But for those driving on Virginia’s highways, state police said there will be more troopers on the road, and they urge motorists to slow down and to move over when they see emergency services vehicles on the side of the road.

Here’s more in a statement from Virginia State Police:

Virginia State Police will have 75 percent of its uniformed workforce on patrol during peak travel periods during the Thanksgiving holiday. With the increase in emergency personnel presence, motorists are reminded to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires drivers to change to another travel lane or, when not able to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. In 2010, the law was amended to include highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.

To heighten motorists’ awareness of the state law, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) recently installed additional signs statewide. Currently, there are 33 signs positioned along every major interstate in Virginia. Most of the signs were in place by the end of September.

Last year in Virginia, a total of 11 people were killed in traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving weekend. That was up one from the year before.

To help drivers get out of traffic this holiday weekend, the Virginia Department of Transportation suspended all roadwork today at noon through noon Monday.

Check real-time traffic conditions by visiting Virginia’s 511 service.

Spice Linked to Man Accused in Bus Incident

Servais (Photo: Virginia State Police)


Virginia State Police have charged a New Jersey man with multiple felony counts following an early morning incident on Interstate 95 in Prince William County. David A. Servais, 23, of Millville, N.J., is being held at the Prince William County Adult Detention Center on the following charges: threatening to bomb a mode of transportation; abduction by force; drunk in public; possession of synthetic cannabinoids (spice); and fugitive from justice.

A Greyhound bus was en-route from Richmond, Va., to New York City, when one of its passengers, Servais, began verbally threatening the other passengers. At one point he positioned himself at the front of the bus, thus preventing anyone from being able to exit the vehicle. He then barricaded himself in the bathroom at the back of the bus.

At 3:31 a.m. Wednesday (Nov. 21), Virginia State Police received a 911 call about Servais making threats to the passengers and troopers immediately responded to the bus, which had stopped on the shoulder of the northbound, I-95 HOV lanes at the 156 mile marker in Dale City.

All 38 passengers and the driver were able to safely exit the bus. Prince William County Fire and Rescue made arrangements to have a county transit bus transport the passengers off the interstate to a local Greyhound Terminal.

Servais was taken into custody without incident. Due to the nature of his threats, State Police with the assistance of a Stafford County explosives-detection canine thoroughly checked the bus for any suspicious packages. None was found.


6;30 a.m. 

DALE CITY, Va. – The High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes on Interstate 95 are back open this morning after an incident at Dale City involving a Greyhound Bus.

Police found the bus at the 156 mile post at Dale Boulevard.

More in a press release from Virginia State Police:

At 3:31 a.m. Wednesday, Virginia State Police received a 911 call about a male passenger aboard a Greyhound bus making threatening comments. State police responded and quickly evacuated the bus of its passengers and driver.

The male subject initially refused to exit the bus, but was later, without any further incident, taken into custody.

Because of the man’s threats to harm the other passengers, State Police thoroughly explored and examined the bus for any suspicious packages. Nothing was found and the bus was cleared as of 5:58 a.m. The investigation into the incident remains ongoing at this time. The bus was en-route from Richmond, Va., to New York.


Hazmat Snarls U.S. 1 Traffic in North Stafford

Photo: Mary Davidson


All lanes have been reopened after a truck spilled sewage on U.S. 1.

The crash involved two vehicles – a car and a large truck. Both collided near Va. 610.

No one was injured, and no charges had been filed in the crash as of Tuesday afternoon, saidStaffordsheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

The Virginia Department of Transportation reports the sewage has been cleaned up. 

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – A large truck carrying sewage spilled its contents onto U.S. 1.

Stafford fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle said one northbound lane of traffic on U.S. 1 is moving, and traffic is being re-routed through the Aquia Park shopping center just before Va. 610.

It’s unclear what caused the crash. A clean-up contractor has been called to the scene, said Doyle.


