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Update on Route 1 widening: Utilities going underground

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Power lines along Route 1 in Woodbridge are coming down.

A portion of the highway between Mary’s Way and Occoquan Road is being widened to six lanes. The utilities that used to run above ground are being buried as part of the project.

There’s also a lot more happening here during this $168 million effort.

“The project is continuing to install underground utilities, water, sewer, and drainages pipes and structures. This phase will continue for several months. In addition, retaining walls and stage 1 of the new bridge are underway,” said VDOT spokeswoman Ellen Kamilakis.

The project began about a year ago and is expected to wrap up in fall 2019. When it’s finished, here’s a full list of improvements VDOT says drivers can expect to see:

–Enhanced access to the Woodbridge VRE kiss-and-ride facility
–A new Route 1 bridge at Marumsco Creek
–Improvements to Occoquan Road, including a median and turn lanes from U.S. 1 to south of Horner Road
–Additional through and turn lanes on Route 1 and Occoquan Road to improve traffic operations
–A ten-foot shared-use path and six-foot sidewalk
–Demolition of several vacant buildings along the corridor

Route 1 currently carries about 35,000 vehicles per day and will carry 75,000 by 2036, according to VDOT.

It cost about $12 million to bury the utility lines for the project. That’s money Prince William County leaders ultimately approved in 2015.

But it wasn’t without a fight. Originally approved in 2013 by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, two members of the Board — Peter Candland, of Gainesville and Jeanine Lawson, of Nokesville — attempted to get the Board to reverse its decision.

At the time, Candland argued the money could have been better spent on the county’s school division.

Traffic
Dumfries proposes more money for street paving

DUMFRIES, Va. — The culdesacs in the Knolls of Dumfries have a fresh layer of black pavement.

Tebbs Lane — the main thoroughfare from Route 1 that connects drivers to the courts — does not.

And that makes neighborhood resident Francesca Rusk-Wallace piping mad.

Here’s a portion of an email she sent us:

“In the past year, the entrance to The Knolls of Dumfries (Tebbs Lane) has been repaved twice – this past week, the side roads (Wilmer Porter Ct., Tompkins, Ct, etc.,) were repaved for the first time since I have lived here (12 years).”

“In the process, the main road (Tebbs Lane) now has orange spray paint on all of the manholes and various other parts of the road. the previously twice paved road now has been trashed and there is a huge tar spill at the entrance to Route 1. The street itself is cracked and in poor shape and now it is stained black from this work. The stains go all the way onto Route 1 and through the Triangle Shopping Center parking lot.”

“This is not the first time I have inquired about paving of Tebbs Lane, only to be told that it will not be done. This is now the second time I am also advising you that the road is now in WORSE shape after work has been done.”

Dumfries Mayor Jerry Foreman addressed Rusk-Wallace’s email at Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting.

“The lady in Knolls of Dumfries is pretty fired up about paving the culdesacs, and she’s right. We need to find the money to pave the main drag,” said Foreman.

That money could come in the form of $100,000 in the town’s proposed budget for the fiscal year 2018. The new funds didn’t exist in last year’s budget and would be used for street paving and maintenance.

“The annual paving priorities are identified by the Public Works director, who evaluates the streets annually. A list of priorities is usually approved by the Town Manager in the Fall for milling and paving in the Spring,” stated Dumfries Acting Town Manager Larry Hughes in an email.

The Virginia Department of Transportation maintains Route 1 and Route 234, while the town public works department maintains the streets in the town.

Another resident says the paving work would be welcomed. 

“We don’t have too many potholes on the street, there is some cracking,” Heather Vivian, a Knolls of Dumfries resident. “I think it could go for another few years before paving, but I’m glad to see my tax dollars at work.” 

The Dumfries Town Council is expected to adopt its 2018 budget by June 30.

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More info on major upcoming VDOT work to repair the I-95 bridge over Neabsco Creek in Dale City

From VDOT: 

The Virginia Department of Transportation urges drivers to avoid southbound I-95 in Dale City for two weekends, April 29-May 1 and May 5-8, as lanes will be closed for bridge deck repair. Congestion and delays are expected to be extensive.

