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Woodbridge motorcyclist killed on I-95

According to Virginia State Police Sgt. Les Tyler, a Woodbridge man died yesterday on Interstate 95 when he lost control of his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and struck a guardrail in Stafford. 

Allen Lee Franklin, 26 of Woodbridge, was traveling Northbound Wednesday February 8, 2017 at approximately 2:28 a.m. when he ran off the road, struck a guard rail and was ejected from his motorcycle. Despite wearing a helmet Franklin was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police believe that excessive speed was the cause, and do not believe that alcohol was a factor in the accident.

Traffic
School closings and delays for Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

 

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 

Traffic
VRE wants to hike Amtrak step-up fares

From VRE: 

The VRE Operations Board considers fare increases every two years to offset expected increases in operating costs.   This year, we are proposing a three percent fare increase to help pay for increased costs associated with rising track access fees, labor and maintenance costs, and other contractual obligations.

 Any new fare increase would become effective July 2017 and must receive approval by the VRE Operations Board, the Northern Virginia and Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commissions, and individual jurisdiction members of VRE.  (more…)

Traffic
Updated: Train collides with car in Nokesville

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Photos by Tim at Nokesville Tire

NOKESVILLE, Va. — A train collided with a car on railroad tracks today in Nokesville at 10:56 a.m. 

One person was said to be inside the car and suffered serious injuries. Rescue crews said the victim would be flown to a local hospital.

It appears the train collided with the vehicle and pushed it east down the track toward Manassas. 

Train traffic was stopped along the rail line owned by Norfolk-Southern.  The crash should not impact Virginia Railway Express service. 

More as we have it. 

Update from Prince William police: 

An elderly female appeared to be suffering from a medical emergency when she strayed onto the tracks where they cross Fitzwater Dr in Nokesville around 11AM. A freight train traveling north struck the vehicle in the rear pushing it north a short distance along the tracks.

The driver was subsequently flown to an area hospital as a precaution. No serious injuries were reported. The train suffering little to no damage and continued on its journey a short time later. The vehicle was totaled. The train crossing at Fitzwater Dr was not impacted as the trained cleared the crossing before it was able to come to a stop.

 

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McPike drops bill that would require HOT lanes to post estimated travel time with toll price; State says it’ll address later

Submitted by Virginia State Senator Jeremy McPike’s office: 

Senator McPike asked me to share a few pieces of information as it relates to his efforts to improve commuter fairness in Northern Virginia.

He introduced Senate Bill 1536, a bill to require operators of dynamic tolling facilities in Northern Virginia to included the estimated travel time, along with the price, for each posted destination. Consumers need all the information to make an informed choice about whether a high fare is worth it for them. Nothing is worse than paying the high toll and then getting trapped in gridlock in the facility.

After introducing and presenting the bill to the Senate Transportation Committee this week, Senator McPike struck the legislation with the guarantee from Secretary Layne that VDOT would work to address this issue in the coming year.  If it is not addressed, Senator McPike intends to introduce this legislation again next year.
From the letter: 
“…I have directed the Virginia Department of Transportation to evaluate and experiment with implementing portions of your proposal in a manner that would not create a compensation event with our private partners on I-95, I-495, and I-66.

VDOT will provide the public with information regarding travel times in the general purpose lanes compared to the travel times in the parallel express lanes to similar destinations. “

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VDOT explains (in Tweets) why some roads got salt brine and others did not

Photo by Flickr user Virginia Department of Transportation

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Surovell’s bill targeting ‘left lane bandits’ passes House

Photo by Flickr user Doug Kerr 

RICHMOND, Va. — House of Delegates has approved a bill that would impose a mandatory $250 fine for driving too slowly in the left lane on highways.

HB 2201 was introduced by Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, and co-sponsored by Democrats Del. Kaye Kory of Falls Church and Sen. Scott Surovell of Fairfax to show bipartisan support for the measure. O’Quinn said this is something that affects all Virginians, regardless of which side of the aisle they align themselves with.

“It doesn’t matter which corner of the commonwealth you come from,” he said when addressing the bill on the House floor Monday. “It doesn’t matter which interstate or four-lane highway that you have going through the districts you represent. I guarantee you are going to encounter this many times, even if you’re on the highways for just a few minutes.”

“Left lane bandits,” as they are often known, have become a “particularly pervasive and ever-growing problem” on Virginia roadways, O’Quinn said.

(more…)

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VDOT’s take on the new Haymarket DDI at I-66

Photo by VDOT Northern Virginia

From VDOT spokeswoman Ellen Kamilakis:

I’ve loved working on this project because it has so many up sides. Safer, faster, cheaper! We knew we would have to fight the misconceptions of it being dangerous, and how people wouldn’t understand, but so far they have. Since it is not completely done (still need to open third lane, finish multi-use path, overhead signs, mast arm signals, concrete islands) it’s hard for people to conceptualize the finished product. I for one didn’t grasp that I was on temporary pavement, and when it was complete in the spring, the intersection lines would be longer and leaner that what is there now.

