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Traffic & Transit

I-95 Express Lanes Opening in December

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Drivers urged to plan now for new toll lanes

 

Your commute on Interstate 95 is going to change sooner than we thought.

The 95 Express Lanes, or HOT lanes, from Garrisonville Road in North Stafford to Edsall Road in Alexandria will open in December. That’s about a month earlier than what we were originally told, and now drivers are being told to prepare to use the new lanes where tolls will be charged 24-hours a day but also free for vehicles with three or more occupants.

“The 95 Express Lanes are on track for an early opening which means drivers should start preparing now,” said VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick in a press release. “The conversion from the existing HOV lanes to Express Lanes will mean changes in traffic patterns, rules of the road and an E-ZPass requirement.  The new Express Lanes will impact all drivers who travel on I-95 so it’s important that everyone educate themselves on how the 95 Express Lanes will work.”

When the lanes open, all drivers will need an E-Z Pass to use the all-electronic toll booths to enter the lanes. Unlike other toll roads in the state, the 95 Express Lanes and the 495 Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway from Springfield to Dulles Toll Road do not have manned toll booths.

Virginia still owns the lanes, but private firm Fluor-Transurban will operate and maintain them under a public-private partnership agreement. When work began to in summer 2012 to convert I-95’s HOV lanes to toll lanes, the lanes were extended south from Dumfries to North Stafford to create a 29-mile express lanes corridor on the highway.

A website exists for drivers who want to find out more about how to use the lanes and where to get an E-Z Pass. The lanes will feature dynamic pricing where prices will rise as more single drivers enter the lanes, and prices will fall as fewer drivers use the lanes. An E-Z Pass will lock in the variable toll rate single drivers will pay for their trip, and those rates will vary on how far drivers travel in the lanes.

Drivers with three or more occupants inside their vehicles can use an E-Z Pass Flex transponder which has a toggle switch that allows them to switch between single-driver mode and carpooler mode. Drivers in carpooling mode are not charged to use the lanes.

VDOT Erects Crane Along HOV Lanes

Commuters who use Interstate 395 can see a crane that has been erected on I-395 at the Mark Center in Alexandria. [Photo: Mike  Salmon/Virginia Megaprojects]

Crane part of Seminary Road bridge project in Alexandria 

 

At Seminary Road and I-395 near the Mark Center, this 150-foot crane will be the work horse of a multi-tiered Virginia Department of Transportation project that is underway.

This fall, the crane will be used to begin demolition of the old Seminary Road bridge, extracting beam and deck sections, and then placing new beams to rebuild the bridge.

Early in 2015, the crane will lift the beams for the Interstate 395 HOV Ramp, which will link the I-395 HOV lanes to Seminary Road. Concurrently, it will be used to place beams for the new pedestrian bridge that will span both the northbound and southbound lanes of I-395.

The crane will be dismantled by late 2015 when the improvements are completed.

Officials Move Forward with Garrisonville Road Widening

Va. 610 at I-95 in North Stafford. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – More of Garrisonville Road will soon be widened to six lanes.

The street serves as North Stafford’s main thoroughfare connecting nearly all of the neighborhoods in the area to Interstate 95, a major commuter route. The road will be widened from four to six lanes from Onville Road (where the road was widened from four to six lanes in 2008) to Shenandoah Drive, just past Eustace Road at a WaWa gas station.

Documents presented a meeting of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors detail more information about the project that is expected to cost $14 million:

Garrisonville Road improvements were designed in accordance with current [Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)] requirements. Basic components of the design…include the widening of Garrisonville Road to a six-lane, divided roadway, which meets current VDOT standards. The design will also provide turn lanes where warranted, curb and gutter, and a 5-foot sidewalk for pedestrians, along both sides of Garrisonville Road.The project also includes storm water management facilities, and historical and environmental analysis to meet current state and local requirements. It is anticipated that this project will severely impact at least two parcels, possibly requiring the relocation of one commercial business and two residences.

Those two properties will have to be acquired by the state before construction moves ahead.

“The project has the potential to impact one business near the intersection of Barrett Heights Road and one or two residences located on the south side of Garrisonville Road east of Dorothy Lane,” said Stafford County spokeswoman Shannon Howell. “The Department of Public Works, in coordination with our engineers…will coordinate the acquisition of the properties. There is a potential to assist with business relocation and the expenses of business relocation as part of the acquisition process.”

