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Traffic & Transit



Governor McAuliffe breaks ground on I-395 Express Lanes extension

Reliable and faster travel choices coming on I-395 Corridor 

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today joined the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and its private partner and operator of the I-95 Express Lanes, Transurban, to break ground on the start of construction of an eight-mile extension of the I-395 Express Lanes from Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road in Alexandria to the Washington, D.C. border. The project provides more options for faster and more reliable travel in one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the country and expands the region’s network of express lanes. The project includes a long-term investment in transit for the corridor, through a yearly payment of $15 million (to be escalated annually) that will be paid by Transurban to the Commonwealth. This annual transit payment will support transit and multimodal initiatives benefitting the corridor.

“Anyone who travels on I-395 and I-95 today can attest that this is one of the most congested corridors in the country,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Today’s groundbreaking is the first project of the Commonwealth’s larger Atlantic Gateway Initiative which aims to unlock the I-95 Corridor. The Atlantic Gateway Initiative and the I-395 project demonstrate how we can work with our public and private partners to improve the quality of life for Virginians and our visitors – and keep our new Virginia economy growing.”

Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne added, “Under Governor McAuliffe’s leadership, today’s milestone is one more step toward expanding the express lanes network in Northern Virginia, and providing travelers with much-needed travel choices to reach their destinations faster. The key benefit continues to be options, and we are ready to focus on delivering this new choice on 395.”

The I-395 Express Lanes project provides specific benefits for the thousands of commuters who work at or near the Pentagon, as well as the many carpoolers or commuter bus users transferring at the Pentagon to continue to their destination. By reconstructing the Pentagon’s South Parking area and adding new bus lanes and HOV commuter and “slug” lanes to improve traffic flow and safety for buses and carpools, the project’s benefits extend well beyond the express lanes.

Other key project features include adding a fourth regular lane on I-395 South between the Duke Street and Edsall Road Interchanges, to help relieve the congestion which occurs when I-395 shrinks from four to three lanes in this area. Additionally, the project includes rehabilitating several I-395 bridges, and building new sound walls to protect neighboring communities.

The project is anticipated to cost approximately $500 million, with a combination of private and public funds. The project is one element of the Commonwealth’s Atlantic Gateway Program, a series of major improvements to the I-95/I-395 corridor.

“We are pleased to partner with Virginia to deliver a critical missing link that will connect Express Lanes customers to new destinations along I-395 and Washington D.C.,” said Jennifer Aument, Group General Manager, North America, Transurban. “Crews will begin work right away on improvements that are going to help drivers on I-395 get home faster, while also generating funds to support new transit options. As construction begins, we encourage all travelers to stay alert to changing conditions, avoid distractions and keep an eye out for workers on the road.”

Plans to extend the Express Lanes began in November 2015 with a Framework Agreement under the 95 Express Lanes Comprehensive Agreement between VDOT and Transurban. In February 2017, after meeting specific project-delivery and financial criteria, the Commonwealth approved Transurban’s proposal to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the 395 Express Lanes extension.

AECOM Engineering Company and Lane Construction are under contract to Transurban to design and build the extended 395 Express Lanes. The express lanes are scheduled to open in fall 2019 and the other elements of the project are expected to be completed by summer 2020.

Construction of the expanded express lanes will occur largely within VDOT’s right-of-way; however, some work such as sound wall construction may require crews to access right-of-way and areas adjacent to the project corridor. Preliminary work such as geotechnical investigations and surveying began last March.

More information about the project is available at: 395expresslanes.com and virginiadot.org/395express

 

Traffic
Early relief coming for E-ZPass lanes in Stafford

STAFFORD — The southern extension of the Interstate 95 E-ZPass Express Lanes will open by October.

Delegate Mark Dudenhefer says he’s spoken with officials at Transurban, the toll operators of the E-ZPass lanes who assured him of the fall opening, which would come earlier than expected opening time frame of early 2018.

Transurban spokesman Mike McGurk confirmed the plans to open a southbound ramp of the extension before the end of 2017 and the northbound ramp in summer 2018. “More information on specific timing will be shared with drivers as we grow closer to these milestones,” he stated in an email.

