Traffic & Transit

VDOT conduct ‘slugging’ survey in Stafford

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is conducting a slugging survey to look at the HOV carpooling patterns at the expanded Staffordboro commuter lot just off Route 610 in North Stafford.

Slugs are those who hitch rides in vehicles with three or more occupants to ride free on the EZ-Pass Express Lanes with an EZ-Pass Flex transponder in the vehicles.

According to a VDOT release, they are concerned about congestion that’s been seen at the slugging pick-up line at the Staffordboro lot during weekday mornings.

In addition to an online survey VDOT is asking riders to fill out, there are plans to send VDOT staff out to the slug line to speak with commuters, according to a release.

The survey is being conducted for the next month, according to Kelly Hannon, a Communications Manager with VDOT.

“This is an unscientific, convenience sample, but we wanted to do as much as we could to ask the people using these features for their ideas,” said Hannon.

Potomac Local spoke with area commuters and found that the expanded Staffordboro and the extended EZ-Pass Express Lanes on Interstate 95
from Dumfries to Route 610 has been a relief for many.

“It’s a little easier,” said Beulah Williams, Stafford. “I feel like I get about 20 minutes more at home every day.”

The majority of the construction of the lanes wrapped in December when the lanes opened to traffic. Every driver on the lanes needs an EZ-Pass to use them, and vehicles with two or fewer occupants are charged tolls to use the lanes. Keep Reading…

Gas leak in Manassas, Sudley Road closed

Update

The closed section of Sudley Road has now been reopened, according to a Prince William police release.

Original post

Due to a gas leak in Manassas, Sudley Road will be closed in both directions, from Bulloch Drive to Route 29, according to a Prince William police release.

Additionally, there is restricted access for drivers attempting to access Sudley Road from I-66.

The area of closure for the gas leak extends near the Manassas Northern Virginia Community College Campus and the Manassas Battlefield Visitor Center. 

There is currently no estimated time for repairs to be completed at this time.

Potomac Local will keep you up to date on the latest information about this gas leak.

More from a Prince William police release:

*TRAFFIC ALERT: Gas Leak | Manassas;

Sudley Rd will be closed in both directions between Bulloch Dr and Lee Hwy (RT.29) near the NVCC Campus and Manassas Battlefield Visitor Center. Access to Sudley Rd from I-66 is restricted. Unknown ETA for repairs.Use caution and follow police direction.

Express Lane drivers confused by E-Z Pass, survey says

The 95 Express Lanes opened three months ago, and while the lanes have seen support in the area, there is still some confusion about using the lanes and the E-Z Pass tolling devices.

A February survey, conducted by Transurban, including 1,266 area drivers, showed that many drivers knew how to enter and exit the Express Lanes.

But the survey also showed there are some major sources of confusion relating to keeping funds on their E-Z Pass, where to mount the device, and the requirement that their license plate be linked to their E-Z Pass account.

“We are pleased that drivers are experiencing the benefits of the 95 Express Lanes, such as faster travel, less congestion and more reliable travel times. Using the Express Lanes is easy but some drivers still have questions about how the Lanes work and how to properly use E-ZPass,” said Nic Barr, Vice President of Operations for Transurban, in a release.

Those that have never driven on the 95 Express Lanes, or those that are confused about their E-Z Passes, can seek out tools and information online, said Transurban.

In a release, Transurban stated that drivers can go to the Express Lanes website and use their trip planning tool.

Additionally, they can learn about properly using the E-Z Pass device, as well as sign up for text or email alerts about the toll prices. The toll prices on the Express Lanes change every 15 minutes, according to real-time traffic.

And if drivers make a mistake with their E-Z Pass, Transurban offers a forgiveness program and customer service assistance, according to Transurban spokesperson Mike McGurk.

“If you take the 95 Express Lanes without an EZ-Pass, what you can do is you can either call our customer service center or go online and if it’s within five days of your trip, you can actually search for your trip and settle the cost of your tolls…Look, if it’s your first time getting an invoice – maybe you didn’t know you needed an EZ-Pass, maybe you didn’t have funding on your EZ-Pass – if you call us after getting that invoice, and it’s your first time, we’ll waive all of the fees and just take payment of your toll,” McGurk commented.