· Southbound I-95 will be reduced from three to two lanes over Neabsco Creek (mile marker 156) from 9 p.m. Saturday, April 29 to 6 a.m. Monday, May 1, and again from 10 p.m. Friday, May 5 to 6 a.m. Monday, May 8.

· Ramps from eastbound and westbound Dale Boulevard to southbound I-95 will also be closed to all except emergency vehicles.

· The southbound car-only safety rest area will also be closed.

The bridge, originally built in 1963, has been regularly inspected and maintained, and remains safe, but is in urgent need of large-scale repairs to sections of the deck. The needed work will include saw-cutting and jackhammering out three bridge sections, the largest being 10 feet by 33 feet, replacing the reinforcing rebar, and pouring new concrete. Work will affect the bridge deck, joint, and abutment. (more…)

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McPike talks tough on toll lanes at Manassas town hall

MANASSAS, Va. — State Senator Jeremy McPike (D-Manassas, Prince William) took a hard stance against the E-ZPass Express toll lanes on Interstate 95.

“This is the biggest land giveaway I have ever seen,” McPike on Thursday, April 6 told a crowd of about 70 attendees at a joint town hall with Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, who’s also seeking the Democratic nomination for Virginia Governor in the coming June 13 Primary Election.

“We’re going to have to find a way to uncouple ourselves from this deal,” he added.

The 2011 deal made before he was elected in 2015 to replace the long-serving Charles Colgan, handed over the exiting I-95 HOV lanes from Dumfries to the Pentagon to the private Australian firm Transurban to improve, and to toll for 80 years. The lanes were extended to Garrisonville Road in North Stafford, and a third toll express lane added between Prince William Parkway and Alexandria.

But the addition of a fourth lane to the regular southbound travel lanes, along a heavily congested two-mile stretch of highway between Route 123 in Lake Ridge and Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge, is what has the senator so riled. (more…)

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Prince William denied first attempt at funding parking garage at proposed baseball stadium

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Prince William County is denied one of two grant applications sought to fund a new commuter parking garage slated to be built next to a new Potomac Nationals baseball stadium in Woodbridge.

The county sought $5 million from Virginia’s Transportation Opportunity Fund to build a garage that would be used on weekdays by commuters, and on nights and weekends by baseball fans, and those attending other events at a proposed $35 million, 6,000-seat baseball stadium at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center next to Wegmans.

The location for the new parking garage, just off Opitz Boulevard near Interstate 95 is ideal. But the project, according to a letter from Virginia Department of Transportation Chief Financial Officer John Larson, will not generate enough new jobs for the state to approve this grant.

“On…the application submitted to the department, the county stated that the project would create 23 new jobs with an average salary of $42,000. The county recognized that this does not meet the minimum job creation of 25 new net jobs and the average annual salary requirements of $44,955,” stated Larson in his letter to Prince William County officials. (more…)

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Updated: Pedestrians injured after PRTC commuter bus slams into Arlington apartment building

From an email written by PRTC Interim Executive Director Eric Marx: 

I’m writing to inform you that one of our OmniRide commuter buses was involved in an accident within the last half hour or so. Details are few and sketchy – all we know at this time is that bus number 355 appears to have struck the Lennox apartment building in Crystal City, that the operator has been transported to the hospital, that there were no passengers onboard, and that there appear to have been additional injuries.

Update 8 p.m. from a PRTC spokeswoman: 

It was a strategic bus, not in service. It actually wasn’t on a route at the time.  Two pedestrians injured, plus driver

Update From PRTC: 

A PRTC OmniRide bus was involved in an accident at approximately 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29 in Arlington, resulting in three people – the bus operator and two people outside the bus – being transported to the hospital. The bus was carrying no passengers at the time.

The accident is still under investigation, but it appears the bus struck a vehicle on South 12th Street in Arlington. It’s unclear at this time if the vehicle struck by the bus was parked. After the collision, the bus ran onto the curb and struck the wall of a business on the first floor of the Lenox Club apartment building in Pentagon City.

