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Traffic & Transit

Plans Ready for U.S. 1 Improvements at Quantico Corporate Center

082711 boswells corner lights out

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – The Quantico Corporate Center on U.S 1 in North Stafford’s Boswell’s Corner is growing.

Now home to a group of technology firms, government contractors, and the new Stafford Research and Technology Park, the influx of people the center draws has prompted new transportation improvements for the four-lane highway on which it sits.

Tonight, federal and state transportation officials will present plans for improving the Boswell’s Corner area, where U.S. 1 meets Telegraph Road, which also serves as an entrance to Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Officials say they work to improve the following areas:

  • Design turning lane improvements based on the government provided conceptual plan;
  • Construct an eastbound Telegraph Road to southbound Rte 1 turning lane, on Telegraph Road West of U.S. Rte 1;
  • Lengthen the U.S. Rte 1 northbound left turn lane;
  • Provide connections to all driveways connecting to U.S. Route 1 and maintain access during construction.

Tonight’s public meeting is advertised as an open forum exchange between project officials and those who will work to improve the intersection. It will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. at University of Maryland University College at Quantico Corporate Center, 525 Corporate Drive in Stafford.

Project officials have placed documents online for review.

‘MyLink’ Teen Summer Bus Pass On Sale, Offers Discounts at Area Attractions

New OmniLink buses that serve Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. The buses have a new look more aligned with the overall color scheme for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission. [Submitted photo]

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Teens can rely on OmniLink once again this summer to get around town.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation is now selling its MyLink pass for teens, formerly known as the teen summer bus pass. The $30 pass is good for unlimited rides on OmniLink local buses that service Dale City, Dumfries, Lake Ridge, Quantico, Woodbridge, Manassas, and Manassas Park, as well as the Cross-County Connector bus that runs between Manassas and Woodbridge.

The transit agency released a statement on where to get the MyLink pass which will be sold through August 1. The pass is valid through August 30 and also comes with several discounts on area entertainment.

Here’s more in a statement from PRTC:

Teens ages 13-19 may use MyLink on OmniLink and Cross County Connector buses between Monday, June 2 and Saturday, August 30, 2014.  The pass costs $30, and in return teens get an unlimited number of local bus rides for the entire summer!  With the cost of a regular one-way bus ride currently at $1.30, a teen who takes at least 12 round-trips during the summer will save money by riding with a MyLink pass.  Passes will be sold at multiple locations from June 2 – August 1, 2014.

Getting three months of unlimited bus rides for $30 is a bargain, but teens can save even more when they showing their MyLink pass at these attractions:

– Potomac Nationals, Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge –$1 off general admission at Friday home games;
– Prince William Ice Center, 5180 Dale Boulevard, Woodbridge –$2 off public skate entry;
– Bowl America, 13409 Occoquan Road, Woodbridge and 9000 Mathis Avenue, Manassas – one free game per visit, per day;
– Manassas 4 Cinemas, 8890 Mathis Avenue, Manassas – $1 off admission on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays;
– Stonewall Pool, 8531 Stonewall Road, Manassas – $1 off admission.

With MyLink, teens won’t need to borrow the family car or beg for gas money to get around town.  MyLink enables teens to have a safe, reliable ride to get to summer jobs, shopping centers, recreation centers, libraries and lots of other places where they want to go.

For the convenience of teens and their parents, passes will be sold June 2 – August 1 at:

– The PRTC Transit Center, at the intersection of Potomac Mills Road and Telegraph Road in Woodbridge, Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
– Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Thursday 5 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday 5 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
– Sharron Baucom – Dale City Recreation Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Friday 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
– Ben Lomond Community Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
– Manassas City Hall Treasurer’s Office (cash only), Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
– Manassas Park City Hall Treasurer’s Office (cash only), Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and 3-5 p.m.

Teens who have a photo ID should bring it with them when purchasing a MyLink pass because a sticker will be applied to the front of their ID.  Teens who don’t have a photo ID will be given a MyLink card with a sticker.  Teens simply show their ID or MyLink card to the bus operator each time they board.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, PRTC, provides transportation services in Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.  OmniLink local buses serve routes in Manassas and Manassas Park on Mondays through Fridays and serve routes in Dale City, Dumfries, Lake Ridge, Quantico, the Route 1 Corridor and Woodbridge on Mondays through Saturdays.  The Cross County Connector operates Mondays through Fridays and connects eastern Prince William County with the Manassas area.