VDOT says this bridge over I-95 in Stafford County is still safe to use

The bridge carrying traffic on American Legion Road in Stafford County shows signs of deterioration.
A view of the bridge looking east.
Rebar is exposed on a bridge pylon.
The underbelly of the bridge.
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Traffic headed south on I-95 passing underneath the bridge.
Rebar is exposed on the bridge.
Traffic headed south on Interstate 95.

Bridge showing signs of deterioration

Traveling on Interstate 95 in Stafford County, it’s easy to spot the deficiencies on the bridge that carries traffic on American Legion Road.

Reinforced steel bars or rebar, is exposed on two one of the concrete pylons that support the two-lane bridge. There are cracks along other portions of the concrete.

The bridge remains open, and hundreds of thousands of cars continue to pass underneath the bridge when traveling the east coast, from Maine to Florida.

“This bridge is safe for travel. VDOT would not hesitate to make emergency repairs or close a bridge if there was any concern for motorist safety,” said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kelly Hannon. “Visible rebar is a sign that concrete patching is required. There is no plan to change the bridge’s weight posting, which sets the maximum weight for vehicles crossing the bridge. Right now, vehicles meeting all legal load limits in Virginia are allowed to cross the bridge.”

The exposed rebar is a sign of deterioration, probably due to moisture, said Hannon. Moisture can cause the steel to rebar to rust and then expand, causing the concrete to deteriorate from the inside out.

The bridge was built in 1964, and exposed rebar is more common among these types of bridges, said Hannon.

The bridge, like most in Virginia, is inspected every two years. The exposed rebar was noted in the bridge’s last inspection report in November 2013. 

The bridge is scheduled to be inspected again this year. In the meantime, VDOT says it’ll replace the damaged concrete.

“The rebar will be cleaned and repaired, if necessary. Concrete will be replaced at the location where it has deteriorated. We have an upcoming maintenance contract for bridges in VDOT’s 14-county Fredericksburg District to include routine repairs to bridges. A date has not been scheduled,” said Hannon.

Virginia has more than 20,000 bridges to inspect statewide.

Express Lanes used for leisure travel more than commuting, data shows

A study conducted in February of 1,266 area drivers has provided information on the ways that the 95 Express Lanes are changing the commute and general travel for Virginia drivers.

The 95 Express Lanes opened at the end of December last year. Transurban, the company that currently operates the Express Lanes, conducted the study.

While the Express Lanes have been able to alleviate some of the area’s commuter traffic, the survey found that a majority of drivers using the lanes (41%), were using them for visiting family and friends.

According to the data, only 34% to 36% of drivers are using the lanes for commuting to and from work.

In order to access the Express Lanes, drivers need to have an EZ-Pass device mounted in their car, and money loaded on it in order to use the lanes. The fees for using the toll lanes changes about every 15 minutes, using real-time traffic data to calculate the toll charge, said Mike McGurk, a spokesperson from Transurban.

According to Transurban’s online survey, more females (53%) used the lanes than their male counterparts (47%), and that the average age for Express Lane drivers was 40 years old.

A large percentage – 70% – of the commuters that used the 95 Express Lanes also merged on to use the 495 Express Lanes, the first of the Express Lane projects in Northern Virginia.

Another interesting finding was that a majority of area residents – whether they used the Express Lanes or not – thought that they would benefit the area and traffic flow.

And this has been fairly accurate, as the data collected from Express Lane users showed that they’re seeing half the congestion they would see on the general-purpose lanes and that they’re saving about 20 minutes per average on their trip.

Transurban intends to continue to collect data on the new 95 Express Lanes, to help better understand how it is changing the roadways in Northern Virginia.

Historic bridge to undergo $5 million in repairs, expansion in Nokesville

The Aden Road Bridge, located just east of Route 28 in Nokesville, will undergo extensive repairs and expansion as part of a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) improvement project this summer.

The project will cost $5.77 million dollars, according to VDOT.

Built in 1882, the bridge was owned by the Keystone Bridge Company, and was later purchased by the Norfolk Southern Railroad, who transferred the ownership rights to VDOT last year.

The bridge is currently on the National Historic Registry. In order to be placed on the registry, a structure must be more than 50 years old and bear historical significance.