Police to Drivers: Don’t Back Up on HOT Lanes

If you’re driving the Capital Beltway from Springfield to Tysons Corner tomorrow, your commute is going to look much different.

The 495 Express Lanes — those High Occupancy Toll or HOT lanes we’ve been hearing about for so long —  opened for the first time on Saturday to traffic. That means those with three or more inside a vehicle can ride the lanes for free with an E-Z Pass Flex transponder. Single drivers must pay a toll to use the lanes, and can use a traditional E-Z Pass or E-Z Pass Flex.

Virginia State Police report four accidents – two of them with non-life threatening injuries to those involved – since the lanes opened this weekend at the northbound entrance to the lanes just after the Springfield mixing bowl.

In a press release Sunday night, police urged commuters to pay attention to lane configurations, and if you get into the wrong lane, don’t back up.

Plan Ahead. As northbound motorists come upon the change in traffic patterns at the Express Lanes entrance, they are swerving or making sudden lane changes to avoid the toll lanes. This has been the cause of all four crashes, where drivers swerved, lost control and crashed into other vehicles and/or the cement barriers/Jersey walls.

Don’t stop or back up. Drivers are also stopping or backing up in an attempt to avoid the Express Lanes and to get into the general purpose lanes. Drivers should never stop or back up on an interstate. If you accidentally find yourself in the Express Lanes or are unable to safely merge into the general purpose lanes, then just keep going in the Express Lanes. Take the first exit and then go to www.495ExpressLanes.com and pay the toll online. Backing up or stopping puts you at risk of causing a crash and being seriously injured or killed.

Virginia State Police have spent the weekend working with VDOT and Transurban to assess and improve signage to warn northbound I-495 motorists of the upcoming lane changes. Additional markings are also being planned for the immediate area to aid motorists.

Two-axle vehicles only. Motorists are also advised that only two-axle vehicles are permitted in the I-495 Express Lanes. Tractor-trailers, passenger vehicles pulling trailers and other vehicles with more than two-axles are prohibited from using the new toll lanes.

The new toll lanes are patrolled by Virginia State Police 24-hours a day. They warn drivers who enter lanes without an E-Z Pass will be fined.

Drivers with two or more occupants in the car who have not switched their E-Z Pass Flex from single driver mode to HOV mode will also be charged the posted toll to use the lanes.


Tolls, E-Z Pass Patrols Begin on 495 Express Lanes

FAIRFAX COUINTY, Va. – Doing some early holiday shopping at Tysons Corner Center mall today? You’ll be able for the first time to use the 495 Express Lanes.

The $1.4 billion project that began in 2008 is officially open as of today. But you’ll need an E-Z Pass Flex transponder in your car to use the lanes or you’ll be fined.

Additional Virginia State Police troopers will also be on the lanes citing speed and seat belt violators, plus aggressive, impaired, and distracted drivers. The state agency has more information about the enforcement on the publicly owned, privately maintained express lanes:

In addition, troopers will be stopping and citing those in violation of the state law mandating the HOV-3 requirement in the Express Lanes.

If traveling with an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode, then there must be at least three people riding inside the vehicle to be in compliance with the HOV-3 requirement. Those drivers not in compliance will be ticketed.

When using the E-ZPass Flex mode, the mode must be selected before entering the 495 Express Lanes. So, don’t forget to flip (the switch) before your trip.

Make sure you nominate (through the 495 Express Lanes Website or by phone) the bumper mounted transponder for HOV-3 travel at least 30 minutes prior to entering the Express Lanes.

HOV-3 regulations in the 495 Express Lanes apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Motorists are also advised that crossing between the white, lane dividers (aka ballards) from the main I-495 lanes into the Express Lanes is prohibited and is extremely dangerous.


Civil War Portrayal Changes VRE Santa Trains

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Santa will ride the rails once again this year on Virginia Railway Express’ Fredericksburg Line.

But a Civil War reenactment in Fredericksburg will bring changes to where children and families board the trains.

