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Traffic & Transit

Come see the Capitol Steps at Hylton Arts Center & help Cecily replace the asbestos-laden siding on her home

When Cecily was in her 20’s she immigrated to the U.S. from Nicaragua.

capitol stepsTaking a job at Home Depot in Springfield, Cecily met her future husband, Eddy, who had emigrated from Palau. Cecily and Eddy married in 2008 and now share their Woodbridge home with their two children, Cecily’s mother, and grandmother.

A tight-knit family, everyone pitches in to help. Cecily operates a daycare from her home while also attending school at Northern Virginia Community College.

Cecily’s mom is a certified nursing assistant with a job in Washington, D.C. Eddy continues to work at Home Depot and he and Cecily’s mom and grandmother all help care for the children, too.

Habitat for Humanity Prince William County is looking forward to giving this hard working family a hand up with much-needed critical home repairs that will make their home safer, more comfortable and affordable.

Habitat for Humanity will replace the boiler that is original to the home, replace asbestos siding from three sides of the exterior and replace non-functional windows throughout the home. The deck must be rebuilt for safety. And the home will be weatherized for energy efficiency.

Habitat for Humanity thanks you for your support of the Capitol Steps event and welcomes you to join them on their work sites as a volunteer!

To learn more, visit Habitat for Humanity’s website at habitatpwc.org.

Mark your calendars for Laughs & Love benefit February 21 at 7 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Not only are we having the hilarious Capitol Steps come to the beautiful Hylton Center, but our Rotary Club has proudly partnered with Casa, Habitat for Humanity, Rainbow Center Therapeutic Riding, Calling All Souls and Transitional Housing Barn as the beneficiaries this year.

The goal?

By selling out the 1,200 seats at the Hylton, we will raise $50,000. All proceeds raised will go directly to organizations that are on the front lines helping care for, encourage, lift spirits, give hope and opportunity to our struggling neighbors. These organizations are the unsung heroes in our community whose compassion makes our community a place we can be proud of.

They cannot do it alone!

To order tickets go to Hyltoncenter.org or call 1-888-945-2468. If you or your business would like to sponsor the event, please contact Steve Chapman, steve@washmydeck.com by Feb 10.

The preceding post was sponsored by Rotary Club of Bull Run.

I-66 meetings canceled, rescheduled due to snow

Stafford resident Thomas Jackson (left) looks over a VDOT project that will add 1,000 commuter parking spaces in the Staffordboro Commuter Lot off Va. 610 in North Stafford. Project representatives like Oliver Boehm (right) were available to answer any questions residents had during the design public meeting held at Moncure Elementary School on Wednesday night. (Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Snow prompted the cancelation of two public meetings designed to provide residents more information on what Virginia officials plan to do to Interstate 66.

A meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. at Bull Run Elementary School in Centreville is canceled. It comes after a meeting scheduled last night in Vienna was also canceled due to snow.

Meetings are still scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday that residents may attend.

Here’s a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

Weather permitting, there are still two opportunities to attend an I-66 Public Information Meeting this week.  Meetings are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at Battlefield High School in Haymarket from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. (with a snow date on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, if necessary)
  • Thursday, January 29, 2015, at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office in Fairfax from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

If you cannot attend in person, the meeting on Thursday, January 29, 2015, will be shown live at Transform66.org between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

There will also be two meetings next week due to yesterday’s and tonight’s cancellations.  The make-up dates and locations are:

  • Tuesday, February 3, 2015, at Oakton High School in Vienna from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 5, 2015, at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office in Fairfax from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Please visit the project website at Transform66.org for more information.

Fire crews called to gas leak on Eustace Road

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11:18 a.m. 

A contractor laying fiber optic cable in struck a gas line this morning.

Stafford fire and rescue crews were called to the area of Eustace Road and Legal Court just before 10 a.m. A boring device stuck the line, which is believed to have been at least two inches in diameter, sending the smell of natural gas through a residential neighborhood.

“We arrived on scene, monitored the area, established a hot zone, and then we determined that there was no risked to any of the homeowners in the area,” said Stafford Assistant Chief Mark Doyle.

Stafford sheriff’s deputies blocked streets and neighbors were told to stay inside their homes. The gas company found the broken line and is now in the process of repairing it. The fix could take hours to repair, but streets should be reopened to drivers before noon, according to Doyle.