And with a structure that old, there is bound to be deterioration of the structure, which is what prompted the project, according to Thomas Blaser, the Prince William County Director of Transportation.

“The Aden Road Bridge is an old railroad bridge owned by the Norfolk Southern. It’s one lane, so [oncoming] traffic has to wait for the other lane to be clear, and it’s been in disrepair on and off for the last five years,” said Blaser.

Repairs have been done to the Aden Road Bridge in the past, but not an overhaul of this scale. According to Claudia Llana, Preliminary Engineering Program Manager of Prince William for VDOT, it was time to step in and make major repairs following an inspection of the bridge last year.

“…it is presently classified as structurally deficient. VDOT bridge crews inspected the bridge on Thursday, March 27 and posted new weight limit signs the following day, reducing the weight limit on the historic bridge from 6 tons to 4 tons due to further corrosion of the structurally deficient truss bridge,” Llana said.

Blaser said that the current plans are to keep the existing design of the bridge, but that another adjacent lane will be added.

“[VDOT wants to] once and for all, repair the existing bridge, and keep the existing historical trusses like they are, and then build a parallel bridge right next to it. It will look to the user like you have one bridge, but it will be two different structures, side by side,” said Blaser.

Additionally, a new intersection will be placed at Marsteller Drive just past the bridge, according to Llana.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors has partnered with VDOT to support the project, and they have planned for a closure of the bridge for the entire nine months of planned construction. A detour has been planned for any residents that use the bridge.

Aden Road is considered a low volume roadway.

As a historical fixture, VDOT wanted to ensure that the integrity of the bridge’s design would be maintained throughout the project.

“The VDOT project recognizes the historical significance of the truss bridge and nearby Civil War battlefield sites, and the value to the community of this landmark. The project will rehabilitate the wrought iron truss bridge, reinstall it along the same alignment, and place a historical marker and pull-off area to enhance public appreciation of the bridge and site,” said Llana.

Construction is set for completion in the spring of 2016.

Free rides offered on St. Patrick’s Day

Several area organizations, including the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), have announced free ride offers for those planning to party on St. Patrick’s Day.

WRAP has launched a SoberRide program for St. Patrick’s Day this year, which will allow area residents to access a free and safe ride home from 4 p.m. on Tuesday, to 4 a.m. on Wednesday.

The SoberRide program has been active since 1993, and WRAP has been able to provide more than 62,000 rides home for residents.

In order to utilize the SoberRide program, and get the free cab ride home, a person must call 800-200-8294 or AT&T customers can dial ‘#WRAP’. Riders must also be older than 21 years old to use the service.

The program will cover the cost of up to a $30 cab fare, and riders are responsible for any cost for transportation, after the $30.

Participating Taxi Companies:

Alexandria Yellow Cab (Alexandria)

Barwood, Inc. (Montgomery County)

Fairfax Yellow Cab (Fairfax County)

Loudoun Yellow Cab (Eastern Loudoun County)

Northern Virginia Checker (Prince William County)

Red Top Cab Company (Arlington County)

Silver Cab of Prince George’s County (Prince George’s County)

Yellow Cab of District of Columbia (District of Columbia)

Yellow Cab of Prince William County (Prince William County)

In addition to WRAP’s SoberRide program, free shuttle services are being provided in Occoquan.

The Occoquan Transportation Company is offering free shuttle service home from 10 p.m. on Tuesday, to 1 a.m. on Wednesday for Prince William residents within a 5-mile radius of Occoquan.

To utilize the free shuttle service in Occoquan on St. Patrick’s Day, residents need to call 571-276-8695.

Tolls on I-66 inside Capital Beltway would fund needed transit projects

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Virginia will move ahead with plans to put high occupancy toll lanes on Interstate 66.

But unlike new lanes that opened in December on I-95 between Stafford and Esdall Road in Alexandria, the lanes on I-66 will only be tolled during peak periods.

The idea is to move more people, not more cars. Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane announced the new initiative this week in Fairfax.

“Drivers traveling on I-66 inside the Beltway face serious delays in both directions ranging from 2 to 5 miles each day,” said Layne in a press release. “Bus service and other transit options face connectivity challenges and are greatly impacted by this congestion and unreliability. Improving these conditions is going to take a transformation of the entire I-66 corridor, and it’s going to take more than one solution. Governor McAuliffe is committed to implementing the right solutions to improve this vital transportation corridor.”

