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Pedestrian struck on Clipper Drive in Lake Ridge

A woman was taken to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center this morning after she was struck by a car.

A call to 911 sent fire and rescue crews to the intersection of Clipper and Huntersbrook drives, near Old Bridge Road in Lake Ridge about 9 a.m. 

Rescue crews found one victim on the scene. She was taken to a hospital for treatment, according to initial reports.

We don’t know the extension of her injuries, and we don’t know yet if any criminal charges were filed in the case.

News
Cost could outweigh benefit of expanding VRE to Haymarket

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WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The cost to extend Virginia Railway Express 11 miles west to Haymarket could be as much as $660 million — about $60 million per mile.

That number brought pause to members of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors who on Tuesday said the costs of the project might outweigh the ridership benefits, and that could lead to the project’s demise.

Transportation officials last fall began a $4 million study on what it would take to extend the commuter rail line west of Manassas. While Haymarket would be the ultimate end of the line, the railroad is evaluating other options like building a shorter extension only to Innovation Park just outside Manassas, or one to two stations in Gainesville.

The cost for shorter track options ranges between $572 and $631 million. The railroad must add an additional track in the right of way it will use for its rail line expansion, the existing Norfolk-Southern freight line, dubbed the B-line. It splits off the main line near the intersection of Wellington Road and Prince William Street in Manassas.

If VRE expands west, it must also increase capacity at its storage yard at the Broad Run Station at Manassas Regional Airport, today’s terminus of the Manassas rail line. A new station would be built just east of the airport, possibly in the area of Godwin Drive and Prince William Parkway (Route 234 Bypass) at the new Manassas Gateway planned mixed-use development. 

The train yard would be expanded and would consume the existing parking lot at the Broad Run station. A flood plain behind the station prevents the railroad from having enough room to expand the station at the railyard at Broad Run, said Christine Hoeffner, whose headed up the westward expansion study for VRE.

With the enlarged storage lot, VRE will be able to increase the number of daily trains from 16 to 22. More trains would mean more frequent service, reducing average wait times from 30 to 20 minutes between trains on the Manassas line during rush hour.

While the costs are high, the numbers that show anticipated ridership growth following the expansion are small by comparison. Today, VRE’s Manassas line carries 10,220 riders. An extension west to Haymarket would net the commuter railroad 6,240 more riders by 2040.

“If money were not an issue, this would be a slam dunk,” said Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi, who has long supported extending Washington, D.C.’s Metrorail from Springfield to Woodbridge. “The concerns that I’m hearing is the cost benefit.”  

Funding for the expansion would come from state and federal sources, and local funds. At $9 million a year, Prince William County residents already pay the majority of VRE’s local subsidy. That’s more than Arlington, Fairfax, Stafford, and Spotsylvania counties and the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, and Fredericksburg.

The VRE expansion study also states that riders travel from western counties like Fauquier and Warren to the Board Run station to catch trains. 

“We see that VRE  riders ar willing to drive,” said Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland. “I don’t know why we would build another VRE station in the D.C. area unless you are building it very far away.” 

The number of local subsidy dollars that localities pay to VRE would increase if the extension is built, said Hoeffner. She assured Supervisors the cost of the expansion would be felt in places like Fairfax County, where riders would benefit from more frequent train service if the line is extended.

Hoefner also briefly discussed the potential economic development benefits of building new VRE stations in Haymarket, Gainesville, and Innovation Park. The population around VRE’s Lorton station increased by 43% between 1990 and 2014, according to VRE’s report. She added stations could support greater tax revenue, minimize sprawl, and conserve open space. 

But county leaders on Tuesday were far more inclined to talk about immediate cost taxpayers to expand the line rather than forecasting transit-oriented growth in western Prince William. 

Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe suggested the county’s planning staff review VRE’s study and come back to the Board with a recommendation on whether or not to move forward with the expansion.

Two of the proposed four stations along the B-line could be built in the county’s Brentsville District. 

“I need to be really convinced that the ridership numbers justify the cost,” said Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson. 

VRE plans to hold another public meeting on December 7 to discuss the final findings of the expansion study. If approved, construction of the line should take about two years, with the line opening for service in 2021.

News
PRTC turns 30, holds celebration in Woodbridge

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WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission is 30 years old. 

The transit agency that operates OmniRide and OmniLink buses in Prince William County, as well as plays a role in Virginia Railway Express, held a celebration on October 8 to mark the occasion, at the PRTC Transit Center in Woodbridge. 

