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Traffic & Transit

More VRE trains, not track needed in Prince William

Prince William County supervisors will vote December 13 on a resolution that could freeze Virginia Railway Express (VRE) service and block future expansion.  If approved, the resolution would prioritize local funding for new road construction instead of expanding commuter rail service.

The resolution is based on the results of the Phase I study of the proposed Gainesville-Haymarket extension. The numbers caught VRE’s staff by surprise.  The projected benefits are far lower than expected.

The projected costs of building 11 miles of new track and three new stations, at Innovation, Gainesville, and Haymarket exceed half-a-billion dollars. VRE personnel have consistently claimed that Federal and state grants can somehow cover those one-time costs, but acknowledge that the annual operating costs are the key constraint.

Local jurisdictions subsidize 50% of the annual operating costs.  Each rider on a VRE train pays only half the cost when they purchase the ticket; the other half is funded by the taxpayers.

Prince William County decided in 2016 to use a portion of its Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVYTA) funding, generated by extra taxes approved by the General Assembly in 2013, to pay for its share. County staff are concerned that the VRE subsidy could grow to the point that the county would have to find another source, beyond the NVTA funding, to match new road construction grants from state and Federal sources.  

The Phase I study revealed that the cost-effective alternative for VRE is to relocate the Broad Run station at the end of the Manassas Line, moving it to Godwin Road.  It would attract over 2,500 more round-trip passengers each day. 

Expanding VRE west to Haymarket would be inconsistent with land use plans to preserve the Rural Area, and would attract only 555 more round-trip passengers/day compared to relocating Broad Run. Local operating costs for the Haymarket alternative would require an additional $9 million/year for just those extra 555 passengers, an annual subsidy of over $16,000/year per passenger.

VRE cannot stay at the current Broad Run station and add more trains. Relocating the station to Godwin Road and removing the existing passenger platform would allow VRE to expand the railyard.

Without relocation, VRE could not add the planned three additional trains in morning and evening rush hours, and park/service them at Broad Run. Without railyard expansion, VRE could never grow in the future to become a transit system offering service throughout the day, rather than just at rush hour.

The “do nothing” alternative might save money in the short run, but the solution to traffic congestion in Prince William/Manassas/Manassas Park is not just “build more roads.” Passenger rail is a key option for commuters, especially as the costs skyrocket for using I-66 after tolls are added.  

Expanding VRE to offer service during the day is also a key option for attracting businesses offering high-paying jobs to locate south of the Occoquan River. Those businesses depend upon workers living in the urban core, and those workers depend upon transit.  Economic development of Manassas Park, Manassas, and Prince William would be enhanced by Transit Oriented Development around VRE stations, but that development depends upon increasing the number of trains running throughout the day.

The Phase I study shows that it would be fiscally irresponsible to support extending VRE to Innovation, Gainesville, or Haymarket. The “do nothing with VRE, build roads instead” alternative proposed by County staff would be short-sighted as well.

On December 13, the Board of County Supervisors should support VRE adding more trains rather than more track, and endorse further study in Phase II of the option to relocate the Broad Run station. 

Hope fades for VRE extension to Gainesville, Haymarket

GAINESVILLE, Va. — It doesn’t look good for commuters in Haymarket and Gainesville hoping to trade the highway for the rails.

The cost to extend Virginia Railway Express service 11 miles west from Manassas to Gainesville and Haymarket appears to outweigh the benefits. The price tag to build the extension to Haymarket is estimated to be as much as $660 million, with the project is expected to bring in a total of only 16,460 new riders by 2040.

Factoring in the combined capital and operating costs, the project would cost an estimated $16.61 per rider who would use the line and about $40,000 per each new rider gained by 2040. It would also cost $45 million annually to run.

“We were a little surprised,” said VRE’s Christine Hoeffner, who is leading the commuter railroad’s Gainesville / Haymarket expansion study team. “We thought we would see an increase in the number of anticipated riders with an extension all the way to Haymarket.”

