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Nightly closures continue in Haymarket for I-66 work

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From VDOT: 

Drivers can expect nightly lane closures on I-66 this week at Route 15 in Haymarket, weather permitting, for crews to remove beams from the old Route 15 overpass.

On eastbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 8 p.m. each night tonight, July 5 through Saturday, July 9. Beginning around 10 p.m., all eastbound traffic will be detoured onto the Route 15 exit/entrance ramps (at Exit 40) back to I-66. All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m.

On westbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 9 p.m. each night tonight, July 5 through Saturday, July 9. Beginning around 10 p.m., all westbound traffic will be detoured onto the Route 15 exit/entrance ramps (at Exit 40) back to I-66. All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m.

Police will be on site to direct traffic. Drivers should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

This project includes building a new diverging-diamond interchange (DDI) at I-66 and Route 15 to relieve congestion, enhance safety, operations and capacity, and accommodate forecasted traffic demand in the area. Diverging-diamond interchanges shift vehicles to the opposite side of the road and eliminate left turns that cross into oncoming traffic, improving safety. Work will be complete in fall 2017. Visit the project webpage for more details.

News
State wins grant to extend E-ZPass Express Lanes to Fredericksburg

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is celebrating today, announcing the state won a $165 million federal FASTLANE grant to improve transportation along Interstate 95 and 395. 

The 95 E-ZPass Express Lanes will be extended from North Stafford to Fredericksburg as part of the project. 

Here’s more from McAulliffe’s press release

The $165 million FASTLANE grant will leverage $565 million in private investments and $710 million in other transportation funds to:

Build 14 miles of new rail track to improve reliability and capacity for freight, commuter, and passenger rail service, including phase I of the project to unlock rail congestion at Long Bridge

Extend 95 Express Lanes for seven miles north to the Potomac River and improve access to the Pentagon

Extend the 95 Express Lanes 10 miles south to Fredericksburg to alleviate backups at the current southern terminus

Construct a new southbound bridge on I-95 across the Rappahannock River

Provide dedicated on-going reinvestment in expanded bus service in the corridor to ensure that all populations have access to jobs, education and health care services

Add new commuter parking, technology upgrades and truck parking along the corridor

Build pavement for autonomous vehicle enhancement; this will provide the infrastructure to test and deploy driverless cars

Acquire the S-line, an abandoned rail corridor that runs from North Carolina to the Richmond area, from CSX to provide public ownership of a corridor key for future Southeast High Speed Rail.

States Delegate Mark Dudenhefer: 

“I am appreciative for the collaborative effort to secure this funding and that we will see the process moving forward on transportation improvements. Now that we have secured this funding we need to roll up our sleeves and move dirt on the projects so our citizens see the results and benefits.”

Also from State Senator Scott Surovell:

News
Rescue crews called to crash on Dale Boulevard

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Police, fire and rescue crews were called about 11 p.m. Monday, July 4 to a crash on Dale Boulevard, we’re told. 

The crash occurred on the four-lane road between Glendale Drive and Greenwood Road.

Initial reports indicated at least one person was trapped inside one of the vehicles. That turned out to be false, were told.

 



More on this crash as we have it.

News
Airbag deploys in Balls Ford Road crash

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An airbag deployed inside a Saturn SUV about 10:30 a.m.

The Saturn collided with a work truck at the intersection of Balls Ford and Gary Roads near Manassas. No one was injured.

Police called to the scene said one driver failed to stop at a posted stop sign. We don’t yet know who is charged in the crash.

Shattered glass strewn across Balls Ford Road following the collision.

More as we have it.

News
Changes coming to transit systems for July 4

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From PRTC: 

In observance of the Independence Day holiday, there will be no PRTC bus service on Monday, July 4. Regular Saturday service will resume on Tuesday, July 5.

For best results, local OmniLink passengers wishing to make a reservation for an off-route trip for Tuesday, July 5 should call Customer Service by 7 p.m., Friday, July 1.

In preparation for the three-day weekend, PRTC will have a few extra PM OmniRide buses available for potential overflow on Friday, July 1. Because PRTC experiences a significant increase in mid-day and early afternoon OmniRide passengers on the day before a three-day weekend, to avoid overcrowding you may want to consider taking Metrorail or other regional bus services and transferring to a Metro Direct bus to complete your commute.