Former Virginia Delegate David Brickley, who sponsored PRTC’s founding legislation, talks about the history of the agency during its 30th anniversary celebration. Joining him (l –r) were Eric Marx, PRTC Interim Executive Director, and PRTC Board Chairman Frank J. Principi.

Former Virginia Delegate David Brickley, who sponsored PRTC’s founding legislation, talks about the history of the agency during its 30th-anniversary celebration. Joining him (l –r) were Eric Marx, PRTC Interim Executive Director, and PRTC Board Chairman Frank J. Principi.

From Interim Executive Director Eric Marx: 

PRTC celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this month by hosting a community celebration with family-friendly entertainment, bus excursions and tours of the Transit Center. We didn’t invite the rainy weather, but it showed up anyway. Yes we got a little wet, but it was dry under the large tent that was temporarily placed in our parking lot.

Those who didn’t let the raindrops discourage them had a fun time watching the talented young folks who performed in our Youth Showcase, laughing with our juggler/entertainer, being amazed by many fabulous balloon art creations, taking silly photos in our photo booth, watching a police K-9 demonstration , climbing in and out of various emergency vehicles , and enjoying delicious treats from multiple food trucks.

The public was amazingly generous, donating so many non-perishables and toiletries that we were able to fill 10 good-sized boxes that will be distributed to area homeless shelters over the next week. What great timing with the holiday season just around the corner!

I want to publicly thank the many groups and individuals who made our day special:

·        The elected officials and dignitaries who kicked off our celebration by recalling our 30 years of history;

·        The youth groups who showed off their skills and kept us entertained;

·        The Prince William County police and fire/rescue departments who brought vehicles so the children could experience them up-close;

·        The county’s Public Works department, which staffed a table educating people about pests and even brought along a snake;

·        The Virginia State Police who brought an explosives-sniffing K-9 for a demonstration;

·        The many members of the public who helped us to celebrate our day; and

·        My wonderful staff who poured their hearts and souls into planning the celebration

Among the dignitaries celebrating PRTC’s 30th anniversary were Virginia Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, Virginia Delegate Richard Anderson, Prince William County Supervisor Ruth Anderson, former Virginia Delegate David Brickley, and former Stafford County Chairman Robert Gibbons.

Among the dignitaries celebrating PRTC’s 30th anniversary were Virginia Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, Virginia Delegate Richard Anderson, Prince William County Supervisor Ruth Anderson, former Virginia Delegate David Brickley, and former Stafford County Chairman Robert Gibbons.

News
Unconscious driver found in Manassas crash

MANASSAS, Va. — Rescue crews found an unconscious driver behind the wheel of a car involved in a two-car crash.

Fire and rescue crews were tipped off by a bystander who called 911 that two cars collided in front of a Weight Watchers store at 9962 Liberia Avenue in Manassas, at a shopping center near the intersection of Prince William Parkway.

A caller to 911 told an operator the door to the car that belonged to the unconscious driver was locked. 

Fire rescue crews arrived on the scene about 12:40 p.m. and were able to open the car door. Crews then reported the victim had regained consciousness. 

Rescue crews called then called for police to come to the scene. 

We’ll post more information as we get it. 

News
Traffic, school quality concerns common of those moving to Woodbridge

As Woodbridge continues to grow, planners are focused on easing traffic congestion and bringing new transportation options to the area.

Those considering moving to Woodbridge are families with elementary-school aged children, according to realtor Mark Worrilow, who has sold real estate in the region for nearly 20 years.

“I’m not getting questions about Metro expansion to Woodbridge, or if there is a ferry that can take people to work in D.C.,” said Worrilow.

The Realtor does field questions about what types of shopping are available, what are the quality of the public schools, and questions about how bad is the traffic congestion?

“My customers like to hear about Stonebridge and all of the new stores coming there,” he said.

Worrilow points curious parents to the county school’s website for educational information and test scores. As for traffic: While some people don’t want to make the drive from Woodbridge to Washington, D.C. every day, they quickly learn that they can have more house for the same money than if they moved to Burke in Fairfax County to the north, said Worrilow.

Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi has long labored under the term “New Woodbridge,” and has touted new growth in the area — to include Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center — as well as the widening of traffic-clogged Route 1. He’s also been an outspoken proponent of a Metrorail extension to Woodbridge, and for a water taxi service from Occoquan to Alexandria and Washington.

Principi at 7 p.m. Thursday will hold a public meeting focused on transportation, called “Get Woodbridge Moving.”