The projected capital costs are lowered a bit if VRE were to choose not to extend the train to Haymarket. If VRE built only one station at Innovation Park, or one or two stations in Gainesville, down from the proposed four, Capital estimates for up to three stations on the line hover steadily between $570 and $630 million.

Limitations on development in Haymarket and Gainesville set by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors when it created the Rural Crescent in 1998 and similar policies in neighboring Fauquier County will limit the number of new homes to be built. The commuter railroad would rely on growth in these areas to attract new riders.

The proposed extension also comes at the same time the Virginia Department of Transportation next year will begin construction on a project to widen Interstate 66 and add E-ZPass Express Lanes. For the first time, commuters on I-66 will be able to pay a toll to get out of traffic, or carpool in the lanes for free while riding in vehicles of three or more occupants.

Like all transportation projects, the 11-mile VRE extension comes down to money. The project would be eligible to have 50% of its construction cost paid with federal funds. But VRE leaders are pessimistic due to the project’s high cost and low return on the number of new riders.

“This is a competitive funding process, and with the extension, we don’t believe it would be successful going through the federal funding process,” said Hoeffner.

With a lack of federal funds, VRE would be ever more reliant on state and local sources of financing.

“Prince William County has the highest subsidy in VRE of any other jurisdiction,” said Supervisor Jeanine Lawson. “We cannot pay for the extension because that $6 million additional tax dollars coming out. That’s a hefty price to pay for such a short extension.”

Moving the Broad Run Station

Instead of a VRE extension in Prince William, the option of relocating the Broad Run Station at the Manassas Airport about a mile and a half east closer to the city remains popular. The relocated station would sit on the Prince William County / Manassas City line, and it would serve Innovation Park in the county and the soon-to-be-developed Gateway project on Godwin Drive in the city.

A rail yard at Broad Run would be expanded after the station is moved to make room more locomotives and railcars, dubbed “rolling stock.” VRE could then increase the number of trains that serve the Manassas line from 16t to 22 per day, clearing the way for a possible midday shuttle train service between Manassas and Alexandria. For the first time, VRE would act like a Metro train with bi-directional service during the day if the shuttle is offered.

“If you think about how transportation nodes, like metro, there at facilities where people can get on and off, they’re important. That’s why they’re expanding the silver line to Dulles and out into Loudoun [County], said Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish. “VRE, though it’s not metro, it does provide the opportunity for people to get into D.C.”

With a mix of new townhomes, condos, office, retail, spaces, and a planned 125-room hotel slated to be built at Gateway, adding a VRE station to the mix could be a catalyst for more neighborhood growth. Residential and commercial development in the Lorton area of Fairfax County was spurred, in part, by the VRE station, Hoffner adds.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Manassas Gateway project is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Prince William County Board of Supervisors will have their say on whether or not to endorse the VRE extension at a meeting at 2 p.m. the same day.

The VRE Operations Board will meet on December 16 to make their final recommendation how to proceed, with building the full extension or relocating the Broad Run station being options on the table. Hoeffner and her Gainesville / Haymarket Extension study team will continue working through 2017 to examine the alternatives selected by the VRE Operations Board members.

Nokesville’s new bridge project may not provide the additional road capacity we thought it would

NOKESVILLE, Va. — A new bridge on Aden Road may not provide additional lane capacity as promised. 

The new one-lane bridge that replaces an old one-lane truss bridge over railroad tracks in Nokesville will open on Wednesday.

From VDOT: 

A new Aden Road bridge over the Norfolk Southern Railroad in Prince William County will open to one-lane traffic on Wednesday, Dec. 7, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

The crossing has been closed since May 2015 in order to repair the historic 134-year-old wrought-iron truss bridge. VDOT originally planned to repair the truss bridge and reopen it for northbound use, however, upon removal, the bridge showed substantial structural deficiencies. The extensive repairs needed to return the truss bridge to service for vehicles would also remove it from the National Register of Historic Places.

VDOT is working with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the community to determine how the old truss bridge will be preserved and used to pay homage to its history in the future.

A detour that routed drivers down Marsteller Drive into Nokesville during construction of the new bridge is no longer in place. 

