Traffic & Transit

Culvert replacement to cause detour on Ashton Avenue near Manassas

Beginning Tuesday, October 20, Ashton Avenue will be closed between Crestwood Drive and Lomond Drive for emergency culvert replacement. The work is expected to take about two weeks, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Drivers are asked to avoid the area and take alternate routes to minimize impacts.

Traffic on Ashton Avenue will be detoured via Lomond Drive, Route 234 Business onto Crestwood Drive (see map). Detour signs will be in place to guide motorists.

VDOT signal engineers will monitor traffic and adjust signal timing as needed.

Ashton Avenue carries about 20,000 vehicles per day.

What $22 million got drivers who pass through Falmouth

The Falmouth Bridge links Stafford County with Fredericksburg via U.S. 1. Drivers closest to the camera are headed south. [Photo: Uriah Kiser  / Potomac Local News]


The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Falmouth intersection will have to wait, according to a statement from the Virginia Department of Transportation: 

Due to heavy rain forecast for tomorrow, and preparations for the potential landfall of Hurricane Joaquin, the Falmouth Intersection Improvement Project Ribbon-Cutting event scheduled for Thursday, October 1 has been canceled.

We regret any inconvenience this may cause.

Original post

The Falmouth Intersection Improvement Project is complete.

Stafford County officials will cut the ribbon the $22 million project. The intersection was widened to make room for new turn lanes and through lanes. New sidewalks were added, as well as new traffic signal equipment.

Emergency vehicles will now be able to pass through the intersection more quickly now, according to a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The intersection is where Routes 1, 17, and 218 meet just north of Fredericksburg in Falmouth. The intersection, for years, has been plagued by traffic backups at a signal light at the intersection.
Traffic is known to back up regularly at the intersection during times of heavy traffic on adjacent Interstate 95.

There was a talk of building a bypass around the intersection, just north of Falmouth in 2008, but the project never materialized.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday. The new intersection officially opens to traffic Wednesday, Sept. 30.

New landscaping will be installed at the intersection between October 15 and December 1 “when temperatures are cooler and ideal for planting,” according to VDOT.

Pollinator plants to be placed at Dale City rest stop on I-95

Over 8,000 plants to be planted Tuesday, Sept. 29

Why: Pollinator habitat is dwindling, and so are pollinators. We rely heavily on pollinators for our food production in the U.S. and recreating habitat for these animals and insects is a way we can assist in bringing back some of the most threatened, like the Monarch Butterfly.

All of the plants used in this project are native to Virginia and the goal of the site is for it to become naturalized in a few years so that intervention by humans is not necessary. There will also be two small areas near the rest station building planted as education stations, so visitors can learn about the project that VDOT intends to implement statewide.

VDOT, Dominion Virginia Power, Virginia Native Plant Society, Plant NOVA Natives, and others will place pollinator-friendly plants at the I-95 northbound rest area at Dale City (car only) in Northern Virginia on Sept. 29. The site will serve as a “way station,” or refuge, for monarch butterflies and other threatened pollinators by providing nectar and shelter to protect and boost populations.

Dominion is providing a cadre of volunteers; Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, the Virginia Native Plant Society, and the Plant NOVA Natives Campaign are providing additional technical expertise; and VDOT is providing the project management, site preparation, the land, volunteers, and staff to plant the new habitat. 

Public info session scheduled for I-95 Stafford Courthouse Road interchange


The public is invited to learn more about upcoming Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) road improvements in the Courthouse Road area of Stafford County on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

A design public hearing will be held on the proposed Interstate 95/Courthouse Road Interchange Relocation project. This project would reconstruct the existing interchange at Exit 140 as a diverging diamond interchange (DDI). The intersection of Courthouse Road and Route 1 would be moved south to align with Hospital Center Boulevard.

At the same time, VDOT will hold a citizen information meeting on the Courthouse Road widening project. Courthouse Road will be widened from two lanes to four lanes west of I-95, between Cedar Lane and Ramoth Church Road/Winding Creek Road. VDOT is holding an information meeting to update the public on its status.

The design public hearing and citizen information meeting will be held together:

Tuesday, Sept. 29
5-8 p.m.
Colonial Forge High School
550 Courthouse Road
Stafford, VA 22554
A brief presentation will be delivered at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
The meeting will be an open house format. Stop by anytime between 5-8 p.m. to review project maps and ask questions. Staff will be available to answer questions and address concerns.

Public comment

Written or oral comments may be submitted at the design public hearing on the proposed I-95/Courthouse Road Interchange Relocation project.