The popular Santa Trains will run Saturday Dec. 8 and will serve Leeland Station in Stafford County instead of Downtown Fredericksburg because of the reenactment scheduled to take place at the same time.

Riders will also be able meet board trains and meet Santa at VRE’s Woodbridge station.

Tickets for the trains will go on sale online Nov. 26 and normally sell out fast, according to a statement from the commuter railroad:

Tickets go on sale Monday November 26th at 9 a.m. More information about ticket sales and trains can be found on the “What’s New” section of our home page at www.vre.org.

The tickets sell out fast, both online and in person. Last year, VRE sold 7,500 tickets.

Both the Leeland Road and Woodbridge stations will also serve as drop-off points for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots donation program. Riders can bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to a child who will receive it this holiday season.

While this is known as a fun event, the commuter railroad states the trains are meant to call attention to important safety issues:

Again, the event, taking place on Saturday, December 8th uses this opportunity to remind people of the importance of rail safety. So remember, that this event is not just for fun, but it also has a serious and important message: “Look, listen and live!” from Operation Lifesaver.


Old Bridge Road Work Done by Year’s End?

LAKE RIDGE, Va. – The project to improve Old Bridge Road at Harbor Drive in Lake Ridge will be completed faster than originally planned.

Prince William Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May states the Virginia Department of Transportation could complete the work by the end of the year – not in April as was scheduled.


Our office has recently received a bit of good news regarding the work going on at the intersection of Old Bridge Road and Harbor Drive and I wanted to take a moment to share it with you. VDOT reports that their project contractor has found a way to complete work on the westbound improvements much faster than originally anticipated.

Although VDOT estimated that this portion of the work would be completed by April of 2013, it now looks like the majority of the work will be done by the end of this year (weather pending of course). There will still be some miscellaneous work to be completed such as final surface pavement, pavement markings, signal work, and landscaping and this will continue thru April. However, these remaining operations will be done with temporary lane closures implemented at non peak hours when and if needed.

Hopefully, advancing the restoration of the west bound lanes will help mitigate the afternoon traffic congestion issues.

-Supervisor Mike May



Slugs Get Personal Details of Lives of Strangers



Talking among slugs is usually frowned upon, that is, unless the driver initiates conversation. And when the driver does initiate conversation, it’s usually guaranteed to be pretty interesting.

Many drivers follow the unspoken rule, besides to confirm their destination and maybe bid farewell to their passengers at the end of the ride. But every once in a while, slug riders will encounter a chatty driver.

Considering most slugs who ride together are complete strangers, it can be surprising how much people will divulge about their personal lives.

Phone calls can be the most telling about a person, especially when taken on speaker phone. Many times, I’ve been able to tell a person’s marital status, how old their kids are, and evening plans, just from a simple phone call. And it’s not that I’m so interested in who these people are or what they do, but it isn’t really hard to figure out.

Alright, and maybe sometimes I do get a little curious.

Once, I rode with a driver who took a call from a friend during the ride. Though he wasn’t using a speaker phone, my interest quickly peaked when I heard him start discussing something really personal – he started telling his friend details about his divorce!

At first, I thought, clearly I must be misunderstanding the conversation. No way would someone talk about something of that magnitude with strangers in the car, right? But as the conversation continued, it became more and more clear that was exactly what he was talking about.

Last week, a woman I rode with one morning took a phone call from the principal at her daughter’s school. No big deal at first, until she started to argue with the principal and talk about very private things that had been going on at home.

She referred to her daughter’s teacher as immature, and insisted that the teacher be punished for her daughter’s troubles in class. Clearly, this was not a quick phone call, and being in the front seat, I was pretty uncomfortable – especially once she hung up the phone and wanted to complain to us about it afterwards. Awkward!