MyLink is one of three PRTC programs designed to educate youth about public transportation.  PRTC also offers a preschool and elementary program focusing on bus safety, and a middle school program that shows how public transportation helps to preserve our environment and natural resources.

For more information about MyLink or any of PRTC’s transportation services, contact Customer Service at (703) 730-6664 or visit PRTCtransit.org. 

Crash Prompts Major Delays Monday Afternoon

060314 crash

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Stuck in traffic on U.S. 1 or Garrisonville Road (Va. 610) Monday evening?

A crash involving four vehicles occurred just before 4:30 p.m. Several people were taken to an area hospital for treatment, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

The crash forced the closure of all lanes of U.S. 1 and Va. 610 and caused major backups throughout North Stafford.

Expect HOV Lanes to Close Tonight, Reopen Sunday

Photo: Mary Davidson

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – The HOV lanes on Interstate 95 and 395 will close this weekend.

Here’s more in a press release from VDOT:

This Friday night, May 30, through Sunday morning, June 1, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will close the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on I-95/395 from the D.C. line to Dumfries, just south of Exit 152 (Route 234). The HOV lanes will close at 11 p.m. on Friday night through 10 a.m. Saturday morning, and again on Saturday night at 11 p.m., opening Sunday morning by 10 a.m. heading north.

As part of the 95 Express Lanes construction, the closures will allow crews to continue work on overhead sign structures, pull fiber optic lines that are needed for future tolling equipment, mill and pave the new lanes, and finish bridge work.

In addition, beginning at 11 p.m. tonight, two right lanes will be closed on I-95 North from Exit 152 to the truck scales as crews shift traffic to make room for construction of a retaining wall. On Saturday morning, May 31, the lanes will reopen and crews will work on the left area of the pavement, requiring a mobile lane closure. Work will include paving and lane marking, and installation of signage.  All work is expected to be completed by 9 a.m., Saturday Morning, May 31.  In case of rain, this work will be moved to Saturday night through Sunday morning.

 

*Single lane closure may be implemented earlier*

Gainesville Woman Killed in Crash

Photo: Mary Davidson

A Gainesville woman was killed this past weekend on Interstate 95 this weekend.

Here’s the latest form Virginia State Police:

Virginia State Police Trooper K.W. Peterson responded to a two-vehicle crash in Prince George County, Va. The crash occurred May 22, 2014, at 4:40 p.m. in the southbound lanes of I-95 near the 42 mile marker.

A tractor-trailer was southbound on I-95 in the right lane when it ran off the right side of the interstate and struck a 2007 Hyundai Elantra that was parked on the right shoulder. The driver of the parked Elantra was seated in the passenger side of the vehicle and thrown from the car when it was struck by the tractor-trailer. Meanwhile, the tractor-trailer jackknifed in the tree line off the right side of the interstate.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Henry W. Vann Jr., 65, of Ahoskie, N.C., was not injured in the crash. He was wearing a seat belt. Vann was charged with reckless driving.

The driver of the Elantra, Rachel E. Gradia, 24, of Gainesville, Va., was transported to VCU Medical Center in Richmond, where she died May 24, 2014.

The crash remains under investigation.

Travel Time Maps Help Drivers Plan for Memorial Day Exodus

Commuters use the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on I-95 in Woodbridge. (Uriah Kiser/PotomacLocal.com)

Nearly 1 million people will hit the roads this Memorial Day weekend, and AAA Mid-Atlantic wants you to make sure your car is ready for travel.

“With approximately 811,000 Washington Metro area residents expected to travel by car during the holiday, many motorists could unfortunately be left stranded away from home this weekend if they haven’t properly prepared their vehicles,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs in a press release. “Since this job carries with it inherent dangers, all motorists are urged to give roadside responders room to work. Slow down and or move over when you encounter flashing lights at the roadside so these highway heroes can perform their job safely.”

