Traffic & Transit
A Woodbridge man faces charges in a fatal crash on Virginia roads over the Memorial Day weekend – one of seven deadly crashes that occurred on state roads.
Thomas J. Smith, of Woodbridge, faces reckless driving charges in a crash that occurred early Saturday morning on Interstate 95 near Lorton. Rashid K. Humphreys, 30, of Yonkers, N.Y., was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car. He was taken to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, Virginia State Police reported.
A second passenger inside the car, Robert D. Brown, Jr., of Fredericksburg, suffered minor injuries and were not transported for treatment.
Overall, there were seven traffic deaths on Virginia roadways overt the holiday Memorial Day weekend (observed by police from midnight Friday to noon Tuesday). The number of deaths is the lowest they have been in four years, when the fatality count for the same time period was also seven in 2009.
In 2012, a total of 12 people were killed on Memorial Day weekend in traffic-related crashes. In 2008, a total of 13 people lost their lives on Virginia roads over the holiday weekend.
This year, The seven reported traffic deaths occurred in the City of Newport News, and the counties of Amelia, Carroll, Fairfax, Patrick and Southampton.
LORTON , Va. — One man was pronounced dead after he was ejected from a car traveling on Interstate 95 at 5:48 this morning. A Honda sedan was traveling near Lorton at the 164 mile post when it ran off the right side of the highway and flipped over and the passenger ejected.
The victim was taken to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center where he later died.
The driver and a second passenger were not injured, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
There’s no word yet on what caused the crash or the identity of the victim.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — “Immature,” “unfounded,” and “frivolous spending,” were some of the comments Mark Dudenhefer heard when he wanted to improve Stafford County’s antiquated roads.
In 2004, his 17-year-old daughter Emily was killed in a car crash on Mountain View Road. Nine years later, Stafford County celebrated the implementation of new road fixes following a $70 million voter-approved road bond passed in 2008. The very road on which Emily lost her life will be improved to help prevent others, including more than 400 student drivers at Mountain View High School, from being injured or killed in car crashes.
“This is not meant to be a sad day… this is a happy day for Stafford County because today we take a step forward out of the blame me, blame someone else for our problems, and we have now decided we are going to take charge…” said Dudenhefer.
Now a State Delegate representing portions of Stafford County and eastern Prince William, the Republican gathered with friends and county officials to break ground for improvements to the roadway to include wider 12-feet lanes and 8-feet shoulders.
A string of firsts, it’s the first major project of the county’s first road bond, and it’s the first time Stafford County residents have not waited for state help in fixing their own roads.
Following Emily’s death, a Youth Driver Taskforce convened for 21 meetings and identified roads in the county in need of improvement. All but one of them – U.S. 1 at the intersection of Potomac Creek Drive – were 2-lane roads that have not seen improvements since they were built in the early 20th century, despite Stafford’s ballooning population.
The road bond money will now be used to improve areas along Brooke, Eskimo Hill, Poplar, and Rock Hill Church roads.
On Mountain View Road – the largest of the improvements – the price tag will top $7 million and is expected to be completed next year.
Dudnehefer’s time serving on the Stafford Board of Supervisors was largely consumed with trying to advance transportation improvements in the county. He thanked some of the Supervisors he once worked with, and recalled some negative comments that strengthened his resolve.
“I had a former member of the Board of Supervisors that basically said that I was deranged and that all my views on the world were skewed because of an accident with my daughter, and while those comments hurt my feelings, it gave me more and more of a determination to move forward and step out and do something to try and help this community,” he said.
Megaprojects Mega Mike
Residents & Elected Officials Oppose Highway Project
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A decision whether or not to endorse an outer beltway in Prince William County will have to wait.
County leaders Tuesday deferred endorsing a list of projects for a six-year roadway construction plan which will ultimately be presented to the Commonwealth Transportation Board in Richmond. On the list is the “North-South Corridor of statewide significance,” also known as the Tri, or Bi-County Parkway, and known to others as a proposed outer beltway.