It’s not just the conversations that are overheard in the car that can be revealing. Occasionally, drivers are very open about their personal lives with their slugs, regardless of not knowing each other. Sometimes I wonder if it is because the slugs are unfamiliar that they feel more comfortable opening up. Maybe it’s knowing that the chances of running into the same people again are slim that makes people feel safe discussing their private matters? I’m honestly not sure.

Just recently, I got into a car with a lady who was very talkative. Although I’m usually not one to talk much early in the morning, she was so animated that I couldn’t help but chat with her. She started by chastising herself for running late again that day, and saying how hard it was to get out of bed any earlier. I know that feeling all too well.

“Thank goodness I don’t have any children!” she exclaimed. “If I did, I’d never make it to work!”

I laughed, and she asked if I had any kids. I told her that I don’t, but that I’d probably have to quit my job when that time comes. I have enough trouble getting out of the house in the morning!

Quickly, the conversation transitioned to whether or not we were married, dating or single, and she began to tell me how much she hated dating. She had just separated from her boyfriend of one year, and was getting back into the dating scene. She went on to tell me in detail how they had broken up, and about the guys she had been out with since. She talked about text conversations, their dates, and what they did for a living. It certainly wasn’t anything that I needed to know that morning, but still, the conversation was flowing so easily that it felt like we were old friends.

It wasn’t until I started to get out of the car that I considered that I may not ever see my new pal ever again. I might never know which guy she chooses, and how it turns out for her. And if I did run into her again, we may not even recognize each other. That’s just how slugging works.

To me, it’s fascinating that people are willing to share so much with their unfamiliar passengers, but when they do, I have to wonder why. I have to think that sometimes, people just need someone to talk to. And hey, I have no problem being that person. Though the odds are that we won’t be BFFs, I don’t mind providing a little slug therapy every once in a while.

As long as I can take my nap on the way home!


Crash Blocks HOV Lanes

UPDATE 11 a.m.

Two people were taken to a local hospital with injuries that did not appear life threatening after a crash on I-95’s HOV lanes. 

Traffic now gets by in a left lane after both lanes had been blocked for a police, fire and rescue response. 

Once the crash is cleared from the roadway, the lanes will be closed, cleared of drivers, and then traffic will be allowed to travel southbound this afternoon, as is normal on weekdays afternoons.


The reason the lanes were shut down was to let the wrecker head south in the northbound lanes. That way the wrecker doesn’t get stuck in traffic and delay clearing the interstate so it can be re-opened to traffic.

-Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller


10:40 a.m. 

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. – A crash blocks the northbound High Occupancy Lanes of Interstate 95 just after Fairfax County Parkway.

We’re working to get more details on the crash.


Beltway Express Lanes Opening Before Thanksgiving

I-495 Express Lanes at Tysons Corner. (VDOT)

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. – New express lanes on the Capital Beltway between Springfield and Tysons Corner are slated to open Nov. 17 – earlier than expected, according to Virginia transportation officials.

Those same officials now urge drivers to get familiar with those lanes and how they work, and to know what you’ll need to use the tolled lanes for a faster commute.

More in a press release from the Virginia Megaprojects office:

The 495 Express Lanes are two new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in each direction from the Springfield Interchange to just north of the Dulles Toll Road on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway. Drivers will need an E-ZPass to use the Express Lanes – there are no toll booths or options to pay cash. Carpoolers will need the new E-ZPass® FlexSM to permit a toll-free trip on the Express Lanes. To find out where you can get an E-ZPass, visit 495ExpressLanes.com.