The original plan to build the new bridge, and put the old bridge back into service to carry cars at a total cost of about $5 million. The old bridge was taken to Florida for restoration work. after workers found more-than-expected damage on the old bridge. Now, officials said the old bridge could be used as a pedestrian-only crossing.  

From VDOT spokeswomen Ellen Kamilakis:

“The truss bridge will come back from Florida, but the decision has not been made as to its function. If we were to repair it to the standard that it could carry vehicles, it would no longer meet the requirements for the National Register of Historic Places. If we put it back in service as a pedestrian bridge, pedestrian facilities would need to be constructed. The discussion is in process between the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, VDOT, the community, and other stakeholders to determine the course of  action.”

Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson was under the impression that the old bridge would be put back into use for cars. 

“We have some questions for VDOT,” stated a  spokeswoman in Lawson’s office. 


VDOT will return to the old bridge span to Nokesville where it will carry cars next to the new bridge opening Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman for Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine Lawson.


Updated: I-95 Quantico crash involves Howitzer artillery cannon

QUANTICO, Va. — A portion of Interstate 95 south at Quantico was closed at 6:55 a.m. for a fuel spill clean up following a crash involving two trucks.

More from VDOT: 

All lanes of Interstate 95 southbound have closed again near Quantico Marine Corps Base in Stafford County to allow crews to remove a tractor-trailer, truck and spilled diesel fuel from an earlier crash.

All lanes of I-95 southbound are closed at mile marker 147, just south of Exit 148/Quantico. Additionally, the on-ramp to I-95 southbound from Exit 148/Quantico is closed.

I-95 southbound traffic is being detoured to Route 1 southbound at Exit 148/Quantico. Traffic can re-enter I-95 southbound from Route 1 at Exit 143/Garrisonville.  

8:43 a.m. 

The left lane of Interstate 95 southbound has re-opened at mile marker 147 in Stafford County, just south of Exit 148/Quantico.

8:55 a.m. 

The left lane of Interstate 95 southbound has re-opened at mile marker 147 in Stafford County, just south of Exit 148/Quantico.

11 a.m.

From Quantico Marine Corps Base Capt. Joshua Pena: 

The military vehicle and M777 Howitzer artillery cannon involved  in the incident this morning on I-95 were part of a Marine Corps convoy in route to Fort Pickett for training from The Basic School aboard Marine Corps Base, Quantico. The remainder of the vehicles, equipment, and all uniformed personnel assigned to the convoy have returned safely to base. There are no serious injuries reported.

Gainesville to Pentagon bus starts December 12

GAINESVILLE, Va. — The state will fund a new bus route for commuters in Gainesville. 


“A new state-funded commuter bus route linking Gainesville directly with the Pentagon will start operating on Monday, December 12, encouraging western Prince William County residents to share their commutes as plans proceed to build Express Lanes on I- 66.

The new Gainesville-Pentagon OmniRide route will be offered by the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC), which provides commuter and local bus services and encourages ridesharing in Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. All funding for the new route is being provided by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) as part of its efforts to move more people and reduce traffic congestion on I-66 Inside the Beltway.

Also starting on December 12, PRTC’s existing Manassas OmniRide commuter bus service will be split into two separate routes – one serving Washington, D.C., and the other serving the Pentagon. The split will benefit all Manassas OmniRide passengers by providing:

— More reliable on-time performance;

— Shorter travel times to and from D.C.;

— Increased rider capacity without higher operating costs; and

— A better chance of having a seat on afternoon/evening trips leaving the Pentagon because buses will be starting the route at that point.

In addition, the Manassas-Washington route will offer service to a new destination: L’Enfant Plaza.

PRTC updates its schedules twice annually to reflect current running times and changes in routing. Once the December 12 service change takes effect, PRTC will have a total of 18 commuter bus routes and seven local bus routes in the Prince William County area. Updated maps and timetables for all PRTC routes will be available in early December.’

Do you know how to use the Haymarket DDI?

HAYMARKET, Va. — State transportation officials want you to know how to use the new diverging diamond interchange opening this month. 