This weekend is the start to the summer travel season with many Washington area residents headed to the shore or the mountains. Those who are staying home will need to be ready to share the roads with an increased number of motorcyclists for Sunday’s annual Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom rally at the Pentagon and then into Washington, D.C.

In addition to back ups on area roads, this also means there will be some changes to highways throughout Virginia and in Maryland to accommodate Memorial Day travelers. All scheduled construction lane closures in Virginia will be lifted from from noon Friday, May 23, until noon Tuesday, May 27.

I-95 and HOV lanes 

If history has anything to do with it, get ready to see some major delays on Interstate 95 in Prince William and Stafford counties about noon Friday. The Virginia Department of Transportation has complied travel maps with data from the past three years to indicate when and were highway backups are the worst.

Traffic patterns on the HOV lanes between Dumfries and the Pentagon will change. Here’s the schedule posted by VDOT:

NORTHERN VIRGINIA HIGH OCCUPANCY VEHICLE (HOV) SCHEDULE

Friday, May 23: Normal HOV-3 restrictions are in effect. Interstate 95/395 reversible lanes will be southbound starting at 1 p.m.

Saturday, May 24: I-95/395 reversible lanes remain southbound until 2 p.m. and switch to northbound by 4 p.m.

Sunday, May 25: I-95/395 reversible lanes remain northbound all day, but will be closed to regular traffic for the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Monday, May 26: HOV restrictions on Interstate 66 and I-95/395 are lifted. I-95/395 reversible lanes remain northbound all day.

More information on Northern Virginia HOV schedules can be found at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/hov-novasched.asp.

Virginia Beach and Outer Banks

Headed to Virginia Beach or to Outer Banks in North Carolina? Here’s what you need to know:

HAMPTON ROADS HOV SCHEDULE, TUNNELS AND OTHER INFORMATION

Interstate 64 HOV lanes: On Monday, May 26, HOV restrictions will be lifted on I-64. The reversible roadway will operate as normally scheduled throughout the weekend.

Interstate 64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT): Motorists traveling to Virginia Beach are encouraged to use the Interstate 664 Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) as an alternative to the HRBT. To Virginia Beach, take I-664 south to the MMMBT. Then take the Portsmouth/Norfolk exit (exit 15A) to Interstate 264 east to Virginia Beach.

Travel to the Outer Banks: Motorists going to the North Carolina Outer Banks should use I-664 and the MMMBT to save time. From I-664 south, take I-64 west to exit 292, Chesapeake Expressway/Interstate 464/U.S. 17. Keep left to continue to the Chesapeake Expressway (Route 168), and take Nags Head/Great Bridge exit 291B to the Outer Banks.

Jamestown-Scotland Ferry: The summer schedule is in effect beginning Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The ferry schedule can be viewed online at: www.virginiadot.org/travel/ferry-jamestown.asp.

Highway Advisory Radio (HAR): Tune to 1680 AM to stay informed on Hampton Roads traffic and travel conditions and construction information.

Eastern Shore, Ocean City, Md. and Delaware beaches 

If the Eastern Shore, Ocean City, Md., or the Delaware beaches are your destination this Memorial Day weekend, the Maryland Transportation Authority wants you to know the best time to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

The MDTA offers the following travel tips for this holiday weekend and throughout the summer months:

Travel off-peak when heading to and from the Eastern Shore. The best times to travel the Bay Bridge this weekend include:

Thursday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

Friday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

Saturday – before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.

Sunday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

Memorial Day Monday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

Don’t Wing It. Plan Ahead!

Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions.

Visit baybridge.com to view traffic cameras at the Bay Bridge and to sign up for email alerts.

Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA.

Ease your travel with E-ZPass. Visit ezpassmd.com to enroll on-line and for a list of E-ZPass “On the Go” retail locations.

Know Before You Go – call 511 or visit MD511.org for statewide travel information. To view traffic cameras on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov.

For toll rates, visit mdta.maryland.gov and click on Toll Rate Calculator. The current cash toll rate for two-axle vehicles at the Bay Bridge is $6.Consider the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 in your travel route to the Eastern Shore.

Road Work Ramps Up in East End, County Managing Record Number of Projects

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Orange cones, lane closures, and traffic delays have been a common sight in the eastern part of Prince William County as of late.

