WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia



Traffic & Transit

VDOT’s take on the new Haymarket DDI at I-66

Photo by VDOT Northern Virginia

From VDOT spokeswoman Ellen Kamilakis:

I’ve loved working on this project because it has so many up sides. Safer, faster, cheaper! We knew we would have to fight the misconceptions of it being dangerous, and how people wouldn’t understand, but so far they have. Since it is not completely done (still need to open third lane, finish multi-use path, overhead signs, mast arm signals, concrete islands) it’s hard for people to conceptualize the finished product. I for one didn’t grasp that I was on temporary pavement, and when it was complete in the spring, the intersection lines would be longer and leaner that what is there now.

I have followed the news articles and read the comments (looking for misconceptions that I can address), and all we have left are people that claim, despite all of the studies, that this will somehow be a dangerous intersection. The only thing to refute that is time, so we watch and wait.

I found this to be an interesting exchange on Twitter: https://twitter.com/VaDOTNOVA/status/82552774911269274

A busy day for police at the new Haymarket DDI intersection

Photo: VDOT Northern Virginia


HAYMARKET, Va. — The first Diverging Diamond Interchange in Northern Virginia opened Saturday at Route 15 and Interstate 66 in Haymarket.

The interchange is unlike others in the state because it removes the need for drivers to make dangerous left turns across oncoming traffic. It also puts traffic on the opposite side of the street as drivers pass through the interchange. 

The new interchange is quickly becoming the standard in the state with another one planned at Interstate 95 and Courthouse Road in Stafford.

The new street configuration and traffic pattern changes today in Haymarket led to some confusion today, and police want drivers to be aware of the changes.

From Haymarket Chief of Police Kevin Lands: 

Here are some observations the Haymarket Police Department observed and handled during today’s rush hour traffic at the DDI. Any help getting the word out would be helpful. Thanks. 
VDOT detail- monitored A.M. rush traffic at the diversion diamond interchange. No crashes to report at this time. However other items of note were observed.
1) Incorrect use of the traffic pattern-
Three motorists claimed to be confused while entering or exiting the diamond on the Heathcote side. Two drivers stayed to the right while attempting to travel south on Rt.15 on a northbound portion. They were stopped prior to the I-66 eastbound ramps. Both drivers claimed to be confused and attempted to just stay right. The third driver was traveling north on Rt.15 and attempted to exit the diamond and ended up in the southbound lanes but was then able to correct.


School closings and delays for Monday, Jan. 30, 2017

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

School divisions in Prince William and Stafford counties already have modified schedules today. 

Prince William County Public Schools — Teacher Workday today, NO School.

Stafford County Public School — Early release day for all grades /end of semester.

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 

Updated: Chatham Bridge completed

From VDOT: 

One lane is closed on the Chatham Bridge (Route 3 Business) between Fredericksburg and Stafford County due to a hole that has formed in the bridge deck. 

: The right eastbound travel lane is closed. All other lanes on the bridge are not affected, and remain open. 

The hole is approximately 2 feet by 2 feet across. Tonight, crews are covering the hole with a steel plate, which will be sealed with an asphalt mix used in cold temperatures.

Update from VDOT at 4:45 p.m. Jan 27, 2017:

CORRECTION: This traffic alert was intended to be sent on Wednesday, Jan. 25. All repairs to the Chatham Bridge were completed by the morning of Thursday, Jan. 26. No repairs are currently underway. We apologize for any inconvenience.


Haymarket DDI opens this weekend


From VDOT: 

Northern Virginia’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) at Interstate 66 and Route 15 will open to traffic Saturday, Jan. 28, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The new [$59 million] DDI alignment is scheduled to open at 9 a.m. Jan. 28. The interchange will be closed overnight for final lane striping the night before beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27. Detour information is available on the project page.

Traffic will shift onto the new bridge, with two out of the three lanes opening Saturday. Work will still continue on the multi-use path, overhead signs, and concrete islands until summer 2017, when the third lane will then open.

The DDI’s innovative design shifts vehicles to the opposite side of the road and eliminates left turns that cross oncoming traffic. Two-phase traffic signals at each end of the interchange reduce time spent at red lights and move twice the number of vehicles as a traditional diamond interchange. VDOT recently completed its first two DDIs in Louisa and Roanoke, and has two more in the works in Blacksburg and Stafford.