From VDOT:

The Virginia Department of Transportation invites local residents and drivers to attend one of two upcoming meetings to learn about the opening of northern Virginia’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) at Interstate 66 and Route 15.

Wednesday, Dec. 7 and Tuesday, Dec.13 – Bull Run Middle School cafeteria, 6308 Catharpin Road, Gainesville, VA. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m. and feature a brief presentation at 7 p.m. and an interactive DDI walk-through.

Although construction on the overall project is ongoing until summer 2017, the new DDI alignment is scheduled to open on Saturday, Dec. 17, weather permitting. The interchange will be closed the night before for final lane striping.

The DDI’s innovative bow-tie 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.

Old Bridge Road crash snarls traffic in Lake Ridge, on Route 123


At least one crash on Old Bridge Road near the intersection of Tanyard Hill Road, prior to Clipper Drive, snarled traffic in eastern Prince William County.

Police and fire and rescue crews were working the crash scene about 6:30 p.m. 

Traffic on westbound Old Bridge Road was backed up for about two miles, from the crash scene to Route 123. Traffic headed south on Route 123 toward Interstate 95 was backed up 10 miles, from Old Bridge Road, across the Route 123 bridge into Fairfax County. 

We’re working to get info from Prince William police about the crash. 

Updated: Police share names of man, child killed in Gainesville crash

GAINESVILLE, Va. — Police are working a serious crash involving a tractor trailer a large truck in the area of Interstate 66 and Route 29 in Gainesville. 

More from Prince William police spokesman Nathan Probus: 

“Serious crash involving a vehicle which became trapped underneath a truck. Two victims were trapped with serious, life threatening injuries. Road will be closed for some time.”

The crash is located on the northbound lanes of Route 29.

The exit ramp from I-66 west to north Route 29, Exit 43B, was closed due to the crash, according to initial reports.

Update 12:25 p.m. 

Two people were killed in a crash in Gainesville this morning.

The unidentified victims were killed when a heavy-duty truck crashed into their sedan.

The driver of the truck suffered was injured.

More as we have it.

Update 12:35 p.m. 

From police: 

Double Fatal Crash Investigation – On November 28 at 9:48AM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Lee Hwy and Heathcote Blvd in Gainesville (20155) to investigate a crash. The investigation revealed that the driver of a 1999 Honda Accord was traveling northbound on Lee Hwy approaching Heathcote Blvd when the vehicle struck the rear of a Kenworth delivery truck which was stopped at the intersection. The driver of the Honda Accord and a child seated in the backseat of the vehicle were pronounced dead on scene. The driver of the truck remained at the scene and was not injured. Both deceased occupants of the Honda were transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. The identities of the deceased will be released once their family has been notified. No charges are pending at this time. The investigation continues.


                The driver of the 1999 Honda Accord was identified as a 32-year-old man of Gainesville


                The child occupant of the 1999 Honda Accord was identified as a 2-year-old boy of Gainesville


                The driver of the Kenworth truck was identified as a 46-year-old man of Stafford

Updated 3:20 p.m. 

From police: 

Double Fatal Crash Investigation *VICTIMS IDENTIFIED – Investigators with the Crash Investigation Unit have positively identified the victims of today’s earlier fatal crash as Daniel Sasha VELASCO, 32, and Ronin William VELASCO, 2, both of Gainesville.

Traffic fixes for Old Bridge Road examined

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — Drivers at Old Bridge and Minnieville roads will soon get some relief ahead of the opening of a new grocery store.

The left turn lanes at the intersection that carry drivers from Old Bridge Road to Minnieville Road will be extended 100 feet toward Clipper Drive. The improvements, to be paid for by the developer of a new Lidl grocery store to be built nearby, will allow between eight and 10 more cars to queue in the lanes. That’s in addition to the queue that already exists during the peak weekday evening rush hour times.

Right now, left-turning traffic backs up and out into Old Bridge Road. The lane extension comes after county transportation crews doubled the number of left turn lanes here from one to two.