That’s because there’s more roadwork happening now then there has been in many years. In fact, Prince William County’s Department of Transportation is managing more transportation projects at one time than ever before.

So, what’s being done? PotomacLocal.com took a tour of the projects to provide you a better idea of the street improvements, to tell you how they’ll improve your commute, and, most importantly, to tell you when they’ll be finished.

Prince William Parkway widening

The heavily-used Prince William Parkway is being widened from four to six lanes between Minnieville and Old Bridge roads. The work began back in September when crews began to relocate utility lines along the roadway.

The widened road will also include a new sidewalk on the westbound side of the road, and a new trail on the eastbound side. With its completion, walkers, runners, and bicyclist will now have a full trail that links Interstate 95 in the east with I-66 in the west. The total project is slated to cost $13.5 million and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Telegraph Road Commuter Lot expansion 

There never seems to be enough commuter parking around here, so that’s why an additional 730 parking spaces are being added next to the state’s largest commuter lot, the Horner Road Lot, at the newly constructed Telegraph Road Lot, at the intersection of Caton Hill and Telegraph Roads in Woodbridge.

The need for this lot became very apparent when, back in 2011, Potomac Mills mall announced they would add new restaurants like the Cheesecake Factory and Bahama Breeze, and that some 1,000 parking spaces used daily at was once a popular commuter lot would be reduced to just 250.

“We had to get going on this project and respond fast,” said Prince William County Transportation Department Director Thomas Blazer.

The location of the commuter lot was once home to CommmuteRide, what OmniRide was once known as, where it stored its fleet of commuter buses. Today, OmniRide buses on weekdays take riders from and to Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park to Washington and Arlington.

In keeping with its transit-oriented history, the commuter lot also has bike racks to lock up their bikes, and storage lockers where riders can stash their gear during the day.

While our region’s tough winter weather slowed the project a bit, the lot is expected to be completed within the next two weeks at a cost of $5.56 million.

U.S. 1 from Neabsco Mills Road to Featherstone Road

Have you ever driven U.S. 1 and wondered why you lose a lane when you get near Dale Boulevard? It seems transportation officials wondered the same thing, too, and now they’re working to fix it.

U.S. 1 is being widened from four to six lanes between Neabsco Mills Road north to Featherstone Road. It’ll cost $43.1 million, and will help more commuters get through the clogged artery often used as a bailout route when traffic stacks up on nearby Interstate 95.

This project is unique as it cuts through a neighborhood lined with commercial properties such as shopping centers, car dealerships, and doctors offices. There’s also new apartment homes coming up in the area not far from Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center, home of a Wegmans grocery store, and soon to be home of the Potomac Nationals minor league baseball team.

The road widening will be completed in phases. The first is Neabsco Mills Road to Dale Boulevard, where orange cones already line the road and work is well underway. The second, also under construction, is from Dale Boulevard to Delaware Drive where the Misty Ridge Apartments and PS Business Center are located.

The third and final phase of the project is from Delaware Drive to Featherstone Road. That phase is in what’s known as the right-of-way acquisition and design phase, where officials examine what properties they will need to demolish to make way for a wider road.

Also going away with this project is the above-ground power lines that stretch along U.S. 1. Crews will bury them at a cost of about $15 million.

Crews will have have to take three properties and several businesses to complete the widening. They are:

– Shell gas station
– Cash Point car title loans
– Tactical Solutions
– Best Barbershop
– Safe Solutions Locksmith
– Fox Motors, Inc
– Potomac Auto body

Heritage Center Parkway at National Museum of the Marine Corps

There’s more expansion going on at the National Center of the Marine Corps with the expansion of the Heritage Center Parkway. The parkway, which already takes visitors to the museum grounds from U.S. 1 at Quantico, will be about a half-mile long when completed. A new, second entrance is being added just south of the current entrance to the museum and the parkway extended allowing drivers to use either entrance.

The work — a partnership between the Marine Corps museum, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Virginia, and Prince William County — is expected to be complete a year from now.

The project also includes the new Timothy T. Day Overlook that will allow visitors to view the museum grounds from a higher vantage point on the property.