After the hearing, comments will be accepted through close of business on Oct. 15, 2015. Comments can be emailed to VDOT at fredericksburginfo@VDOT.Virginia.Gov with “I95/Route 630 Interchange Project” in the subject line.

Comments may be mailed to:

Ms. Michelle Shropshire
Project Manager
Virginia Department of Transportation
87 Deacon Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22405

Mailed comments must be postmarked no later than Oct. 15, 2015.

I-95 EZ-Pass reversible lanes changes for Pope visit


Pope Francis’ arrival in Washington this week will prompt changes to the Interstate 95 EZ-Pass Express Lanes. 

Here’s what they told us: 

Pope Francis will be arriving in Washington, D.C. tomorrow, Tuesday, September 22, with a parade taking place on Wednesday, September 23.  Heavy travel is to be expected in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., especially in the I-95 corridor. 

As such, we are adjusting the 95 Express Lanes lane reversal schedule on Wednesday, September 23 and Thursday, September 24, to make it easier for drivers to travel to and from the District.  Please find the updated reversal schedule below:

  • Tuesday, September 22:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from northbound (NB) to southbound (SB) will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

  • Wednesday, September 23: The reversal from NB to SB will begin around 10 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 12 p.m.

  • Thursday, September 24: The reversal from NB to SB will begin around 10 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 12 p.m.

  • Friday, September 25:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from northbound (NB) to southbound (SB) will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

During the work week, the reversal from northbound to southbound usually begins around 11 a.m. with the southbound lanes open around 1 p.m.

VDOT closing Pageland Lane in Gainesville for pipe fix


Crews need to repair a pipe that carries a natural stream underneath Pageland Lane, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. 

Here’s detail in a press release: 

Pageland Lane (Route 705) between Route 29 and Route 234 will be closed, weather permitting, from 6 a.m. Monday, September 21 through 7 p.m. Thursday, September 24 for emergency pipe replacement, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The work involves excavation to replace the large pipe that has failed and then repaving the road.

A detour will be established via Route 29 and Route 234. Signs and message boards are in place to alert motorists.

NAACP march comes through Woodbridge

naacp rally route 1

Virginia State Police on Sunday escorted marchers participating in the NAACP “America’s Journey for Justice” rally. 

About 20 marchers were spotted walking along Route 1 in Woodbridge just before 5 p.m. Sunday. State troopers escorted the marchers, and traffic became congested, according to a Potomac Local reader who submitted the photo for this post.

Marchers will gather Tuesday in Washington, D.C. for a rally. The march route begain in Selma, Ala. and ends in Washington.

Marchers are expected to cross the Memorial Bridge at 1:30 p.m. A press conference on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is scheduled about an hour later.

On Wednesday, marchers will head to Capitol Hill to tell U.S. Senators “our lives, our votes, our jobs, and our schools matter.” according to an agenda posted to the NAACP website.


Overnight paving may causes delays in Stafford, starting Sept. 8


As construction at the intersection of Route 1, Route 17 Business and Route 218 in Falmouth draws to a close, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will begin overnight paving work.

According to VDOT, milling paving and line stripping work will begin tomorrow night, and run through September 30.

Traffic will still be able to move through the intersection, but there may be some delays, stated VDOT.

More from a VDOT release:

“We appreciate the community’s patience with us over the past 18 months during numerous lane closures and traffic shifts at the intersection,” said Michael Coffey, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Assistant District Administrator for Construction, Fredericksburg District. “We look forward to removing cones and barrels at the end of the month, and delivering a better travel experience for drivers, pedestrians, and emergency responders.”

What Motorists Can Expect

Virginia State Police will direct traffic at the intersection every night from Sept. 8-30. Hours will vary depending on the day of the week. Mobile single lane closures will be in place.

Traffic will be under law enforcement control on the following schedule:

  • Sunday: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Monday-Thursday: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Friday-Saturday: 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Traffic will be permitted to pass through the intersection while overnight work is underway.  Motorists are advised to allow extra travel time and to expect brief delays.

An intermediate and final layer of asphalt will be applied across the entire intersection and each approach on Route 1, Route 17 Business, and Butler Road.

Up to 12 inches of new asphalt will be applied in some locations. New pavement markings will be painted after paving to define the boundaries of the new traffic pattern.

Several lanes closed after accident on Route 234


Several southbound lanes on Dumfries Road (Rt. 234) near Village Parkway are currently blocked, following an accident.

