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Traffic & Transit

Passenger was ejected from vehicle in E-ZPass lanes crash

Authorities closed the northbound I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes on Friday after a crash. 

From Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller: 

At 5:45 a.m.Friday (June 30), Virginia State Police responded to a vehicle crash in the I-95 Express Lanes at the 159-mile marker in Prince William County.

A 2004 Ford Explorer was traveling north on I-95 when it ran off the left side of the road, struck the Jersey wall and overturned two times. As the vehicle overturned, the front-seat passenger was ejected from the vehicle.

The front-seat passenger was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital for the treatment of life-threatening injuries.

The driver and two other passengers were transported to a nearby hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

The crash remains under investigation at this time.

Unusual I-95 delays have slowed OmniRide commuter buses since April

It’s common knowledge that traffic on Interstate 95 north is slow in the mornings as commuters head to work in Washington, D.C. In the afternoons, traffic on the interstate slows again as workers head south for home.

In the past month, however, that rule of the road has been tested. OmniRide commuter buses from Prince William County headed north on I-95 were delayed at least 12 times between May 25 and June 23.

The delays were caused by a mix of traffic congestion and crashes. The buses’ operator Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission relies on a smooth flow of northbound traffic in the afternoons to send empty, or “deadheaded” buses to Washington, D.C. to pick up evening commuters, and then turn around and use the I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes to bring them home.

From PRTC spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo:

“Yes, there has been an increase in the number of days that PRTC buses have experienced afternoon traffic delays. The congestion is typically northbound in Newington from early afternoon until the evening. Later in the evening, the traffic is tending to back up northbound from the Pentagon to the 14th Street Bridge.

To maximize efficiency and minimize costs, many of our buses operate two separate trips in the afternoons – traveling from Woodbridge to D.C. early during the rush hour, dropping passengers off in the Prince William area, and then returning to D.C. to pick up more passengers.

These second rush hour trips are particularly vulnerable to traffic conditions because at that time of day the Express and [I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes] are pointed southbound. As a result, northbound PRTC buses are using the general lanes with everyone else.”

The delays have forced PRTC to re-assign bus drivers to other routes, as well as “constantly monitor” on-time performance. (more…)

Updated: Girl, 13, struck and killed by VRE train

One person was struck by a commuter train near Manassas.

A pedestrian was struck on a truss bridge over the Bull Run River at 3:13 p.m. Fire and rescue crews were called to Lake Drive behind General’s Ridge Golf Course to respond to the incident.

Rescue crews initially called for a helicopter and later called off the helicopter.

The incident disrupted service on Virginia Railway Express’ Manassas line:


The unidentified victim was pronounced dead at 4 p.m.

The incident was determined to be in Fairfax County, according to Prince William County Fire and Rescue spokesman Matt Smolksy.

Update from Fairfax County police: 

Detectives are investigating the death of a 13-year-old girl who was fatally struck by a train today, June 28, around 3 p.m. Our investigation determined the victim was hiking in the area of Bull Run Bridge, near Clifton, with two family members, a 13-year-old boy and a 22-year-old man. The two teens were walking on the bridge when a train approached. The boy was able to get out of the way; unfortunately, the girl could not get off the tracks and was struck.

The fire department responded and pronounced her dead at the scene. Our detectives responded to investigate and are working closely with family, our public safety partners in Manassas Park and the railway and railroad companies. The victim was a student at Lake Braddock Secondary School.

A portion of Dale Boulevard closes Wednesday morning for future traffic light installation

From a press release: 

Westbound Dale Blvd (Route 784) between the off-ramp to southbound I-95 and the on-ramp from southbound I-95 will be closed Wednesday, June 28 from 10:30 to 11 a.m. to install a traffic signal pole and mast arm, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Drivers on southbound I-95 will still be able to exit onto westbound Dale Boulevard via Exit 156B, and drivers on westbound Dale Boulevard will still be able to exit onto southbound I-95.

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

Those standing on VRE trains need to get off, back on starting July 3

From an email: 

Queueing is when passengers stand at the doorway, making it difficult for others to detrain at their stop. Queueing on VRE trains is an ongoing issue that is frequently brought to our attention. As our ridership has risen, the problem has intensified.