Lane proposed tolls on the stretch of I-66 inside the Capital Beltway, from I-495 to Route 29 in Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood. Tolling would be imposed on both sides of the highway and work like this:

Vehicles with three or more people would travel the lanes for free during peak periods while other drivers would pay a toll to use the lanes. The lanes would remain free to all traffic during off-peak periods.

  • Vehicles with three or more people would travel the lanes for free during peak periods while other drivers would pay a toll to use the lanes.
  • The lanes would remain free to all traffic during off-peak periods.

Drivers on I-66 headed toward Washington in the mornings regularly hit a bottleneck at the Captial Beltway, when I-66 east drops from four lanes to two lanes. Other I-66 improvements outside the Capital Beltway, from I-95 to Haymarket are also under consideration. Keep Reading…

Four VDOT projects to improve congestion for Prince William residents

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There are currently four projects being worked on by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) that will help the flow of traffic and improve congestion in the western end of Prince William.

The projects – the Linton Hall Road Interchange, I-66 Widening project, Interstate 66/Route 15 Interchange, and Transform 66 project were all discussed at a recent town hall meeting in Haymarket.

The Linton Hall Road Interchange project began back in 2011 and is projected to conclude this summer. It’s budgeted for $230 million, according to the VDOT website. It includes four new bridges, a traffic signal removal, a concrete sidewalk, shared-use path, ten retaining walls, and new roadway lighting.

The Interstate 66/Route 15 Interchange project’s design process began back in 2014 and is set to cost $59 million, according to the VDOT website. Construction on the project began this spring and will be completed in 2017. The interchange improvements include ramp improvements, two longer bridges with crossover intersections, wider intersections at Heathcote Boulevard and Route 55, as well as a shared use path, according to the VDOT website.

For the I-66 Widening Project, there is work being done from Route 15 in Haymarket to Route 29 in Gainesville, which began in 2014. The project, according to the VDOT website, is budgeted at $73.5 million and will add one HOV lane and one regular in each direction of the road on that stretch.

The Transform 66 project will add two Express Lanes to the I-66 corridor, with a tolling system similar to the 495 and 95 Expressway, according to Director of Megaprojects, Susan Shaw. Keep Reading…

OmniRide funding crisis not on Prince William officials’ radar screens

PRTC training supervisor Delwyn Harvey, on left, goes over a safety check for one of the buses with prospective operators. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

This week,two public hearings to announce the 2016 budget that included an increase in OmniRide and OmniLink fares, as well as the elimination of OmniRide’s Route One bus. 

Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission Executive Director Alfred Harf said all of the changes were necessary, including the elimination of the Route 1 bus.  

“Its ridership has always been very low,” Harf said. 

The trip carries an average of 15 people in the morning and six in the afternoon. Harf added that the route had survived for as long as it had because the nature of the route allowed for more federal funds. 

Recent changes in funding meant that the route had to be evaluated on its own merits.  In addition to it being the least productive route, there are also other options available, including the South Route 1 bus. 

Riders of OmniLink and OmniRide using SmarTrip will see an almost 8% increase in fares, while MetroDirect will see a 6.90% increase.  Reduced fares have similar hikes in prices, with OmniLink jumping 7.69%, OmniRide 7.79%, and MetroDirect 5.56%.  Cash fares hold similar spikes in price.  

Most citizens at the public heari’sngs had more questions rather than concerns. 

“It’s been very muted,” Harf said about reactions to the fare jumps.  “Everyone’s been accepting of the fact that everything on the table for the fiscal year of 2016 was well reasoned.” 

Concerned citizen Walter Carter said, “I don’t stand in opposition to what is being done, I’m a long standing supporter of the transportation system in this city but I’m trying to get a handle on this thing.”
Keep Reading…

Facing funding cliff, PRTC sets public hearings on bus fare increases, route elimination

Dozens of OmniRide busses are lined up ready to go out on the afternoon runs at PRTC in Woodbridge.

Bus riders could soon pay more on OmniRide and OmniLink buses, and an OmniRide route faces elimination.