Construction on the project is slated to begin in January and is slated to take 18 months, said Howell.

“The average daily vehicle count on Route 610 is 74,000 vehicles per day — that is the segment between Travis Lane and Interstate 95, which is the busiest segment,” stated VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon in an email.

River Road in Stafford County Closing for Tree Removal

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – A section of River Road in Stafford County will be closed to traffic on Thursday, Sept. 11 and Friday, Sept. 12 for tree removal.

River Road will close between Route 3 Business, near Chatham Bridge, and the entrance to Pratt Park between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. this Thursday and Friday. The River Road entrance to Pratt Park will remain open to traffic approaching from the Route 1 area.

A contractor will be removing trees along River Road as part of a U.S. Department of the Interior project.

Next week, River Road will close again at the same location from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 15 and Tuesday, Sept. 16. 

Reversible HOV Lanes Changing Schedule Following Intense Summer Construction

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Beginning on or about Monday, September 8, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will change the reversal times of the I-95/I-395 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to their regular hours during weekdays, to accommodate rush-hour traffic flow. The I-95/395 HOV lanes will remain open to northbound traffic until 11 a.m. and will reopen to southbound traffic by no later than 1 p.m.

The HOV lanes’ reversible operations have been following a modified schedule during the last two months, to allow the lanes to open one hour earlier for southbound traffic. This schedule change was necessary to help ease congestion on I-95 South, which was intensified due to heavy summer construction work.

Major construction remains underway along Northern Virginia’s heavily-traveled I-95/395 corridor, requiring lane closures with potential traffic impacts.  The 95 Express Lanes project, which spans from Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to just north of Edsall Road on I-395 in Alexandria, is in its final months of construction, and is scheduled to open in early 2015. Additionally, work is fully ramped up on the I-95 Shoulder Improvement project in Prince William County, as well as the I-395 North Auxiliary Lane project in Alexandria.

It’s Transition Time at North Stafford Commuter Lot — Starting Monday

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Park at the Staffordboro Road commuter lot near the Stafford Marketplace shopping center? 

There are some big changes you need to know about. Here’s the latest from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

Traffic will be transitioned to a new parking section in the Staffordboro Boulevard Park & Ride lot in Stafford County beginning Monday, Sept. 8.

New parking spaces will open as the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) closes the existing Park & Ride lot for refurbishment.

This is the final stage in an 18-month construction project to add nearly 1,000 spaces to the lot. Work is anticipated to finish on time with all parking spaces open by late October 2014.  

“We encourage motorists to arrive a few minutes early on Monday, Sept. 8 to meet their carpool, vanpool or bus, or to use the new HOV carpooling pickup area,” said Michael Coffey, P.E., VDOT Assistant District Administrator for Construction, Fredericksburg District. “We appreciate the public’s patience while we finish this final phase of construction. We look forward to opening the entire lot in October with new pavement, bright lane markings, and more than 1,800 parking spaces.”

VDOT has posted a map online of the new parking section and traffic patterns that will be in place during the transition period.

What Lot Users Need to Know

  • The existing Park & Ride lot will close at 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5.
  • The existing lot will remain closed until the end of the project. VDOT is paving the lot and painting new lane markings.
  • There is no net loss of parking spaces. Before this phase of construction, 882 parking spaces were available, and 912 spaces will be available on Monday, Sept. 8.
  • HOV carpooling (also known as slugging) will move to a designated area in the new section of the lot. Signs will be posted to direct users to this pickup area.
  • Buses should collect passengers at the new bus bay area, and follow the recommended traffic patterns to enter and exit the lot.
  • The number of handicapped accessible parking spaces will double to 28 spaces.

About the Project

Construction began in May 2013 on a $12.9 million expansion of the Staffordboro Boulevard Park & Ride facility, which is maintained by VDOT.

When fully open in October, the finished lot will have 1,865 parking spaces.

While the project was under design, VDOT invited Fredericksburg area commuters to submit suggestions to promote safe and orderly traffic flow. The expanded commuter lot will include:

  • A consolidated, central location for carpool pickup and dropoff  

  • A bus pickup and dropoff bay that can accommodate 4 passenger buses

  • An extended sidewalk along Staffordboro Boulevard

  • Left and right turn lanes into a new lot entrance on Staffordboro Boulevard

  • A roundabout that connects the commuter lot to Doc Stone Road, Juggins Road and Moncure Lane, improving access management to the site. 