From Principi’s website:

Let’s talk traffic! Traffic congestion in this region has been ranked worst in the country, negatively impacting the environment, and costing area families and businesses time, money and productivity. Come hear about the state of our transportation system and the need to link land use with transportation policies. We’ll also explore:

What is the relationship between land use policy decisions and traffic congestion?

Are we ready for Metrorail? Expanded bus and rail service? Bus rapid transit? Fast ferry?

How you can help the county make the right policy and budget choices?

Residents who attend the town hall are asked to weigh in and comment. Representatives from the Prince William County Planning Office, the Potomac, and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, and VDOT are scheduled to attend.

The meeting will be held at Homewood Suites by Hilton, located at 2650 Neabsco Commons Place in Woodbridge.

People are excited to learn about the widening of Route 1, and like the idea of using Virginia Railway Express to get to their place of employment added Worrilow.

News
Stafford drivers will see new all-way stop on Wednesday

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Press release from VDOT: 

STAFFORD, Va. — The intersection of Route 628 (Ramoth Church Road) and Route 651 (Kellogg Mill Road) in Stafford County will be converted to an all way stop during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Stop signs will be installed on each corner of the intersection between midnight and 5 a.m. Wednesday. Stop bars will be painted on the pavement.

To warn motorists of the new all way stop, “New Traffic Pattern Ahead” signs with orange flags will be posted on all approaches. Flags will also be attached to the stop signs. These warning features will be left in place for approximately one month.

New pavement markings will be painted on Ramoth Church Road northbound to create two lanes approaching the intersection. Beginning Wednesday morning, motorists can choose from a shared left turn and through lane, or a right turn lane.

The all way stop is being installed to enhance safety. A review of the intersection’s crash history found installing an all way stop could reduce the number of crashes and injuries at this location.

News
Children evacuated from school bus in Lake Ridge

(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

A school bus that left Rockledge Elementary School in Lake Ridge carrying children caught fire under the hood.

The children were evacuated and fire and rescue crews were called to meet the bus near the intersection of Old Bridge Road and Harbor Drive.

More from Prince William County Public Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer:

Rockledge Bus 232 had a mechanical issue and another bus, #76, transported the children home. There was minimal delay in the normal bus schedule.

The children that were off-loaded from bus 233 were loaded onto bus 76 by 4:30 p.m., according to initial reports.

Another Prince William County school bus broke down Thursday afternoon in the area of Hoadly Road and Galveston Court near Dale City. Fire crews were called for what was reported to be a fire under the hood, but they found a broken belt and no fire. 

On Wednesday, another county school bus hit a parked police car in Woodbridge. 

 

News
Prince William school bus with children on board collides with parked police cruiser

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Updated

Prince William County Public Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer tells us the bus was a “Potomac View [Elementary School] bus transporting Head Start students. No injuries were reported and parents are being contacted. Another bus was sent to transport the students.” 

Original post

A Prince William County School bus collided with a parked police car in Woodbridge. 

Bus 423 hit the police cruiser parked in the area of Mount Pleasant Drive and Bayside Avenue, according to initial reports. 

Children were on the bus, but no injuries were reported.  Police tell us the cruiser was parked legally and was sitting unoccupied.

We’ve asked a Prince William County Public Schools spokeswoman where the bus was coming from, and where it was headed. We’ll update this post with new information once we receive it.

 

News
More nighttime road closures in Haymarket

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From VDOT: 

Drivers can expect nighttime lane closures on I-66 next week at Route 15, weather permitting, for crews to install overhangs on girders for the new southbound Route 15 overpass, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

On eastbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 8 p.m. each night Sunday, October 9 through Tuesday, October 11. Beginning around 10 p.m., all eastbound traffic will be detoured onto the Route 15 exit/entrance ramps back to I-66. All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m.

On westbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 9 p.m. each night Wednesday, October 12 through Friday, October 14. Beginning around 10 p.m., all westbound traffic will be detoured onto the Route 15 exit/entrance ramps back to I-66. All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m.

Police will be on site to direct traffic. Drivers should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

The work is part of the I-66 and Route 15 diverging-diamond interchange I-66 and Route 15 diverging-diamond interchange project. Diverging-diamond interchanges shift vehicles to the opposite side of the road and eliminate left turns that cross into oncoming traffic, improving safety. The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2017.

News
3-car crash snarls early morning traffic in I-66 near Manassas

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A three-vehicle crash led to the closure of all lanes of Interstate 66 east this morning.

The crash occurred near milepost 47 at Roue 234 / Prince William Parkway near Manassas.