For more information, call our Customer Service office at 703-730-6664 or email Omni@OmniRide.com. Schedule information is posted atwww.PRTCtransit.org.

From VRE: 

In observance of Independence Day, VRE will not operate normal service on Monday, July 4th. Regular service will resume on Tuesday, July 5th.

From Metro: 

Metro will provide frequent rail service during the evening hours of Monday, July 4, to accommodate those attending the fireworks display on the National Mall.

Several hundred thousand passengers are expected to take Metrorail on Independence Day, with crowds primarily traveling to and from the 9:10 p.m. fireworks display on the Mall, as well as other events around the region. Metrorail service will operate from 7 a.m. until midnight, with near rush-hour service levels before and after the fireworks. Off-peak fares will be in effect for the entire service day.

For more information, please see the news release: http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/news/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=6127

Photo: John H. Gray

 

 

News
VDOT will tear down beams from the old Catharpin Road overpass

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Update from VDOT on June 28, 2016

Update: Closures for eastbound I-66 tonight and westbound I-66 Wednesday and Thursday are being rescheduled to next week (new dates will be announced). The eastbound work for Wednesday and Thursday nights will continue as planned.

Original post

From VDOT:

The Virginia Department of Transportation will conduct overnight lane closures on I-66 several nights this week between Route 15 and Route 29 in Gainesville, weather permitting, for crews to remove beams from the old Catharpin Road overpass.

On eastbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 28 through Thursday, June 30. Intermittent total closures up to 20 minutes will begin around midnight each night. One lane will be reopened after each total closure, with all lanes reopened by 5 a.m.

On westbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday, June 30. Intermittent total closures up to 20 minutes will begin around midnight each night. One lane will be reopened after each total closure, with all lanes reopened by 5 a.m.

Motorists should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

The new Catharpin Road overpass is part of the I-66 Widening Project, which will add one regular and one HOV lane in each direction from Route 29 in Gainesville to Route 15 in Haymarket. The $65 million project is scheduled for completion in August.

Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova

 

News
More info on PRTC fare hike coming July 5

Many riders begin and end their commutes, or transfer to other PRTC buses at the agency’s Transit Center in Woodbridge.

From PRTC: 

As of July 5, fares will increase an average of 5%. The one-way fare on OmniRide commuter buses will increase from $6.20 to $6.50, Metro Direct commuter buses will rise from $3.10 to $3.25, and OmniLink local buses will increase from $1.40 to $1.50.

In another change, OmniRide commuter bus routes will offer fewer trips on Fridays and will no longer operate on these holidays: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Friday, and Christmas Eve.

Also: 

Tuesday, July 5 on buses operated by the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC). PRTC updates its bus schedules twice a year to reflect changes in routing and travel times. These service changes and the fare increase were the subject of a series of public hearings held in February.

PRTC currently operates 17 commuter routes and 7 local bus routes serving Prince William County, the City of Manassas and the City of Manassas Park. In FY16, PRTC buses have carried an average of 11,200 passengers daily.

And, finally, 

Other notable changes taking effect July 5:

The Capitol Hill OmniRide route is eliminated.

Dale City OmniRide buses no longer service Crystal City. Instead, passengers going to Crystal City must ride a Lake Ridge OmniRide bus, or transfer to one.

Many OmniRide buses no longer serve neighborhood routing; instead service begins and ends at area commuter lots.

Manassas Metro Direct buses no longer offer all-day round-trip service between Manassas and the Tysons Corner Metro Station. In the morning, buses travel only from Manassas to Tysons, and in the afternoon/evening, buses travel only from Tysons to Manassas.

Manassas OmniLink local bus route is split into two separate routes: Manassas OmniLink-North and Manassas OmniLink-South. The buses meet at Manassas Mall at specific times to enable passengers to transfer.

Manassas Park OmniLink offers service only on the counter-clockwise Loop A routing, and buses meet up with the Manassas OmniLink North and South routes at Manassas Mall to enable passengers to transfer.

Online versions of the new schedule brochures – showing new routing and timetables – are available at PRTCtransit.org. For additional information about PRTC’s transportation services, contact PRTC’s Customer Service office at (703) 730-6664.