One pedestrian on the sidewalk and one person in the business appear to have non-life-threatening injuries. The operator also was injured; his condition remains unknown.

The bus, a 2006 MCI, was towed from the scene and impounded by Arlington County Police. The bus was not carrying passengers because it was stationed in the area to be put into service only if necessary.

PRTC and its contractor, First Transit Inc., are cooperating fully with the Arlington County Police investigation. 

In addition to the investigation by Arlington authorities, PRTC and First Transit also will perform a review to determine what happened and if the crash was preventable. The internal investigation will include interviewing witnesses, reviewing video of the incident, checking the vehicle and reviewing the bus operator’s driving history.

Traffic
App for public transport now features PRTC bus arrivals

From Potomac & Rappahannock Transportation Commission:

PRTC bus arrival information is now available on Moovit, the world’s #1 transit app that’s free on iOS, Android and the Web.

Moovit, which has more than 55 million users, combines information from public transit entities along with live information from users, offering travelers a real-time picture, including the best route.

“Some people hesitate to use transit because of the uncertainty about when their bus will arrive. By providing real-time information, we’ll make our transit services more attractive and help to put riders’ minds at ease,” said PRTC Chairman Frank J. Principi. (more…)

Traffic
Expect overnight work on I-95 ramp at Dale Boulevard

From VDOT: 

A portion of the ramp from southbound I-95 to Dale Blvd (Route 784) will be closed the nights of Tuesday, March 28 through Friday, March 31 for tree clearing related to the ramp realignment project, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The ramp will be closed between the Potomac Mills Road spur ramp and Dale Boulevard according to the following schedule:

  • Tuesday, March 28 through Thursday, March 30: 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Friday, March 31: 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.

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

All work is weather permitting.

The project will realign the ramp and add a traffic signal so that traffic from southbound I-95 can merge more safely onto westbound Dale Boulevard. The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2017.

                             

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VDOT looks at extending I-95 Express Lanes to Fredericksburg

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — From 50,000 feet, the 10-mile stretch of the Interstate 95 E-ZPass Express Lanes proposed by the Virginia Department of Transportation is known as “Component 3A” of the Atlantic Gateway project launched by Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) last year.

From ground level, the new express lanes extension proposal is a step in the right direction according to Lorenza Cooper who said: “they’re not extending is as far as it needs to go.” Cooper, was one of the attendees looking over the express lanes maps and fliers at a VDOT public information meeting March 21 at Freedom High School in Woodbridge. He is a Stafford resident that uses the existing lanes when he has to but admits the tolls are something he’s not comfortable with. “I only take small segments since it’s so expensive,” Cooper said.

The 10-mile extension VDOT will run from Route 610 in North Stafford to Route 17 in, just north of the Rappahannock River outside Fredericksburg. There are three major access points in the new plan: at Russell Road near Quantico; Courthouse Road, or Exit 140; and Route 17. The Russell Road access point isn’t even in the new stretch but is needed for those headed to Quantico. As with the other express lanes on I-95 and I-495, there are tolls for vehicles with one or two occupants, but those with three or more can ride toll-free.

The meeting was just to test the waters and let residents know what is on the planning tables, said VDOT spokesperson Kelly Hannon. (more…)

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VRE nixes expansion to Gainesville, Haymarket. It’ll study expanding, relocating its Broad Run station in Manassas

As we originally reported it would do in December, Virginia Railway Express this month decided to end its study of expanding commuter rail west of Manassas to Haymarket and Gainesville.

From VRE: 

“The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Operations Board unanimously voted to advance the Broad Run Terminus Expansion alternative of the Gainesville-Haymarket Extension Study. This alternative, which was recommended by the VRE staff and endorsed by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, allows for capacity expansion along the Manassas line by expanding storage at the Broad Run train yard, and potentially realigning the current station and adding new parking at the Broad Run station.

The vote allows VRE to advance into “Phase 2” of the current project, which will include the completion of preliminary engineering and preparation for National Environmental Policy Act evaluation. An early step in the next phase will be continuing coordination with the Norfolk Southern railroad, working toward their approval of the necessary railroad infrastructure.