I have followed the news articles and read the comments (looking for misconceptions that I can address), and all we have left are people that claim, despite all of the studies, that this will somehow be a dangerous intersection. The only thing to refute that is time, so we watch and wait.

I found this to be an interesting exchange on Twitter: https://twitter.com/VaDOTNOVA/status/82552774911269274

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A busy day for police at the new Haymarket DDI intersection

Photo: VDOT Northern Virginia

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HAYMARKET, Va. — The first Diverging Diamond Interchange in Northern Virginia opened Saturday at Route 15 and Interstate 66 in Haymarket.

The interchange is unlike others in the state because it removes the need for drivers to make dangerous left turns across oncoming traffic. It also puts traffic on the opposite side of the street as drivers pass through the interchange. 

The new interchange is quickly becoming the standard in the state with another one planned at Interstate 95 and Courthouse Road in Stafford.

The new street configuration and traffic pattern changes today in Haymarket led to some confusion today, and police want drivers to be aware of the changes.

From Haymarket Chief of Police Kevin Lands: 

Here are some observations the Haymarket Police Department observed and handled during today’s rush hour traffic at the DDI. Any help getting the word out would be helpful. Thanks. 
 
VDOT detail- monitored A.M. rush traffic at the diversion diamond interchange. No crashes to report at this time. However other items of note were observed.
 
1) Incorrect use of the traffic pattern-
Three motorists claimed to be confused while entering or exiting the diamond on the Heathcote side. Two drivers stayed to the right while attempting to travel south on Rt.15 on a northbound portion. They were stopped prior to the I-66 eastbound ramps. Both drivers claimed to be confused and attempted to just stay right. The third driver was traveling north on Rt.15 and attempted to exit the diamond and ended up in the southbound lanes but was then able to correct.

(more…)

Traffic
School closings and delays for Monday, Jan. 30, 2017

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

School divisions in Prince William and Stafford counties already have modified schedules today. 

Prince William County Public Schools — Teacher Workday today, NO School.

Stafford County Public School — Early release day for all grades /end of semester.

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 

Traffic
Updated: Chatham Bridge completed

From VDOT: 

One lane is closed on the Chatham Bridge (Route 3 Business) between Fredericksburg and Stafford County due to a hole that has formed in the bridge deck. 

: The right eastbound travel lane is closed. All other lanes on the bridge are not affected, and remain open. 

The hole is approximately 2 feet by 2 feet across. Tonight, crews are covering the hole with a steel plate, which will be sealed with an asphalt mix used in cold temperatures.

Update from VDOT at 4:45 p.m. Jan 27, 2017:

CORRECTION: This traffic alert was intended to be sent on Wednesday, Jan. 25. All repairs to the Chatham Bridge were completed by the morning of Thursday, Jan. 26. No repairs are currently underway. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

Traffic
Haymarket DDI opens this weekend

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From VDOT: 

Northern Virginia’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) at Interstate 66 and Route 15 will open to traffic Saturday, Jan. 28, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The new [$59 million] DDI alignment is scheduled to open at 9 a.m. Jan. 28. The interchange will be closed overnight for final lane striping the night before beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27. Detour information is available on the project page.

Traffic will shift onto the new bridge, with two out of the three lanes opening Saturday. Work will still continue on the multi-use path, overhead signs, and concrete islands until summer 2017, when the third lane will then open.

The DDI’s innovative design shifts vehicles to the opposite side of the road and eliminates left turns that cross oncoming traffic. Two-phase traffic signals at each end of the interchange reduce time spent at red lights and move twice the number of vehicles as a traditional diamond interchange. VDOT recently completed its first two DDIs in Louisa and Roanoke, and has two more in the works in Blacksburg and Stafford.

Traffic
Tons of OmniRide bus stops will be missed Friday afternoon

From PRTC: 

The annual March for Life will take place on Friday, January 27 in Washington, D.C.

Road closures will impact many OmniRide trips in the early afternoon, and there is a chance that road closures may be extended and impact PM rush hour trips. All riders should anticipate delays due to congestion caused by the road closures.

(more…)

Traffic
Route 610 traffic shift set for Wednesday night in Stafford

From Virginia Department of Transportation:

All lanes will remain open, but drivers should stay alert for a new traffic pattern on
Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) near Onville Road

On Wednesday evening, Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) traffic in Stafford County will be shifted slightly onto new pavement just west of the Onville Road intersection. (more…)

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OId Centerville Road bridge repairs begin today

Submitted:

Rehabilitation of the Old Centreville Road bridge over Bull Run will begin Tuesday, Jan. 24, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

During construction, traffic crossing the bridge will be controlled via temporary signals.