More Options Coming for Montclair Commuters

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Changes also planned for Dale City State Department route

MONTCLAIR, Va. – Starting on November 17, some bus riders from Montclair bound for Downtown Washington will no longer have to stop at the Pentagon.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, which operates OmniRide commuter buses from Prince William County, plans to add more trips to buses that carry riders from the Montclair community to the Pentagon and Downtown.

PRTC will change the routing for some of the buses so fewer riders will have to stop and sit at the Pentagon before arriving in Washington.

Growing ridership on the bus route and a survey conducted by PRTC in spring, where riders said they wanted the changes, prompted the new routing.

“Ridership on this route has grown steadily and, for some time, riders have been urging PRTC to disaggregate the service so downtown D.C. – bound riders are not subject to the intermediate Pentagon stop,” penned PRTC Director Alfred Harf in his monthly report to be presented at the commission’s board meeting on Thursday.

Once the change is complete, there will two Montclair bus routes rather than one. Right now, there are 13 morning and 17 evening buses that stop at the Pentagon and Downtown Washington. After the change, just three morning and four afternoon buses will serve both stops.

Also beginning Nov. 17, six morning and eight afternoon Montclair buses will serve Downtown Washington. A total of seven morning and 10 afternoon Montclair buses will serve only the Pentagon.

There will also be changes to a Dale City OmniRide bus that serves the U.S. State Department coming Nov. 18. Declining ridership due to a decrease in the federal transit benefit means the number of buses on this route will be reduced from 24 to 22 in the morning and afternoon, stated Harf. The commuter transit benefit was reduced from $240 per month to $125 per month, added Harf.

The changes are part of the transit agency’s all fall service change.

*Correction: PRTC’s fall service change will take effect Nov.17, not Nov. 18 as first reported. The incorrect date was contained in a PRTC report.

Running on Empty: Prince William’s Tysons Express Bus on Chopping Block

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – It was always a possibility that one day the bus which carries commuters from Woodbridge to Tysons Corner could stop running. Not because it ran out of gas, but money.

The Tysons OmniRide bus, which provides commuter service along the newly opened 495 Express Lanes, is poised to cease when Virginia pulls funding for service. The bus started running in 2009 at the height of construction on the 495 Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway. The idea was to take more people off the highways, and the state picked up the tab.

The Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway opened in 2012, and new Express Lanes on Intestate 95 are set to open next year. When complete, they’ll connect with the lanes on the Capital Beltway, providing vehicles with three or more occupants, buses, and motorcycles a seamless, free, predictable commute from North Stafford to Tysons Corner. Single drivers or those with only one passenger may choose to pay to use the new lanes.

Now that Express Lane construction on I-95 is nearing an end, the 100% state subsidy will also end. PRTC proposes to stop operating the commuter bus route in November 2014 because the special purpose for its implementation has been fulfilled and because ridership numbers are lower than what was expected, plateauing at about 165 riders per day.

– PRTC press release 

PRTC will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 10 inside their transit center in Woodbridge to get public comments on whether the bus should stay or go. But looking at the financial climate at PRTC, and noting that Prince William County would become the majority funder of the bus route at some $200,000 annually – the decision to end the service may already be made.

“Please remember that the Tysons route was implemented specifically to relieve congestion during the construction of the I-495 Express Lanes, and the state later decided to continue its 100% sponsorship of the route during construction of the I-95 Express Lanes. The PRTC Board of Commissioners explicitly stated in 2008 when it agreed to operate the route that it was not committing to continue the route once the state’s 100% funding ended,” stated PRTC spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo in an email.

So far, there has been no new funding source identified to pay for the service. Fares cannot do it alone.

Though launched in 2009, PRTC says the Tyson’s bus didn’t hit its stride until three years later, according to statistics provided by the transit agency:

– Peak ridership was 178 per day, but average daily ridership is 163 per day. When the route started, we projected that average daily ridership would be 240. There are 4 trips to Tysons in the mornings, and 5 trips from Tysons in the afternoons/evenings, so each bus carries an average of 18 passengers.