The agency that operates the buses, the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, will hold two public hearing this week on its “austere” $68.2 million fiscal year 2016 budget. The transit agency states there are “major funding uncertainties” in the coming years, especially in 2017, such as 10% decline in state funding and flat federal funds.

Under the plan, SmartTrip users on OmniRide commuter buses who pay $5.75 for a one-way fare will see a nearly 8% increase to $6.20. A reduced fare would increase to $4.15.

Those who pay with cash on OmniRide would pay $8.30 for a one-way trip, up from $7.70.

OmniLink customers would see a 10 cent jump in the cost of a one-way fare to $1.40, and reduced fares would increase 5 cents to $.70 per fare.

Those who ride Metro Direct buses from Prince William County would see one-way SmartTrip fares increase to $3.10, up from $2.90, and cash users would pay $3.85, up from $3.60.

If fares escalate, it will mark the first increase since 2013, according to agency spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo. PRTC plans for fare increases every two years, so this one isn’t tied to the austere budget.

Route 1 bus elimination

A proposal to eliminate the Route 1 OmniRide bus is, however. The bus is “the least productive OmniRide route” with an average daily ridership of 21.5 trips. The bus has carried as few as 15 people on a morning trip as few as six on an afternoon trip.

If Route 1 service ends, riders could choose to use the South Route 1 bus or buses that serve a park and ride lot at Route 123 near Occoquan.

Prince William County is the largest jurisdictional funding source of PRTC and is slated to contribute $15.7 million in funds next year. The county uses a 2.1% motors fuels tax collected at the gas pump when drivers fill up their tanks to fund the transit service.

Gas tax funds running out

That fund is shrinking, in part, due to lower fuel prices. The county has also paid more into PRTC than what the motor fuels tax collected. Until 2008, the county had provided additional funding from the county’s general fund to supplement the motors fuels tax funding. The supplemental funding created a reserve fund that was tapped to cover the shortfall, according to PRTC documents.

PRTC officials warn that if a supplement is not reinstated, PRTC riders face major service cuts in 2017 when the motor fuels tax fund is expected to be depleted creating a $7 million shortfall. Those cuts have yet to be outlined.

The first public hearing will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at PRTC headquarters in Woodbridge 14700 Potomac Mills Road. A second will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at Manassas City Hall, at 9027 Center Street in Manassas.

Tractor trailer crash snarls I-95 in Stafford

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A tractor trailer carrying a load of cherry tomatoes crashed about 5 a.m. Saturday.

Emergency crews were called to the crash scene on Interstate 95 north, just north of Garrisonville Road. The truck slammed into a crash attenuator, filled with hardened foam, just prior to a series of concrete barriers on the right shoulder.

The trailer ripped in two. The back end remained at the crash attenuator, and the rest of the truck continued north for about 50 yards before coming to rest. The truck came to rest behind the Aquia Pines campground in North Stafford.

No one was injured in the crash. A man who identified himself as the driver stood outside the crash scene talking with Virginia State Police, the agency that was on the scene investigating the crash.

About 75 gallons of fuel spilled from one of the truck’s tanks. Highway crews used sand to absorb the fuel.

At 8 a.m., traffic was getting by the crash in the left lane.

Several boxes of cherry tomatoes speckled the snow-covered roadside. The truck is owned and operated by Leroy Butler, of Jacksonville, N.C.

Drivers on I-95 north sat in delays for about a mile south of the crash scene, to about Courthouse Road.

Manassas man dies in crash in Henrico County

A 36-year old man from Manassas, identified as Juan Orellana, died yesterday afternoon in a car crash in Henrico County.

The 2006 Ford van Orellana was driving ran off the road and hit a tree on I-295 at the 46-mile marker, according to a release from Virginia State Police.

According to the release, Virginia State Police Trooper M. Tudor investigated the crash.

After the crash, Orellana was taken to the MCV Hospital at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he later died of injuries he received during the crash.

There were three passengers aside from Orellana in the vehicle that were also transported to MCV Hospital, but all sustained non-life threatening injuries.

None of the passengers, including Orellana, were wearing seatbelts. Weather and speed also seemed to play a role in the crash, according to the release.

Dudenhefer speaks out against the 4% VRE Fare Hike

The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) held a public hearing this week in Stafford to talk about a potential 4% increase in fare prices.