Starting Monday, July 3rd, VRE will be enforcing a new policy:

All passengers standing at each stop will detrain.
This is to ensure that everyone who wants to get off can. Those who wish to resume the train ride will be let back on, but they must first detrain. Once everyone has boarded, the train can depart.

We appreciate your cooperation.

Cyclist dies after striking back of SUV in Manassas

From Manassas police:

On June 21, 2017, at approximately 0855 hours, The Manassas City Police responded to the intersection of Godwin Drive at Ashton Avenue for a report of an accident with injuries involving a bicycle.

On scene, Officers investigated the incident and it was later determined the cyclist struck the back of a Sports Utility Vehicle, which was stopped at the traffic light. The victim sustained serious injuries and was flown to a local area hospital.

The victim was later identified as, Thomas Jefferson GRIZZARD JR, a 70-year-old resident of Manassas.

On June 24, 2017, GRIZZARD JR succumbed to the injuries sustained during the crash and died at the hospital.

Woodbridge man charged in fatal crash on I-495

A Woodbridge man is charged in a crashed that led to the death of a Vienna football coach

From Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller: 

The crash occurred at approximately 3:48 p.m. Saturday.

A pickup truck towing a boat had pulled off onto the median area at the split of westbound I-495 and I-95 south/I-495/I-395 north. Two males were outside the pickup truck working to re-secure the boat on the trailer when a box truck drifted into the median area. The box truck struck the boat and one of the male pedestrians, Leonard A. Schultz, 52, of Ashburn, Va. The other pedestrian, Albert Schultz IV, 24, was also struck in the impact of the crash.

Both Schultz’s were transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital for treatment. Leonard Schultz died at the hospital; Albert Schultz is still being treated for life-threatening injuries. The driver of the pickup truck was still inside the pickup truck at the time of the crash and was not injured. (Leonard Schultz is the uncle of Albert Schultz. The driver was Leonard’s brother/Albert’s father…but I don’t have a name for him.)

The driver of the box truck, Carlos Alberto Garcia, 42, of Woodbridge, Va., was not injured in the crash. Garcia has been initially charged with reckless driving.

The crash remains under investigation at this time.

Man, 19, killed in motorcycle crash on Prince William Parkway

From Prince William police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation – On June 24 at 10:42AM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Prince William Pkwy and Scenic Point Pl  in Manassas (20112) to investigate a single vehicle crash involving a motorcycle. The investigation revealed that the operator of a 2006 Suzuki motorcycle, identified as a 19-year-old man of Woodbridge, was traveling eastbound on the Prince William Pkwy near Scenic Point Pl at an excessive speed when the operator lost control and struck a guard rail. The motorcycle operator was pronounced dead at the scene. It is still unknown if drug and alcohol use are factors in this crash. The investigation continues.


From police: 


The operator of a 2006 Suzuki GSX-R1000 motorcycle was identified as Martin Ezekiel MONGE, 19, of Woodbridge

‘All Interstate 95 northbound traffic in Stafford County will be stopped’

From a press release: 

All Interstate 95 northbound traffic in Stafford County will be stopped intermittently for 20-minute intervals between midnight and 3 a.m. on Saturday, June 24 as part of a work zone for the I-95 Express Lanes Southern Terminus Extension.

Crews will be installing overhead signs between Exit 140 (Courthouse Road) and Exit 143 (Route 610) as part of a 2.5 mile extension of I-95 Express Lanes from its current southern terminus. Virginia State Police will assist with traffic control in the work zone.

The following lane closures are planned for this evening and early Saturday, weather permitting:

  • Single lane closure at 10 p.m. between Exit 140 (Courthouse Road) and Exit 143 (Route 610)

  • Double lane closure at midnight

  • Between midnight and 3 a.m.

    full traffic stops for up to 20 minutes at a time

  • All lanes open by 4:30 a.m.

‘The three existing I-95 southbound lanes in this area would be converted to lanes for local traffic’

From a press release: 

The public is invited to attend a citizen information meeting next week to learn more about the revised design for the Interstate 95 southbound collector distributor lanes – Rappahannock River Crossing project between Exit 133 (Route 17) in Stafford County and Exit 130 (Route 3) in the City of Fredericksburg.    