However they referred to it, opposition to the road continues to mount in Prince William, and so have complaints from residents who say they’ve been in the dark about plans for what would be a 45-mile road linking Interstate 95 in Dumfries to Va. 7 in Loudoun County. Opponents fear the road will spur economic development in Loudoun, not Prince William, will force the closure of small streets near Manassas National Battlefield, and lead to urban sprawl in the protected Rural Crescent.
“There’s been a lot of misinformation about this parkway,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart to a line of speakers urging the outer beltway be removed from the list of county-endorsed projects.
Stewart maintains the road will be built one way or another because the region’s population continues to grow. But to those who lined up in front of him Tuesday afternoon, he urged them to contact their state legislators instead.
“The place to stop the road is in Richmond with your State Delegates and your State Senators. You can talk to us all day long about the road, and that’s fine… but it’s a state-designed road, funded with state dollars… there’s no county money in this road,” said Stewart.
The proposed highway would transform Va. 234 from Dumfries to Interstate 66 to a limited access highway, then extend it through a portion of Manassas National Battlefield Park, through Loudoun County and ultimately connecting with Dulles International Airport and then on to Va. 7. The highway would make for a faster connection to the airport for drivers looking to catch a flight and for freight haulers carrying cargo from the airport – a major commerce hub for the state.
The residents who live on and around Pageland Lane in Prince William County, near Manassas Battlefield, have been the most vocal opponents to the highway so far. A portion of their street would close under the current highway plan, and so would portions of Va. 234 Business and U.S. 29 that run inside the battlefield park.
“You say that there is a lot of misinformation. Why is there so much misinformation? Why are we asking the questions? Why are we here talking about something that we think we can change if you say we can’t change it,” asked Shannon Gunn, who lives in Bristow.
Others who commented referred to a press conference held late last month where GOP legislators joined in opposition of an outer beltway. Residents also said they’ve heard little from the Virginia Department of Transportation about what would be a landscape-altering project.
“If you think as citizens we are uninformed or just don’t understand the rationale for this project, you’re right. Public involvement has been minimal and highly orchestrated by the proponents [of the project],” said Barry Kline.
More than just residents, Delegate Bob Marshall, R – Manassas, also spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, and warned Prince William residents of increased truck traffic if the highway is built, not only near Manassas but also in the Coles and Potomac districts and at Dumfries.
“This “North-South outer beltway” was missing from December publications from VDOT. Last year, the publication did not specify the names of any roads affected, communities or postal areas that would be affected or that were mass presented to the public. You’ve got public assimilation, not public information,” said Marhsall.
The Delegate urged for improvements along I-66 and Va. 28, especially where the two roads meet in Fairfax County, as an alternative to building an outer beltway.
After Marshall left the podium, Stewart disappeared from view. When he came back nearly an hour later, he said state legislators should answer more questions about the proposed project and not leave locally elected officials twisting in the wind.
“…they want us to save them from themselves. It’s a state road, and, no offense, frankly, we need better representation at the state level and we’re not getting it right now… in both parties,” said Stewart.
Still licking political wounds from last weekend’s Republican Convention in which he lost his bid for Lt. Governor to Bishop E.W. Jackson, of Chesapeake, in what almost seemed like a campaign speech, Stewart reminded residents about a $800 million transportation bill that could mean higher taxes for those living in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. He also urged residents to question politicians about why the Tri-County Parkway – a highway proposed in the early 2000s that was to traverse Prince William, Loudoun, and Fairfax counties — was defeated by some of the the same Republicans who now oppose this road project, said Stewart.
“Every one of those elected representatives from the state who is opposed to the road, and are not offering an alternative, is a coward,” said Stewart.
A public hearing on the proposed highway is scheduled on Monday, June 3, at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. A presentation will begin at 7 p.m. followed by a question and answer session where those who sign up to speak will be given two minutes each to make their case for or against the road.
Supervisors will once again take up their list of preferred road projects — which includes widening I-66 between U.S. 29 and U.S. 15, widening U.S. 1 in Woodbridge, and building a parking garage at a new Potomac Nationals baseball stadium planned to open in 2015 — until after a meeting of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board next month.
