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Traffic & Transit

Stafford utilities crews called to water main break in Falmouth

Update

All lanes are open on Route 1 in the area of this morning’s water main break in Falmouth. 

Original post

Utility crews in Stafford County were called this morning to a water main break.

It happened in the area of Route 1 and Butler Road in Falmouth. Officials said the water has been turned off, but they don’t yet know which areas or neighborhoods are impacted by the water main break.

There is ice on the road following the break and that led to traffic backups in the area, as well as on Route 17.  The right lane of Route 1 is expected to be closed at least through midday as repairs are made. A portion of Carter Street between Butler Road and Forbes Street is also closed.

The water main broke this while the area was experiencing bitterly cold temperatures. It was 10 degrees at 7:30 a.m. in Falmouth, but it felt like 1 degree below zero with the wind chill factored in, according to the National Weather Service.

Improvements at Onville & Garrisonville roads begin this summer in Stafford

Starting this summer, drivers in Stafford County will begin to see construction activity on Onville and Garrisonville Road as a road improvement project begins.

Set to be completed in March 2017, the $15.4 million dollar project will create double left turn lanes from eastbound Route 610 to Onville Road, according to Kelly Hannon, Communications Manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

Additionally, the project will include adding double left turn lanes from southbound Onville Road onto eastbound Onville Road and new traffic signal equipment, Hannon said.

VDOT advertised the project to construction bidders earlier this week.

A majority of the cost for the project comes from land acquisition and relocating utilities, which will cost $8.6 million. The Stafford County Board of Supervisors approved the relocation of the water and utility lines at the site of the project during their last meeting.

While the VDOT crew will attempt to minimize construction-related congestion, there may be some slow-downs for drivers in the area.

“The contractor will be required to keep two travel lanes and a turn lane open at all times, with lane closures occurring primarily at night to avoid disrupting travel during the morning and afternoon rush hours. The length of the project’s construction time is due to the daytime limits on lane closures,” Hannon said.

Verizon: We replaced the concrete barrier on our utility pole in Woodbridge

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It is strange and concerning sight. A utility pole with its base encased in deteriorating concrete sitting along a busy neighborhood street in Woodbridge.

A tipster contacted Potomac Local about the pole on Feb. 11 and told us the pole appeared to pose a danger to drivers and pedestrians:

In Woodbridge on the corner of Occoquan and Horner Roads, right by the Shell gas station, there is a telephone/electric pole in almost complete disrepair. More specifically, some time ago the bottom of the pole was encased in a rather massive column of steel reinforced concrete. I suspect the reason this was done was to prevent damage to the pole in the event of a direct hit, though I’m not an engineer. Long story short, a few months ago the concrete began to fall apart and has since become a 1,000 lb. (+/-) safety hazard. It’s all over the sidewalk, which has made it nearly impassable, and tinkering on collapsing into the road.

The tipster claimed to have called Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi, as well as a local fire department.

I also called the O.W.L. Fire Department when I first noticed it because it literally looks like it could fall over at any time and they told me they could only dispatch a truck if the pole was actually leaning.

Potomac Local went to look at the pole and, yes, it was in sad shape. The concrete placed around the base of the pole was cracked and falling apart. Some had used it as a waste receptacle. 

Several shop owners that we spoke with, including managers at Shell gas station and the independently-owned Handy Dandy Mart, across the street from the pole, said the utility pole had been in this condition for at least nine months.

Our tipster included these thoughts:

I guarantee you that if there was a telephone pole in that condition in Belmont Bay, Potomac Town Center, or some other more affluent part of town the problem would have been resolved right away.

Potomac Local made some calls and tracked down the owner of the utility pole, Verizon. We contacted spokesman Harry Mitchell about the pole, sent him a photograph that we took, and he provided this response on Feb. 16.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. The pole is Verizon’s responsibility; we assumed it from Dominion a number of years ago when the power company moved its facilities off the pole.

The concrete barriers are there to protect the pole and our facilities attached to the pole from vehicles. That in turn protects the public and keeps our services up and running. And the barriers serve a purpose: We have had to replace them several times over the years.

After receiving your note and photo, we checked the pole over the weekend and today had the barrier replaced.

*This post has been corrected. An earlier version of the post stated the pole had been replaced when actually the concrete barrier around the base of the pole was replaced.