Fire crews also checked area storm drains for the residual smell of natural gas following the rupture.

10:39 a.m. 

A gas line was struck this morning in the area of Eustace Road and Legal Court in North Stafford.

The leak sprang about 9:50 a.m. Stafford fire and rescue crews were called to the scene.

There’s no word on what caused the leak or if anyone was injured.

We’ll bring you more on this story as we have it.

VDOT wants to transform I-66 corridor, plans public meetings

Drivers headed south on U.S. 29 in Gainesville now use an elevated bridge to cross train tracks. The new separated interchange is expected to stop frequent train vs. car collisions in the area. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Transportation officials in Virginia say they can improve Interstate 66.

The idea is to make a 25-mile stretch of the highway between Haymarket and the Capital Beltway a multi-modal corridor. This means adding express toll lanes like the I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes that opened last month and new high-frequency bus service to the corridor.

Some key interchanges along the highway also need to be reevaluated to improve transportation along the corridor.

Now, officials plan a series of public meetings to solicit feedback on the roadway project. The meeting locations listed below: 

Monday, Jan. 26, 2015

Oakton High School

2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181

Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015

Bull Run Elementary School

15301 Lee Highway, Centreville, VA 20121

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015

Battlefield High School

15000 Graduation Drive, Haymarket, VA 20169

Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

VDOT Northern Virginia District, 1st Floor, Occoquan Room

4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

Each meeting will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m. during each meeting, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

VRE trains from Manassas stopped after pedestrian struck

121212 VRE

Update 

Police in Manasssas released the following information about the pedestrian who was struck this morning along railroad tracks in the city. 

Here’s the latest info: 

Pedestrian Struck by Train

At approximately 3:20AM on January 22, 2015, an adult male was struck by a train on the 8400 block of Kao Cir just south of Osbourn Park High School.  The victim, whose name is withheld pending notification of next of kin, was pronounced deceased at the scene.  No foul play is suspected at this time.

7:10 a.m. 

6 a.m. 

5:40 a.m. 

Riders on Virginia Railway Express from Manassas could be delayed this morning.

The transit agency stated via Twitter that it appears a pedestrian was struck by a train.

With the Metro option in place, regular VRE riders can now use their VRE ticket to board the Metro subway system to get to work. The closest Metro station near Manassas is the Vienna station on the Orange line in Fairfax County.

We’ll have more on this as it develops.

ANU students take MLK Day, register to vote in Prince William County

Vote, MLK day, election

In recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday and a day of service, Medical Assistant students from the Northern Virginia Campus of American National University collectively registered to vote in Prince William County. 

Their inspiration came not only from Dr. Martin Luther King, but also from the ANU Mission Statement, which states, “Graduates of American National University should understand and practice their responsibilities to their families, their fellow men and their communities by becoming effective and contributing citizens.”

Led by their instructor, MJ Williams of the Roanoke Campus, the students committed to volunteering in the community and becoming informed voters.

Woodbridge woman killed in crash on Beltway

Photo: Mary Davidson

A woman from Woodbridge was killed on the Capital Beltway this afternoon.

Here’s the latest in press release from Virginia State Police:

A Woodbridge woman was killed Sunday (January 18) in a two car vehicle crash in Fairfax County.  The crash occurred 1:10 p.m. at I-495 westbound 100 feet west of Route 613.

Virginia State Police Trooper A. M. Hoye investigated the crash.

A 2001 Nissan Pathfinder was coming onto I-495 west from the Van Dorn Ramp when the driver lost control and struck a 2007 BMW that was traveling west on I-495.  The 2001 Nissan upon impact overturned partially ejecting the driver.   

The driver of the Nissan, Dinora Del Carmen Guzman, 49, of Woodbridge, Virginia died at the scene; she was not wearing a seatbelt.  The driver of the BMW, Anthony Adams of Lorton was not injured.

Speed is being considered a factor in the crash.

Gas prices fall below $2 per gallon in Stafford

stafford gas 199

Gas for $1.99 – are they out of their minds?

Not in North Stafford where the price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas fell below $2 on Tuesday. That’s a drop considering six months ago the price for the same was $3.55 in the same neighborhood, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Fuel Price Finder.