Drivers at Old Bridge Road and Prince William Parkway will also see the addition of a new sign urging drivers to take a shorter route to Interstate 95. Drivers headed east on the Parkway at Old Bridge Road will soon see a sign that states “To I-95” directing them to veer to the right to remain on the wider, faster Prince William Parkway and not to stay straight on Old Bridge Road.

These two fixes were some of 50 ideas on how to improve transportation along major commuter thoroughfare Old Bridge Road, discussed at Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson’s Old Bridge Road Think Tank that met over the course of four meetings, with nearly 50 residents in attendance.

“We have to step out and start somewhere to make a difference to fix transportation issues in the district,” said Anderson, as she thanked Think Tank participants for participating in the ongoing effort.

Other traffic improvement ideas are borne out of the meetings include:

Add “Don’t Block the Box” sign at Route 123 and Old Bridge Road 

Traffic at this intersection (better known as a mixing bowl) is marred with drivers exiting Interstate 95 and entering Route 123, mixing with drivers existing drivers on Route 123 headed toward Fairfax County, or those turning left onto Old Bridge Road.

The area is a nightmare for drivers in afternoons, and it can be hairy for commuters during morning hours, too. Drivers exiting I-95 quickly jet across five lanes of traffic, to include two signal lights, to turn left on Old Bridge Road

A “don’t block the box” sign could potentially improve traffic flow at the intersection, said Prince William County Transportation Director Rick Canizales.

But signs can’t fix everything.

“It really comes down to how much [police] enforcement you have at the intersection,” he added.

 Old Bridge Road and Oakwood Drive

The extension of a left turn lane from Old Bridge Road to Oakwood Drive is being studied. While transportation planners aren’t completely sold on the idea of extending the lane because they don’t know how much more queuing spaces would be gained, they say an extension could resolve a backup on Old Bridge Road during the evening hours.

Expanding or widening left turn lanes at Old Bridge Road and Westridge Drive

Just like the proposed project at Oakwood Drive, officials are not clear on how much more queueing space would be gained if the lanes were expanded. The project could resolve a backup that affects drivers at all times of the day.

Occoquan and Old Bridge roads

The majority of traffic complaint calls to Supervisor Anderson’s office are about the backup at a signal light at Occoquan and Old Bridge roads, said Alex Stanley, and aide to Anderson.

Drivers say they don’t appreciate the extended length of time they must wait at a signal light to turn onto Old Bridge Road. Becuase of the way the signal light is timed, drivers on the wider Old Bridge Road enjoy a longer green light at this intersection. The aim is to move more cars on Old Bridge Road, said Virginia Department of Transportation Land Use Director Richard Burke.

Transportation planners are examining what it would cost to add a “right turn on red” lane at this intersection, as well as straighten Occoquan Road, which is curved throughout its intersection with Old Bridge Road.

Utility poles located along Occoquan Road east of Old Bridge Road, as well as steep terrain, would increase the cost of the project, Canizales said.

This island on Prince William Parkway is now missing. That’s a good thing for drivers.

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A multi-phase effort to widen Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge is complete. 

The Prince William County Department of Transportation this month finished work on removing an island in the eastbound lanes of Prince William Parkway and Minnieville Road in Woodbridge. With the island gone, drivers headed toward I-95 can make use of all three lanes of the eastbound parkway, which was widened between Minniville and Old Bridge roads last fall.

From Prince William County Transportation Director Rick Canizales:

The Prince William Department of Transportation is happy to have completed the final phase of the Prince William Parkway widening from Old Bridge Road to Minnieville Road.  This final phase allows for the all three lanes of the Parkway to continue through the Minnieville intersection, allowing for a free flow movement of all three lanes through the intersection and increasing capacity by 30%.  The project eliminated a bottleneck and a through-lane that turned into a right-turn lane at Minnieville.  The intersection on the new leg now consists of two left-turn lanes, three through-lanes and a right-turn lane.

This was the third and final phase of widening Prince William Parkway in eastern Prince William County.

Last fall, county leaders celebrated a $15 million project that saw the widening of the parkway between Minnieville and Old Bridge roads. In August 2011, transportation celebrated the completion of a $10.4 million project to widen the portion of the parkway between Hoadly and Old Bridge roads. 