The latest on the winter storm

vadem snow forecast

Know now: Our full list of closures

Potomac Local will keep you updated on the latest winter weather information, including forecasts, closings and outages in the area.

4:41p.m.

Stafford County Public Schools are closed on February 18. Employees are Code 2.

For Stafford County employees, liberal leave is in effect for Wed., Feb. 18. Admin offices opening up at 10 AM.

 

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is reporting that many of the roadways are now clear.

More from a VDOT release:

Motorists will find clear travel lanes and ramps on Interstate 95 in the Fredericksburg area, and commuter parking lots are being cleared and treated for tomorrow morning’s rush hour.

Primary roads and high-volume secondary roads in the Fredericksburg area, Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula are mostly clear, with isolated areas of snow and ice remaining. 

This afternoon, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews pivoted to plowing subdivision streets and low-volume secondary roads. Crews are making steady progress now, and work will continue in residential areas overnight. Crews will be plowing and spreading sand for extra traction. 

Any remaining moisture on the roads this evening is expected to re-freeze. Crews will be applying chemicals to the road to melt ice and improve traction, especially on areas likely to freeze due to lower pavement temperatures. Motorists are advised to use additional caution on hills, curves, bridges, overpasses, and interstate ramps. 

3:04p.m.

As a result of improved road conditions, PRTC buses will resume service.  

More from a PRTC release:

PRTC’s Winter Weather Emergency Service Plan, ESP (including Snow Routing), will be in effect for the remainder of TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17. BUSES WILL BEGIN OPERATING AT APPROXIMATELY 12:00 NOON, then continue as close to published schedules as conditions permit.  Rides on PRTC buses will be FREE.  

These locations along OmniLink Routes are currently NOT SERVICEABLE:

The Ferlazzo Building will not be served.

River Ridge Boulevard and Powells Creek Boulevard will not be served. Buses will serve stops on Route 1.

Darbydale Avenue will not be served. Buses will serve stops on Dale Boulevard.

Old Triangle Road will not be served .  Buses will serve stops on Route 1.

The Town of Quantico will not be served. The stop at Fuller and Route 1 outside the Quantico gate will be served as the timepoint.

12:30 p.m. 

Your photos and videos: 

 

Macey loves the snow [Jen Jones / Facebook]

Macey loves the snow [Jen Jones / Facebook]

 

Snow baby [Terrica Marsh Turner via Facebook]

Snow baby [Terrica Marsh Turner via Facebook]

9:18 a.m. 

The National Weather Service has issued some snow totals for various spots in the region

...PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY...
   5 S MANASSAS           5.0   430 AM  2/17  BROADCAST MEDIA         
   GREENWICH              4.8   808 AM  2/17  PUBLIC                  
   GAINESVILLE            4.0   700 AM  2/17  PUBLIC                  
   2 SW WOOLSEY           3.9   519 AM  2/17  TRAINED SPOTTER         
   3 NNW WOOLSEY          3.5   802 AM  2/17  TRAINED SPOTTER   

...STAFFORD COUNTY...
   2 WNW ROSEVILLE        6.0   500 AM  2/17  TRAINED SPOTTER         
   2 ENE ROSEVILLE        5.2   543 AM  2/17  TRAINED SPOTTER        

...CITY OF MANASSAS...
   1 NE MANASSAS          4.8   811 AM  2/17  TRAINED SPOTTER         
   1 SW MANASSAS PARK     4.2   726 AM  2/17  TRAINED SPOTTER         
 

 

9:05 a.m. 

1_WelcomeTullipsManassas City canceled trash pick up today due to snow. Here’s the latest info: 

City of Manassas Public Works recommends the following tips to help ensure trash is contained during bad weather conditions.

  • Set trash and recycling out in hard-sided containers with tight fitting lids. If you have a smaller recycling bin, make sure that heavier items are on top, so that papers and lighter objects don’t blow away.

  • Do not set out loose trash bags.  Loose trash bags can rip and blow into the street making it unsafe for drivers and pedestrians. Always use your trash and recycling containers.

  • Double bag your trash. Cold weather and ice can weaken plastic and make it brittle. Double bagging can prevent bags from sticking to the bottom of the trash cart and from ripping as the trash crew moves the trash to the truck.