– Peak ridership was reached in Oct 2012, dropped off over the winter and then peaked again in Nov 2013.

Talk about ending the Tysons bus comes as construction of the 95 Express Lanes – the equivalent to the little cousin of the 495 Express Lanes project – is still underway. 

So, what if PRTC decided to keep the Tysons bus and cut another service? That’s unlikely. Rodrigo put it to PotomacLocal.com in an email: 

… PRTC is facing a possible financial crisis in FY2017 when the County’s current source of public transportation funding (the reserve built up from previous years when the 2.1% fuels tax brought in more revenue than the county spent on PRTC and VRE) is exhausted. PRTC is always looking for ways to cut expenses and spend wisely, and those efforts are especially vital now with the possibility of significant cuts to service and workforce reductions if the financial crisis isn’t resolved. We could not justify changes to other routes or the delay/cancellation of projects that would impact far more passengers in order to sustain the Tysons route. Frankly there is no remaining low-hanging fruit.

Here are the details of  the public hearing in case you want to go:

The public hearing will be held on September 10 at 7 p.m. at the PRTC Transit Center in Woodbridge. Those who cannot attend the public hearing may submit written comments until 5 p.m., September 17, 2014, via email to publichearing@OmniRide.com or by mailing the comments to PRTC, Attn: Public Hearing, 14700 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge, VA  22192. A PowerPoint presentation with information about the route and more detailed reasons for its proposed cessation are available at PRTCtransit.org.

New Video Shows How to Use 95 Express Lanes

[Photo: VDOT]

We’re getting closer to the opening of the 95 Express Lanes.

The new lanes will carry drivers from Garrisonville Road in North Stafford to Edsall Road in Alexandria, allowing vehicles with three or more occupants to ride free while single drivers will be able to pay a toll to avoid traffic congestion.

The builders of the new lanes have created a new video to help orient users of the new lanes. You can view the video by clicking here.

While the majority of the lanes existing in the current footprint of the HOV lanes, which have been improved as part of the project, new lanes have been built and stretch from the current HOV lane terminus in Dumfries to North Stafford.

The $925 million project is slated to be complete early next year. When complete, the lanes will also connect with the 495 Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway, between Springfield and Tysons Corner.

Updated: Expect Road Work, Delays on U.S. 1 in Boswell’s Corner Postponed

U.S. 1 at Telegraph Road in Stafford County [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Updated Thursday, Aug. 21

From the Virginia Department of Transportation:

Lane closures at Route 1 and Telegraph Road in Stafford County scheduled for this weekend have been postponed due to forecasted weather conditions. The work will be rescheduled for a later date.

All lanes of Route 1 and Telegraph Road will remain open this weekend. 

Original post Tuesday, Aug. 19

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Drivers who take U.S. 1 on weekends should prepare for some delays in North Stafford. 

The Virginia Department of Transportation says roadwork in Boswell’s Corner area will cause minor delays this weekend: 

Motorists may experience minor travel delays Friday evening and Saturday at the Route 1 and Telegraph Road intersection in Stafford County’s Boswells Corner area due to road construction.

Between 10 p.m. Friday, August 22 and 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, southbound Route 1 will be reduced to one travel lane for several hundred feet at the Telegraph Road intersection.

Also, Telegraph Road will be reduced to one travel lane between Route 1 and the Interstate 95 overpass. Traffic will alternate driving in the remaining open lane, directed by a flagging crew.

This project is adding turn lanes at the intersection of Route 1 and Telegraph Road. It is being administered by the Federal Highway Administration-Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division. This weekend, lane closures are needed so workers can build a right turn lane from Telegraph Road to southbound Route 1.

Construction work is expected to conclude in fall 2014. For more information, please visit the EFLHD project webpage

Boswell’s Corner is just south of the Prince William County line and the rear entrance to Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Overnight I-95 Express Lanes Closures Continue

[Photo: VDOT]

Weather permitting, at 11 p.m. Friday night, August 15, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will close the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on I-395/95 from the Washington D.C., line to the end at Dumfries Road (Route 234) until 8 a.m. Saturday, August 16, and again on Saturday night at 11 p.m. until 8 a.m., Sunday morning, August 17. The closures are needed for overnight construction on the 95 Express Lanes Project.