The 495 Express Lanes have resources available to help drivers get ready for the new traffic solution. Before the lanes open, drivers should:

• Get an E-ZPass: All drivers will need an E-ZPass or E-ZPassFlex to use the 495 Express Lanes. To learn more about E-ZPass options and find out how to get an E-ZPass, please visit www.495expresslanes.com/using-ezpass

• Plan their trip: The 495 Express Lanes will include three new Beltway entry and exit points, meaning a more direct route to popular locations in Tysons Corner and Merrifield. The Express Lanes are a limited access highway so drivers should plan their new route and learn how to access and exit the Express Lanes now by mapping their trip on the 495 Express Lanes website, www.495expresslanes.com/map

• Learn how to safely use the lanes: The Express Lanes will be easy to use and get drivers where they need to go. However, there are some new aspects of the road that are worth learning about. To learn how to safely use the lanes, drivers should visit www.495expresslanes.com/staying-safe

• Get answers to questions: For more information on tolling and operations, drivers should visit the 495 Express Lanes FAQs web page – www.495expresslanes.com/faqs

The 495 Express Lanes will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Dynamic pricing based on real-time traffic conditions manages the demand for the lanes, keeping the Express Lanes moving. The 14-mile Express Lanes will be free for carpoolers with three or more people with an E-ZPass Flex, buses, motorcycles and emergency vehicles. Other drivers may pay a toll for a faster, more predictable trip. Drivers will lock in their rate when they enter the lanes and pay tolls electronically with E-ZPass.


Pile Driving Set to Begin at Dumfries

(Submitted image)

DUMFRIES, Va. – Training exercises in and around Quantico Marine Corps Base can often rattle windows.

Now, with the construction of express lanes on Interstate 95 from Dumfries to North Stafford, crews warn it may get even louder.

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


The 95 Express Lanes has started the project’s first pile driving activities in October 2012 near the Town of Dumfries along the I-95 corridor.

This work is taking place just north of Joplin Road in Prince William County directly beside I-95. Pile driving began the week of October 22 and is and is expected to continue until mid-November.

Driving of the piles will take place Monday through Saturday beginning at 7 a.m. each morning and will continue until 6 p.m.

Residents of the area can expect to hear significant noise during this time. Pile driving is usually done in intervals of about 15 minutes with a similar break in between activities.

This activity drives steel piles into the soil to support foundations for the bridge abutment that will support the Joplin Road flyover bridge which is part of the 95 Express Lanes Project.

Crews will return later this year into early 2013 for additional bridge abutment pile driving.


No Pity for Tardy Slugs




Running late is the worst feeling.

I take that back: running late in the morning, in the rain, when there’s traffic, no parking at the commuter lot and no cars waiting to pick up slugs is the worst.

Seriously, sometimes I feel like I just can’t seem to get it together in the morning. No matter what I do or how early I get up, I always find myself running out the door at the last possible second and rushing to the commuter lot. Oh, who am I kidding? I never wake up early!

Why do I do that to myself? Every day, I say that I will get up earlier, that I’ll get on the road sooner. I won’t be late tomorrow! No, tomorrow, I will be on time. But it never fails… tomorrow, I’ll be saying the same thing.

And I’m confident that I am not alone in this. There are days where I am literally running to the slug line with not a second to spare, sure that I won’t find any slug drivers still waiting to pick up, but I almost always find someone running just as late as I am.

Luckily, there are several drivers who I come across who pick up at the commuter lot in the last ten minutes or so of the commute. Once the clock strikes 9 a.m. and the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes open up to all traffic, drivers have no incentive to pick up slugs. Some drivers will even take their chances by entering the HOV lanes minutes before 9 a.m. without any slugs. So the closer it is to 9 a.m., the less the chances are of finding a slug ride.

And there is almost nothing worse than standing in the slug line, wondering if anyone will feel bad enough to pick up a poor, lonely slug, or if that tardy slug will be left behind with no choice but to take the bus to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station.

As many times as I’ve been late, I’ve been left in that very predicament. When there appear to be no more cars going to L’Enfant Plaza, my ultimate destination, I’ll usually walk over to the slug line for the Pentagon. Not only am I usually more likely to find a late driver there, but there are always cars sitting close to the HOV entrance, which means gives me hope that someone will drop off near a Metro station. Any Metro station. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Unfortunately, the drivers who sit and wait to enter HOV solo after 9 a.m. take very little pity on late slugs. When I’ve been in this sort of critical situation, I’ve approached the waiting drivers with other late slugs to ask if they’re going anywhere in or around downtown Washington. Sometimes, drivers will agree to drop off near their destination; other times, they will flat out refuse.