  • Check with your collection service. Snow, ice and high winds can delay or suspend service. Remember that the trash crew must navigate through many private residential areas and roads that might be untreated and unsafe for crews to collect trash and recycling. Call the Manassas Trashline or check the manassascity.org/trash for trash information.

  • When in doubt – don’t set it out.  If it’s snowing heavily, if  there are high winds, or if it’s so icy that you stand the chance of slipping or falling as you set out your trash and recycling – then don’t do it. Call the Trashline for the latest trash pick-up updates. Trash collection was cancelled Feb. 17 due to snow and may be cancelled in the future due to road conditions associated with winter weather.

9 a.m. 

Potomac Local's very own "weather girl" Elsa plays in her back yard.

Potomac Local’s very own “weather girl” Elsa plays in her back yard.

 

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About five inches of snow fell at Potomac Local HQ.

8:51 a.m.

It was so cold yesterday at Washington Dulles International Airport, a new record cold temperature was set. A record low of 16 degrees was recorded, breaking the previous record of 22 degrees in 2003.

8:37 a.m. 

Michelle O'Brien posted this photo to our Facebook page. The photo was taken in Quantico, Va.

Michelle O’Brien posted this photo to our Facebook page. The photo was taken in Quantico, Va.

8:36 a.m.

This photo was shared with us on our Facebook page by April Bratz-Hamilton in Dumfries, Va.

This photo was shared with us on our Facebook page by April Bratz-Hamilton in Dumfries, Va.

8:33 a.m.

8:20 a.m.

Authorities say you should stay off the roads today if you can. Conditions are pretty bad on the street surfaces, as the snow and ice could lead to slick conditions causing you to slide off the road or into another car.

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

  • HOV restrictions are lifted on I-66, I-395 and the Dulles Toll Road. HOV-3 requirements still apply on the 495 and 95 Express Lanes.
  • Eastbound I-66 X lanes will be unavailable for the morning rush hour, as crews continue to clear shoulders.
  • Crews continue to clear interstates, major roads and neighborhood streets concurrently. Check www.vdotplows.org to see the status of plowing in neighborhoods.
  • If you can, park in your driveway or on the odd-numbered side of the street to allow plows room to pass.
  • After a plow has passed, roads will be passable, but will not be bare pavement and may remain snow-packed.
  • Stay off the roads or delay trips to allow crews time to safely treat the roads.

Posts from Monday, Feb. 16 are below

Keep Reading…

2 cars involved in Route 28 crash at same spot Prince William police officer was killed

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Two cars were involved in a crash about 8 p.m. at the intersection of Route 28 and Sowder Village Square, in front of a Target store near Bristow.

The crash involves a Kia sedan driven by a man and another sedan driven by a woman. According to an eyewitness who spoke with Manassas Local, the Kia was traveling east on Route 28 toward Manassas when it made a left turn into the Sowder Village Square shopping center. The Kia collided with an oncoming sedan traveling west on Route 28 driven by a woman, according to the eyewitness.

Fire, rescue, and police were called to the scene shortly after the crash. The condition of the victims is unknown.

This is the same spot where Prince William police Officer Chris Yung was killed on New Year’s Eve 2012 while responding to a call for help. Yung’s motorcycle was traveling west on Route 28 toward Bristow when another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction made a left turn into the shopping center.

Yung collided with the vehicle and was killed instantly.

 

Commuters flock to 95 Express Lanes, following $250M extension project

At the end of December, the 95 Express Lanes became active toll lanes, running from Edsall Road to Garrisonville Road – following an over $250 million dollar 9-mile extension project.

In order to use the lanes, all drivers need to have an EZ-Pass, or EZ-Pass Flex mounted in their vehicles.

According to Mike McGurk, a spokesperson for the 95 Express Lanes from Transurban, the transition for drivers on the lanes has been smooth, and steadily growing.

“We’ve steadily seen more folks out there, using the [toll] lanes,” McGurk said, continuing, “One of the big observations for us is that we’re very pleased with the road operations to date. A lot of areas that we were keeping a very close eye on – areas like the part where the Express lanes end, and the HOV lanes begin – we have not seen a lot of driver confusion in those areas.”

Looking at primary operations data, McGurk stated that the 9-mile extension has been popular for drivers from the start.

“The 9 mile extension – from below Dumfries down to just before 610 – was popular with drivers right from the get go…we saw a lot of folks opting to get on at that first entry point,” said McGurk.