According to Prince William police, a vehicle struck a light pole, and the pole fell, blocking the roadway.

No one was injured.

One southbound lane on Dumfries Road is currently open to traffic, according to Prince William police.

Stafford could bury power lines along Route 1 at Courthouse


Stafford County will consider burying power lines as part of its Route 1 improvement project.

The $11.2 million project will widen, and add turn lanes to Route 1 between Courthouse and Bells Hill roads in Stafford. Work on the project would begin in 2018 and be finished a year later.

It would cost an additional $2 million to bury the power lines along the half-mile stretch of road.

“Right now we have estimated the cost to relocate the overhead utilities at $2.5 million. It would cost an additional $2 million to place the utilities underground,” stated Alex Owsiak, Stafford County transportation project manager in an email. “That additional $2 million cost was not included in the project cost estimate as Stafford County would be solely responsible for paying the additional cost to underground the utilities.”

Neighboring Prince William County approved $11 million of its budget to be used for burying power lines along a mile-and-half stretch of Route 1 in Woodbridge.

Express Lane changes ahead for Labor Day weekend


Look out for some changes to the 95 Express Lanes for Labor Day weekend.

The lane reversal schedule for the weekend is available online.

More from a Transurban release:

On Monday, September 7 – Labor Day – there will be no reversal, which means that traffic will remain northbound all day on the 95 Express Lanes. For the full lane reversal schedule for Labor Day weekend, please visit:

To prepare for additional traffic volumes during the Labor Day weekend on I-95, here’s what drivers can expect when traveling southbound through Prince William and Stafford County during peak travel times:

Express Lanes travelers will see an advisory sign in advance of the Quantico/Joplin Road exit, which alerts drivers if congestion is present ahead on the Lanes. The sign will indicate approximately how far ahead the delays begin, for example “CONGESTION 3 MILES AHEAD”
Drivers can use the information on the sign to decide whether to exit the Lanes at the Joplin Road exit or continue to Garrisonville Road where the 95 Express Lanes end
If delays increase, signage before the Joplin Road exit will advise travelers to exit to the regular lanes using the message “EXIT NOW TO AVOID DELAYS”

Lane closures planned tonight for I-95 South


vdotlogo600pixelsExpect some traffic tonight on Interstate 95 southbound lanes near Fredericksburg.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) traffic will be stopped overnight during certain times.

VDOT is currently working on a new overpass for Fall Hill Avenue, so traffic will be stopped so that concrete beams can be lifted over travel lanes.

More from a VDOT release:

Southbound I-95 travelers are advised to use Route 1 to avoid delays. Message boards on I-95 will provide advance notice of lane closures and detour routes.

The Fall Hill Avenue overpass is located at mile marker 131, between I-95 exit 130/Route 3 and exit 133/Route 17.

Tonight, a single lane of I-95 southbound will close at the overpass at 9:30 p.m. Two southbound lanes will close at 10 p.m.

Between midnight and 3 a.m. all traffic will be stopped four times so workers can lift beams over the travel lanes. Each traffic stop will last approximately 15 minutes. After each closure, the waiting queue of vehicles will be cleared from the scene.

All southbound lanes will re-open to traffic by 5 a.m. Wednesday.  

Virginia State Police are assisting with traffic control in the work zone.

I-95 Paving

Additionally, lane closures for interstate paving will be underway on I-95 northbound and southbound tonight in the Fredericksburg area.

Paving is scheduled between exit 136/Centreport Parkway and exit 140/Courthouse Road in Stafford County.

A single lane of I-95 northbound will close at 9 p.m. Two northbound lanes will close from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.

On I-95 southbound, paving will be underway between exit 126/Spotsylvania and exit 118/Thornburg. A single lane of I-95 southbound will close at 9 p.m. Two southbound lanes will close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Paving in Manassas Park means missed OmniLink bus stops


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Several OmniLink bus stops in Manassas Park will be missed as road crews pave Manassas Drive.

Here’s the message from operators of OmniLink, the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission:

Due to safety concerns during the paving of Manassas Drive, the Manassas Park A OmniLink route detour, originally scheduled to begin on Wednesday, September 3, is being implemented immediately.

Detours for the Manassas Park A and B OmniLink routes will continue until buses can resume safe operations. Buses are unable to serve many stops. Passengers should anticipate delays.

A full list of stops that will be missed is on PRTC’s website.

Road crews in Manassas Park began work yesterday on repaving Manassas Drive, between Baker Street and Polk Drive. The work is expected to be completed this week, according to Manassas Park spokesman Calvin O’Dell.