Prince William Parkway is six lanes between Route is now six lanes between Interstate 95 and Hoadly Road.

Crash closes portion of Route 610

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Two cars collided Tuesday night at the intersection of Route 610 and Shelton Shop Road.

The accident happened about 8 p.m. It’s unclear how the crash occurred, of if anyone was injured. 

Fire and rescue crews and Stafford sheriff’s deputies closed a portion of Route 610 west for a crash investigation and clean up.

We asked the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office for more information about this crash. We’ll post the details once we gey them.

Northern Virginia traffic signals re-timed for holiday shopping season

From VDOT: 

From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, the Virginia Department of Transportation will re-time signals to help drivers enter and exit major shopping centers around northern Virginia more quickly.

Using traffic data gathered during last year’s holiday season, VDOT developed time- and location-specific signal-timing plans at 223 intersections.

Engineers will use traffic cameras and traffic sensors to monitor conditions and make adjustments in real-time, even on holidays, to help keep traffic moving in especially congested areas such as Tysons, Virginia Gateway and Fair Oaks Mall.

Holiday signal-timing will be in effect from Nov. 24, 2016 through Jan. 1, 2017 at the following shopping centers:   


  • Tysons and Galleria Shopping Centers
  • Reston Town Center
  • Fair Lakes Shopping Center
  • Fair Oaks Mall
  • Potomac Mills Mall
  • Manassas Mall
  • Springfield Town Center
  • Cascades Town Center
  • Potomac Run Center
  • Dulles Town Center
  • Leesburg Outlets
  • Dulles 28 Centre
  • Virginia Gateway Shopping Center

Also in time for Black Friday, VDOT’s six travel information displays at Tysons Corner Mall have been refreshed with a revised, easier-to-read layout and relocated to more convenient locations throughout the mall. The screens display real-time Metrorail and bus arrivals, as well as a rotating display of bus locations, travel times, traffic cameras, road conditions and incidents near Tysons.

Crash victim flown to hospital; Route 1 backed-up for 7 miles

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — One person was flown to a hospital after a crash on Route 1.

Police closed a portion of the major thoroughfare about 4:30 p.m. after a crash was reported at 13709 Jefferson Davis Highway, in front of a Midas automotive center.

One person that had been reported trapped inside of the cars involved was rescued and was flown to a hospital. We don’t yet know the extent of the victim’s injuries.

Southbound traffic on Route 1 is snarled for seven miles, from the crash point back to Lorton Road in Fairfax County.

This crash follows another wreck in Prince William County today where one person was flown to a hospital.

We’ll post more information as we get it.

Update 5:12 p.m. 

The victim suffered injuries that do not appear to be life-threatening, stated Prince William police spokesman Nathan Probus.

1 flown to hospital after crash at Prince William Parkway, Yates Ford Road

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — One person trapped inside an overturned truck was pulled from the wreckage.

At least two vehicles collided at the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Yates Ford Road about 3 p.m. One victim pulled from the truck will be flown by helicopter to a local hospital for injuries that do not appear to be life-threatening, said Prince William police spokesman Nathan Probus.

Emergency crews closed all lanes of the parkway at Yates Ford Road about 3:30 p.m. so a helicopter could land. A second victim was being treated on the scene for unknown injuries.

A second victim was being treated on the scene for unknown injuries.

We’ll update this post with more information when we have it.

Update 3:35 p.m.

Police tell us Prince William Parkway will remain closed after the helicopter clears the area as crews investigate the crash. 

We’re told traffic on Yates Ford is congested. 

Update 3:40 p.m. 

From the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission: 

Due to the closure of Prince William Parkway at Yates Ford Rd. because of an accident the westbound Cross County Connector scheduled to arrive at Manassas Mall at 3:48 will be extremely late.  The eastbound bus scheduled to depart Manassas Mall at 3:53 will depart on time.

VDOT to install small fix for big problem at Prince William Parkway and Old Bridge Road

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — The intersection of Prince William Parkway and Old Bridge Road is flawed.