One thing that has been somewhat of an issue on the HOV lanes, and now the toll lanes, are individuals sitting on the shoulder with their vehicle, waiting for road restrictions to be lifted. To respond to that issue, Transurban has partnered with the Virginia State Police to increase their presence in the shoulder areas.

There were two things that McGurk stressed for drivers that intend to use the toll lanes – check your device before your trip to ensure it’s toggled in the right mode (commuter or single driver). And, if you are new to the lanes and drive without an EZ-Pass, reach out to Transurban before getting an invoice for your toll.

“If you take the 95 Express Lanes without an EZ-Pass, what you can do is you can either call our customer service center or go online and if it’s within five days of your trip, you can actually search for your trip and settle the cost of your tolls,” said McGurk.

They also have a first-time forgiveness program for drivers on the Express lanes.

“Look, if it’s your first time getting an invoice – maybe you didn’t know you needed an EZ-Pass, maybe you didn’t have funding on your EZ-Pass – if you call us after getting that invoice, and it’s your first time, we’ll waive all of the fees and just take payment of your toll,” McGurk commented.

If you’re planning use the toll lanes, it’s also important to note that the toll rates change, according to McGurk, based on real-time traffic.

While Transurban plans to use the toll revenue to recoup the cost of front loading the project initially, there are plans in the works to have a revenue sharing agreement. This agreement could be used to fund future VDOT projects, McGurk commented.

More information on the 95 Express lanes from a release:

All information is from December 29, 2014 to January 31, 2015.

95% of weekday 95 Express Lanes customers are traveling with an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex

33% of weekday trips are HOV-3+ carpoolers who enjoy a toll-free trip at all hours of the day

The average dynamic toll price on the 95 Express Lanes is $4.01

Since we opened just over a month ago, we have seen more than 200,000 unique customers traveling with an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex who have gotten a faster and more predictable trip on the 95 Express Lanes

Nearly 30% of 95 Express Lanes customers have also taken a trip on the 495 Express Lanes during this period, taking advantage of the network of Express Lanes. With the 495 and 95 Express Lanes drivers now have an option to travel at highway speeds for more than 40 miles from Stafford to Tysons Corner

Average weekday toll revenue of nearly $103,000 and average weekday trips just over 37,000. The first quarterly traffic and revenue report with 95 Express Lanes data will be issued in April.

Public hearings set for proposed VRE fare increase

Virginia’s only commuter railroad says it needs to raise fares by 4% to pay for increased operations costs. Virginia Railway Express is giving its customers a chance to weigh in on the proposed increase at a series of upcoming meetings.

The transit agency says riders can find more about the fare increase on its website.

Here’s a list of upcoming meeting dates, times, and locations:

Date  Location  Time
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 Stafford County Government Center Board Chambers, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554 7 p.m.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 Holiday Inn [L’Enfant], Congressional 1, 550 C. Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20024 Noon
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Burke Centre Conservancy, “The Commons” Community Center, 9837 Burke Pond Lane, Burke, VA 22015 7 p.m.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 Crystal City Marriott, Lincoln Room, 1999 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202 Noon
Thursday, February 26, 2015 Manassas City Hall, City Council Chamber Room, 9027 Center Street, Manassas, VA 22110 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 P.R.T.C. Board Room, 2nd Floor, 14700 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge, VA 22192 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 5, 2015  Fredericksburg City Hall,715 Princess Anne Street,Fredericksburg, VA 22401
7 p.m.

Stafford Board to apply for $162K for Mine Road improvements

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors has decided to move forward with making sidewalk improvements on Mine Road.

This project would happen along Mine Road, starting at Highpointe Boulevard, and ending at Cathedral Lane.

In order to obtain the funding needed to complete the project, the Board will submit an application the Fredericksburg Transportation Management Area (TMA). The TMA currently has $162, 672 in available funding for these types improvement projects.

According to Jack Cavalier, Supervisor for the Griffis-Widewater district, the improvements to Mine Road are among the County’s top priorities.

“The Mine Road sidewalk project is among the County’s highest priorities to accommodate pedestrians safely and efficiently. If constructed, the proposed sidewalk project will connect to other existing sidewalks in the area, providing a network of opportunities for bicycle and pedestrian traffic to travel safely to and from existing and commercial developments. It will provide for safer access along a busy roadway that is frequently used by pedestrians traveling between their homes and commercial areas,” said Cavalier.