The paving project is expected to cost the city $390,000. Manassas Drive is 15-miles long and links Lomond Drive in Prince William County to Generals Ridge Golf Course in Manassas Park.

Why this island soon won’t block your flow on Prince William Parkway


A small concrete island blocking the flow of three travel lanes on Prince William Parkway will be moved.

With nothing more than a crosswalk signal on it today, the concrete island stands in the way of drivers and Prince William County transportation planners who would prefer to have three continuous travel lanes on eastbound Prince William Parkway at Minnieville Road in Woodbridge.

Ongoing work on widening a portion of the parkway — from Minnieville Road to Old Bridge Road — will be completed next week. But that project didn’t address the island, whichprevented the county from building three continuous lanes of traffic on Prince William Parkway across Minnieville Road.

The about-to-be-completed widening work on Prince William Parkway widened the road to six lanes east and west, up from four. Drivers headed east in the newly added right lane must turn right onto Minnieville Road and cannot continue straight onto Prince William Parkway, as the lane ends.

Drivers in the center and left lanes may continue toward Potomac Mills mall.

Prince William County Transportation spokesman Rick Canizales said there wasn’t enough money in the soon-to-be-completed widening project to move the concrete island — which is very important to traffic flow.

“If we didn’t have that island there, it would cause Minnieville Road to become very congested,” he said.

The island allows drivers on eastbound Minnieville Road turning right on Prince William Parkway toward Potomac Mills mall a continuous “free flow movement” right turn. After they turn, the lane continues and drivers do not have to merge left into a travel lane.

Canizales added that without the island and free-flow lane, traffic waiting to turn right onto the parkway would stack up on Minnieville Road as drivers would be forced to wait for their turn to merge into oncoming traffic.

An additional $2.5 million in monies made available to the county transportation department following the annual budget process this past spring will allow crews to “retrofit” the island. The island will be moved a bit to the west, and a new “free flow movement” lane will be constructed for drivers turning right from Minnieville onto the parkway.

The old free-flow lane will be converted into a regular travel lane, and that will allow for three continuous travel lanes across Minnieville Road. When the newly added free-flow lane opens, drivers turning right onto the parkway from Minnieville Road will have to merge left from the new free-flow lane into one of the three travel lanes to continue toward Potomac Mills mall.

Canizales said the county was in talks with three property owners who will need to give up some land in exchange for at least $68,000 in right of way monies paid by the county to affected land owners. The affected properties include a business building at the corner of Prince William Parkway and Minnieville Road and two townhomes inside the nearby Lakeside neighborhood across from BJ’s Wholesale Club.

No buildings or homes will be demolished as part of the work. Only small portions of the property, or “partial take right-of-ways” will be required to construct the new free-flow lane and to move the island, said Canizales. Large poles at the intersection that support traffic signals had already been moved as part of the soon-to-be-completed road work in preparation for moving the island.

Utility relocation should begin in September after right-of-way negotiations wrap up. Construction is slated to begin in spring 2017 2016 and should be finished later that summer.

Delays, closures expected tonight on I-95 South


vdotlogo600pixelsIf you’re traveling south on Interstate 95 overnight, expect some delays.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m. traffic will be stopped near the Fall Hill Avenue overpass, so that crews can lift beams.

More from a VDOT release:

Southbound Interstate 95 traffic at Fredericksburg will be stopped intermittently tonight so concrete beams can be lifted over all travel lanes for construction of a new overpass at Fall Hill Avenue.

I-95 travelers are advised to use Route 1 to avoid delays. Message boards on I-95 will provide advance notice of lane closures and detour routes.

The Fall Hill Avenue overpass is located at mile marker 131, just south of the Rappahannock River bridges and Safety Rest Area. It is located between I-95 exit 130/Route 3 and exit 133/Route 17.

Tonight, a single lane of I-95 southbound will close at the overpass at 9:30 p.m. Two southbound lanes will close at 10 p.m.

Between midnight and 3 a.m. all traffic will be stopped four times so workers can lift beams over the travel lanes. Each traffic stop will last approximately 15 minutes. After each closure, the waiting queue of vehicles will be cleared from the scene.

Updated: Afternoon VRE Fredericksburg line trains on ‘S’ schedule after pedestrian killed


A Virginia Railway Express train struck and killed a man this morning near the Leeland Road station in Stafford County. 