The $5.76 million project hit a snag when soil tests revealed poor dirt on the site of the parkway project. More soil testing has been ordered, and county officials are working with the developer to alternative solutions for the problem.

Watermain Break Being Repaired in Woodbridge

[Submitted photo]

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Crews are working to repair a watermain break on Golansky Boulevard near Prince  William Parkway and  a BJs Wholesale Club in Woodbridge.

A rusted bolt valve is the cause of the leak. Virginia American Water maintains the water lines and says drivers should avoid the area today.

Here is what the company is saying through statements on social media:

Latest update:

Crews have identified a rusted bolt valve as the cause of the leak. They will make a temporary repair to get water back on by 12:00 noon today to the businesses affected, and then they’ll come back tonight after closing to make the permanent repair.

Access to the plaza is available through several entrances, just not at the Noblewood and Golansky entrance, which will take all day to repair.

Here is what the company stated after first getting word of the break:

Dale City Customers: We are on scene at Golansky Blvd and Noble Pond Ct near PW Parkway to address a watermain break. Please avoid that intersection today. Breaks like these usually take about 6-8 hours to fix, depending on severity, location and other factors.

There will likely be some outages in the vicinity while we address the break. We will post info here as we receive it.

The photo used in this story is a file photo from a watermain break that occurred in 2013 on U.S. 1 in Dumfries.

HOV Lanes Closing This Weekend for Fiber Installation

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – If you’re sitting in traffic on Interstate 95 and 395 this weekend, don’t count on any relief from the HOV lanes between Dumfries and the Pentagon. The lanes will close for ongoing work as they are being converted to express toll lanes.

Here’s the latest from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

This Friday night, May 16, through Sunday, May 18, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will close the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on I-95/395 from the D.C. line to Dumfries, just south of Exit 152 (Route 234). The HOV lanes will close at 11 p.m. on Friday night, and remain closed until Sunday afternoon, when they will reopen heading north by 2 p.m.

As part of the 95 Express Lanes construction, the full closure enables crews to continue work on barrier placement, overhead sign structures, fiber optic lines that are needed for future tolling equipment, mill and pave the new lanes, and finish bridge work.

For the Memorial Day weekend, closures will be suspended between noon on Friday, May 23, through noon on Tuesday, May 27, in accordance with the holiday lane closure policy.

The 95 Express Lanes are 75 percent complete and on-track to be completed by the end of the year, and open in early 2015. The 95 Express Lanes will use dynamic tolls to keep traffic flowing and provide a more predictable travel option on I-95 between Route 610 in Stafford County to just north of the Capital Beltway. The 95 Express Lanes are being delivered through a public-private partnership between VDOT and Transurban-Fluor.

Updated: Suspicious Package Halts Traffic at Broad Run Commuter Rail Station

Picture 1 of 3

11:40 a.m.

Police report the suspicious package turned out to be harmless.

10:40 a.m. 

MANASSAS, Va. – No trains are moving at this hour past Virginia Railway Express’ Airport-Broad Run station outside Manassas.

A suspicious package found at the commuter rail station, at the Manassas Regional Airport, has prompted police to block traffic from entering or exiting the facility on Observation Road.

The package appears to have been found in the station’s parking lot. The station’s platform where commuters board VRE trains.

A explosives unit from Quantico Marine Corps Base arrived at the station just before 10:30 a.m.

At least two trains bound for Manassas were seen stopped on the tracks. In addition to VRE trains, Amtrak’s Northeast Regional train and fright trains from Norfolk Southern also use the lines.

Updated: Kids OK, Woman Charged in School Bus Accident

(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Police have charged Alma L Davila, 24, of Lorton, with failure to maintain control of her vehicle in connection with the school bus crash.

All of the children that were on board the bus, including the ones that reported minor injuries, are now OK, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

10 a.m. 

New information from Prince William police indicates some children onboard the bus involved in this morning’s crash were injured. We don’t know the severity of the injuries, but we’ll work to bring you more details and will post them here as soon as we have them.

Tuesday, May 13, 9:30 a.m. 

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – A school bus with 35 students onboard crashed this morning in Woodbridge.