The Board would need to match the funding from the TMA with local funds in the amount of $40,688, according to Cavalier.

The application for funding Mine Road improvements will be considered at the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Technical Committee meeting in March.

If approved, the funding and application for the project would be handed over to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and added to their Six-Year Improvement Program.

And while the road improvements will help many Stafford residents, there may be some challenges up ahead to get the project completed.

“While constructing a sidewalk may not seem complicated, there are a number of unique factors that make this project challenging including the fact that part of the sidewalk has to go over a creek, and we may have to expand the culvert that is under the road to accommodate the sidewalk,” Cavalier said.

The Board is considering additional grant requests for the future, to complete the sidewalk on Mine Road.

Crews working to repair water main break in Woodbridge

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Water crews are working to restore service on Botts Avenue in Woodbridge.

A water main broke in the area of Botts Avenue and Sharp Drive in Woodbridge about 4:15 p.m.

There are 30 to 35 people without water in the area, according to the Prince William Service Authority. There’s no word on when service will be restored.  

Route 28 traffic directed onto Yorkshire Lane after crash

Traffic on Route 28 south is routed down Yorkshire Lane.

A traffic crash that occurred at 3:10 p.m. and  prompted police to reroute traffic in the area.

Traffic delays are an issue at this point, stated Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok in an email to Potomac Local.

Two car were involved. We don’t know yet if anyone was injured.

Lane closures on I-95 South continue tonight

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Both of the southbound I-95 collector/distributor lanes for Dale Boulevard (Exit 156) will again intermittently close between 9:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 4 and 5:00 AM Thursday, February 5. Each closure will last up to 15 minutes.

During the full closures, southbound I-95 motorists will not be able to access westbound or eastbound Dale Boulevard/Route 784. However, motorists on Dale Boulevard will still be able to access southbound I-95.

There will also be single lane closures in the collector-distributor lanes between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. The southbound I-95 through lanes will not be impacted by the work and will remain open.

Message signs will be posted in advance of the work so that motorists can use alternate routes.

The closures are again needed for overhead sign work.

KO Distilleries opening in the City of Manassas

KO Distilleries

On Jan. 29, KO Distilleries, a new business in the City of Manassas, opened their doors for a “keel laying.” This is a nautical term for the start of a ship’s construction and is appropriate for this business as both owners are graduates of the Merchant Marine Academy.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, Mayor Harry J. Parrish II as well as other City Council members, business owners and residents were onsite to welcome this new industry to the City of Manassas. KO Distilleries, located at 10381 Central Park Drive, will manufacture, store and sell distilled spirits, including bourbon, rye whiskey, corn whiskey, gin, vodka and rum. The distillery will have a visitors center for tours, tastings, merchandise sales and special events.

Owners Bill Karlson and John O’Mara will open their doors in the spring of 2015. This is only the 19th distillery in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is on the forefront of an emerging industry trend. Historic Manassas, Inc. helped the City and KO Distilleries with the event and many members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce welcomed the new owners as members of the Chamber.

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The preceding post was written by the City of Manassas. 

Move over 95 Express, toll lanes wanted on I-66

Dulles Metrorail Megaproject underway at Rt. 66 and 267, Falls Church.

New lanes will be tolled 24 hours a day, seven days a week

There’s a new plan for Interstate 66 that looks a lot like what just happened on I-95.

Virginia transportation officials want to build more of those famous “managed lanes,” or toll lanes between U.S. 15 in Haymarket in Prince William to the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County, just outside Tysons Corner. Two new lanes would be added to each side of the highway and, like the 95 E-ZPass Express Lanes, drivers will pay a toll 24 hours a day to use them. The new lanes would be free to drivers with three or more occupants in their vehicles.

Officials identified this 25-mile “outside the Beltway” stretch of highway as their target improvement zone because federal laws prevent I-66 from being widened inside the Capital Beltway. Arlington residents saw to that when the highway was built.

“For all of us who have ever traveled I-66, w know we have once choice: congestion. And, that congestion is getting worse,” said Virginia Department of Transportation Deputy District Administrator Renee Hamilton.

A round of winter weather forced the postponement the first few in a series presentations held to educate residents on the proposed changes. The agency held a meeting in Prince William and in Fairfax the past two nights, respectively.