News
Pedestrian struck by train is Friday’s second fatality in Prince William

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One person was struck by a train outside Manassas tonight. 

We don’t have much, just these notifications from police: 

 

This is the second confirmed fatality tonight in Prince William County.

 

News
Motorcyclist killed in crash on Occoquan Road at G Street in Woodbridge

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Updated June 27, 2016

From Prince William police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation – On June 24 at 4:06PM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Occoquan Rd and G St in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a two vehicle crash. The investigation revealed that the operator of a 2006 Yamaha R1 was traveling eastbound on Occoquan Rd in the above area at an excessive speed when he collided with the driver of a 2014 Nissan NV2500HD van. The operator of the Yamaha R1 was transported to an area hospital where he died as a result of his injuries. Minor injuries were reported by the driver of the 2014 Nissan NV2500HD van. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors in this crash. The victim was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. The investigation continues. 

Identified:

The driver of the 2006 Yamaha R1 motorcycle was identified Javier VANEGAS MORATAYA, 23, of Woodbridge.

 

The driver of the 2014 Nissan NV2500HD van was identified was identified as 23 year old man of Woodbridge.

Update 6:55 p.m.

From Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok: 

…this will be a confirmed fatal. Motorcycle operator, an adult male, succumbed to inquiries from the crash. Other driver of a work van was not injured.

Police plan to provide more information on the crash on Monday.

Original post

Serious crash involving a motorcycle. That’s all we know right now. 

 

News
Next rounds of Metro SafeTrack work to impact Virginia commuters; PRTC plans temp changes

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

PRTC will implement some temporary changes for the next phases of Metro SafeTrack work to impact Virginia commuters. 

Potomac Mills mall announced it would add some additional temporary commuter parking during the work. We asked Potomac Mills how many more spaces drivers could expect, but they didn’t respond.  A PRTC spokeswoman also didn’t have the information.

From a PRTC email: 

The third and fourth phases of WMATA’s SafeTrack work are scheduled to shut down a segment of the Blue and Yellow lines in Arlington and Alexandria. Visit Metro’s SafeTrack webpage for details about train frequency and shuttle buses.

   –From July 5 through July 11, there will be no rail service between Braddock Road and National Airport. 

   –From July 12 through July 18, there will be no rail service between National Airport and Pentagon City.

PRTC will implement a few minor changes (detailed below) to help PRTC and Metro passengers.

Also to assist during SafeTrack, Potomac Mills Mall will temporarily increase the number of spaces set aside for commuter parking starting on June 29.

 –Several evening trips on the Prince William Metro Direct route will leave later than scheduled, enabling more passengers to make connections. These accommodations will be in place only during these phases of SafeTrack.

The 7:45 p.m. weekday trip will depart the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station at 7:55 p.m.

The 10:40 p.m. weekday trip – the last trip of the night – will depart the Metro station at 10:55 p.m.

The 10:35 p.m. Saturday trip – the last trip of the night – will depart the Metro station at 10:50 p.m.

   –Eastern Prince William County residents may want to ride one of the many PRTC OmniRide buses to the Pentagon, Crystal City orRosslyn-Ballston and transfer to Metrobus, Arlington Transit bus or Alexandria DASH bus.

   –Those who travel mid-day should consider PRTC’s Dale City – Washington OmniRide MX-1 trip, which leaves PRTC at 11:05 a.m. and picks up passengers at the Route 123/ I-95 Commuter Lot before traveling straight to multiple destinations in downtown D.C. 

Potomac Local Poll 

This poll has ended.

Has your commute gotten worse because of Metro's SafeTrack repair program? 

News
Medivac called after Hylton Avenue crash

Submitted by @Surveillance911:




News
Big changes coming for OmniLink buses

New OmniLink buses that serve Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. The buses have a new look more aligned with the overall color scheme for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission. [Submitted photo]

PRTC sent us a list of upcoming changes to its commuter and local bus systems starting July 5: 

PRTC’s Service Change and fare increase will take place Tuesday, July 5. This Service Change includes the service reductions that were publicized earlier in the year during the FY 2017 budget public hearing process. New timetables are now available atwww.PRTCtransit.org. New schedule brochures will be available from operators upon request beginning Tuesday, June 28.