Tons of OmniRide bus stops will be missed Friday afternoon

From PRTC: 

The annual March for Life will take place on Friday, January 27 in Washington, D.C.

Road closures will impact many OmniRide trips in the early afternoon, and there is a chance that road closures may be extended and impact PM rush hour trips. All riders should anticipate delays due to congestion caused by the road closures.


Route 610 traffic shift set for Wednesday night in Stafford

From Virginia Department of Transportation:

All lanes will remain open, but drivers should stay alert for a new traffic pattern on
Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) near Onville Road

On Wednesday evening, Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) traffic in Stafford County will be shifted slightly onto new pavement just west of the Onville Road intersection. (more…)

OId Centerville Road bridge repairs begin today


Rehabilitation of the Old Centreville Road bridge over Bull Run will begin Tuesday, Jan. 24, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

During construction, traffic crossing the bridge will be controlled via temporary signals.

The bridge, built in 1968, is in poor structural condition overall, with cracks and other signs of deterioration in its piers and concrete abutments.

The $4 million project is scheduled for completion in fall 2017. The contractor is Martins Construction Corporation.
Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova

‘Back to the drawing board’: Should Route 1/123 interchange be reconsidered?

Route 1-Route 123 Interchange similar to Wellington-Route 28 in Manassas
bridge photo.

Since 2011 there have been talks of an interchange at Routes 1 and 123 in Woodbridge.

Prince William County resident Mark Scheufler sent this letter to Woodbridge District Supervisor, Frank Principi:

Supervisor Principi,

The initial Virginia Smart Scale Transportation rankings listed the Route 123/Route 1 interchange as the 286th highest in the state and 45th in Northern Virginia. It is not recommended for funding.



I would strongly recommend going back to the drawing board and restarting the design of the interchange with a more pedestrian friendly urban design.

Please consider implementing an interchange solution similar to the Route 28 overpass of Wellington/Norfolk Southern in Manassas.(Attached). This is quadrant interchange design. This was an ~$50 million project. This will help project scoring for future NVTA and Smart Scale funding rounds.

General Recommendations for the North Woodbridge/VRE area:

• Route 123 – 2 Lanes in each direction between Belmont Bay and Annapolis Way

• Roundabout at Express Way and Belmont Bay/Route 123

• Roundabout at Express Way and Dawson’s Creek (This would allow for a second left turn lane to Route 1 Southbound)

• Minimize Dual Left Turn Lanes

• Maximize Street Grid, Way finding Signs to divert traffic away from congestion points

• Road Diet for Horner Rd and Occoquan Road (Similar to Lawyer’s Road in Reston) – One lane in each direction, middle left turn lane and bike lanes.

• Roundabout at the intersection of Horner and Occoquan Rd. (Similar to Braddock and Pleasant Valley in Fairfax County)

• Other than Route 1, “VDOT’s objective to move motorists through the area” should not be a priority”
• Pedestrian overpass over Route 1 connecting to VRE with a mixed use parking garage

• Pocket Track South of the Woodbridge VRE Station to Turnaround VRE trains (Contingent on Atlantic Gateway Rail improvements and Long Bridge) for all-day 15-30 minute service between Woodbridge and Washington DC. (Better than any Metro Station in PWC)

• On-Demand Bus Service from Woodbridge for VRE stations from Rippon to Spotsylvania during off-peak/weekends

‘We believe this light will make the intersection safer’

MANASSAS, Va. — A new signal light outside the Prince William County Fairgrounds near Manassas will help regulate the flow of traffic on Dumfries Road and Old Dominion Drive.

The signal light sits near the new Bradley Square townhomes developed by Stanley Martin Homes and was erected by the developer. The new signal light is expected to be active within the next 45 days, according to Stanley Martin Homes spokesman Truett Young.

Bennett Elementary School sits nearby, and the new light is expected to improve traffic flow to the school. Here’s a statement from Prince William County Pubilc Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer:

“Every light affects operations either positively or negatively.  The majority of our buses enter Bennett ES from Grant Ave onto Old Dominion Dr. and won’t be affected at all.  We believe this light will make the intersection safer for the one bus that turns there with students on board and so we believe its impact will be more positive than anything else.”