Recently, I asked a driver waiting by the ramp if he was picking up slugs.

“Nope,” he replied rudely, rolling up his window. Geez, he could have at least been polite about it!

I’ve been fairly fortunate and haven’t had to take the PRTC Metro Direct bus – a great last resort when there are no other options, but it takes sooo long to get to work that way – so the bottom line is that I’ve got to step it up.

I swear I’ll start getting up earlier. I’ll make my breakfast and lay my clothes out the night before. I’ll have my lunch packed and ready; I’ll even take a quicker shower. No more delays, no more distractions…

Starting tomorrow. Seriously.

Comments on U.S. 1 Wanted by Friday

Photo: Federal Highway Administration EFLHD

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. -- A better U.S. 1 between Stafford and Prince William counties – they’re studying the possibility.

Federal officials want to hear from the public by Friday on plans to improve the four-lane highway corridor of U.S. 1 between Telegraph Road in Stafford County and Joplin Road in Prince William County. The portion of roadway is highly trafficked by those who work in and around Quantico Marine Corps Base.

There are two separate studies underway in the corridor – one that looks at the whole stretch of road spanning both counties, and another which focuses on U.S. 1 at Telegraph Road, commonly known as Boswell’s Corner.

Officials have made PDFs of presentation documents available for download on their website. After reviewing them, drivers and residents are encouraged to submit their feedback electronically to addresses listed on the site.


I-95 Reopens in Stafford After Fuel Spill

UPDATE 8 a.m.

Virginia State Police were called to a two-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes of I-95 at the 138 mm in Stafford County that occurred at 11:30 pm. A 2006 Honda CRV was northbound in the left lane when it lost control and ran off the right side of I-95. The Honda then overcorrected and struck a northbound tractor-trailer in the center lane of I-95. The impact caused the tractor-trailer to jackknife and block all three northbound lanes. Meanwhile, the Honda continued on and struck a guardrail before finally coming to rest on the right shoulder.

The crash caused the tractor-trailer’s fuel tank to rupture with approximately 150 gallons of fuel spilling out. Stafford County hazmat crews and VDOT responded to the scene to clean up the spill.

The driver of the Honda, Ahmed Mohammed, 24, of Falls Church, Va., was cited for reckless driving by Trooper M.A. Oliver. Mohammed was transported to Mary Washington Hospital for treatment. A 23-year-old female and 20-year-old male passengers were transported for treatment.

The tractor-trailer driver was not injured in the crash.

-Virginia State Police


STAFFORD, Va. – Falmouth Volunteer Fire Department alerted Twitter followers they were responding to a tractor trailer crash at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

That crash turned out to be a major incident on Interstate 95 in Stafford County that injured two people and closed a portion of the highway for much of the overnight.

A tractor trailer jackknifed across the northbound lanes at mile post 138, just before the exit for Courthouse Road in Stafford. Fuel spilled across the highway prompting crews to clean it up.

The lanes reopened to traffic at 6:30 a.m., according to Stafford County officials.

There are traffic delays on the northbound portion of the highway right now coming out of Fredericksburg and into Stafford County. Drivers will see heavier delays as they travel north into Prince William County, well past the crash site.


I-95 Ramp at Alban Rd. Closing Permanently

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. – The project to convert Interstate 95’s HOV lanes to toll lanes brings with it more closures starting Monday.

The Virginia Megaprojects office released information and a video about a ramp at I-95 and Alban Road that is closing permanently.

Beginning on or about October 22, the on-ramp to I-95 south from Alban Road (Route 790)/Boudinot Drive/Backlick Road (Route 617) near the Fairfax County Parkway will permanently close to traffic to allow construction of a future Express Lanes reversible flyover ramp that will open in late 2014.