One driver was flown to a local hospital with serious injuries, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Police cleared the scene by 7 a.m., added Geller.

Drivers sat in a stand-still back-up of more than an hour, according to a reader who submitted the photo for this post.

 

News
Work to replace storm water pipe on Dale Boulevard starts Monday night

The Virginia Department of Transportation will replace a stormwater pipe at the intersection of Dale Boulevard and Darbydale Avenue. 

From VDOT:

DALE CITY – A flagging operation will be in place at the intersection of Dale Boulevard and Darbydale Avenue/Forestdale Avenue from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3 through Wednesday, Oct. 5 for pipe replacement, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and use alternate routes.

All work is weather permitting.

News
PRTC is turning 30 and they’re holding a free, family-friendly community celebration in Woodbridge

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From PRTC: 

A free, family-friendly event will be held in Woodbridge on Saturday, October 8 to mark the 30th anniversary of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC). Attractions will include a Youth Talent Showcase, petting zoo, touch-a-truck, K-9 demonstration, insect exploration, bus excursions, food trucks and more!

The community celebration will be held from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the PRTC Transit Center, 14700 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge. The highlight of the day will be a Youth Talent Showcase with local youth showing their skills in dance, martial arts, cheer, and more!

Attendees are asked to help PRTC stuff-a-bus for the needy. Those who donate a toiletry or non-perishable food item will receive a ticket for free ice cream that day.

 

Because PRTC’s parking lot will be the center of the day’s activities, attendees should park at the commuter lot at the corner of Potomac Mills Road and Telegraph Road. Overflow parking will be at Potomac Mills Mall with shuttle buses operating to and from the marked bus stop in front of Pier 1 every 15 minutes.

OmniLink local bus service is also an option for attendees. The Transit Center is served by the Dale City, Dumfries and Woodbridge/Lake Ridge OmniLink routes. Bus schedule information is available at PRTCtransit.org.

 

PRTC was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1986 and has operated bus services in the Prince William County area since 1991. Initially, PRTC’s mission was to help oversee the

startup of the Virginia Railway Express train service. But in 1991, while the commuter rail service was still in the planning stages, Prince William County asked PRTC to take over the area’s struggling commuter bus service, which was then known as COMMUTERIDE. The bus service was renamed OmniRide in 1995.

Today, PRTC’s services include operating 23 commuter and local bus routes, and facilitating the formation of carpools and vanpools in Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. In FY16, PRTC carried an average of 11,200 passengers daily. PRTC also continues, along with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), to oversee VRE which carried an average of more than 17,600 passengers daily in FY16.

More information about PRTC and its 30th anniversary event is available at PRTCtransit.org.

To help defray the cost of the public celebration, PRTC secured sponsorships from a few of its  vendors. The event sponsors are: First Transit Inc., InsideNova, Smartmaps Inc., Trapeze GroupApollo Video Technology, Gillig Corp., Motor Coach Industries, and TransTrack Systems Inc.

News
Route 1 reopened in North Stafford after early morning flooding

h3>Update

As overnight rain tapers off into the day, the Virginia Department of Transportation asks drivers to be aware of changing road conditions, and to prepare for a resurgence of heavy rain during the afternoon commute and continued rain through the Friday morning rush hour.

Drivers are asked to monitor the weather forecast, and:

  • Check road conditions, before traveling, at 511virginia.org or the mobile app
  • View list of road closures by region or county
  • Follow @vadotnova and @511northernva on Twitter for updates
  • Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination
  • Turn on headlights to be more visible to fellow drivers
  • Be alert to unexpected road conditions like ponding and downed trees
  • Never drive through flood waters; turn around, don’t drown
  • Report any road safety hazards at my.vdot.virginia.gov or by calling 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623)

Update

9:30 A.M. UPDATE: Route 1 has re-opened to traffic at Acadia Street, just north of Telegraph Road, between Route 610 and Quantico Marine Corps Base in Stafford.

 

Updated

Original post

From VDOT: 

Route 1 in Stafford County is closed to northbound and southbound traffic at Acadia Street due to flooding.

Acadia Street is located between Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) and Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Route 1 is anticipated to remain closed through the morning rush hour period.

Virginia Department of Transportation crews are assisting law enforcement personnel with traffic control and posting detour signs to guide motorists around the closure.