In addition to installing the new signal light, Stanley Martin also paid to widen Old Dominion Drive to make it safer for school buses to use the road.

The Prince William County Fair runs for a week each year in August, and without fail, county police are called to direct traffic in and out of the fairgrounds. The new light probably won’t change that, according to this statement from fair spokeswoman Chrissy Taylor: 

“We will meet with our [Prince William County] police detail in the spring. Most likely, the light will be flashing and PWC police will control the flow of traffic as done in previous years.”

Route 123 commuter ‘lot is simply not as convenient as the others’

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — There’s always a plethora of open parking spaces at the commuter lot at the intersection of Route 123 and Interstate 95.

It sits right on the highway and might make one think that using it would be a no-brainer. But that’s not the case, according to Potomac and Rappahannock Transporation spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo: 

Each year PRTC performs a commuter lot usage count. Below are the observed counts for the I-95 and 123 Commuter Lot since 2007. (VDOT also does counts.) The greatest usage came after Potomac Mills reduced the number of spaces that allowed for commuter parking and prior to the opening of the Telegraph Road Commuter Lot.

Comparing utilization and location for this lot to others in I-95 corridor that are regularly over or very near capacity (Horner Road, Telegraph Road, Lake Ridge, 123 and Old Bridge, 234 and Route 1) you could come to the conclusion that the lot is simply not as convenient as the others.


‘I-395 HOV northbound lanes will close at 3 a.m.’ for Trump Inauguration

From Virginia State Police: 

Virginia Vehicular Restrictions:
· I-395 HOV northbound lanes will close at 3 a.m. on January 20. HOV lanes on I-395 will re-open southbound upon the conclusion of the Inaugural parade.

· HOV restrictions will be lifted on I-66 (as well as on I-395 when the lanes reopen Friday evening).

· I-395 main lanes and I-66 will be open to all traffic.

· Memorial Bridge will be open to pedestrian traffic and authorized vehicle traffic only.

· Key Bridge, Chain Bridge, Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the American Legion Bridge will be open to all traffic.

· North Washington Street at Montgomery Street (City of Alexandria) to Reagan National Airport will be open.

For street closures and restrictions within the District and Maryland, visit www.secretservice.gov/events/2017-Inaug/

To avoid congestion and travel delays, residents are encouraged to use Metro, Virginia Railway Express (VRE), and Amtrak for travel from Virginia into Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day.

Those needing to travel are encouraged to seek alternate means of transportation and develop a backup route. For real-time Virginia traffic information, visit 511virginia.org or download the 511 mobile app.

Those in the Northern Virginia region not attending inaugural activities should anticipate and plan for potential traffic congestion and delays. Those needing to travel are encouraged to also seek alternate means of transportation or alternate traffic routes. For the real-time Virginia traffic information, click on the VDOT 511 Website or download the free 511 app.


Virginia won’t consider widening I-95, blames Express Lanes

First on Potomac Local 

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — When the Occoquan District Supervisor asked state officials to consider a small fix to ease a part of the region’s Interstate 95 traffic burden, she didn’t like the answer she received.

Ruth Anderson asked Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board to consider extending a fourth travel lane on Interstate 95 from the Occoquan River south to Prince William Parkway. After extending the 4th lane from Newington in Fairfax County south to the river in 2011, the Virginia Department of Transportation created a heavy bottleneck at the lane’s terminus at the busy Route 123/I-95 interchange.

Anderson stated that “at a minimum” a fourth lane extended south to the Parkway is a sensible solution as the six-lane road, and its highway interchange is better equipped than the Route 123 junction to handle more traffic. Officials in Prince William said they’ve long asked the state to widen the road to four travel lanes on the north and southbound sides through nearly the entire stretch of I-95 in Prince William County, from Occoquan to Dumfries.

Instead, the I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes were built. Toll lanes in the center of the highway that regularly charge as much as $16 one way, and allows vehicles with three or more occupants to ride free. (more…)

‘Two patients transported, unknown condition’


A serious crash a occurred about 2:30 p.m. at the intersection of Sudley Road and Interstate 66. 

Here’s info from Prince William police: 

T-bone accident between small truck and another vehicle. Two patients transported unknown condition. One lane of Sudley NB blocked.