The Broad Run Terminus was one of five alternatives studied by VRE with input from the local community and the various jurisdictions along the Manassas line. The other alternatives included eliminating the Broad Run station and expanding the line as far as Gainesville or Haymarket. In approving the Broad Run Expansion alternative, the Board noted its decision was based on an analysis that showed this was the most cost effective means of addressing future service needs along the Manassas line.
(more…)

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Winter storm will impact travel Monday night, Tuesday

From VDOT: 

Road crews are preparing for major snowfall to start during the evening commute Monday, and the Virginia Department of Transportation asks that drivers and residents do the same.

Crews are pre-treating interstates and high-volume roads with brine today, to help prevent snow from sticking when the storm begins. VDOT asks that drivers give these large, slow-moving tankers plenty of room.

By tomorrow afternoon, about 4,500 pieces of equipment will stage through the region to begin pushing snow once two inches have fallen.

How you can prepare: (more…)

Traffic
Update: Victims in Prince William Parkway crash identified

From Prince William police: 

Double Fatal Crash Investigation – On March 11 at 8:50PM, investigators with the Crash Unit responded to Prince William Pkwy between I-95 and York Dr in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a two-vehicle accident. Two victims, identified as adult males, were pronounced dead at the scene. A third victim, also an adult male, has been flown to an area hospital with

A third victim, also an adult male, has been flown to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries. The investigation into the cause of the crash is currently underway. Further information on the crash will be released when available. The identity of the deceased will also be released once a next of kin is notified.

Prince William Pkwy is expected to be closed for an extended period and will reopen as soon as the roadway is cleared. The investigation continues. 

Update 

Further investigation revealed that the driver of a 2006 Honda Civic was traveling westbound on Prince William Pkwy between York Dr/Summerland Dr and the I-95 northbound on ramp at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control of the vehicle.

The Civic then veered across the median onto the eastbound side of the roadway and struck a 2001 Mitsubishi Mirage traveling in the eastbound lanes. The driver of the Civic and a passenger of the Mirage were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Mirage was flown to an area hospital with life threatening injuries and is expected to recover. It is unknown at this time if alcohol and drugs are a factor. The investigation continues.

Identified:

The driver of the 2006 Honda Civic was identified as Kevin Jonathan MARTINEZ, 20 of Woodbridge

The passenger of the 2001 Mitsubishi Mirage was identified as Miguel Montae GRIFFITH, 24, of Ft. Washington, Maryland

The driver of the 2001 Mitsubishi Mirage was identified as a 30-year-old man of Manassas

Traffic
One trapped after sedan collides with semi truck

QUANTICO, Va. — One person is trapped inside sedan after it collided with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 95 near Quantico.

Fire and rescue crews are working to remove the patient from the wrecked car. A right lane on I-95 south at milepost 150 is blocked.

More as we have it.

3:47 p.m. 

The victim is pulled from the wreckage. 

Gainesville parking lot unavailable on March 10

From PTRC Transit:

The lot at the Gainesville United Methodist Church will be unavailable for parking by Gainesville OmniRide and Linton Hall Metro Direct passengers on Friday, March 10, 2017 due to a Boy Scouts mulch sale.

Alternate parking will be across the street at the rear of Holy Trinity Catholic Church. This alternate parking arrangement is for Friday, March 10 only.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Public hearings on proposed VRE fare increases

From Virginia Railway Express:

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is holding a series of public hearings throughout the next two weeks to solicit comments on a proposed increase to its fares. A three percent fare increase is being proposed in order to pay for increased operations costs and the Amtrak Step-up tickets would increase from $5 to $7.

If adopted, this change would become effective the first week of July 2017, to coincide with the start of the FY 2018 budget year. The proposed fare charts can be found on our website here. (more…)

Traffic
Virginia ranked 7th for low DUI arrests

According to Prince William County Police, 1,033 people were arrested for driving under the influence in Prince William county in 2015. While this number might seem high, Virginia is one of the 10 states in the nation with the lowest number of DUI’s. 