DUMFRIES, Va. — Brian Gudmundson rode his bike to work on Friday.
It was Bike to Work Day in the Washington area, and he rode his all the way from Frederickburg to his office at Quantico. Along the way, he rode into a rest stop at the Dumfries Community Center next to Town Hall where water, snacks, and goodies like free “Bike to Work” t-shirts and water bottles were waiting for him.
It took Gudmundson about an hour and a half to reach Dumfries before heading to the office. He took U.S. 1, which is built for cars, not bikes.
“It was a good ride, but contending with all of the other cars along the road can be a little unnerving,” said Gudmundson.
A total of six people came to the Bike to Work Day pit stop in Dumfries where they were welcomed by Councilman Charles Brewer and Dumfries Business Association President Daniel Cosner. Cosner had his bicycle chained up to a fence post Friday while Gudmundson visited, while Brewer pointed his preferred mode of transportation – his pickup parked nearby.
The pit stop in Dumfries was organized by Community Services Coordinator Cydny Neville.
There were seven Bike to Work Day pit stops in Prince William County (including the stop in Dumfries) and one in Manassas, in Old Town’s Virginia Railway Express station. More than 10,000 commuters were expected to take part in the special annual event.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — An accident involving a dump truck, a mail delivery vehicle, a Ford Taurus and a Nissan pick-up truck snarled traffic on Garrisonville Road and Green Acre Drive during rush hour today. A Stafford County deputy talks with both the truck drivers. [Mary Davidson / PotomacLocalNews.com]
All lanes of Interstate 95 are open following the crash.
D COUNTY, Va. — It’s been a mess all morning long on Interstate 95 south in Stafford County. It will remain closed at mile post 133 just before Fredericksburg until at least noon today following a HAZMAT spill.
More in a press release from Virginia State Police:
At 5:12 a.m. Friday (May 17), Virginia State Police were called to the scene of a two-vehicle crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 south of Exit 133/Falmouth in Stafford County. Two southbound tractor-trailers collided with one another. The two tractor-trailers came to a stop on the right shoulder of I-95. Both tractor-trailers are upright and neither driver was injured.
One of the tractor-trailers is hauling barrels of an organic, corrosive, liquid material. The impact of the crash caused several barrels to fall off the tractor-trailer and land in the right southbound lane. Stafford and Fredericksburg HazMat crews are on scene working to contain and clear the minor leakage from at least one of the damaged barrels.
The southbound lanes of I-95 are estimated to remain closed until approximately noon Friday.
Crash remains under investigation at this time.
Due to the crash, traffic is being rerouted onto nearby roads, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation:
All southbound traffic is being detoured at Exit 133 to southbound Route 17 Business, and then onto southbound Route 1. Traffic can return to southbound I-95 at Exit 130/Route 3 or Exit 126/Spotsylvania.
Due to the additional traffic, heavy congestion is expected on southbound Route 17 Business and southbound Route 1 this morning in the Fredericksburg area.
QUANTICO, Va. — Drivers can expect delays tonight and tomorrow night on Interstate 95 south at Joplin Road.
More in a press release from Virginia Megaprojects.
Starting tonight, May 15, and Thursday night, May 16, from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., and again on Friday night, May 17, from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will close a single right lane of I-95 south at Joplin Road, Exit 150 for approximately a half-mile. This will allow crews to safely install concrete beams for a new 95 Express Lanes bridge over Joplin Road.
On Joplin Road, (Route 619) two-way traffic will be directed by flaggers during overnight work hours.
All closures are weather permitting. Police will be on site for motorists safety.
STAFFORD, Va. — After Delegate Mark Dudenhefer stood behind Virginia’s governor and voted for an $800 million transportation reform package last winter, Stafford County will receive some of the spoils.
In a press release today, Dudenhefer, R-Stafford, Woodbridge, outlined $268 million in new transportation funds coming to the county as part of the deal. With it, Stafford County’s six-year transportation plan will be updated to reflect the changes.