The citizen information meeting will be held:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

5-7 p.m.  

Fredericksburg Hospitality House & Conference Center

Fredericksburg Room

2801 Plank Road (Central Park)

Fredericksburg, VA 22401

A brief presentation will be delivered at 6 p.m.

The revised design includes construction of three new I-95 southbound lanes in the current median of I-95 for through traffic. The new through traffic lanes would be built from north of Exit 133 at Route 17 in Stafford to just south of Exit 130 at Route 3 in Spotsylvania. (more…)

‘Some OmniRide routes will follow new routing, many OmniRide and eastern OmniLink routes will have updated schedule times to better reflect recent traffic conditions’

From a press release: 

“PRTC will implement a fare increase on Monday, June 26, and many bus schedules will change on Monday, July 3. In past years, any fare increase took effect on the same day as schedule and routing changes, but PRTC adjusted the date of this year’s fare increase to align with other regional transit providers participating in the SmarTrip fare collection system.

PRTC provides commuter and local bus services as well as ridesharing services in Prince William County, the City of Manassas and the City of Manassas Park. PRTC also co-sponsors the Virginia Railway Express in partnership with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.

Among the highlights of the coming changes: some OmniRide routes will follow new routing, many OmniRide and eastern OmniLink routes will have updated schedule times to better reflect recent traffic conditions, and fares will increase by an average of 5 percent.

The changes were identified through passenger comments and discussion with PRTC dispatchers and the staff of our contractor, First Transit Inc. Among the major routing changes: (more…)

VRE won’t run Firecracker Special trains this year

The Firecracker Special has burnt out.

Virginia Railway Express announced it would not run its two trains from Manassas and Fredericksburg to the Independence Day celebration and fireworks display in Washington, D.C. on July 4.

The commuter railroad does not offer regular service on that day because of the holiday. The decision to not run the Firecracker Special this year is based on last year’s low ridership numbers, the fact that July 4 falls mid-week on Tuesday, and that “getting the service ready to run for the next morning would be very challenging,” according to a VRE spokesman.

Last year, VRE had a ridership goal of 1,000 per line on July 4. There were 161 on the Manassas line and 364 passengers on the Fredericksburg line.

Last year, tickets for the Firecracker Special were sold for $10 a person.

The Firecracker Special was brought back in 2014 after a 10-year hiatus. Trains on both lines took passengers to Union Station where they could depart and walk the rest of the way to the National Mall for the Independence Day celebration and fireworks. In 2004 and years prior, the July 4 trains stopped at L’Enfant Plaza.

VRE submits proposal for $187 million in projects funded by I-66 E-ZPass Express Lanes

Improvements would come to Manassas line, stations 

There’s a pot of $500 million on the table thanks to the Interstate 66 E-ZPass Express Lanes project, and Virginia’s commuter railroad wants its share.

Virginia Railway Express CEO Doug Allen won approval from the railroad’s operations board Friday to submit a $187 million proposal to the state for projects to include the widening of a train storage yard at Broad Run Station at the Manassas Airport and building a third track south of Manassas.

Other projects noted in the package include purchasing 10 new rail cars to extend the length of Manassas Line trains to accommodate more riders, extending a passenger waiting platform at the Downtown Manassas VRE station, and funding for a $26 million parking garage at the Manassas Park VRE Station. The unfunded projects have been on the commuter railroad’s long-range plan.

The $500 million is a lump-sum payment to the state from Express Mobility Partners, “a consortium of Spanish multinational company Ferrovial; a subsidiary, Cintra; global investment and asset management firm Meridian; and construction firm Allan Myers — to finance, design, maintain and operate the toll expressway” on I-66 for 50 years, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe through the state’s Northern Virginia Transportation Authority opened a bid for project proposals June 8. The bids close on June 28, and the monies expected to be awarded to the winning projects before McAuliffe leaves office in January. (more…)

Man fatally struck near Woodbridge VRE

A man was struck and killed Friday night by an Amtrak train in Woodbridge.

The unidentified victim was walking on the tracks near the Woodbridge Virginia Railway Express station about 7:30 p.m.

Police are working to notify the next of kin.

Amtrak 90 from Florida to New York was scheduled to be passing through the region at the time of the collision. Amtrak has not responded to a request for comment on this story.