Schedule of HOV hours of operation:

1. Saturday morning, August 16 by 8 a.m.:

  • HOV lanes open in the southbound direction from Washington, D.C. to the exit at Turkeycock (Edsall Road) where all motorists must exit the lanes and merge onto the I-395 south general purpose lanes.

  • HOV lanes closed between Turkeycock (Edsall Road) and the Franconia-Springfield Parkway (Route 289).

  • HOV lanes open to southbound traffic south of the Franconia-Springfield Parkway (Route 289) to Dumfries Road (Route 234). Traffic can re-enter the HOV lanes just after the Franconia-Springfield Parkway (Route 289) via a left lane slip ramp. 

  • During this work, there will be no direct access to I-95 south HOV lanes via the Franconia-Springfield Parkway (Route 289).

2. Saturday afternoon, August 16, by 2 p.m.: All HOV lanes will be closed for reversal    

    operations. 

3. Saturday afternoon, August 16, no later than 4 p.m.: HOV lanes open to traffic heading

    north from Turkeycock exit (Edsall Road) to Washington, D.C.

4. Saturday night, August 16, by 11 p.m.: HOV facility will close in its entirety from Dumfries
    Road (Route 234) to Washington, D.C.

5. Sunday morning, August 17, by 8 a.m.: Entire HOV facility will open northbound.

Drivers Dealing with Flash Flooding Across Area

Flash flooding is occurring on roadways across the region.

A flash flood warning from the National Weather Service is in effect until 5:15 p.m.

Here’s the latest from the weather service:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A

* FLOOD WARNING FOR URBAN AREAS AND SMALL STREAMS IN…

  CITY OF FAIRFAX IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA

  CITY OF MANASSAS IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA

  CITY OF MANASSAS PARK IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA

  FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA

  PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA

* UNTIL 515 PM EDT

* AT 115 PM EDT…RADAR INDICATED SEVERAL ROUNDS OF MODERATE RAINFALL MOVING THROUGH THE AREA. RAINFALL OF ONE TO THREE INCHES CAN BE EXPECTED…WHICH WILL CAUSE RISES ON AREA STREAMS…WITHSOME OF THEM POTENTIALLY COMING OUT OF THEIR BANKS. SOME MINOR FLOODING OF LOW LYING AREAS CAN ALSO BE EXPECTED.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A FLOOD WARNING MEANS THAT FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR HAS BEEN REPORTED. STREAM RISES WILL BE SLOW. HOWEVER…ALL INTERESTED PARTIES SHOULD TAKE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS IMMEDIATELY.

EXCESSIVE RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE ELEVATED LEVELS ON SMALL CREEKS AND STREAMS…AND PONDING OF WATER IN URBAN AREAS… HIGHWAYS…STREETS AND UNDERPASSES AS WELL AS OTHER POOR DRAINAGE AREAS AND LOW LYING SPOTS.

 Prince William police say drivers on the following roads in the county are currently seeing flash flooding: 

East End Locations:

Old Bridge Rd/Troupe St

  • Mud covering roadway — Passable

Tanyard Hill Rd between Town of Occoquan & Old Bridge Rd

  • Water covering roadway — Passable

Neabsco Rd/Jefferson Davis Hwy

  • Water covering roadway — Passable

Old Triangle Rd/Orange St

  • High water on Old Triangle Rd — One lane not passable

West End Locations:

Wellington Rd/Vulcan Ln

  • Water covering roadway — Passable

Aden Rd/Parkgate Dr

  • Water covering roadway — One lane passable

Brentsville Rd/Bradley Forest Rd

  • Water covering roadway — Passable

If you need to report high water or impassable roadways, please call the non-emergency number at 703-792-6500.

Officials in Stafford County are seeing flooding on some streets, too:

Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is reporting road closures at Harrell Road, the intersection of Rt.1 & Kings Crest and the 100 block of Sanford Rd.

 

 

Construction of VRE Station in Spotsylvania About to Begin

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A week after Gov. Terry McAuliffe broke ground for a new Virginia Railway Express station in Woodbridge, construction of another station is about to begin in Spotsylvania.