The projects include:
Repair and Paving:
1) $28.7 million to replace or rehabilitate structurally deficient bridges, including:
– Route 1 over Rappahannock Canal in Fredericksburg
– Route 1 over Potomac Run in Stafford County
2) An estimated $45-55 million a year is expected from combined construction and maintenance funds for interstate, primary, and secondary paving over the next six fiscal years. In addition, $20.5 million is targeted for Interstate 95 in the region. Among the pavement improvements that will be seen as soon as 2013:
– Route 1 in Stafford
– Route 3 in Stafford
– Numerous secondary and subdivision streets, in all 14 counties
New Construction Projects:
1) $184 million to reconstruct the Interstate 95 interchange at Route 630 (Courthouse Road) in Stafford County.
2) $55 million to fully fund preliminary engineering work and right-of-way on the Rappahannock River Crossing improvements on I-95 between Route 17 in Stafford and Route 3 in Fredericksburg.
3) $2.2 million to advance the study and design work for the addition of a fourth travel lane on I-95 between Garrisonville Road and Centreport Parkway in Stafford, as well as shoulder widening.
4) Route 17 Widening in Stafford County
5) Staffordboro Boulevard Commuter Parking Lot Expansion in Stafford County
6) Falmouth Intersection Improvement Project in Stafford County
“I am pleased to see that the decision we made in Richmond to improve and adequately fund Virginia’s transportation needs is bearing fruit. Less congestion and safer roads in the region is no longer a fantasy. We can now see real improvements on the horizon. None of this would have been possible without passage of the transportation bill,” said Delegate Dudenhefer stated in a press release.
The transportation bill divided Republicans in the General Assembly because the final version of the bill will bring higher taxes – a jump in sales taxes from 5 to 5.3% statewide and to as much as 6% in the state’s most congested regions in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Also under the new transportation law, the gas tax not touched since 1986 will be replaced with a 3% tax on fuel at the wholesale level. Democrats supported the bill as the GOP agreed to compromise for an expansion of Medicare in the state.
Dudenhefer also represents Woodbridge, and is the Republican Delegate from Prince William County who voted for transportation reform.
DALE CITY, Va. — What once worked in construction zones on the Capital Beltway is now in use on Intestate 95: Orange Cones, No Phones.
The program sponsored by the builders of new Express Lanes coming to the interstate highway is meant to call attention to distracted drivers who use their cell phones to text, email, or talk behind the wheel. With $1 billion in construction happening along 29-mile express lanes corridor from Va. 610 in North Stafford to Edsall Road in Alexandria, officials said drivers need to pay attention while on the roads.
“According to this report, distracted driving remains a significant problem and vexing problem in the D.C. metropolitan area, particularly in construction work zones. I probably don’t have to tell you that navigating work zones is extremely challenging and requires full time and attention, and anyone who drove the Express Lanes work zones on the Capital Beltway knows what we are talking about,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman Lon Anderson.
Express Lanes on the Beltway opened in November, and now the concept is being expanded to I-95. The report Anderson references is authored by AAA Mid Atlantic and Fluor-Transurban, the builders of the Express Lanes. It surveyed 943 drivers between Feb. 27 and March 7. It found:
— Nearly one in five drivers on I-95 text while behind the wheel
— 17% of respondents admit to reading texts while behind the wheel
— 11% admit to writing text messages while driving
— 24% of I-95 drivers surveyed say they talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving
— 39% of those surveyed say they talk while using a hands-free device
— Three out of four drivers recalled using their phones while behind the wheel in the previous week
Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton called attention to the safety of highway workers along the 95 Express Lanes corridor.
“In this work zone alone, almost 1,500 workers are out here pounding the work site. Every one of them is out there doing great work for the people of the commonwealth, making sure we get transportation improvements, helping make sure we help the quality of life and the economy of Virginia, at the same time they’re putting their lives in danger,” said Connaughton.
He cited a new texting while driving law set to take effect July 1 championed by Prince William County Delegate Richard Anderson that will make it a primary offense, and beef up fines for drivers caught by police texting behind the wheel.