The collision sparked delays for riders on Virginia Railway Express.

From a VRE spokesman:

“VRE Train 315, our last train of the evening was stopped at the Lorton Station. We contacted PRTC, and they provided three buses to accommodate the 147 passengers on board. Buses arrived at 9:00 pm. Passengers were loaded on buses and departed to southern stations.”

NVTA funds $2.5 million for Manassas Park VRE garage study

A total of $2.5 million has been set aside for the study and planning of a new parking garage at the Manassas Park Virginia Railway Express Station.

The commuter railroad is in the process of completing a study that examines what type of parking garage is needed at the busy station, as well as what type of pedestrian improvements are needed.

The station currently has 600 parking spaces, and nearly all of them are being used, according to a May VRE report. An additional 500 more spaces are needed, according to VRE documents.

Neighboring Manassas is the only station on the system’s Manassas line, which includes stations in Fairfax County, that is short on commuter parking, according to May’s VRE CEO’s report. Of the about 700 spaces at the Manassas VRE station, VRE documents show the station is about 30 spaces short of meeting demand. (more…)

McAuliffe and Trump share an idea: Raise the federal gas tax

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe today called on Congress to raise the federal gas tax.

“I think they should raise the gas tax. No one else will say that,” said McAuliffe.

The increased tax could be used to pay for transportation improvements, to include repairing and American Legion Bridge, a structure that connects the state with Maryland on I-495 Capital Beltway he said is in need of repair.

“It’s fine right now, but it needs some work. But what if we had to shut that down? That is a major thoroughfare between Maryland and Virginia,” said McAuliffe.

The governor Congress to find a dedicated source of funding for transportation maintenance and improvements. It’s an idea he shares with President Trump, who last month suggested raising the gas tax not touched since 1993. (more…)

1 flown from I-95 crash that snarled rush-hour traffic at Dale City

All lanes of Interstate 95 south were closed for a brief time about 8 p.m. Tuesday for a crash. 

A car overturned at Dale City near Potomac Mills mall. 

From Virginia State Police: 

“At 7:30 p.m., Virginia State Police responded to a traffic crash in the northbound lanes of I-95 at Exit 156. One vehicle ran off the road, struck the guardrail and overturned. One person was flown to Fairfax Inova Hospital for the treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.”

A helicopter was called to land on the highway to take the patient to a local hospital. The highway was reopened after the helicopter cleared the crash scene.

Interstate 95 Southbound paving begins in Stafford County

I-95 southbound will be reduced to a single lane overnight from north of Exit 133/Route 17 to the Rappahannock River bridge on Monday ? Thursday evenings this week

Fredericksburg– A pavement repair project will close two Interstate 95 southbound lanes overnight in Stafford County on several evenings over the next two weeks between the Route 17 overpass and the Rappahannock River bridge.

Rutting has developed in the vehicle wheel path of the left and center lane of I-95 southbound between the Route 17 overpass and Rappahannock River bridge. Milling the pavement and adding new asphalt is needed to correct the rutting. (more…)

Riders that ‘dump the pump’ will entered to win prizes

From PRTC: 

“The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) is encouraging Prince William County area residents to Dump the Pump by leaving their vehicles at home on June 15 and using transit instead. 

All PRTC riders are encouraged to tell a friend about the benefits of public transportation and invite that friend to ride with them on June 15. After riding, the new rider can take a survey on PRTC’s website so they and their friend can be entered into separate prize drawings. New riders will be entered into a drawing for one of five $20 SmarTrip cards, while the friend who recommended transit will be entered into a drawing for one of five $20 Starbucks gift cards.

The 12th annual Dump the Pump Day is sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, APTA, to highlight the benefits of using public transportation. In 2016, Americans took 10.4 billion trips on public transportation. Among its benefits:

–A two-person household can save, on average, $9,823 a year by downsizing to one car;

–Residential property values performed 42 percent better on average if they were located near public transportation with high-frequency service;

–U.S. public transportation use saved 865 million hours in travel time and 450 million gallons of fuel in 498 urban areas in 2011, according to the latest research;

–87 percent of public transit trips impact the economy; and

–Households near public transit drive an average of 4,400 fewer miles than households with no access to public transit.

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