At some gas stations on Route 1 in Stafford, the price fell even lower to $1.97 per gallon at a FasMart and Wawa stations.

The cheapest place to buy gas in Woodbridge on Tuesday was a Wawa at Daniel Stuart Square at Route 1 and Opitz Boulevard, priced at $2.03 per gallon. The area gas price average was higher at $2.13 per gallon.

It’s important to note that the Fuel Price Finder doesn’t list prices for price clubs Costco and Sams Club that normally have cheaper gas than roadside service stations.

011315 fuel forecast

Nationally, the average price for a gallon of unleaded fuel is $2.14. It’s the lowest national average price since May 4, 2009.

Fuel prices should continue to decline, according to the short-term outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Prices will remain low, but creep back up in time for the summer vacation driving season in July to a national average of $2.33 per gallon, according to the forecast.

Consumption of fuel has increased to 9.2 million barrels of oil per day in the U.S. in December. Government officials said that the number should increase to 9.5  billion barrels per day in 2016, putting the U.S. on track to near to the all-time high of 9.6 billion barrels of oil per day not seen since 1970.

Used tires are mysterious. New Cooper Starfire Tires cost about the same

starfire-tire-3starfire-tiretoyo-tiresstarfire-tire-2

Cooper Starfire Tires offer superior life and performance for just a few dollars more than the cost of a used tire

Instead of buying a used tire that you might have to replace sooner than later, consider a new Cooper Starfire Tire.

It’s a great option for someone looking for an inexpensive tire that will help keep their vehicle on the road longer and their occupants of the car safe.

Cooper Starfire Tires are available for multiple makes and models of vehicles. They’re manufactured in Asia and designed in the U.S. to compete with premium brands without the higher price tag of comparable tires.

The tire offers high-performance ability, improved grip and road handling, with an improved overall tire life.

Cooper Starfire Tires are great for drivers who may have purchased a vehicle that is more costly to maintain than first thought, but are still looking for a quality tire that delivers great handling and a quiet performance on the road. With the Starfire option available, drivers should think before purchasing a used tire.

Typically, drivers have no idea what type of life the used tire had before they obtain it. Used tires could be six to eight years old, perhaps older, and have spent the majority of their life as a used tire strapped to a vehicle. While used tires may look good, the rubber can be worn down or degraded after years of sitting idle. Some used tires may also be missing tread and show signs of wear.

Purchasing a Starfire Tire costs about $30 more than what a used tire might cost, but a new tire, on average, will provide three times the life of a single used tire. The price of a Starfire Tire is up to 30% less than other newer tires.  There are many Starfire Tires produced for SUVs, trucks, and the popular Honda Civic and Toyota Camry models.

Hometowne Auto Repair and Tire in Woodbridge, Virginia is now an authorized Cooper Tire dealer and offers a full line of Starfire Tires.

VDOT to drivers: Delay your Monday morning commute

Roads in Northern Virginia pretreated for ice, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Drivers are urged to delay their trek into work Monday by at least a few hours to allow highway crews the opportunity to continue to treat roads during the morning rush hour.

“We ask drivers to plan ahead and to use extreme caution if they must drive,” stated Branco Vlacich, VDOT assistant district administrator for maintenance in a press release. “The pretreatment crews have laid will help, but with pavement temperatures below freezing, we will need to treat icy conditions repeatedly during this hours-long storm.”

About 1,450 trucks will be out on area roadways overnight treating roads throughout the area. The rain is expected to begin any time after midnight, and is expected to freeze on contact with the ground surface creating slippery conditions are expected during the early morning hours Monday. Much of the freezing rain is expected to changeover to all rain by late morning.

Highway crews spent time over the weekend pre-treating major roads in Prince William, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington counties, in advance of the storm.

VDOT says bridges and highway on-ramps are especially prone to freezing. Ramps at the Springfield interchange, at Interstate 66 and Route 29, and at the Capital Beltway and Route 1 in Alexandria were all treated with a special mixture of magnesium chloride.

Major routes like Fairfax County Parkway, and Routes 1, 7, 28, 29, 50, and 123 were all treated with a salt brine mix.

Drivers are urged to check VDOT’s website for road conditions prior to beginning their trip on Monday

Teen wins NYC trip with “Say I Won’t” video with Manassas City Police Department

#SayIWont, manassas city police department

Captain Trey Lawler and Chief Doug Keen stand behind Mark Johnson.