There were four attendees at the meeting to ask questions and express their opinions about the fare increase. 

The VRE released the list of submitted questions and statements from the meeting to Potomac Local, but answers to these questions will not be available until later, for VRE’s overall record.

One attendee that spoke out against the fare increases was former delegate Mark Dudenhefer. 

“The proposed fare hikes are expected to cost commuters more than $900,000. As the folks at the VRE work hard to keep cost down, and some factors out of their control like new regulations from our bloated federal government has caused a budget gap. If the state can approve over $700 million for construction of a new trolley car line in Arlington, they should cover this small amount,” said Dudehefer in a release. 

According to a release, Dudenhefer proposed three alternative ways to fund the increases in VRE’s costs, without increasing the fares for residents. 

He proposed finding funding in current allocations of transportation funds, a budget amendment to provide more funding to the VRE, and working with the Transportation Partnership Opportunity Fund to find more resources.

Dudenhefer is running this year for the delegate seat in the 2nd district.

Here are the questions and comments from the meeting:

Questions

Why does VRE subsidize the Step-Up ticket by $5?

Why is there a new Fredericksburg Line train?

Will the new train operate in the same window as existing trains?

Have the Class I railroads been cooperative in scheduling of the trains?

Will the increase help you speed up service or help you break even?

Are your fuel costs down?

Are you programming increases over the next few years?

Have you looked at peer commuter rail agencies and how they get dedicated funding for their operations? 

 

Comments

An extra $100 per year is a lot for me.  The commuter benefit helps but a four percent increase in fares is substantial to me.  I don’t get a four percent increase in my cost of living.

VRE is a fine service.  I would say perhaps you should not improve it any more.  I can’t even get a Free Ride Certificate any more since you are on-time so much.

Mark Dudenhefer of Stafford County objected to the fare increase.  He stated many folks are not subsidized and this is a hard hit to many people.  Non-government employees have taken pay cuts to keep their jobs.  He is upset over the reduction in state assistance to VRE while the state would provide $800 million for trolley service in Arlington.

You should not plan automatic increases when the economy is rocky.

I am opposed to the fare increase as it is a burden to passengers.  VRE needs a dedicated funding source otherwise we’ll be back here in two years.

PRTC service suspended, portion of Dale Boulevard closed

Poor weather conditions led to the closure of a portion of Dale Boulevard, between Gideon Drive and Birchdale Avenue on Thursday afternoon.

Prince William police warned drivers who were on the on the roads or thinking of venturing out into the winter mess to think twice.

The late winter storm also prompted the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission to suspend all services for the remainder of the day. The commission operates OmniLink local buses in Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park, as well as OmniRide commuter buses.

Here’s a portion of the message PRTC sent to riders:

Based on the latest National Weather Service report and road conditions, ALL PRTC services are SUSPENDED for the remainder of today, Thursday, March 5.  The LAST Prince William Metro Direct and Manassas Metro Direct buses will depart the Metro Stations at 3PM.

For service on FRIDAY, MARCH 6, you can expect buses to operate regular service unless a new ESP message is sent out.

Emergency crews in Stafford County were also working accidents today:

More than four inches of snow has fallen in portions of Prince William County between noon and 2 p.m., according to the National Weather service.’

Here are some preliminary snow totals from the National Weather Service: 

...PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY...
   3 NNW WOOLSEY          4.1  1245 PM  3/05  TRAINED SPOTTER         
   GAINESVILLE            4.0  1243 PM  3/05  PUBLIC                  
   1 ENE DUMFRIES         2.0   150 PM  3/05  TRAINED SPOTTER     

...STAFFORD COUNTY...
   1 WSW SEALSTON         0.8   110 PM  3/05  COCORAHS         

A winter storm warning remains in effect until 9 p.m. Four to eight inches of snow is expected to fall from this storm.

The heaviest snow is expected to fall before 4 p.m. Cold daytime temperatures follow the snow on Friday as the mercury is not slated to rise above 30 degrees. Saturday is a bit warmer with partly sunny skies and high temperatures in the low 4os.

 

Closings and delays for March 5, 2015

Check back for the latest in closings and delays from Potomac Local.