“I am surprised that this intersection is still functioning as it is,” said Prince William County Transportation Director Rick Canizales.

This busy junction that carries 45,000 cars a day is where six lanes of Prince William Parkway — a major thoroughfare linking Interstates 95 and 66 — meet at Old Bridge Road, a four-lane thoroughfare that connects drivers to their homes and businesses in Lake Ridge, as well as I-95.

A third street, Touchstone Circle, is also accessed by this intersection. Overhead signal lights control the traffic movement.

For drivers headed west on Prince William Parkway, they must stop at a signal light and queue up in one of three left-turn lanes to continue west on the parkway.

“Tripple [turn lanes] are a last desperate attempt of a [traffic] designer, and that’s what we’ve got here,” added Canizales.

Prince William County was denied state funding when it filed plans to transform this intersection, and the intersections of Prince William Parkway at Smoketown and Minnieville Roads, into grade-separated interchanges.

The improvements would have separated the lanes, improved traffic flow, and removed the center signal lights. The projects, according to state officials, didn’t provide enough bang for the buck.

So, without state funding for roadway improvements, leaders must look to smaller, more inexpensive fixes to try to convince drivers not to use congested Old Bridge Road if they don’t have to.

A new sign that will direct drivers on Prince William Parkway headed east to I-95 will tell them to stay on the parkway, and not use Old Bridge Road. That sign will state “To I-95” will be installed soon.

Rather than erecting a more expensive cantilever sign, this new marker will be mounted into the ground on the right side of the road near the Rollingwood Village office complex.

“When you look at ground mounting and placement for overhead signs, the ground mounted sign is the fastest way to erect a new sign, which is what we’re trying to do here, ” said Virginia Department of Transportation Land Use Director Richard Burke.

The new sign comes at the urging of a think tank established by Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson, which examined solutions for traffic congestion on Old Bridge Road. The formation of a residents-based transportation solutions group was a campaign promise made when Anderson sought office in 2015.

Also discussed was doubling the number of lanes for a one-lane ramp that carries drivers on Prince William Parkway who want to continue east on the parkway toward I-95 and Potomac Mills mall.

“When Prince William Parkway was opened, it was designed to take traffic off Old Bridge Road, at least that’s what we were told,” said one resident at Monday night’s transportation think tank meeting. “You gotta make it difficult to go down Old Bridge, and this intersection makes it easy.”

The option of expanding the ramp requires funding for land acquisition. The second lane for a wider ramp would need to start near the entrance of the Rollingwood Village center. The new lane would take a portion of that property, and another property on the right side of the road that sits closer to the intersection, said Canizales.

Original plans showed Old Bridge Road being widened from four lanes to six by now, said Canizales. That hasn’t happened because of funding issues.

More commercial development around the intersection, to include a new retirement home, and new fast-food restaurants continue to exacerbate the congestion problem.

Woman struck, killed on Springwoods Drive in Lake Ridge

From police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation – On November 21 at 11:32PM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Springwoods Dr and Glenridge Rd in Woodbridge (22192) to investigate a crash involving a pedestrian. The investigation revealed that the driver of a 2005 GMC Envoy was traveling northbound on Springwoods Dr approaching Glenridge Rd when the vehicle collided with a pedestrian attempting to cross Springwoods Dr. The pedestrian was transported to an area hospital where she died as a result of her injuries a short time later. The other driver remained on scene and was not injured. Speed, alcohol use and drug use do not appear factors for the driver involved in the crash. The pedestrian will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. No charges are pending at this time. The investigation continues.


                The pedestrian was identified as Tabitha Lynn HACKLEY, 35, of Woodbridge

                The driver of the 2005 GMC Envoy was identified as a 22-year-old man of Woodbridge

Motorcyclist killed after colliding with Honda Accord on Route 234

From police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation – On November 19 at 2:57PM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to Dumfries Rd and Nottingham Dr in Manassas (20112) to investigate a two vehicle crash involving a motorcycle. The investigation revealed that the operator of a 2013 Kawasaki 1000 motorcycle was traveling southbound on Dumfries Rd in the above area at an excessive speed when the motorcycle collided with the driver of a 1997 Honda Accord who was turning onto Nottingham Dr from northbound Dumfries Rd. The operator of the Kawasaki 1000 was transported to an area hospital where he died as a result of his injuries. The other driver sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors in this crash. The victim was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. No charges are pending at this time.