In December, City of Manassas resident Mark Johnson had an idea for the #SayIWont video contest put on by Grammy Award winner Lecrae Moore and Reach Records. The video contest asked participants to make a 15 second video showing how “you’re not scared to be different.” Mark’s video featured members of the Manassas City Police Department.

Mark Johnson had the idea, in light of current happenings in other areas of the country, to show a positive relationship between the Manassas City Police Department and a City resident. His video shows him coming into MCPD Roll Call and encouraging the officers about to go out in the field.

Mark went to Osbourn High School in the City of Manassas. After a rocky start, including being expelled from school, Mark went back to Osbourn to finish high school with an advanced diploma. When asked why he chose the Manassas City Police Department to feature in his video, Mark said he remembered the great conversations he had in high school with Officer Cahill and he used that contact to make the video happen. 

On Dec. 12, while attending the Manassas City Police Department holiday luncheon, Mark received a phone call from Reach Records saying he had won the national video contest and had won a trip to New York City to accompany Lecrae Moore to a Brooklyn Nets game.

“We are honored that Mark chose the MCPD to feature in his video,” said Chief Doug Keen from the Manassas City Police Department. “Mark Johnson’s video sheds a positive light on relationships with police officers and those relationships are something we want to promote in the City of Manassas. We congratulate Mark on his award winning video.”

Johnson traveled to New York City in December.

The preceding promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

Woodbridge Route 1 power line plan buried? Supervisors to vote again on controversial issue

U.S. 1 at Occoquan Road in North Woodbridge.

Measure would move $12 million away from project, killing it

 

Spend $12 million to bury power lines in Woodbridge? Not so fast.

Prince Willaim Count officials in late 2013 approved funds to bury power lines lines along Route 1 in Woodbridge, between Mary’s Way and the Occoquan River. The lines would be placed underground in conjunction with an effort to widen that same portion of the road from four to six lanes.

The $12 million was taken from two pots of surplus money in county government coffers.  The big idea: make the gateway to the heavily populated, traditionally more blue collar eastern section of Prince William County more aesthetically appealing to drivers entering it from Northern Virginia juggernaut Fairfax County.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, At-large, in October praised the effort. “No other jurisdiction on the east coast from Maine to Florida has put more money into the revitalization of Route 1,” said Stewart.

On Jan. 6, more than a year after deciding to bury the power lines, The Board of Supervisors will once again vote to stay the course and put the lines underground or to reallocate funds elsewhere.

Leading the charge is Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland, who said the Board needs to “reprioritize its spending plans to accommodate revenue constraints, resulting from the current lagging local economy,” according to a resolution in Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting agenda. It’s the latest move from a Republican who often says local government spends too much, and enacts taxing plans that are too burdensome for the county’s middle class residents.

“The economy doesn’t listen to our five-year plan. The people sitting around doing their budgets, their paychecks don’t listen to our five year plan, and we’re still seeing this economy struggle,” Candland said.

Candland has continually criticized his Board’s vote in late 2013 to bury the lines.  The Supervisor’s Gainesville District in western Prince William has residential and retail subdivisions that are only a fraction as old as what sits in Woodbridge. Most if not all power lines are buried in Gainesville.

The ball is already rolling on the plan to bury the lines as engineers have designed working plans to get the job done. The development of those plans also stalled the effort to widen Route 1.

Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi says Candland has rehashed this issue too many times, and he equates the debate over the burial of the power lines to Congressional Republicans’ effort to repeal Obamacare.

“We’ve already spent $2 million in engineering funds on the project. If we turn back, that would be a stupid policy and budgeting decision, and it would require significant delays in Route 1 widening project,” said Principi. “We’ve already put off widening Route 1 for a year to accommodate the design of the underground power lines.”

Corey Stewart still supports burying the lines and suspects Candland won’t have the votes he needs to reverse course.

“We’ve spent 25 years revitalizing Route 1. If we don’t bury them, the power lines will be there forever, and underground forever if we do bury them. To not bury them is being pennywise and pound foolish.”

Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe agrees though he first voted against the project because he didn’t approve of the funding sources.

“Now that’s it’s underway, we can’t stop it now,” said Nohe.