The bridge, built in 1968, is in poor structural condition overall, with cracks and other signs of deterioration in its piers and concrete abutments.

The $4 million project is scheduled for completion in fall 2017. The contractor is Martins Construction Corporation.
Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova

Traffic
‘Back to the drawing board’: Should Route 1/123 interchange be reconsidered?

Route 1-Route 123 Interchange similar to Wellington-Route 28 in Manassas
bridge photo.

Since 2011 there have been talks of an interchange at Routes 1 and 123 in Woodbridge.

Prince William County resident Mark Scheufler sent this letter to Woodbridge District Supervisor, Frank Principi:

Supervisor Principi,

The initial Virginia Smart Scale Transportation rankings listed the Route 123/Route 1 interchange as the 286th highest in the state and 45th in Northern Virginia. It is not recommended for funding.

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I would strongly recommend going back to the drawing board and restarting the design of the interchange with a more pedestrian friendly urban design.

Please consider implementing an interchange solution similar to the Route 28 overpass of Wellington/Norfolk Southern in Manassas.(Attached). This is quadrant interchange design. This was an ~$50 million project. This will help project scoring for future NVTA and Smart Scale funding rounds.

General Recommendations for the North Woodbridge/VRE area:

• Route 123 – 2 Lanes in each direction between Belmont Bay and Annapolis Way

• Roundabout at Express Way and Belmont Bay/Route 123

• Roundabout at Express Way and Dawson’s Creek (This would allow for a second left turn lane to Route 1 Southbound)

• Minimize Dual Left Turn Lanes

• Maximize Street Grid, Way finding Signs to divert traffic away from congestion points

• Road Diet for Horner Rd and Occoquan Road (Similar to Lawyer’s Road in Reston) – One lane in each direction, middle left turn lane and bike lanes.

• Roundabout at the intersection of Horner and Occoquan Rd. (Similar to Braddock and Pleasant Valley in Fairfax County)

• Other than Route 1, “VDOT’s objective to move motorists through the area” should not be a priority”
• Pedestrian overpass over Route 1 connecting to VRE with a mixed use parking garage

• Pocket Track South of the Woodbridge VRE Station to Turnaround VRE trains (Contingent on Atlantic Gateway Rail improvements and Long Bridge) for all-day 15-30 minute service between Woodbridge and Washington DC. (Better than any Metro Station in PWC)

• On-Demand Bus Service from Woodbridge for VRE stations from Rippon to Spotsylvania during off-peak/weekends

Traffic
‘We believe this light will make the intersection safer’

MANASSAS, Va. — A new signal light outside the Prince William County Fairgrounds near Manassas will help regulate the flow of traffic on Dumfries Road and Old Dominion Drive.

The signal light sits near the new Bradley Square townhomes developed by Stanley Martin Homes and was erected by the developer. The new signal light is expected to be active within the next 45 days, according to Stanley Martin Homes spokesman Truett Young.

Bennett Elementary School sits nearby, and the new light is expected to improve traffic flow to the school. Here’s a statement from Prince William County Pubilc Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer:

“Every light affects operations either positively or negatively.  The majority of our buses enter Bennett ES from Grant Ave onto Old Dominion Dr. and won’t be affected at all.  We believe this light will make the intersection safer for the one bus that turns there with students on board and so we believe its impact will be more positive than anything else.”

In addition to installing the new signal light, Stanley Martin also paid to widen Old Dominion Drive to make it safer for school buses to use the road.

The Prince William County Fair runs for a week each year in August, and without fail, county police are called to direct traffic in and out of the fairgrounds. The new light probably won’t change that, according to this statement from fair spokeswoman Chrissy Taylor: 

“We will meet with our [Prince William County] police detail in the spring. Most likely, the light will be flashing and PWC police will control the flow of traffic as done in previous years.”

Traffic
Route 123 commuter ‘lot is simply not as convenient as the others’

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — There’s always a plethora of open parking spaces at the commuter lot at the intersection of Route 123 and Interstate 95.

It sits right on the highway and might make one think that using it would be a no-brainer. But that’s not the case, according to Potomac and Rappahannock Transporation spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo: 

Each year PRTC performs a commuter lot usage count. Below are the observed counts for the I-95 and 123 Commuter Lot since 2007. (VDOT also does counts.) The greatest usage came after Potomac Mills reduced the number of spaces that allowed for commuter parking and prior to the opening of the Telegraph Road Commuter Lot.

Comparing utilization and location for this lot to others in I-95 corridor that are regularly over or very near capacity (Horner Road, Telegraph Road, Lake Ridge, 123 and Old Bridge, 234 and Route 1) you could come to the conclusion that the lot is simply not as convenient as the others.

(more…)

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