The single-lane extension of the Express Lanes south of Garrisonville Road will begin at the existing flyover ramp that, today, drivers must use to exit the E-ZPass lanes. When southbound traffic is allowed to use the lanes, such as weekday afternoons, the single lane will take drivers to exit ramp just north of Courthouse Road where drivers will be able to reenter I-95 south by using a left merge.

The southbound extension should alleviate some pressure during the afternoons as backups regularly occur when drivers are forced to use the flyover ramp to exit the E-ZPass lanes. (more…)

Traffic
Clint Gaskins dies following police pursuit on I-95

OCCOQUAN — A Woodbridge man has died after a police chase on Interstate 95.

From Virginia State Police: 

Shortly after 2:40 a.m.Sunday (Aug. 6), Virginia State Police received a broadcast for a look-out for a motorcycle traveling at a high rate of speed on I-395 in Arlington County.

Two Virginia troopers spotted the motorcycle traveling south on I-395 near Edsall Road. The troopers observed the motorcycle traveling at a high rate of speed and weaving in and out of traffic.  One of the troopers determined the motorcycle was traveling 80 mph in the 55 mph zone. When the trooper activated his emergency lights and sirens to initiate a traffic stop, the motorcycle sped away and a pursuit was initiated. (more…)

Traffic
New traffic pattern taking shape at Dale Blvd. and I-95

DALE CITY —  A new signal light at the intersection of Interstate 95 and Dale Boulevard is active.

The light stops westbound traffic on Dale Boulevard to that drivers exiting Interstate 95 south can turn left onto the boulevard. 

Under the old traffic pattern, drivers had to merge from I-95 south with eastbound traffic on the boulevard. 

Work on the signal light and new intersection is not complete, however, 

From VDOT: 

A portion of the ramp from southbound I-95 to Dale Blvd (Route 784) will be closed between 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4 and 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 to pave the realigned ramp, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Traffic will be detoured via Potomac Mills Road and Gideon Drive back to Dale Boulevard.

All work is weather permitting.

The work is part of the project to realign the ramp and add a traffic signal so that traffic from southbound I-95 can merge more safely onto westbound Dale Boulevard. The signal went into operation earlier this week. The overall project is scheduled for completion later this month.

Traffic
Woodbridge Supervisor claims fast ferry to launch in October

WOODBRIDGE —  Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi on Tuesday did a lot of talking about a new fast ferry service that will supposedly launch in October.

But he was light on details.

The service, he said, would offer passengers rides between Woodbridge and Washington, D.C. A private company will invest $10 million and purchase four new catamaran boats to run the service. He declined to tell Potomac Local the name of the company or provide any other details.

Principi has long championed fast ferry service from Woodbridge to Washington on the Potomac River. Virginia transportation documents state such a service is not a priority.

Prince William County completed a fast ferry study in 2009. Test ferries were run on May 4, 5, and 6 of that year. Shallow water and speed restrictions were cited as two factors that caused the ferries to slow, operating at an average cruising speed of 32 to 34 mph. (more…)

Traffic
Updated: Crash closes ramp from I-66 east to Sudley Road

 

Police are working a multi-car crash at Interstate 66 and Sudley Road near Manassas.

The crash occurred on the exit ramp from I-66 east to Sudley Road. The ramp is closed and the Virginia Department of Transportation urges drivers to find another way. 

 

Update 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017

From Virginia State Police:

Update:

At 4:22 p.m. Monday (July 31, 2017), Virginia State Police Trooper A.L. McInnes attempted to stop an eastbound 2016 Nissan Pathfinder on Interstate 66 at the Route 234 Bypass. The violation was for speeding, as the trooper’s radar registered the Pathfinder traveling 86 mph in a posted 60 mph zone. Its driver, Rodney Leroy Nelson, 33, refused to stop and sped away from the trooper in excess of 120 mph.

The suspect SUV took Exit 47 (Route 234 Business). As it was coming to the bottom of the ramp, the Pathfinder encountered slowed traffic and struck in the rear a BMW. This crash sparked a 7-vehicle chain-reaction crash of vehicles at the bottom of the exit ramp. There were no serious injuries sustained in the chain-reaction crash.