Officials hope the Orange Cones, No Phones message is received by drivers as the busy summer construction season is ramping up. In the 95 Express Lanes corridor, drivers will see increased work on new flyover construction, barrier work, utility relocation, and sound wall installation that will cause delays.
The new Express Lanes, which will replace the current HOV lanes between Dumfries and the Pentagon, and see the construction of new lanes nine miles south of Dumfries to North Stafford, are expected to open in early 2015.
DUMFRIES, Va. — Two lanes crash on Interstate 95 at Dumfries has severely slowed traffic this afternoon.
The crash is at mile post 152 south at Va. 234, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
It’s not clear what caused the crash, or if anyone was injured.
Traffic is snarled not only in the southbound direction, but also on I-95 north. Drivers are also moving slowly on the highway as they leave Stafford County and enter Prince William County in the area of Quantico.
STAFFORD, Va. — A Stafford man died Friday when his car collided with another.
Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said a 2005 Honda Accord driven by 35-year-old Jeffery L. Bolling, 35, crossed the double yellow lines of Shelton Shop Road near Courthouse Road and collided with a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche traveling in the opposite direction at 11:59 a.m.
Bolling died at the scene. Police said he was not wearing a seatbelt and said alcohol was a factor that led to the crash.
Geller did not offer any further details on the occupants of the Avalanche.
Traffic HOV Closures Continue Tonight
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Traveling Interstate 95 in our area tonight? Watch out for more closures on the HOV lanes from Dumfries to Washington.
Starting at 11 p.m., the HOV lanes will close until 10 a.m. Saturday, when the lanes will reopen at the Franconia-Springfield Parkway for drivers headed south into Prince William County. The northern section of the lanes from Springfield to Washington will stay closed until 5 p.m. that afternoon, when the lanes will reopened in their entirety in the northbound direction, according to a press release from the Virginia Megaprojects office.
Traveling on I-395 between the Capital Beltway and Seminary Road in Alexandria? One left lane of that portion of highway will also close at 11 o’clock tonight and reopen at 10 a.m. tomorrow.
All of these closures will allow crews working on the 95 Express Lanes Project to install new signage, and perform work on drainage, grading, and barriers along the project corridor which extends from North Stafford to Edsall Road in Alexandria.
Transportation officials urge drivers to expect delays and find alternate routes if possible.
The region is under a dense fog advisory from the National Weather Service.
Until 10 a.m., visibilities are expected to stay at a quarter a mile or less.
Traffic on area highways like Interstate 95 and 66 were moving without incident about 6:45 a.m. Thursday. The weather service still urged drivers to slow down in the face of dense fog to prevent accidents.
The sun has been absent from our area for most of the week. Thunderstorms are once again possible for today, but warmer temperatures near 80 degrees are on the way today.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — A portion of Minnieville Road in Prince William County is one step closer to becoming wider.
County leaders approved a measure to give $1.5 million to Rinker Design Associates to provide plans widen a two-lane portion of the road between Va. 234 and Spriggs Road to four lanes. With the majority of the road – which connects Va. 234 and Old Bridge Road in Lake Ridge – already four lanes, this is the last portion of the roadway that is set for widening.
A series of proposals from various companies was considered by a selection committee that ultimately chose Rinker to perform the engineering services, according to county documents.
The road widening project was approved by voters in 2007. The portion of Minnieville Road that is being widened lies within the Potomac and Coles magisterial districts.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — A trash truck ran off the side of Va. 610 in Stafford County on Tuesday evening.
The crash involved only the truck and happened just before the Fauquier County line.
No one was injured in the incident the closed one lane of westbound traffic on Va. 610 about 6 p.m. The truck was operated by American Disposal of Manassas.
Traffic delays in the area of the crash were minor.
DALE CITY, Va. — All lanes of Interstate 95 south were closed just before 2 p.m. Tuesday after a multi-vehicle crash near Dale Boulevard.
The crash happened at mile post 156, and the southbound travel lanes and HOV lanes were both closed by police as emergency crews responded to the crash.