The operator of the 2013 Kawasaki 1000 motorcycle was identified as Walter Roy GAYLE, 39, of Woodbridge

The driver of the 1997 Honda Accord was identified as a 68-year-old man of Manassas

First roads in Prince William County tapped for scenic byway status

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. —  Eight roads in Prince William County could become scenic byways.

The county’s Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing at 2 p.m. Tuesday to discuss urging the state to issue a special scenic byway tag to the following roads:

— Waterfall Road, between the Fauquier County to just east of the intersection of Antioch Road in western Prince William County

— Antioch Road, from the intersection of Waterfall Road to just south of John Marshall Highway (Route 55)

— John Marshall Highway (Route 55), from Antioch Road to the Fauquier County line

— Aden Road, between Joplin and Nokesville roads

— Bristow Road, between Joplin and Nokesville roads

— Joplin Road, between Interstate 95 and Bristow Road

The Prince William Conservation Alliance has pushed for these designations to be given to these roads. The organization posted this on its website:

Virginia has more than 2,500 miles of Scenic Byways, including many miles in adjacent Fauquier County as well as Loudoun and Fairfax Counties. Prince William County currently has none.

Potomac Local emailed each Prince William County Supervisor asking them for a statement on this issue. So far, we’ve not heard from any elected official on this matter.

More information about state byways can be found on the Virginia Department of Transportation website.

Right turn lane added at Route 1 and 610

From VDOT: 

A second right turn lane opened this morning on Route 1 southbound in Stafford County at the intersection with Route 610 (Garrisonville Road).

This $800,000 project added a second right turn lane to reduce driver delays on Route 1 southbound approaching Garrisonville Road during the afternoon peak travel period.

This project was locally administered by Stafford County. The intersection of Route 1 and Garrisonville Road was identified as the highest volume intersection in Stafford County in September 2014.

Expect road work at Bells Hill

From VDOT: 

Motorists can anticipate brief delays on Route 631 (Bells Hill Road) in Stafford County over the next two weeks for trench widening and paving.

Bells Hill Road will be reduced to a single lane between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11 and Saturday, Nov. 12, and on Tuesday, Nov. 15 ? Thursday, Nov. 17.

On Friday and Saturday, Bells Hill Road will be slightly widened through trench widening to create a wider shoulder. Paving will be underway next Tuesday through Thursday.

VRE announces train changes for Election Day

From Virginia Railway Express: 

Tomorrow afternoon, the longest trains will operate on the earlier schedules to help accommodate the expected early getaway for election day.

Fredericksburg Line:

Fredericksburg #301 (Departs Union Station at 12:55p) – 7 cars
Fredericksburg #303 (Departs Union Station at 3:10p) – 7 cars
Fredericksburg #305 (Departs Union Station at 3:25p) – 8 cars
Fredericksburg #307 (Departs Union Station at 4:10p) – 6 cars
Fredericksburg #309 (Departs Union Station at 4:40p) – 6 cars
Fredericksburg #311 (Departs Union Station at 5:15p) – 6 cars
Fredericksburg #313 (Departs Union Station at 6:00p) – 4 cars
Fredericksburg #315 (Departs Union Station at 6:40p) – 5 cars

Manassas Line:

Manassas #325 (Departs Union Station at 1:15p) – 8 cars
Manassas #327 (Departs Union Station at 3:45p) – 7 cars
Manassas #329 (Departs Union Station at 4:25p) – 8 cars
Manassas #331 (Departs Union Station at 5:05p) – 8 cars
Manassas #333 (Departs Union Station at 5:30p) – 6 cars
Manassas #335 (Departs Union Station at 6:10p) – 6 cars
Manassas #337 (Departs Union Station at 6:50p) – 7 cars

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