Need to be added to the list? Let us know if you’re organization is closed or delayed by sending us a Tweet. 

4 to 8 inches expected, snow heaviest Thursday morning

11:15 a.m.

Here’s a weather forecast from the National Weather Service for projected accumulation in the next few hours.

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11:08 a.m.

The snow is coming down hard in the Manassas area right now. Video submitted by one of our reporters, Amber Champ. 

 

10:53 a.m.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is ready to clear roads as the winter storm continues to move across the area this afternoon. They have advised against non-essential travel on roads today.

More from a VDOT release:

Virginia Department of Transportation crews with nearly 900 pieces of available equipment are ready to treat and clear roads this afternoon as a winter storm moves across the 14-county Fredericksburg District. 

Road conditions are currently clear in most of the Fredericksburg area, with ice beginning to appear on primary roads in Stafford County, which is experiencing sleet and freezing rain.

Road conditions are clear and wet in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.

Conditions are expected to change quickly as rain changes to sleet, freezing rain and snow this afternoon, and driving could quickly become hazardous.

 Before starting a trip, travelers should check real-time road conditions at 511Virginia.org, by calling 511, or downloading VDOT’s free mobile 511 app. While snow is falling, motorists are advised to stay off the roads and delay nonessential travel.

VDOT has tree removal contactors on standby to assist the agency with removing trees and other debris that may obstruct travel lanes. 

Temperatures are expected to fall below freezing Thursday evening into Friday morning, which could lead to icy, slippery road conditions. VDOT crews will apply salt to melt ice and snow, and sand to improve traction for motorists.

What Motorists Should Know: 

While snow is falling, VDOT crews will make repeated passes on Interstate 95, primary roads, and key secondary roads to keep travel lanes clear.

VDOT’s goal is to have all roads passable within 48 hours of a storm’s end.

Motorists are encouraged to delay any nonessential travel.

VDOT’s Customer Service Center is open 24 hours a day to answer questions and take reports of roadway hazards at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).

Shovel snow from your driveway to the right as you face the street. This will minimize the snow pushed into your driveway by plows clearing the road. Consider waiting to shovel the last several feet closest to the street until after plows have passed.

 

8:53 p.m.

The National Weather Service has released a Dense Fog Advisory, in effect until 10 p.m. tonight.

7:07 p.m.

Wondering if you have work or school tomorrow? Take a look at our closings page.

4:18 p.m.

The City of Manassas has declared a snow emergency, effective starting 8 a.m. tomorrow.

More from a city release:

On March 4, 2015, the City of Manassas is declaring a Snow Emergency effective at 8 a.m. on March 5, 2015 due to the impending snow event. This means that cars parked along designated snow emergency routes are subject to towing and fines.

Snow emergency routes in the City of Manassas are as follows:  Dumfries Road/Route 234, Hastings Drive, Godwin Drive, Liberia Avenue, Richmond Avenue, Fairview Avenue, Grant Avenue, Wellington Road, Ashton Avenue, Cockrell Road, Nokesville Road/Route 28, Center Street, Prescott Avenue, Sudley Road/Route 234, Church Street, Zebedee Street, Centreville Road/Route 28, Mathis Avenue, Portner Avenue and Euclid Avenue.

Once the snow event is over, the City will issue a termination of the snow emergency and will reopen these streets to parking.

1:41 p.m.

The Service Authority is asking residents to help keep fire hydrants free of snow during the storm, in case of incidents where fire and rescue need access.

winter warning1:30p.m.

Expect more snow – and lots of it.

The National Weather Service has issues a Winter Storm Warning, in effect from midnight to 9p.m. on Thursday.

There is a wintry mix expected, with between 4 to 8 inches of snow accumulation and additional ice accumulation.

The snow is expected to be heaviest during late Thursday morning, and continue on through Thursday afternoon.

If you’re still planning to commute into work on Thursday morning, VDOT is urging caution, and has also issued a release about difficulties traveling during the storm. 

Potomac Local will keep you updated on the latest in closings, delays and outages.

More from a National Weather Service alert:

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT

TO 9 PM EST THURSDAY… 

* PRECIPITATION TYPES…WINTRY MIX…THEN ALL SNOW…HEAVY AT

TIMES. 