Meanwhile, the Pathfinder ran off the right side of the road, struck a street sign and finally came to rest against an embankment. Nelson then fled on foot. The trooper was able to apprehend Nelson a short distance from the crash site. As Trooper McInnes tried to take Nelson into custody, the male subject resisted and began fighting the trooper. Four nearby citizens came to the trooper’s aid, as the trooper tried to get Nelson under control and handcuffed. With the assistance of a second trooper, Nelson was finally taken into custody. (more…)

Traffic
These Stafford byways, neighborhoods will be paved next year

From Stafford Garrisonville District Supervisor Laura Sellers: 

Hello everyone. I wanted to share with you all the preliminary list for repaving that VDOT will be doing in 2018. Check out the preliminary list below.

1. Route 616 Poplar Road FROM 646 Tacketts Mill Rd TO 612 Hartwood Rd
2. Route 616 Poplar Road FROM 612 Hartwood Rd TO County Line
3. Route 626 Potomac Run Rd FROM 625 Leeland Rd TO 628 Eskimo Hill Rd
4. Route 648 Shelton Shop Rd FROM 627 Mountain View Rd TO 610 Garrisonville Rd
5. Route 751 Eustace Rd FROM 610 Garrisonville TO 1428 Northampton Blvd
6. Patriots Landing Subdivision
7. Shadow Woods Subdivision

Traffic
Ramp from southbound I-95 to Dale Blvd will be closed

From an email: 

A portion of the ramp from southbound I-95 to Dale Blvd (Route 784) will be closed between 10 p.m. Sunday, July 30 and 5 a.m. Monday, July 31 to continue work on a ramp realignment project, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The closure will allow for a traffic switch to enable use of the newly installed signal at the end of the ramp at Dale Boulevard.

Traffic will be detoured via Potomac Mills Road and Gideon Drive back to Dale Boulevard.

All work is weather permitting.

The project is realigning the ramp and adding a traffic signal so that traffic from southbound I-95 can merge more safely onto westbound Dale Boulevard. The project is scheduled for completion later this summer.

Traffic
Hope for ‘Suicide Hill’ coming with traffic improvements

WOODBRIDGE — It’s a cramped, crowded, and congested intersection in Woodbridge referred to as “Suicide Hill.”

And it was a topic of discussion at a “Conversation with the Chief,” a candid conversation with Prince William County Police Chief Barry Barnard on July 17.

The hill is where East Longview Drive intersects with busy Route 1. There’s also an entrance to Marumsco Plaza, and this all can make for troublesome traffic conditions.

Drivers that turn onto Suicide Hill at East Longview Drive, or continue straight from West Longview Drive onto East Longview, mix in with cars entering and exiting the Marumsco shopping plaza.

Drivers exiting the shopping plaza can also create chaotic traffic conditions as many turn out of the shopping plaza, head down the hill, and then quickly dart across traffic to turn left to head south on Route 1. (more…)

Traffic
I-95 double lane closures in Stafford all week

We’re talking about possible headaches this week for drivers headed north on Interstate 95 in Stafford County.

From VDOT: 

Beginning tonight, July 24 through Friday, July 28, motorists should anticipate overnight travel delays with double lane closures at various locations along I-95 in Stafford County and Spotsylvania County. 

The following lane closures are planned, weather permitting:

(more…)

Traffic
Driverless cars to be tested in E-ZPass Express Lanes

Automation is coming to Northern Virginia’s E-ZPass Express Lanes.

Driverless cars, or CAV’s (connected and autonomous vehicles) will soon be tested on the E-ZPass Express Lanes on Interstates 95 and 495 “during non-rush periods at times when the Lanes are closed or traffic is not heavy.”

More in a press release from Transurban, the operator of the E-ZPass Express Lanes:

Authorization to begin testing connected vehicles and vehicle automation technologies on the 495 and 95 Express Lanes was approved earlier this week by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The Commissioner of Highways agreed to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and Transurban, the operator of the 495 and 95 Express Lanes, to study how connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) may improve safety and mobility. The program will enable the partnership to perform research, and develop and trial demonstration tests on the Express Lanes to examine real-world applications for the developing technologies. Program development is scheduled to begin later this month with on-road tests beginning as soon as summer 2018.

(more…)

Traffic
Minnieville Road Widening Project moving along

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — The intersection of Minnieville Road and westbound Spriggs Road continues to be widened to include two left-turn lanes, two throughlanes, and one right-turn lane. This is the last leg of Minnieville Road that remains two lanes in the county, connecting Prince William Parkway to Route 234.