None of the students onboard were injured, though police could not provide immediate information on whether or not the occupants of any of the other vehicles involved suffered injuries.

The crash happened just before 7 a.m. near the intersection of Prince William Parkway an Minnieville Road. The “transfer” bus was taking children from various locations in Prince William County to Hylton High School in Woodbridge, brining transfer students to class who live outside the defined boundaries for Hylton High School.

“At this stage of the game, the priority is making sure everyone is OK, gathering all the final facts, and getting all of the other information back out,” said Prince William County Public Schools spokesman Phil Kavits.

 

Drugs, Alcohol Ruled Out in Fatal Motorcycle Crash

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – A motocycle crash took the life of a Woodbridge man over the weekend.

Here’s an unedited police report:

Crash – Fatality – On May 11th at 5:29PM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the 13900 block of Mathews Dr in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a crash involving a motorcycle. The investigation revealed that the operator of a 1999 Kawasaki ZX9R motorcycle was traveling eastbound on Mathews Dr at a reported high rate of speed. At one point, the operator lost control of the motorcycle, striking two unoccupied vehicles. The operator was transported to an area hospital where he died. No other injuries were reported. The operator was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Alcohol and drug use are not factors in this incident.

Identified:

The operator of the 1999 Kawasaki ZX9R motorcycle was identified as Miguel FernandoCAPELA, 49, of Woodbridge

Bridge Hit by Dump Truck Needs Repair

050914-bridgeQUANTICO, Va. – An overpass in the Interstate 95 Express Lanes corridor has been damaged.

Construction crews must repair a girder on the on a bridge carrying Interstate 95 traffic over Russell Road, just outside the rear entrance to Quantico Marine Corps Base.

A dump truck struck a girder on the bridge, which lies within the 95 Express Lanes Project where crews are working to convert the highway’s existing HOV lanes between Dumfries and the Pentagon to toll lanes, as well as extend them south from Dumfries to North Stafford.

While the bridge work isn’t expected to impact I-95 traffic, orange cones will go up on Russell Road – an area that can become congested during the morning and evening rush hours as workers enter and exit the Marine Corps Base.

The work was due to begin on or about May 5 and is expected to last into June.

 

Reports of Dangerous Distracted Driving Up in Critical I-95 Work Zones

Interstate 95 at the National Museum of the Marine Corps [VDOT]

DALE CITY, Va. – Summer driving season is heating up, and officials fear the number of crashes caused by distracted driving could rise.

Again this year, officials gathered at a rest stop on Interstate 95 in Dale City, at the heart of the 95 Express Lanes construction project where HOV lanes are being converted into toll lanes, to warn drivers about the dangers of texting while driving.

The advice comes just days after Mary Jane Tracey, 72, of South Carolina, was killed after driving her minivan on the Capital Beltway and suddenly stopping to avoid entering the 495 Express (toll) Lanes.

“Most of the people that die in work zones are the people driving the cars, so it’s the right thing to look out for workers, but even if you’re not good at doing that you should look out for yourself,” said Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane.

A new report released by AAA Mid-Atlantic and Transurban, the corporation building the 95 Express Lanes, notes there is too much distracting driving the heavy-construction corridor from North Stafford to Edsall Road in Alexandria. The amount of distracted drivers in the corridor has increased from 56% in 2013 to 62% this year, according to a survey of 1,023 drivers who frequent the I-95 corridor.

Officials urge drivers to:

– Slow down when traveling through the corridor as there are constricted shoulders and frequent lane closures

– Avoid cell phone distractions, as well as traditional distractions – such as driving while drowsy or eating in the car – to decrease your risk of getting in an accident

– Remember that your driving decisions impact everyone – including you as the driver, your occupants and your fellow drivers and workers in the field

– Be alert for work vehicles that enter and exit the construction zone from the left lane

The overall message is part of Virginia’s “Orange Cones, No Phones” campaign implemented in 2009 while construction of the 495 Express Lanes from Springfield to Tysons Corner was kicking into high gear.