Arrest made in fatal Woodbridge crash

Dumfreis, crash, traffic

Richard T. Stewart, 57, of Germantown, Maryland is charged with failure to yield right of way after a fatal crash in Woodbridge.

Stewart was driving a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and was making a left turn from Chesapeake Drive to Route 1 south when it crossed paths with a Yamaha motorcycle traveling north on Route 1. The crash occurred Dec. 2, 2014.

The 31-year-old motorcyclist, of Dumfries, died.

A passenger on the bike suffered serious injuries.

Picture your art here to win

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 10.54.19 AM

Winning artwork to be featured on light poles in Manassas

Have you seen the banners that hang on the light poles in the Historic Downtown area of the City of Manassas and in other cities? If you are an artist or aspiring to be one, the art you create could be hanging on one of those light poles.

Historic Manassas, Inc. and the City of Manassas have launched an art contest to fill the banners in Historic Downtown with original pieces of art. The contest will be juried so that one artist will be awarded a grand prize of $1,000 and there will also be “people’s choice award” of $500. The contest deadline has been extended to Feb. 1, 2015.

This contest is part of an effort to promote art and tourism in the City of Manassas. The winning 50 pieces will be featured on the light pole banners and in a walking tour brochure that includes information on the piece and the artist. Information about the contest can be found at visitmanassas.org/banner-art-project.

The preceding promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

I-95 EZ-Pass Express tolls begin Monday, temporary carpool waiver offered

[Submitted photo]

[Submitted photo]

All drivers on the Interstate 95 EZ-Pass Express Lanes must have an EZ-Pass or EZ-Pass Flex electronic tolling transponder starting Monday.

Drivers who have  ordered an EZ-Pass Flex and have not received it may sign up for a special one-week grace period with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Here’s more in a press release:

Monday, December 29 and all carpoolers need an E-ZPass Flex to use the lanes toll-free.  The carpool transition program will give regular carpoolers the opportunity to register for a week of HOV only, toll-exempt travel on the 95 Express Lanes if they have taken the necessary step of ordering their E-ZPass® FlexSM but have not yet received their transponder.

It can take up to seven days for carpoolers to receive their E-ZPass Flex when they order online or by calling Virginia E-ZPass at 877-762-7824.  Carpoolers who indicate that they plan to carpool with three or more people on the 95 Express Lanes can register to be added to a seven-day HOV, toll-exempt travel list to ensure they can use the Express Lanes while they wait for their E-ZPass Flex to arrive. 

Carpoolers may designate up to one license plate for each E-ZPass Flex transponder ordered.  Customers who order an E-ZPass Flex by 5 p.m. will have their license plates registered for HOV only use on the 95 Express Lanes by 6 a.m. the following business day. 

Carpoolers who wish to have their E-ZPass Flex in-hand sooner can visit one of 75 convenient Northern Virginia retail locations including Wegmans, select Virginia DMVs and Giant Food Stores, Tysons Corner Center or at E-ZPass Customer Service Centers.

The toll exemption applies to the 95 Express Lanes only – the 495 Express Lanes and other area toll roads are not part of this program. 

The EZ-Pass Express Lanes on I-95 extend from Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to Edsall Road in Alexandria. The lanes will be tolled 24-hours per day, seven days a week.

Tips to prevent road rage following bloody incident in Stafford

A view of the I-96 EZ-Pass Express Lanes from Dale Boulevard in Dale City.

Leaving earlier, calming music, paying it forward can prevent aggressive driving 

One man was stabbed Sunday in an apparent incident of road rage outside a Walmart in North Stafford.

Two vehicles were sitting at a red light at the intersection of Mine Road and Greenspring Drive when one person got out of the car and stabbed another, according to a Stafford sheriff’s office spokesman.

The Stafford sheriff’s office was called to the scene, but no charges have been filed in the case. Photos of the bloody incident scene were taken by passersby.

Authorities washed away the traces of blood on the street following the investigation.

This latest road rage incident follows an incident in California caught on camera where a woman used her truck and attempted to run another car off a highway.

A majority of road crashes in the U.S. are caused by aggressive driving.

It’s no secret the holidays can be a stressful time for many. Shopping, traffic, mounting credit card bills are just some of what people associate this time of the year with.