Once completed, the volume of daily traffic supported will increase from 9,100 to an estimated 18,500 cars per day, according to Lawrence Farrell, Chief of Engineering and Construction for Prince William County Department of Transportation. This additional capacity is expected to decrease traffic congestion significantly.

Currently, storm pipe installation and relocation of utilities are progressing. A prior dump site along the route required extensive earth removal and disposal, the result of large amounts of discarded tires and blocks of concrete, making it physically impossible to remove the items without also removing soil.

The road widening to two lanes is part of the County’s Comprehensive Plan and the 2006 Road Bond Program, which was passed by the citizens of Prince William County. The current design began in 2013, with right-of-way and utility relocation taking place in 2015-16. Construction started in November 2016.  

Prior to this project, a portion of Minnieville was improved, removing a curvy section of Minnieville Road between January Court and Hunter Crest Road. The road was not widened at that time because, Farrell said, “road construction is almost exclusively based on funding. Limited funding requires phasing the road construction. (more…)

Traffic
More closures at Haymarket DDI

From VDOT: 

Northern Virginia’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) at Interstate 66 and Route 15 will be one step closer to completion once the new traffic signal mast arms are installed at Route 15 and Route 55, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Lane closures at the intersection, as well as intermittent full closures up to 15 minutes each will occur to facilitate the work.

Lane closures will occur between 9 p.m. Thursday, July 20 and 5 a.m. Friday, July 21. Total stoppages lasting no more than 15 minutes each will occur between midnight and 5 a.m. Prince William County Police will be on site to direct traffic.

Also, paving around the intersection is scheduled to occur the nights of Thursday, July 20 through Tuesday, July 2

Traffic
Should there be a speed zone in front of Colgan High School?

A study of school speed zones will be conducted ahead of a public hearing on an effort to slow traffic in front of the new Colgan High School.

Prince William County schools officials want to erect flashing signs near the school on both the north and southbound sides of the highway. When flashing, the signs would require drivers to slow from 55 mph to 35 mph on school days between 7 and 8 a.m. and 1:40 to 2:40 p.m.

Nohe called for to the review to see if the signs are warranted and asked the county’s transportation department director for a list of other comparable high schools on heavily traveled roads with school speed zones in place.

“If we’re going to set a precedent here, we need to know if there are going to be ramifications,” said Nohe.

Potomac Senior High School off Route 1 in Woodbridge and Battlefield High School off Route 15 near Haymarket do not have flashing school signs on those major thoroughfares. Both schools are located on side streets Panther Pride Drive and Graduation Drive, respectively.

Colgan High School sits on busy Route 234, a vital link between Interstates 95 and 66 in Prince William County. The road carries 33,000 cars a day, and 3,000 cars per day on weekdays while school is in session.

The date and time for the public hearing have not been set.

Traffic
Overnight lane closures scheduled as paving begins on Mine road

From Virginia Department of Transportation:

Work is starting this week to pave Route 684 (Mine Road) in Stafford County between Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) and Exeter Lane, just south of Northampton Boulevard.

 

Drivers will encounter single lane closures between 7:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. nightly on Monday through Friday evenings.

 

This week, crews will start by milling the existing pavement. Drivers will encounter a slightly rougher driving surface on a temporary basis until new asphalt is applied.

 

Mine Road carries approximately 16,000 vehicles a day, on average. Night work was selected for this paving project to avoid congestion during peak daytime travel times.

Traffic
‘Ba da da da da… I’m leavin it’: McDonald’s shuttered to make way for DDI

STAFFORD — A once bustling McDonalds on Courthouse Road now looks like the restaurant at the center of a ghost town. 

The company shuttered the restaurant to make for a new diverging diamond interchange  (DDI) to be constructed by VDOT. The interchange is similar that opened this past spring in Haymarket.

The McDonalds, once popular with highway travelers, and three other gas stations all near the intersection Interstate 95 and Courthouse Road at mile post 140 are all closed ahead of the project that will widen the roadway. The DDI is a new type of interchange that places traffic on the opposite side of the road when crossing over the interstate highway.

The new interchange will be located just south of the existing traditional diamond. Construction is expected to be completed by July 2020 at a cost of $100 million.

 

 

Traffic
Rolling Road reopens after storm pipe replacement

VDOT’s work to replace a storm pipe and temporarily close the street. 