After building toll lanes on the Beltway, and opening new toll lanes last month on I-95, VDOT has learned a thing or two about holding these public meetings. Display boards were set up in a large room, transportation experts posted around the room, and a court reporter made available to anyone who wanted to confess their concerns.

New commuter lots will spur slugging, officials hope

As to how the road will be built, the early favored design appears to be adding two new lanes in each direction with the lanes in the center of the highway, much like the E-ZPass Express Lanes are on the Beltway. The early favored plan also calls for the addition of new park and ride lots that would be served by a new bus rapid transit system in Prince William and Fairfax counties.

The new lots, officials hope, will spur slugging – a free, user-organized carpooling system in use on I-95 and 395 since the 1970s, and never yet implemented on I-66. Options to expand Virginia Railway Express or Metro along the corridor as part of this project don’t seem likely.

“For those asking ‘why not Metro,’ we’re not saying ‘no’ to Metro. We’re saying ‘not today,” said Hamilton.

In traffic congestion hot spots on I-66 in Fairfax County between Routes 29 and 50, a fourth auxiliary lane will be added as part of the project to allow drivers more room to merge on and off the highway.’

Land sits in the way

VDOT must take property to make this new vision for I-66 a reality. Segment one of the project between U.S. 15 in Haymarket and Route 28 in Centreville has 430 parcels of land standing in the way of development. Segment two between Routes 28 and 50 has 108, and segment three between Route 50 and the Beltway has 750 homes. About 70 families could be displaced.

The private firm, Australia-based Transurban was hired to build and maintain the E-ZPass Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway and I-95. The company also maintains the Pochohantas Parkway in Richmond.

State officials guarantee this highway expansion, like the previous two in Northern Virginia, will be a public-private partnership – a contract that will be awarded to a company that completes the state’s bidding process. Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board will meet Jan. 18 to discuss what they want in a qualified bidder for the project, and a request for proposals should go out sometime this summer.

Construction of the new lanes is slated to begin as early as 2017. The new lanes will not open before 2021.

Popular ‘Attack the Fat Challenge’ starts Monday at Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center

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Do you know about the Attack the Fat Challenge? It’s one of the most popular, effective, and fun weight-loss programs at the Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center
 
It’s open to anyone, at any fitness level.
 
Robin Frey is a fitness program coordinator, certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and the director of Freedom Attack the Fat Challenge at Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center in Manassas. We spoke with her to get the 
 
Frey

Frey

What is the Attack The Fat Challenge?

 
“It’s more of a full spectrum weight loss program and it runs for eight weeks…it’s based on focusing on weight loss but the overall effort that we do is that we want to promote and create lifestyle changes, not just during the eight weeks. For most people it’s just the starting point. A lot of people do it repeatedly because it works for them…and depending on the amount of weight they wish to lose, it may not happen in eight weeks.”   
 
What do participants do while in Attack The Fat Challenge? 
 
“Well actually the whole concept is they do train…and it’s based on percentage of weight loss…we make it a challenge so that it has some competitive edge to it but the overall focus is just to create a balance of accountability…to continue with fitness efforts for health, not necessarily for fitness. In other words, this is based on health and wellness, getting people appropriate nutrition and just trying to create a consistent effort with lifestyle change, it’s long term.”
 
 How much does the program cost?
 
“It [the program] breaks down to 20 dollars a session and the total cost is $480 but you’re getting 24 sessions, 24 full one-hour sessions…then in addition to that they get the support through nutrition tips and guidance…and body composition testing as well.” Frey also mentioned that there is an additional cost to non-members of the Freedom Center. 
 
 Attack-the-Fat-2015-flyer-791x1024How long does the challenge last? 
 
“Participants train three days a week with a trainer so it’s three one-hour sessions so they’re basically getting 24 training sessions as a group within that eight weeks, three times a week. In addition to that support that we offer is through our smart lab for evidence based testing for body composition or those types of things and also we do weekly weigh-ins”.
 
Is the Attack The Fat Challenge a seasonal program? 
 
“It’s twice a year, typically we do it  in February, March and then again in September.”
 
Is it too late to sign up? 
 
“The Attack The Fat Challenge  starts on Monday, Feb. 2. Registration does require you to be registered prior to the program but we work with people as well.”
 
Why did Frey get involved with the Attack The Fat Challenge?
 