Here’s the latest information form Virginia Railway Express: 

Spotsylvania County and the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) have begun construction on a new VRE commuter rail station in Spotsylvania.  The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) filed a Certificate of Take on July 1, 2014 which provided legal access to the property so that VRE could begin construction on the station and Spotsylvania could proceed with issuing a competitive procurement for the construction of a 1,500 space parking lot. 

The station will be located southwest of Route 17 and Crossroads Parkway.  “We’ve been waiting a long time to acquire the land and begin the station and parking lot construction” said Spotsylvania Board Member Gary Skinner, Lee Hill District Supervisor.  “We’re thankful to VDOT for its professionalism in obtaining legal rights for us to build the station and we look forward to offering commuter rail service to our citizens.”

Doug Allen, CEO of VRE, said “The Spotsylvania station and parking will be a great addition to our Fredericksburg Line and we are looking forward to opening it in 2015.  Spotsylvania will become our southern terminus for rail operations and we look forward to our system expansion and ability to provide greater mobility and reduced traffic congestion along the I-95 corridor.” 

Work is currently proceeding on the third track and station construction and should be complete by February 2015.  Spotsylvania has done utilities relocation, and construction of the parking lot and driveways will soon commence and be ready for the start of revenue service by July 2015.

A groundbreaking ceremony will take place on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at the station site.  The public is invited to attend.

The new station in Woodbridge will be located at the developing Potomac Shores neighborhood along the Potomac River. A publc-private partnership with Potomac Shores’ developer SunCal and Virginia, the new station will cost $14 million and open in 2017.

 

Bridge over I-66 at Haymarket to be Demolished

HAYMARKET, Va. – The bridge that carries traffic over Interstate 66 at Haymarket will soon be demolished, and the Virginia Department of Transportation wants you to know what their plans are for that stretch of road.

More in a press release: 

The Virginia Department of Transportation invites drivers and residents to meet with VDOT and Shirley Contracting staff about the upcoming closure of Jefferson Street/Old Carolina Road over Interstate 66 at a “pardon our dust” meeting, 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at the Haymarket Town Hall, 15000 Washington Street.

Beginning mid-September 2014, VDOT will be closing the bridge to begin demolition as part of the ongoing project to widen I-66 from Haymarket to Gainesville. The demolition work will require some nighttime operations and lane closures, and is anticipated to take six to eight weeks to complete, weather permitting. The bridge is located 0.4 miles east of the I-66/Route 15 interchange (Exit 40).

During this closure, traffic will be detoured onto Heathcote Boulevard, Catharpin Road and Washington Street.

A new bridge with traffic lanes and 10-foot pedestrian paths will be erected in place of the old bridge.

The work is part of the effort to widen I-66 by adding one HOV lane in each direction from U.S. 15 in Haymarket to U.S. 29 in Gainesville. The project is expected to cost $73.5 million and should be complete in 2016.

Stuck Truck Closes Portion of Shelton Shop Road

080714 shelton shop

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Drivers on Shelton Shop Road in North Stafford were turned around by sheriff’s authorities on Wednesday. 

The driver of a tractor trailer apparently misjudged how much space he had on the small two-lane road when he tried to turn around. 

The portion of Shelton Shop Road between Oakwood Drive and Winding Creek Road was closed to traffic about 3 p.m. Sheriff’s authorities were seen assisting the driver. 

No injuries were reported. 

Get Ready for a Detour at HOV Entrance in Springfield

Photo: Mary Davidson

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. – If your commute takes you to the Franconia-Springfield Parkway in Fairfax County, get ready for some changes to be made near the entrance to the HOV lanes entrance over the next few weeks. 

Here’s more in a press release from VDOT:

Beginning on or about Friday, August 8, VDOT is planning to close all left turns connecting the Franconia-Springfield Parkway (Route 289) and the I-95 North and South High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes for up to four weeks. Motorists should follow the signed detour and allow extra time while traveling in this area, as they could experience delays of up to five minutes during peak a.m. and p.m. rush hours. These closures are necessary for crews to safely access the construction area and minimize delays. Critical work that will occur includes:

  • Accessing the exiting median and removing the concrete barrier
  • Adding new stormwater drainage and conduit underneath the bridge
  • Widening the ramps and adding new turn lanes
  • Installing new gates, Express Lanes signage and a new traffic signal
  • Placing new pavement and lane markings

Click here for more details and a detour map.