There are many things drivers can do to reduce the likelihood of road rage. Listening to calming or inspirational music while behind the wheel, leaving the house earlier to have more travel time, or “paying it forward” by allowing someone to go ahead of you can go a long way in preventing road rage.

“When someone does give their signal and butts in front of you, pay it forward. It’s a random act of kindness. It’s amazing how much that will dispel rage,” said Sharon Killian, clinical services director at Rappahannock Community Services Board.

The Board operates anger management classes and frequently helps people overcome anger issues.

Sometimes, people prone to road rage can be nicer when not behind the wheel.

“Those people who do that, when they’re calm, usually say something like ‘I know I shouldn’t have done that, I’m so impatient,” said Killian. “Usually, people know it’s something that they have to work on inside themselves.”

Drivers in our area are no strangers to traffic. Many have to deal with jammed roadways each day, and it’s important for them to pack their patience.

“People who live in congested areas in Northern Virginia, in congested places like Stafford, they have to practice those skills every day,” said Killian. 

Those who wish to seek help for their anger issues can call the Rappahannock Community Services Board 24 hours a day at 540-373-6876.

John Jenkins will have a locomotive named after him

John Jenkins, Sharon Bulova, and Paul Milde all serve on the Virginia Railway Express Operations Board. [Submitted photo]

All aboard the John Jenkins Express.

Jenkins, the longest currently serving Prince William County Board of Supervisors, is recognized for his participation on the Virginia Railway Express Operations Board. He and eight other VRE Board members who played key roles in the development of the commuter railroad since its founding in 1992 will have their names affixed to the front of VRE locomotives.

Here’s a full list of names that will soon appear on commuter trains:

  • Edwin King – Prince William County (Original Member)
  • James Hugh Payne Sr. – City of Manassas (First Elected City of Manassas Member)
  • Bernard Cohen – VA House of Delegates (Original Member)
  • Bob Gibbons – Stafford County (First Elected Stafford Member)
  • Sally H. Cooper – VDOT (Original Member)
  • Sharon Bulova – Fairfax County (Original and Continuously Serving Member)
  • John Jenkins – Prince William County (Long Serving Member)
  • Hilda Barg – Prince William County (Long Serving Member)
  • Elaine McConnell – Fairfax County (Long Serving Member – previously recognized)

The operations board approved adding the names to the locomotives at their monthly meeting this morning.

“Naming locomotives to honor those who helped establish or ensure the success of VRE is a small token of the appreciation we have for the foresight and public service these Board Members have provided in creating VRE,” said  VRE Operations Board Chairman Paul Milde in a press release.

The names that will be affixed to the locomotives belong to those who “played a key role in establishing VRE service, were early or long-tenured members, or whose extraordinary efforts contributed to its success, will be honored by having their names placed on the front of VRE locomotives.”

Virginia Railway Express trains carried more than 320,000 riders in November. Over the past year, the commuter railroad carried 2 million riders.

I-95 E-Z Pass Express Lanes offer smooth ride to Stafford

We took a drive on the new Interstate 95 E-Z Pass Express Lanes this afternoon.

The lanes were free to drivers before 3:30 p.m. today, as the lanes are operating under the old HOV rules that require vehicles to have three or more occupants 6 to 9 a.m. and 3:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Beginning Dec. 29, all vehicles will need an E-Z Pass or E-Z Pass Flex (carpoolers will should use this to not be charged a toll) to use the lanes.

We wanted to drive the new portion of the lanes, from Dumfries south to the Express Lanes’ terminus at Garrisonville Road.

We got on the lanes near Potomac Mills mall, near milepost 156 Dale Boulevard. Midday traffic was light, and we had no issues traveling the stretch of lanes.

The old HOV exit at Route 234 in Dumfries, where all HOV traffic used to merge with the travel lanes of I-95, has been closed. Drivers now proceed about a half mile south to a new flyover exit ramp that carries drivers back to the highway travel lanes as well as connects them to an exit for Joplin Road, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Quantico National Cemetery, and Prince William Forest Park.

We continued south to terminus of the lanes at Garrisonville Road in Stafford County. All drivers are forced to merge into a single lane before transitioning into an exit flyover ramp that carries drivers back to the main lanes of I-95, or connects them to Garrisonville Road.