A comprehensive list of all the changes is available on our website.

OmniRide: **Service for most OmniRide routes will be reduced on Fridays. Modified Holiday service becomes no service for OmniRide buses.** There will be significant changes to most OmniRide routes.

Metro Direct: **Modified Holiday service becomes regular service for Metro Direct buses.** All Metro Direct routes will have significant changes. See detailed list here.

OmniLink: All OmniLink routes will have significant changes. See detailed list here.

Cross County Connector – Timetable changes; some service reductions.

 

The new fare structure will be:

OmniRide:

     -Cash $8.75

   -SmarTrip $6.50

   -Reduced Fare $4.35*

Metro Direct:

       -Cash $4.00

      -SmarTrip $3.25

      -Reduced Fare $2.00

OmniLink & Cross County Connector:

     -Cash $1.50

     -SmarTrip $1.50

     -Reduced Fare $0.75*

     -OmniLink Off-Route Trip Surcharge $1.50

     -10-pack of Tokens $15.00

     -Reduced Fare 10-pack of Tokens $7.50*

Day Pass – Valid for travel within the local service area (SmarTrip only):

     -SmarTrip $3.40

     -Reduced Fare $1.70*

Weekly Pass – Valid for travel within the local service area (SmarTrip only):

     -SmarTrip $13.65

     -Reduced Fare $6.80*

*Reduced fares are available to adults 60 years and older, persons with a disability, or persons presenting a valid Medicare card. Additional information about PRTC’s reduced fare policy is available at http://www.prtctransit.org/local-bus/fares.html.

More from PRTC Interim Director Eric Marx: 

A Message from the Interim Executive Director:

While PRTC is on the verge of reducing services and raising fares, I’m pleased to report that we have begun a two-phased strategic planning effort funded by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). 

Phase I consists of developing recommendations for establishing alternative funding mechanisms and sources including:

—Reviewing and documenting the current state of practice for transit funding in the United States;

—Identifying potential funding opportunities that are not currently used by PRTC; and

—Recommending a number of strategies based on evaluation of the information gathered during plan development.  

The Phase I analysis will identify both short-term funding sources, necessary to reduce/eliminate the agency’s remaining average annual $2.2 million shortfall, and sources and strategies to ensure long-term (5+ years) sustainability/growth. 

Phase II will develop a strategic plan to guide PRTC’s provision of transit and other Transportation Demand Management (TDM) services through the year 2030. This new plan will build upon and update several documents that have guided PRTC over the past decade. Among the items that will be addressed are:

—Ensuring the sustainability of current services;

—Determining existing service gaps;

—Examining alternative methods of service provision; and

—Developing a framework for future growth.

Recognizing PRTC’s role in both the regional and local transportation networks, this effort will consider significant trends and planned changes within and outside of the three PRTC bus-sponsoring jurisdictions, and will be in keeping with PRTC’s stated mission and the values and goals expressed in those jurisdictions’ plans.

Phase I results are expected in August; Phase II work will begin in July.  PRTC anticipates the plan’s development will involve significant general public, customer, and stakeholder participation, and the PRTC Board of Commissioners has already established a project steering committee. 

News
Crash closes all lanes I-95 south at Prince William Parkway

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Updated

From Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller: 

At 8:40 a.m., Wednesday, Virginia State Police responded to a crash in the southbound lanes of I-95 at Exit 158. The crash involved an SUV pulling a trailer. Two people were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. All lanes were reopened by 9:51 a.m. Crash remains under investigation.

10 a.m.

All lanes reopened.


9:08 a.m.

A crash involving a U-haul occurred about 9 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 at Prince William Parkway.

We don’t know yet if there are any injuries, or how the crash occurred. 

News
VRE running Firecracker Express trains on July 4

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Riding Virginia Railway Express into Washington, D.C. is an easy way to enjoy the fireworks on the National Mall.

We rode the Firecracker Express two years ago in and out of the city for the annual fireworks show.

The ride was mostly uneventful. Some passengers on the trip home apparently had a little too much fun during the Independence Day party, so we had to watch our step to avoid a small mess on the floor.