Yeah, the Haymarket DDI is not opening this weekend, either

From VDOT: 

UPDATE: The DDI will not open this weekend. The opening date for the DDI will be announced once weather conditions needed for final striping can be confirmed.

This is the latest in a series of weather-related delays

The weekend forecast from the National Weather Service office in Serling has multiple chances for winter weather:

Friday: Night A slight chance of rain before 1am, then a chance of rain, snow, and sleet. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30. Northeast wind 5 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Saturday: Freezing rain and sleet likely. Cloudy, with a high near 34. Northeast wind around 6 mph becoming south in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Saturday: Night A chance of freezing rain and sleet. Cloudy, with a low around 30. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Sunday: A chance of rain and snow before 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Sunday: Night A chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

‘This project will add 2 collector-distributor lanes parallel to Interstate 95’

From a VDOT press release: 

The public is invited to attend a design public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 25 to learn more about the I-95 Southbound Collector-Distributor Lanes ? Rappahannock River Crossing project, and to comment on the proposed design.

The design public hearing will be held:

Wednesday, Jan. 25

5-7 p.m.

Fredericksburg Hospitality House & Conference Center

Madison and Monroe Rooms

2801 Plank Road (Central Park)

Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Inclement weather date: Wednesday, February 1

Stop by anytime between 5-7 p.m. to review displays, proposed plans, and discuss questions with Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) staff. No formal presentation will be given at the public hearing.

Written and oral comments will be accepted at the public hearing, and afterward through Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017.

Comments may also be submitted by mailing them to Mr. Krishna Potturi, VDOT Project Manager, 87 Deacon Road, Fredericksburg, VA 22405.

Comments may be emailed to Krishna Potturi at Krishna.Potturi@VDOT.Virginia.Gov. Please reference “Rappahannock River Crossing Southbound public comment” in the subject line.

Project Background (more…)

‘They placed a solid median on Purcell which keeps you from being able to turn left into the 7-Eleven’

We learned yesterday that the signage at Route 234 and Purcell Road is being redone and that U-turns will soon be allowed. But one reader wants to know why a concrete median was installed at the intersection preventing drivers from getting into a convenience store.

Submitted by Brian Eaton, of Prince William County: 

In addition to your article about the horrible signage at the newly re-done Purcell rd and 234 intersection while you all are trying to get info about the issue is it possible to dig into and find out about why they placed a solid median on Purcell which keeps you from being able to turn left into the 7-11 from Purcell as well as preventing you from being able to turn left out of the 7-Eleven back onto Purcell?

They also have a “no U Turn” sign on 234 at the left turn lane where you turn onto Purcell so this makes it impossible to get into and out of that business for the residents like myself who live off Purcell and Kahns Rd who would normally go there. I see this as a huge issue for the business and the people in the neighborhood who would normally go there as well.

I suspected it was due to them putting an additional short run lane in each direction as to why they wanted to not allow the left turns, however there are numerous other locations in the county where you turn across 2 lanes to get into and out of businesses…a prime example would be right there on Purcell where the walgreens and food lion shopping center is there before you hit hoadly/dale blvd.

Got a traffic question, concern, or gripe? Send it to news@potomaclocal.com and put “traffic” in the email subject line.

‘The average pavement condition for our…roads is in the poor category’

MANASSAS, Va. — A new report outlines the condition of streets and roads in Manassas City. 

Of the 250 lane miles maintained by city crews, 148 of them are in poor or very poor condition and are in need of paving, according to the full report

The new report identifies streets that will be paved over the next three years. 

The city paid $23,647 for the report.  The City has $700,000 per year for paving projects, according to city spokeswoman Patty Prince.

From the city’s report: 

This summer, the City hired Fugro-Roadware, Inc. with a specially outfitted truck to drive the City’s streets and measure the pavement condition and evaluate the ride quality. The pavement condition has been used to prioritize the maintenance projects identified in the three-year Pavement Management Plan.

Based on this inspection, the current condition of the majority of the City’s roads indicates that the City should implement a pavement maintenance program that is as aggressive as the City’s finances permit. This inspection also indicates that the majority of our roads should be evaluated and monitored for maintenance.

The average pavement condition for our principal arterial roads is in the poor category, while all other roads have an average condition that is in the fair category.


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