The I-95 E-Z Pass Express Lanes carry drivers north to Washington in the mornings and then south each afternoon. Officials say the drivers should remain popular with slugs or carpoolers, who ride together in vehicles of three or more occupants for a faster commute to work. Drivers in vehicles with two or fewer occupants will have the option to pay a toll of about $6 to $8 per 1o to 12-mile trip on the lanes, said express lanes spokesman Micheal McGurk. 

The total length of the lanes is 29 miles from Garrisvonville Road to Esdall Road in Alexandria.

 

Car burns on I-66 between 234, Prince William Parkway

car on fire 66

Updated

Fire and rescue crews called to the scene extinguished the blaze. 

Prince William fire and rescue Assistant Chief Thomas Jarman said the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived. The driver had fled the scene but later returned.

State police are now investigating what led to the fire.

Original post 

A car was seen burning on Interstate 66 about 9 a.m.

The car was pulled to the side of the eastbound lanes, between Prince William Parkway and Sudley Road (Route 234 Business).

Fire and rescue crews had not yet made it on scene and flames could be seen underneath the car, says a witness who submitted photos of the blaze to Manassas Local.

No VRE service Dec. 26

Virginia Railway Express will not operate service the day after Christmas.

Federal workers were granted leave for that day.

The commuter railroad issued the following statement about their adjusted holiday schedule:

December 24, 2014 – “S” Schedule

December 25, 2014 – No VRE service in observance of Christmas

December 26, 2014 – No VRE service

December 29-31, 2014 – “S” Schedule

January 1, 2015 – No VRE service in observance of New Year’s Day

January 2, 2015 – “S” Schedule

January 19, 2014 – No VRE service in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

“No VRE service” is easy enough to figure out but if you are new to our service, we operate an “S” Schedule on certain days. The only trains that will operate on those days are those that are marked with as “S” next to its train number on the schedule. (We also implement this reduced schedule when inclement weather warrants it.) 

What to know ahead of I-95 EZ-Pass lanes opening

A view of the I-96 EZ-Pass Express Lanes from Dale Boulevard in Dale City.

Potomac Local continues its effort to keep you informed ahead of the opening of the EZ-Pass Express Lanes on I-95 from North Stafford to Edsall Road in Fairfax County. 

Here is the latest information provide to us about the switch over from HOV lanes to express lanes, which begins Sunday afternoon. The information comes to us via the form of a media briefting from EZ-Pass Express Lanes operator Transurban:

Opening Preparations

Beginning tomorrow, December 12 through Sunday, December 14, we will unveil all Express Lanes signage.  All HOV lanes will be closed starting the evening of Friday, December 12 until the evening of Sunday, December 14.

Roadway Opening

The evening of Sunday, December 14 the new roadway improvements will open including:

  • Nine-mile extension from Dumfries to Garrisonville Road
  • Third lane from Prince William Parkway to the vicinity of Edsall Road on I-395
  • All new entry and exit points

From December 14 – 28, when the new capacity is open, HOV rules will continue to be in effect.  The HOV regulatory signs will remain in place and dynamic message signs (DMS) will communicate the HOV rules. 

The new lane use management system and the variable speed limit system will be turned on.  Drivers should follow the speed posted on the variable speed limit signs. The lane use management system will alert drivers if a lane is closed to traffic.  If a red “X” is displayed above, drivers should exit that lane as soon as it is safe to do so.

For two weeks, until Sunday, December 28, the Express Lanes (new capacity and new entries/exits) will be toll-free to allow travelers to benefit from the additional capacity during the holiday season.  Standard HOV rules apply (with the exception of holidays).

Gate Operations

Transurban will assume gate operations along the entire I-95 and I-395 corridor on Sunday, December 14.  Gate transition time on the HOV and Express Lanes facilities is expected to increase due to the nine mile southern extension and new gates.  Drivers should expect delays in the afternoon transition to reverse the flow of the traffic southbound.  Ultimately, the gates transition will return to standard times experienced today.

On Monday, December 15, the gates will begin to close at 10:30 a.m. instead of 11 a.m.  This will help accommodate southbound traffic in the afternoon.

Tolling Begins

Tolling begins Monday, December 29.  All drivers will need an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex (carpoolers) to use the Express Lanes.

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