The 95 Express Lanes are more than 80 percent complete, and on-track to be completed by the end of the year and open in early 2015. The 95 Express Lanes will use dynamic tolls to keep traffic flowing and provide a more predictable travel option on I-95/395 between Route 610 in Stafford County to just north of I-495. The 95 Express Lanes are being delivered through a public-private partnership between VDOT and Transurban-Fluor.

Metro Stations on Blue Line Open Later for Redskins Pre-Season Game

Metro's “Rush Plus” service allows riders on Blue line trains from the Franconia-Springfield station the option of boarding a train that will take them across the Yellow line bridge crossing the Potomac River.

The Washington Redskins will take on the New England Patriots on Thursday at FedEx Field in Maryland.

The pre-season game will undoubtedly draw fans from across the region, and those fans will be able to take Metro to and from the game. The public transit service says trains on the Blue line that serves the Franconia-Springfield Metro stop, will run an hour longer Thursday night.

Here’s the latest information in a press release from WMATA:

Metrorail will stay open an additional hour following the Redskins preseason game on Thursday, Aug. 7 at FedEx Field. Riders traveling during the additional hour should enter the system at Morgan Boulevard or Largo Town Center stations no later than 12:20 a.m. to ensure that they make the last Blue or Silver Line trains in the direction of Franconia-Springfield or Wiehle-Reston East, respectively. 

Station entrances at all other Metro stations will close at their normal times, but riders will be able to exit at all stations during the additional hour of service.

Trucks Banned from U.S. 1 Cut-Through Route

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Trucks have been banned on a neighborhood street in the Falmouth area of Stafford County.

Here’s the latest information from the Virginia Department of Transportation: 

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has approved a through truck restriction for two residential streets in the Falmouth area of Stafford County, Route 1040 (Spring Valley Drive) and Route 1042 (Springknoll Circle).

Through trucks will no longer be permitted to use Spring Valley Drive and Springknoll Circle to travel between Route 1 and Route 627 (Forbes Street).

Spring Valley Drive and Springknoll Circle have a posted 25 mph speed limit. Due to the narrow width of these roads, and the limited turning radius at each intersection, trucks must exercise caution at intersections. Under this restriction, only trucks with business along these routes will be permitted to travel these streets.

Signs communicating the through truck restriction will be posted on Route 1, and at the intersection of Springknoll Circle and Forbes Street. 

Under Review: Are Politics at Play When it Comes to one of the Region’s Largest Transportation Projects?

 

080414-courthouse-road

STAFFORD, Va. – Cord Sterling is no longer on Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board where he oversaw funding for many road projects in and around Fredericksburg.

But that doesn’t mean the Stafford County Supervisor no longer thinks about transportation. In fact, the Republican is fuming mad that the once fully-funded, $184.4 million project that he championed – building a new interchange at Route 630 [Courthouse Road] in the heart of Stafford County – is now short $5 million.

House Bill 2, new legislation signed into law this year, requires highway projects to be reviewed by a newly formed committee that will ultimately recommend to the overseeing Commonwealth Transportation Board [CTB] which projects should move forward to the construction phase. The $5 million has been moved into a special trust fund and could be restored by the CTB after the committee’s recommendations are made in October.

The Courthouse Road interchange project will improve a now antiquated diamond interchange and carries drivers from Interstate 95 onto 2-lane Courthouse Road and to nearby U.S. 1.

“They cut funding in order to force it through this process of which they control,” said Cord Sterling, of the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

This is one of more than 30 projects that have been placed under review since Gov. Terry McAuliffe took office in January.

A game changing project

Sterling

Sterling

A public hearing for the new interchange was held back in 2012, and the project, which has been called a game changer for Stafford County, is now in its right-of-way-acquisition phase. Transportation officials are in negotiations with property owners to take needed land for the interchange.

“It is a dramatic change is the center of the county, and it is what was needed to handle the projected traffic growth for the county,” said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kelly Hannon.

Futrell

Futrell

Compared to what the interchange looks like today, dramatic might be an understatement. The new interchange will separate the lanes of Courthouse Road at the interchange, converting it into a loop road for drivers exiting and entering I-95, as well as using nearby Austin Ridge Drive.