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller made this statement by email:

At 5:20 a.m. Monday, Virginia State Police responded to a fatal crash in Stafford County.  A northbound Virginia Railway Express (VRE) train struck and killed a pedestrian on the tracks. The incident is under investigation at this time.

Police did not release the name of the victim.

Trains on VRE’s Fredericksburg line were delayed due to the incident. The commuter railroad urged riders to find another way to work

The incident will have impacts on the afternoon commute, too. 


Trains on the Fredericksburg line resumed operation just before 10 a.m. 


New Haymarket I-66 interchange unlike anything in region


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A new interchange to be built in Haymarket will be radically different from anything else in the region.

A “diverging diamond interchange,” or DDI, will be constructed at the intersection of Route 15 and Interstate 66.
What’s different about this interchange? Traffic will travel on the left side of road when passing through it.

“For a second, it feels like you’re driving in Brittain,” said Virginia Transportation spokesman Mike Murphy.

The DDI, will cost $59 million to build. It will eliminate the need for left turns, reducing the number of cars that line up at a signal light to enter I-66 east or west.

Traffic will move through the intersection in two phases, with vehicles traveling north on Route 15 getting a green light to move. When the light turns red, vehicles traveling south on Route 15 into Haymarket will then get a green light and then proceed.

Here’s a video of what the project will look like when completed:

Two new, longer bridges will be a part of the DDI, as well as new ramp improvements to include a spur ramp to ease traffic congestion for vehicles exiting I-66 west to Route 15 north.

Intersections at Route 15 and Route 55 in on the south side of the DDI in Haymarket, and at Route 15 and Heathcote Boulevard on the north side will be widened.

A 10-foot shared-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians will also be added on the east side of Route 15.
Construction on the DDI will begin this fall. It should take one year to build.

This will be the first interchange of its kind in Northern Virginia, and second along Route 15. Virginia’s first DDI opened at the intersection of Route 15 and I-64 near Charlottesville.

There are also plans to build a DDI at the intersection of I-95 and Courthouse Road in Stafford County. A public hearing on that project will be held in late September, according to VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon.

Two more DDIs are planned in Roanoke and Blacksburg.

River Road in Stafford closed August 20


River Road in StafUntitledford will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on August 20.

More from a Stafford release:

River Road will be closed to through traffic on Thursday, August 20, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail will also be closed to through traffic at the River Road crosswalk from Pratt Park to the Historic Port of Falmouth Park.

A raised crosswalk is being installed on River Road between the two parks on the Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail. The entrance to Pratt Park on River Road will remain accessible to visitors as well as the entrance to the Historic Port of Falmouth Park. River Road will close just east of the Historic Port of Falmouth parking lot entrance and west of the Pratt Park entrance. No through traffic will be allowed on the Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail from the Pratt Park side to the Historic Port of Falmouth side.

Signs will advise motorists of detours on Chatham Heights Road and Butler Road/Route 17.

Fatal crash on I-95 in Stafford investigated

Photo: Mary Davidson

Virginia State Police are looking into the cause of a fatal crash on Interstate 95 in Stafford County early  Sunday morning. 

Here’s information from state police: 

At 5:14 am, Sunday (Aug 9), Virginia State Police Sr. Trooper H. Jaime Jr., responded to a single-vehicle crash along Interstate 95 in Stafford County at the 131 mile marker.

A car traveling south on I-95 ran off the left side of the road and caught fire. The driver, and only occupant of the vehicle, died at the scene. The driver’s remains were transported to the Office of the Medical examiner in Richmond for examination, autopsy and positive identification.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

VDOT to host meeting on I-66, Route 15 interchange in Haymarket, Aug. 12


There will be a meeting to talk about the I-66 and Route 15 interchange project this week.

The meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on August 12, at Ronald Reagan Middle School in Haymarket, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

According to VDOT, work on the project will begin this summer, to handle congestion and make the interchange safer by adding a diverging diamond interchange (DDI).

More on the project improvements planned, from a VDOT release:

Two new bridges to carry U.S. 15 over I-66 with two crossover intersections;
Ramp improvements (including a spur ramp to ease traffic flow from westbound I-66 to northbound U.S. 15 to westbound Heathcote Boulevard);
Improvements on U.S. 15 from just north of the railroad tracks to just south of Heathcote Boulevard;
Improvements to the intersections on U.S. 15 at Heathcote Boulevard and Route 55; and
A 10-foot-wide shared-use path on the west side of U.S. 15 for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Rinker Design Associates were awarded the contract, according to VDOT.

VDOT stated the interchange project is scheduled to be completed in Fall 2017.

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