“Well I started it, actually it’s been six years running now. I just felt that there was a need here at the Freedom Center to create programming in small groups that could be something that could bring more of an effort of accountability to each other, that tends to help. People can do training all the time but when they have other people depending on them to be part of their team, their group, it’s very successful. The success rate is much higher as far as them making the sessions, having to be responsible for that weekly weigh-in and then they bond and create groups that continue to train after that. We just didn’t have anything happening here in that capacity in programming.”
 
How does the Attack The Fat Challenge stand apart from similar programs?
 
“We were probably the original in this area. I know other facilities have programs similar to what we do, it’s a basic concept of accountability, through training, weigh-ins, and nutrition information…it’s just been very, very successful for us here. This our sixth year I believe, might even be longer. It tends to work. We provide a variety of workouts through different types of training. We may have them in the pool, TRX suspension training, circuit training, functional core…in other words we do a little bit of everything that we offer here…within those 24 sessions they’re getting a very large variety of different modalities of training.”
 
Why do people sign up?
 
Participants will] form groups and become friends and bond in that respect and want to continue to do it again, that kind of thing….plus we’ve had people that have lost over 100 pounds…it’s been very effective overall.” 

Keep Reading…

I-95 North near Dale City closing briefly for sign removal

Drivers on Interstate 95 south pass under Telegraph Road in North Stafford. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

This Wednesday night, Jan. 28, until Thursday morning, Jan. 29, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will close multiple lanes on I-95 North near the truck rest area, mile marker 154.5, just south of Dale City (exit 156), leading up to a full road closure for up to 15 minutes after midnight.

A single lane will be closed after 9 p.m., followed by a second lane at 10 p.m. All lanes will close for up to 15 minutes between 1 and 2 a.m. These closures are needed to replace an overhead sign.

Message signs will be posted on I-95 north to advise motorists of the closures and Virginia State Police will be on-site for traffic control.

-Information from VDOT.

I-66 meetings canceled, rescheduled due to snow

Stafford resident Thomas Jackson (left) looks over a VDOT project that will add 1,000 commuter parking spaces in the Staffordboro Commuter Lot off Va. 610 in North Stafford. Project representatives like Oliver Boehm (right) were available to answer any questions residents had during the design public meeting held at Moncure Elementary School on Wednesday night. (Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Snow prompted the cancelation of two public meetings designed to provide residents more information on what Virginia officials plan to do to Interstate 66.

A meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. at Bull Run Elementary School in Centreville is canceled. It comes after a meeting scheduled last night in Vienna was also canceled due to snow.

Meetings are still scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday that residents may attend.

Here’s a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

Weather permitting, there are still two opportunities to attend an I-66 Public Information Meeting this week.  Meetings are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at Battlefield High School in Haymarket from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. (with a snow date on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, if necessary)
  • Thursday, January 29, 2015, at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office in Fairfax from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

If you cannot attend in person, the meeting on Thursday, January 29, 2015, will be shown live at Transform66.org between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

There will also be two meetings next week due to yesterday’s and tonight’s cancellations.  The make-up dates and locations are:

  • Tuesday, February 3, 2015, at Oakton High School in Vienna from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 5, 2015, at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office in Fairfax from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Please visit the project website at Transform66.org for more information.

Fire crews called to gas leak on Eustace Road

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11:18 a.m. 

A contractor laying fiber optic cable in struck a gas line this morning.

Stafford fire and rescue crews were called to the area of Eustace Road and Legal Court just before 10 a.m. A boring device stuck the line, which is believed to have been at least two inches in diameter, sending the smell of natural gas through a residential neighborhood.

“We arrived on scene, monitored the area, established a hot zone, and then we determined that there was no risked to any of the homeowners in the area,” said Stafford Assistant Chief Mark Doyle.

Stafford sheriff’s deputies blocked streets and neighbors were told to stay inside their homes. The gas company found the broken line and is now in the process of repairing it. The fix could take hours to repair, but streets should be reopened to drivers before noon, according to Doyle.

Fire crews also checked area storm drains for the residual smell of natural gas following the rupture.

10:39 a.m. 

A gas line was struck this morning in the area of Eustace Road and Legal Court in North Stafford.

The leak sprang about 9:50 a.m. Stafford fire and rescue crews were called to the scene.

There’s no word on what caused the leak or if anyone was injured.

We’ll bring you more on this story as we have it.