* ACCUMULATIONS…SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 4 TO 8 INCHES…ALONG

WITH AROUND A TRACE OF ICE.

* TIMING…RAIN CHANGES TO WINTRY MIX AROUND MIDNIGHT THEN ALL

SNOW THURSDAY. SNOW HEAVIEST THURSDAY LATE MORNING INTO THE

AFTERNOON. 

* TEMPERATURES…IN THE UPPER 20S.

* WINDS…NORTH 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 25 MPH.

* IMPACTS…ROADS WILL BE SNOW COVERED…VISIBILITIES WILL DROP

TO AROUND A QUARTER-MILE AT TIMES…MAKING TRAVEL DANGEROUS. 

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER

CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW

ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN

EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL…KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT…

FOOD…AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. 

Keep Reading…

Flooding possible, significant snowfall expected Wednesday night

While the winter weather wasn’t as severe as predicted today, the National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook alert.

The rain is expected to continue into Wednesday, and could pose a flooding threat in some areas.

Late Wednesday night the precipitation is expected to turn into snow. There has been no exact project on the amount of snowfall expected, but the accumulation is projected to be significant.

Potomac Local will be releasing all information about weather updates, closings, delays and outages.

More from a National Weather Service alert:

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…WEDNESDAY THROUGH MONDAY 

HEAVY RAIN IS POSSIBLE WEDNESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY NIGHT WHICH COULD

COMBINE WITH SNOWMELT FOR A LOCALIZED FLOODING THREAT. 

SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS WILL BE POSSIBLE LATE WEDNESDAY

NIGHT INTO THURSDAY. THERE IS UNCERTAINTY WITH REGARD TO HOW MUCH

SLEET MAY MIX IN WITH THE SNOW. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR DETAILS.

Snow, sleet expected tomorrow morning into the evening

3:16p.m.

The Winter Weather Advisory has been called off by the National Weather Service, as the precipitation has been mostly rain.

10:48a.m.

With the impending winter weather forecasted today, VDOT has issued a release warning drivers to be careful on the roads today, as conditions could become dangerous.

More from a VDOT release:

Motorists are advised that sleet and freezing rain could affect road conditions this afternoon in the Fredericksburg area, especially in northern and western areas. 

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are ready to apply salt and sand to reduce icing, and provide additional traction for vehicle tires. Sleet and freezing rain are forecast to affect the region starting in early afternoon, followed by rain.

Rain is forecast this afternoon in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.

Travelers are encouraged to monitor weather forecasts and road conditions on 511Virginia before starting a trip this afternoon. 

Motorists are encouraged to:

Slow down and allow extra travel time to reach your destination.

Be aware of potentially icy areas such as bridges, ramps, hills, curves and overpasses. 

Keep a safe following distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are applying sand, salt, and treatment chemicals to the road.

Use extra caution on roads carrying less traffic, such as subdivision streets.

12a.m.

And just when you thought that the snow was over – it’s come back again. 

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory earlier this evening, in effect tomorrow morning at 9a.m. until 10p.m.

Snow and sleet accumulation is expected to be up to 1 inch, and there is some anticipated ice accumulation as well.

As always, Potomac Local will keep you up to date on the latest in weather, closings, delays and outages.

More from a National Weather Service alert:

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM TO 10 PM
EST TUESDAY...

* LOCATIONS...THE BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREAS
  AND NORTH CENTRAL MARYLAND.

* HAZARD TYPES...SNOW...SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN.

* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATION OF UP TO 1
  INCH...ALONG WITH UP TO ONE TENTH OF AN INCH OF ICE.

* TIMING...TUESDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE TUESDAY EVENING.

* IMPACTS...ROADS WILL BE SNOW AND ICE COVERED. TRAVELING WILL BE
  DANGEROUS.

* WINDS...SOUTHEAST 5 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 25 MPH.

* TEMPERATURES...IN THE UPPER 20S.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW...SLEET...OR
FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR
SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES...AND USE CAUTION WHILE
DRIVING.

Closings and delays Monday, March 2, 2015

Public schools

Colleges and universities 

Military

Local government

Closings and delays Sunday, Mar. 1, 2015

Potomac Local will keep you up to date on the latest in closings and delays.

 

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