We also learned today there will be many more work-related closures to come as part of the project. Here’s some of what the Virginia Department of Transportation stated in a news release:

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) announced today at an Orange Cones. No Phones. Safe-driving event held on the 95 Express Lanes construction corridor that drivers traveling on I-95 in Northern Virginia should prepare for more lane closures and traffic impacts this summer. Drivers will face continued closures of the existing HOV and regular lanes on I-395/95 during overnight hours and weekends, as well as on weekdays during non-rush hours, as crews work to advance the Express Lanes to completion. The 95 Express Lanes project is more than 75 percent complete, and remains on-schedule to be substantially finished by late 2014 and open to traffic in early 2015.

“As the public prepares for summer road trips and commutes, construction will be in full force along I-95 in Northern Virginia,” commented Helen Cuervo, VDOT’s Northern Virginia Administrator. “The Orange Cones. No Phones. message of putting your phone down and staying alert is even more important this summer as crews will be working day and night to keep the nearly $1 billion 95 Express Lanes project on-schedule,” continued Cuervo.

They added:

Other critical work scheduled for this year includes constructing new sound walls to provide noise reductions to nearby communities; building storm water management ponds; and completing final work on barriers, guardrails, paving and roadways.

Once the Express Lanes are complete early next year, they will offer drivers an option paying a toll to use the lanes during all hours of the day, or to use the lanes for free with three or more occupants in their cars. Whether driving solo or for free with at least three in the seats, an EZ-Pass will be required at all times.

More Express Lanes Work Means More Free Bus Rides

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – More headaches for drivers is actually good news for bus riders.

The Prince William Metro Direct buses that run on Saturday between Potomac Mills mall and the Franconia-Springfield Metro station will continue to be free.

The free fares are subsidized by the state as a way to mitigate traffic delays as work to convert Interstate 95’s HOV lanes to express toll lanes continues, as well as add new lanes from Dumfries to North Stafford. The conversion has meant the frequent closure of the HOV facility and caused drivers major delays since construction began in 2012.

The free fares were expected to come to an end May 17, when construction crews anticipated the need to frequently close the HOV would diminish. Now, the bus riders will continue to be able to ride the Metro Direct bus free of charge.

Here’s a statement from the bus’ operator, Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission:

Virginia Megaprojects, which is a collaboration of the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, is paying 100% of operational costs for the Saturday Metro Direct bus service to encourage drivers to share their ride during weekends when the I-95/I-395 HOV lanes are closed for construction of the Express Lanes.

Previously, weekend closures of the HOV lanes were to end in the spring and Megaprojects intended to end its full funding for the bus service at that time. The PRTC Board of Commissioners had decided to continue offering the Saturday Metro Direct service but fares were to be charged and buses were to run less frequently starting on May 17.

However, Megaprojects recently informed PRTC that weekend HOV lane closures will continue throughout the summer, and as a result Megaprojects will continue its 100% support of the Saturday Metro Direct service.

Schedule brochures are being reprinted and will be available to the public as soon as possible. In the meantime, customers can find the most up-to-date timetables at PRTCtransit.org.

The Saturday Prince William Metro Direct bus service was introduced in September 2013 and has proven popular. The service’s high ridership mark was set on April 26 when 720 passengers used the service.

The HOV lanes between Dumfries and the Pentagon will close again this weekend from 11:30 p.m. Friday until 9:30 a.m. Saturday, and again from 11 p.m. Saturday until 4 p.m. Sunday as crews work to install new conduit, excavate, and erect new highway signs.

Law Enforcement Bike Ride Coming to U.S. 1 Sunday

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Drivers on U.S. 1 in Stafford on Sunday should expect to see a mass of police officers on bicycles, and they’ll be riding for a good cause.

The Stafford Sheriff’s office tells us more about why they’re riding, and what to expect with several “rolling” road closures that will be in effect:

The Law Enforcement United Bike Ride will be entering Stafford County at the Falmouth Route 1 Bridge, approximately 3:00 pm, Sunday, May 11 and will stop at the Public Safety Center, Humphrey Building, 1225 Courthouse Road, at approximately 4:00 pm for a brief stop.  From there the Bike Ride will continue on Route 630 Courthouse Road to Austin Ridge Drive and Mine Road.  The bike riders will turn from Mine Road onto Greenspring Drive and then to the hotel on Salisbury Drive.