Here’s VDOT’s announcement about the work before it began: 

Rolling Road between Thomas Drive and Glen Court will be closed to through traffic from 8 a.m. Tuesday, July 11 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 12 for stormwater pipe replacement, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Residents within the closure area and emergency vehicles will have access to the closed portion of Rolling Road, but will not be able to go beyond the points of pipe replacement in either direction.

Traffic will be detoured via Thomas Drive, Business Route 234 (Sudley Road), Impalla Drive, Sunset Drive and Highland Street back to Rolling Road.

This portion of Rolling Road is just inside in Prince William County and that’s why VDOT did the work, not Manassas City road crews, according to a VDOT spokesman. 

Traffic
Stalled train locks in Featherstone Shores residents

We’re hearing a train is stuck on railroad tracks in Woodbridge.

The stalled train is halting access to Featherstone Shores, a small neighborhood of homes in Belmont Bay. Featherstone Road is the only way in or out of the neighborhood. 

Prince William County park rangers have been called to open a back gate at Veterans Memorial Park, located just north of Featherstone Shores, to allow residents to enter and exit the neighborhood.

Send us info/photos if you’re in the area. More as we have it.

Traffic
Man, 19, killed in single vehicle crash on Prince William Parkway

From Prince William County police:

Fatal Crash Investigation – On June 24 at 10:42 a.m., investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Prince William Parkway and Scenic Point Place in Manassas to investigate a single vehicle crash involving a motorcycle.

The investigation revealed that the operator of a 2006 Suzuki motorcycle, identified as a 19-year-old man of Woodbridge, was traveling eastbound on the Prince William Parkway near Scenic Point Place at an excessive speed when the operator lost control and struck a guard rail.

The motorcycle operator was pronounced dead at the scene. It is still unknown if drug and alcohol use are factors in this crash.  The investigation continues.

Traffic
Prince William joins the ranks of other areas with Virginia Scenic Byways

INDEPENDENT HILL — Twelve new blue signs mark the entrances to Prince William County’s first scenic byways.

The signs note the new street designation, featuring the state bird red cardinal, and were unveiled Tuesday morning at the intersection of Bristow and Joplin roads at Independent Hill. Six roads in all made the cut:

Aden Road – between Route 619 and Route 28
Bristow Road – between Joplin Road (Route 619) and Route 28
Joplin Road – between Bristow Road and I-95
Waterfall Road – Fauquier County line east to the intersection of Antioch Rd.
Antioch Road – from the Route 601 intersection south to Route 55
John Marshall Highway – from Route 681 to the Fauquier County line

These roads in Prince William County are now on par with others like the Blue Ridge Parkway. In all, Virginia has more than 3,500 miles of scenic byways.

The addition of these roads adds 40 miles to the overall scenic road network. Some of the notable stops along Prince William’s byways include Prince William Forest Park, working farms, historic churches, cemeteries, and Bull Run Mountain. (more…)

Traffic
Overnight work planned for I-95 south Wednesday

Drivers headed south on Interstate 95 on Wednesday night should expect delays as crews work to restripe the highway. 

The delays will be heaviest between the Stafford Regional Airport and the Rappahannock River.

Here’s a statement from the Virginia Department of Transportation: 

Motorists should anticipate overnight travel delays and lane closures tomorrow night on Interstate 95 southbound in Stafford County for a mobile work zone to allow crews to install reflective pavement markings after a recent pavement project.

On the evening of July 12, crews will begin on the I-95 southbound on-ramp from Exit 136  (Centreport Parkway) at 9 p.m. The on-ramp will remain open. Motorists can expect just a slight narrowing of the ramp to allow the crew to install the pavement markings.

The mobile work zone will then move to I-95 southbound from Centreport Parkway to Exit 133 (Route 17/Falmouth) to the Rappahannock River Bridge.  The mobile work zone requires a double lane closure to allow crews to work safely and install the pavement markings among the traveling public.

Lanes on I-95 will be closed on the following schedule, weather permitting:

Wednesday, July 12

I?95 Southbound at Exit 136 (Centreport Parkway) to Rappahannock River Bridge

  • On-ramp narrowed at 9 p.m.

  • Double lane closure with mobile work zone at 10 p.m.

  • All lanes re-open to traffic by 4 a.m.

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