Delays began for drivers headed south just before Dale Boulevard at Dale City.
Initial reports indicate at least 10 cars were involved in the crash.
By URIAH KISER
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Afternoon rush hours here are loud, busy, and full of both pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles. And if you’re not behind the wheel of a car, U.S. 1 in Woodbridge is not a very friendly place to be, despite portions of the road having sidewalks, several bus stops, homes, and shopping centers.
On Friday afternoon, several pedestrians could be seen schlepping backpacks, shopping bags, and pushing strollers with small children in them, all of them dodging traffic to get across the busy four-lane highway at Featherstone Plaza. Along this stretch of road over the past five years, 17 pedestrians have been killed – many of them right here at Featherstone Plaza. Another trouble spot in Woodbridge is the area around Marumsco Plaza, where many residents cross the highway to shop for groceries and other items.
“We typically see most of the pedestrian accidents where we have a high concentration of homes that meets retail shopping areas,” said Prince William Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank J. Principi.
He’s been working for the past five years to improve the U.S. 1 corridor with not only helping to greenlight roadway improvements — including work that’s about to begin to widen portions of the highway from four to six lanes from Neabsco Creek to Featherstone Road and from Mary’s Way to the Occoquan River — but to also build a new network of pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and trails.
It’s been dubbed Woodbridge’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Network, a project Princpi has often called “fixing Woodbridge’s sidewalks to nowhere.” Of the 34 sidewalk and trail projects that have been identified as needed improvements at an estimated cost of $25 million, 22 of them now have a dedicated funding source that totals $17.5 million, Principi announced Friday afternoon.
The top five projects include:
— U.S.1 at Powell’s Creek Bridge – $710,000
— Dale Boulevard from Neabsco Mills Road, across U.S. 1 and along Rippon Boulevard – $1.8 million
— Opitz Boulevard from WaWa to Neabsco Mills Road $1.5 million
— Blackburn Road from Rippon Boulevard to the Cow Branch Bridge – $500,000
— Blackburn Road from Reddy Drive to Featherstone Road – $600,000
Overall, the new network of sidwalks and trails when depicted on a map resembles something like a network of roadways, but these paths will allow those on foot or bike to travel alongside major throughfares. Smaller spoke routes depicted on the map branch further into neighborhoods like Belmont Bay, Featherstone Shores, Harbors of Newport, North Woodbridge, and River Oaks.
For Henry Hiltpold who used to live in Washington and now rides his motorized scooter to a bus stop and relies on OmniLink for a ride around town, a more pedestrian-friendly network sounds appealing.
“The sidewalks are narrow, and it would be easier for me if traffic would move along here slower than it already does, but I don’t guess that is going to happen,” said Hiltpold, referring to the hustle and bustle of U.S. 1 when it’s not congested with morning or afternoon commuters.
The pedestrian network announcement comes as the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments launched their “Street Smart” campaign. Principi, who serves on the MCOG Board, drew the Street Smart campaign to Woodbridge on Friday to highlight the dangers both pedestrians and bicyclists face.
Last year in the Washington area there were more 3,000 crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists. Of those, 70 of them were fatal. In Prince William there were fatal crashes involving bicyclists or pedestrians, according to Street Smart statistics.
DALE CITY, Va. — One person was flown to a hospital for treatment after being involved in a crash on Interstate 95.
The crash closed all northbound lanes of the highway just after 3 p.m. at Dale City, resulting in a backup for more than eight miles delaying traffic as far south as Stafford County.
Of the two unidentified victims, one was flown to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, and the other was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, said Dale City Volunteer Fire Department spokesman Steve Chappell.
Virginia State Police are investigating the incident. Volunteer fire and rescue units from Dale City, Woodbridge, and Dumfries-Triangle were called to the scene.
The highway was reopened to traffic shortly after a helicopter lifted off the ground to take the patient to a hospital. The conditions of the patients have not been released.
Some drivers reported being stuck in Saturday afternoon’s back up on I-95 for more than two hours.