The Bike Ride will leave the hotel at 7:00 am Monday, May 12 and travel up Route 1, North to the Prince William County Line.

Motorists are advised of the temporary rolling closings of Route 1, North as the Law Enforcement Tour Bike Ride travels through Stafford County.  As soon as the riders clear a section of Route 1, that section of the road will be opened to motor vehicle traffic.

Updated: Repair Work, Detours Extended After Floods Damage Aden Road

(Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Update 3 p.m. Thursday 

The roadwork to repair a portion of Aden Road at Misty Creek Court, near the intersection of Aden Road and Fleetwood Drive in Prince William County, will be extended through Friday, May 9,.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Last week’s rains took yet another toll on the flood-prone Aden Road.

The two-lane drive will be closed Wednesday and Thursday as state highway crews make repairs to a drain at Misty Creek Court.

Drivers will be detoured around the closure, and signs indicating the upcoming roadwork and subsequent detour have been placed at several nearby intersections, said Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman Jenni McCord:

1 Detour sign placed  at Aden and 619 follow 619 Bristow Dr to Rt.28.

2 Detour sign placed at Aden and Joplin Rd. to 619 Detour sign at 619 to Rt.28

3 Detour sign placed at Aden and Fleetwood go down Fleetwood to Park gate .

4 Right Detour sign placed  at Park gate then Left  Detour sign at Valley View.

5 Right Detour sign  placed at 619 Bristow to RT.324 Dumfries Rd.

Cedar Run flows along Aden Road, as well as past many farms in the area. The creek usually spills its banks during periods of heavy rain like we saw April 30.

Updated: Rescue Squad, SUV Collide in Dumfries

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DUMFRIES, Va. – A rescue squad was involved in a crash with an SUV in Dumfries.

The crash occurred about 3:30 p.m. Saturday on U.S. 1, and it involved the SUV and an ambulance from the Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad from Station 23 in River Oaks. The two vehicles collided at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Possum Point Road, according to witnesses.

The driver of the SUV ambulance was taken to a local hospital and treated for injuries that did not appear to be life threatening. The ambulance was responding to another crash when the accident occurred, said Dumfries Triangle Rescue Squad Assistant Chief Steven B. Chasin.

Traffic on U.S. 1 north was diverted around the crash scene for about an hour while police investigated the accident. It’s unclear who was at fault and if charges were filed in the case.

Tree Falls on Blackburn Road

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – This morning deluge of rain is already causing issues on the roads.

A tree fell across Blackburn Road in Woodbridge about 7:30 a.m. causing a temporary road closure, according to Rob Holtzhauer who sent PotomacLocal.com the photo of  the tree on the road. The road connects U.S. 1 with Featherstone Road.

‘Skies over Manassas darkened about 8:15 a.m. where a hard preceded to fall. Storms and heavy downpours are expected all day today.

Updated: HAZMAT Crash Snarls I-95 near Dumfries

041514 crash

Update 12:50 p.m.

Stafford County officials have good news for commuters: the wreck involving a tractor trailer on Interstate 95 north at mile post 150 in Prince William County has been cleared from the highway as of 12:40 p.m.

There are traffic backups in the northbound direction from North Stafford to Dumfries.

 9:30 a.m. 

DUMFRIES, Va. – Police and fire and rescue crews have been called to a HAZMAT crash on Interstate 95 near Dumfries.

The crash, which occurred on the northound side of  I-95, was reported by Prince William police just before 9:30 a.m. It’s unclear if anyone was injured in the crash.

Several lanes of I-95 are closed near the crash scene. Police said extensive delays can be expected.

More as we have it.

 

Gas Leak Closes Portion of Dale Boulevard

DALE CITY, Va. – A portion of Dale Boulevard is closed due to a gas leak tonight.

Police are redirecting traffic away from the of the four-lane road between Benita Fitzgerald Drive and Cherrydale Drive. The gas leak originated on nearby Barksdale Drive, according to a statement from Prince William police.

Gas crews have been called to fix the leak. There is no estimated time of repair, police said. Officials urged drivers to avoid the area.

The closure has also impacted local bus service. All of OmniRide’s Dale City buses are being routed along Benita Fitzgerald Drive to avoid the closure.

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