 

News
Driver charged after woman riding killed while riding on mattress

From Prince William police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation *ARREST On September 27, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit obtained warrants for the driver of the 2006 Chevrolet Express Van involved in the fatal crash which occurred in the area of Bent Grass Dr and Waverly Farm Dr in Haymarket on September 23. The accused, identified as Norma Guadron CANALES, turned herself into police without incident at the Western District Station in Manassas later that afternoon.

Arrested on September 27: [No Photo Available]

Norma Guadron CANALES, 41, of 1100 Friendship Way in Culpeper

Charged with reckless driving and driving without a license

Court date: October November 15, 2016 | Bond: Released on a $5,000 unsecured bond

 

Fatal Crash InvestigationOn September 23 at 6:42AM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Bent Grass Dr and Waverly Farm Dr in Haymarket (20169) to investigate a single vehicle crash. The investigation revealed that the victim was riding on a mattress which was placed unsecured on top of a 2006 Chevrolet Express Van. While the van was traveling northbound on Waverly Farm Dr just south of Bent Grass Dr, the mattress and the victim separated from the top of the van. The victim was later pronounced dead at the scene. Speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in this crash. The driver of the van remained at the scene of the crash. Charges are pending for the driver of the Express Van. The investigation continues. 

Identified:

The passenger was identified as Sindy Zelaya GONZALEZ, 20, of Culpeper

News
VDOT will close lanes on I-95 south in Stafford to remove tractor trailer

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A tractor trailer overturned on Interstate 95 south at mile post 145 in Stafford at 4:45 a.m. 

From VDOT: 

Interstate 95 southbound in Stafford County will be reduced to one lane tonight at 8 p.m. just north of Garrisonville Road to remove an overturned tractor trailer.

Southbound lane closures are estimated to be in place for approximately one hour to remove the tractor trailer from the interstate shoulder at mile marker 145.

Virginia State Police will provide traffic control at the scene. Motorists are encouraged to use Route 1 southbound as an alternate route to avoid delays.

News
Featherstone roadwork continues in Woodbridge

From VDOT: 

Lane closures for milling and paving will occur nightly on portions of Featherstone Road and Blackburn Road from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 19 through Thursday, Sept. 22, and from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 23, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Featherstone Road will be paved between Blackburn Road and the railroad crossing, and Blackburn Road will be paved between Featherstone Road and Wentwood Lane.

Motorists can expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

Some of this work will occur close to residential areas, with the potential for loud noise. VDOT appreciates residents’ patience as we work to complete this needed work on busy roads at night.

Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova

News
Here’s what roads will be closed due to the Prince William Half-Marathon

From VDOT: 

Drivers can expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes Sunday, Sept. 25 from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for the following road closures related to the Prince William Half-Marathon:

  • Route 29 between Heathcote Boulevard and Route 234
  • University Boulevard between Wellington Road and Route 29
  • Wellington Road between Limestone Drive and David Williams Way

Route 29 motorists will be detoured via Heathcote Boulevard, Catharpin Road and Route 234 back to Route 29; Wellington Road motorists will be detoured via Limestone Drive, Linton Hall Road (Route 619) and Devlin Road back to Wellington Road.

Detour signs and message boards will be in place. Prince William County Police will be on hand to direct traffic.                              

Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter:@vadotnova

News
Shared-use path on Route 234 south near Dumfries will be extended

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From Prince William County Transportation Director Rick Canizales: 

The purpose of this project is to complete a section of the Shared-Use Path along Route 234 southbound from 240 feet south of Exeter Drive to Country Club Drive, for an approximate distance of 4,300 feet. More specifically this proposed trail would connect from an existing trail at the north side of the First Mount Zion Baptist Church to the Brittany Community at Exeter Drive, proceeding north in front of the Brittany Neighborhood Park.

The proposed trail would then proceed north along Route 234 southbound approximately 1,175 feet to the signalized intersection for Fortuna Center Plaza and then will proceed approximately 3,125 feet north to connect to an existing trail at the signalized intersection of Country Club Drive.

The property that fronts Route 234 for this trail is the Prince William Forest Park which is owned by the National Park Service (NPS) for over 81% of the proposed trail’s length. The remaining frontage property is the Brittany Neighborhood Park.

In addition, the project will construct approximately 520 feet of Shared Use Path to fill the gap in front of the First Mount Zion Baptist Church and will extend it to the 7-11 entrance located at 4100 Talon Drive. This project will provide a continuous trail along Dumfries Road from Talon Drive to Liberia Avenue/Prince William County Parkway.

$2.7m construction is currently estimated to start in the summer of 2017. To be completed by Spring of 2018. We are currently looking at strategies to expedite the schedule.

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