From BackGroundChecks.org Spokesperson Jason Quimby:

In an effort to keep Americans safer on the roads this year, BackgroundChecks.org researched state DUI rankings. The report was released on March 9, 2017. BackgroundChecks.org used a combination of CDC, Department of Transportation data, and local state data, to create a comprehensive score for each state. (more…)

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PRTC selects Schneider to oversee bus system

Robert “Bob” Schneider is the new executive director at the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC). 

Schneider will oversee the operation of PRTC’s commuter and local buses. He replaces interim executive director Eric Marx who told Potomac Local he didn’t apply to be the permanent director. 

Schneider comes to the area from Columbia, S.C. 

From his LinkedIn page: 

“Executive Director, The COMET
Company NameThe COMET–Central Midlands Transit
Dates EmployedNov 2011 – Present Employment Duration5 yrs 5 mos Location Columbia, South Carolina Area
After more than 18 months as the Executive Director and General Manager for the Columbia, South Carolina property, I have been selected by the Board of Directors to exclusively serve as the Executive Director of Central Midlands Transit, known as The COMET.

With the focus on the creation of The COMET, Columbia’s unique and innovative brand for transit services, I will focus my energy of build the system of the future and giving life to the Vision: 2020 established by The COMET’s Board of Directors.

We are proud to have won FTA Region IVs “Rising Star” award for the system’s accomplishments over the past two years.”

Prior to Marx, Al Harf was PRTC’s Executive Director for 16 years before retiring in July 2015.

Marx worked as PRTC’s Director of Planning and Operations for 22 years before temporarily succeeding Harf. He told Potomac Local he may choose to go back to a lower-level position at PRTC, or he may choose retirement. 

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Updated: I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes extension meetings canceled

Photo from VDOT Flickr

From VDOT: 

The public is invited to attend two upcoming meetings to learn more about a study of the Interstate 95 Express Lanes Fredericksburg Extension project.

The project would extend I-95 Express Lanes approximately 10 miles south of Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) in Stafford County to the vicinity of Route 17. The facility is proposed to connect to the I-95 Southbound Rappahannock River Crossing project.

Additional access and operational improvements along the I-95 Express Lanes facility in Prince William County are also being reviewed.

Public information meetings will be held: (more…)

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McAuliffe suggests lowering fine for left-lane dawdlers

RICHMOND – Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants the General Assembly to reduce from $250 to $100 the fine in legislation that would punish motorists for driving too slowly in the left lane on Virginia highways.

Under current Virginia law, driving in the left lane at less than the normal speed of traffic is illegal except when passing or when it is deemed “otherwise impractical,” but there is no fine for failing to obey the law. House Bill 2201, sponsored by a bipartisan team of legislators including Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, Del. Kaye Kory, D-Falls Church, and Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, would change that. (more…)

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Old Bridge Road such a hot topic, we need a drink

123OldBridge
OccoquanRoad
123I95

Residents, experts to talk transportation fixes at Waters End Brewery on Wednesday, March 8

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — For Lake Ridge residents, it’s no secret that a quick jaunt down Old Bridge Road to Interstate 95 is a thing of the past. There’s only so much room on the four-lane road, and couple that with a growing population, and rush hours seem to go on longer than expected.

Folks at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Prince William County hear the complaints about the traffic and are looking for solutions, even if it means extending a turn lane or adjusting the timing on a particular traffic signal. These are low-cost fixes that benefit the motorists to some extent but are not the magic pill that everyone is looking for.

“It’s a congested corridor,” said Richard Burke, VDOT Transportation and Land Use Director. “There’s only so much we can do. “The suggestions help red flag certain parts of the problem, but any action needs “a little more analysis.”

Diverting the traffic to a lesser used route is one fix that VDOT has utilized in the past, and they are now looking at it for the Old Bridge Road corridor as well. For Prince William Parkway traffic coming in from the northwest, a sign was erected near the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Old Bridge Road in February to entice motorists bound for I-95 to stay on Prince William Parkway and not use Old Bridge Road. (more…)

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