Motorists will be directed to Fullerton Road and Boudinot Drive onto the Fairfax County Parkway (Route 286) to the I-95 south ramp.

For more information on the 95 Express Lanes Project, go to VAmegaprojects.com. View a map of the closure/new route here. The Project is scheduled to be complete in late 2014.

Today’s Obama Visit in Fairfax Brings Road Closures

(Photo: Mary Davidson)


FAIRFAX, Va. – President Barack Obama is appearing in Fairfax, Va., at George Mason University on Friday, Oct. 19. Exactly two weeks ago he spoke at the college’s Center for the Arts. This time, however, he will speak at the Recreation and Athletic Complex.

 The complex is located at 4350 Banister Creek Court in Fairfax.

The president is expected to discuss the choice facing women in this election and his commitment to giving women more control over their personal health care decisions. He is scheduled to go on at 11:45 a.m.

Virginia State Police are warning drivers to expect lengthy delays in the area of GMU today as security precautions will prompt the closure of some roads. More form state police:

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, any vehicles larger than a sport utility vehicle (SUV) will be detoured off of Route 123/Ox Road near GMU.

Such vehicles traveling north on Route 123 will be detoured around GMU as follows:

Right on Braddock Road

Left on Roberts Road

Left on Main Street (Route 236 West) to Route 123 north

Such vehicles traveling south on Route 123 will be detoured around GMU as follows:

Left onto School Street

Left onto George Mason Boulevard

Right onto Main Street (Route 236 East)

Right onto Roberts Road

Right onto Zion Road

Left onto Route 123 South


Twice Delayed Gas Line Relocation Starts Tonight

Crews work to relocate a gas line at Potomac Crest townhomes at Occoquan and Old Bridge roads.

OCCOQUAN, Va. – Officials hope the third time is the charm for an attempt to relocate a six-inch gas line near Occoquan.

The pipe at Occoquan and Old Bridge roads needs to be moved because it’s in conflict with a sanitary line that has been designed for a new neighborhood, the Potomac Crest condominiums and townhomes. Once the line is relocated, 76 new townhomes – some of which have already been purchased – can be delivered to their new owners.

The homes sit on a hill overlooking busy commuter route Old Bridge Road, and are nestled next to existing apartments on Dara Drive. A base model new home in this development sells for $290,000 while luxury models are priced at $300,000.

But ongoing delays to relocate the gas line has cost developer Basheer and Edgemore at least $25,000, said spokesman Mark Fields

The problematic gas line, which wasn’t originally accounted for in plans for the new neighborhood, was located May 17. Shortly thereafter, Potomac Crest developers went back to their drawing board and worked up plans to reroute their  water and sewer utility lines to avoid a conflict with the gas line. But a clash between a new sanitary line and the gas line couldn’t be avoided, and that’s when Washington Gas called in a contractor to relocate the line, said Fields.

The relocation work is scheduled to begin tonight with overnight closures of a portion of Occoquan Road occurring each night this week. It’s the third time it’s been planned, with previous unmet completion dates in August and September, said Fields.

PotomacLocal.com spoke with Washington Gas on Friday to get details about what has prolonged the work but the utility was not immediately able to provide them.

Detour signs warning drivers to tonight’s detour are posted. The closures will take place from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday night through Friday morning. Drivers will be directed to use Riverview Lane to Va. 123 to Old Bridge Road.

For Art Klos at the Virginia Department of Transportation, it’s been an ever more frustrating task to communicate to elected officials and to drivers about a detour that keeps getting pushed back.

“I regret to inform you that the night work on Occoquan Road has been postponed until next week. Hazel Construction, with the support of the Police Department, is on standby ready to proceed. Unfortunately, their work continues to be delayed due to relocation of the gas main,” stated Klos in an email to public officials.

While a portion of Occoquan Road south of Old Bridge Road carries 13,000 cars per day, the portion of the road that will be detoured carries 2,000 cars per day, said Klos.

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