VDOT wants to transform I-66 corridor, plans public meetings

Drivers headed south on U.S. 29 in Gainesville now use an elevated bridge to cross train tracks. The new separated interchange is expected to stop frequent train vs. car collisions in the area. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Transportation officials in Virginia say they can improve Interstate 66.

The idea is to make a 25-mile stretch of the highway between Haymarket and the Capital Beltway a multi-modal corridor. This means adding express toll lanes like the I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes that opened last month and new high-frequency bus service to the corridor.

Some key interchanges along the highway also need to be reevaluated to improve transportation along the corridor.

Now, officials plan a series of public meetings to solicit feedback on the roadway project. The meeting locations listed below: 

Monday, Jan. 26, 2015

Oakton High School

2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181

Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015

Bull Run Elementary School

15301 Lee Highway, Centreville, VA 20121

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015

Battlefield High School

15000 Graduation Drive, Haymarket, VA 20169

Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

VDOT Northern Virginia District, 1st Floor, Occoquan Room

4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

Each meeting will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m. during each meeting, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

VRE trains from Manassas stopped after pedestrian struck

121212 VRE

Update 

Police in Manasssas released the following information about the pedestrian who was struck this morning along railroad tracks in the city. 

Here’s the latest info: 

Pedestrian Struck by Train

At approximately 3:20AM on January 22, 2015, an adult male was struck by a train on the 8400 block of Kao Cir just south of Osbourn Park High School.  The victim, whose name is withheld pending notification of next of kin, was pronounced deceased at the scene.  No foul play is suspected at this time.

7:10 a.m. 

6 a.m. 

5:40 a.m. 

Riders on Virginia Railway Express from Manassas could be delayed this morning.

The transit agency stated via Twitter that it appears a pedestrian was struck by a train.

With the Metro option in place, regular VRE riders can now use their VRE ticket to board the Metro subway system to get to work. The closest Metro station near Manassas is the Vienna station on the Orange line in Fairfax County.

We’ll have more on this as it develops.

Woodbridge woman killed in crash on Beltway

Photo: Mary Davidson

A woman from Woodbridge was killed on the Capital Beltway this afternoon.

Here’s the latest in press release from Virginia State Police:

A Woodbridge woman was killed Sunday (January 18) in a two car vehicle crash in Fairfax County.  The crash occurred 1:10 p.m. at I-495 westbound 100 feet west of Route 613.

Virginia State Police Trooper A. M. Hoye investigated the crash.

A 2001 Nissan Pathfinder was coming onto I-495 west from the Van Dorn Ramp when the driver lost control and struck a 2007 BMW that was traveling west on I-495.  The 2001 Nissan upon impact overturned partially ejecting the driver.   

The driver of the Nissan, Dinora Del Carmen Guzman, 49, of Woodbridge, Virginia died at the scene; she was not wearing a seatbelt.  The driver of the BMW, Anthony Adams of Lorton was not injured.

Speed is being considered a factor in the crash.

Gas prices fall below $2 per gallon in Stafford

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Gas for $1.99 – are they out of their minds?

Not in North Stafford where the price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas fell below $2 on Tuesday. That’s a drop considering six months ago the price for the same was $3.55 in the same neighborhood, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Fuel Price Finder.

At some gas stations on Route 1 in Stafford, the price fell even lower to $1.97 per gallon at a FasMart and Wawa stations.

The cheapest place to buy gas in Woodbridge on Tuesday was a Wawa at Daniel Stuart Square at Route 1 and Opitz Boulevard, priced at $2.03 per gallon. The area gas price average was higher at $2.13 per gallon.

It’s important to note that the Fuel Price Finder doesn’t list prices for price clubs Costco and Sams Club that normally have cheaper gas than roadside service stations.

011315 fuel forecast

Nationally, the average price for a gallon of unleaded fuel is $2.14. It’s the lowest national average price since May 4, 2009.

Fuel prices should continue to decline, according to the short-term outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Prices will remain low, but creep back up in time for the summer vacation driving season in July to a national average of $2.33 per gallon, according to the forecast.

Consumption of fuel has increased to 9.2 million barrels of oil per day in the U.S. in December. Government officials said that the number should increase to 9.5  billion barrels per day in 2016, putting the U.S. on track to near to the all-time high of 9.6 billion barrels of oil per day not seen since 1970.

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