New commuter lots will be built on Austin Ridge Drive and Courthouse Road, joining a lot that already exists on Courthouse Road near the current interchange. And, Courthouse Road east of I-95 will be turned into a cul-de-sac, and drivers will use a new Hospital Center Boulevard as the main access road to U.S. 1 to central Stafford.

The improved interchange is expected to open up the area around Stafford’s iconic courthouse, the closest thing the community has to a walkable downtown, with the exception of Falmouth just outside Fredericksburg.

The new interchange was also designed with the 95 Express Lanes in mind. Though the current effort to extend the high occupancy / toll lanes south from Prince William County ends north of Courthouse Road at Route 610 in North Stafford, Hannon says the express lanes could one day reach Courthouse Road.

Politics at play?  

The Courthouse Road interchange sits just outside Delegate Michael Futrell’s 2nd House District. The Democrat represents voters in North Stafford and eastern Prince William County, and the interchange is not in Futrell’s district.

Cord Sterling, who says transportation infrastructure should be viewed as a network that serves all, has demanded that his Delegate in Richmond, Micheal Futrell, to do more to get the project back on track.

“Is it [the lack of funding] frustrating? Naturally it is, but I’m confident that when it goes through the review process it will come back fully funded,” said Futrell.

While he recognizes the interchange would serve everyone in Stafford, Futrell said Sterling should talk with Speaker of the House Bill Howell who oversees the district in which the interchange sits. But Howell has been a vocal opponent of expanding Medicaid in the state, something Governor McAuliffe has vowed to do since before taking office.

Sterling says that his pet project in Howell’s district has now become a political pawn.

“The cutting of these funds when looking at other projects, it looks a little suspicious given what is going on with Medicaid and then the conversation turned to [Route] 630. It is the speaker’s district, but it will also serve Futrell’s district,” said Sterling.

Emails urge support of project

In a series of emails sent to Futrell in June, Sterling urged the freshman Delegate to speak out in support of restoring full funding the interchange. He later goes on to chastise Futrell for what he says has been a lack of dialogue between the Delegate and officials in Stafford County and at the Commonwealth Transportation Board in Richmond. “I am no longer requesting your assistance. I am telling you,” penned Sterling.

“I have a very big district. I can’t be every place all the time… we do our best to be everywhere we can be and we accommodate every meeting we can,” said Futrell.

Additionally, he doesn’t see politics at work here.

“You’ve got to realize there are 30 to 50 projects that had this happen to them, so we’re talking about up to $500 million, so this wasn’t anything that was specifically targeted at the interchange. This just happened to be one of the affected projects,” said Futrell.

Sterling says he will invite Futrell to a meeting of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors in early September in hopes to speak with him. Futrell says he will speak with members of the Board to hear their concerns.

Potomac Shores VRE Station Unlike Any Other in System

121212 VRE

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – A new Virginia Railway Express station in Woodbridge will be unlike any other in the system.

Officials broke ground on a new commuter rail station to be built below a bluff on the Potomac River, along VRE’s Fredericksburg line in the developing Potomac Shores neighborhood. Construction on the $14 million station will begin next year, and it will include two walkways, stairs, and an elevator so riders can easily get to their trains.

“The benefit of this location is that we have a beautiful view, and the tracks are down there [below the bluff]. There will be a walking bridge over to a tower, and you’ll take an elevator down to a train station,” said VRE CEO Doug Allen.

A second walking bridge and elevator will take VRE passengers to a second platform on the far side of the tracks. Private developer SunCal, which is building Potomac Shores, will pay the construction cost of the new station while Virginia taxpayer will pay for needed track improvements in the area.
A new VRE station in Woodbridge will also mean new station platforms at two VRE stations in Stafford County. Here’s a portion of a press release from officials in Stafford:

Riders at the Brooke and Leeland Virginia Railway Express (VRE) stations can expect more platform capacity as well as more efficient train service in the coming years. Thanks to a public private partnership between SunCal, a developer building a VRE station in Prince William County, the Commonwealth of Virginia and CSX Transportation, Stafford County’s two VRE stations will each receive a second platform. 

The Leeland Road station in Stafford County has more cars parked at its parking lot than any of the other seven stations with VRE-maintained parking lots on the Fredericksburg line, according to statistics from the railroad. The commnuter railroad carries just under 20,000 daily riders on its trains and has a plan to double that number by 2040.

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