More from VRE: 

As you probably have heard, we are operating trains so people can go to DC and see the fireworks on July 4th. Although tickets are available on-line until Friday, June 24th, you may now contact our main office at (703) 684-1001 for more details about purchasing.

The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) will run a Firecracker Special on both the Fredericksburg and Manassas Lines to downtown Washington, DC for Fourth of July Fireworks 2016. Trains will come northbound in the afternoons and will return southbound approximately an hour after the fireworks end.
How Much?

Tickets will be sold online from June 6, 2016 to June 24, 2016 for $10.00 each person roundtrip (from any station) including all children. Tickets will be sold in our Alexandria office until July 1, 2016, 6:30pm. To purchase tickets at our office visit us at 1500 King Street, Suite 202 Alexandria, VA 22314 or call us at 703-684-1001 9am to 6:30pm any weekday until July 1, 2016 6:30pm. Tickets are non-refundable.

Tickets can be purchased on our website at:

http://vre.org/special-events/firecracker-special/

Tickets are non-refundable.

News
Valet, more commuter parking coming to Potomac Mills mall

A new circular sign stretching 40-feet in diameter will be erected outside Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge after high winds last winter blew away the old sign. (Photo: Stephanie Tipple/PotomacLocal.com)

One word is synonymous with the Potomac Mills mall parking lot on any  weekend: Jammed.

The retailing center today announced some changes to its parking lot:

 

The three new parking services include:

Veterans-Only Parking [Opening Wednesday, June 29th
To honor the brave men and women who have served our country, Potomac Mills will have six reserved spaces for Veterans and their families. The spaces will be located near the main entrance of the mall.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 29th near the AMC theaters to officially open the spaces. Remarks will be provided by Marie Moore, Mall Manager, Potomac Mills.

For more information about attending the ceremony, contact Michael Timberlake (mtimberlake@rasky.com or call 202-207-3659).

Weekend Valet Parking Program [Now Open] 
For a nominal fee, valet parking will be available at the newly remodeled mall entrance next to the restaurant plaza. Hours of operations will be Friday (5 pm – 12:30 a.m.), Saturday (11 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.).

Expanded Commuter Parking Lot 
As the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) SafeTrack initiative gets under way, more Prince William County residents are expected to be affected. To help ease the situation, Potomac Mills will be expanding its commuter parking lot to accommodate temporary parking for affected residents. The existing commuter lot will nearly double in size allowing more residents the convenience to park their cars and access alternative transportation routes. 

Potomac Mills in 2011 reduced the number of commuter parking spaces by 75% to make way for the expansion that included Bahama Breeze, Cheesecake Factory, and Matchbox restaurants. 

We did a lot of reporting on it back then, as the move riled commuters: 

Fewer parking spaces got you bummed? You have options

Commuters Can Park at Church

Church Lot Flops, New Commuter Lot Picked

Frustrated Slugs slowed by parking changes

$95,350 Paid for Parking Spaces

News
Traffic is getting worse thanks to Metro SafeTrack. What you can do to avoid the mess.

Dulles Metrorail Megaproject underway at Rt. 66 and 267, Falls Church.

It is the second week of Metro’s big SafeTrack repairs and Virginia transportation officials say traffic has gotten worse. 

From VDOT:

While day-to-day analysis of traffic patterns continues, VDOT’s traffic operations center has observed an increase in congestion and delays on some major routes when compared with the same weekdays in recent weeks. Drivers are reminded that impacts may fluctuate based on accidents and other events, and that the month of June can also generally include an uptick in traffic volume on northern Virginia roads, with early vacation traffic, an increase in regional visitors, and schools in session for most of the month.

What you can to to prevent getting stuck in a delay: 

During surges that impact their route, commuters are strongly urged to rideshare, telework, adjust work schedules and use other alternate options. For those who must drive, allow additional time for trips and plan for extended rush hours, and remain alert to increased congestion as commuters adjust routes and travel methods during each surge.

Commuters are reminded to visit www.wmata.com/safetrack for details on station-specific impacts, links to transit options and local commute alternatives.

VDOT’s traffic operations center will monitor and adjust signal-timing to help support extended peak hours and changes in traffic patterns.

VDOT will also continue to evaluate lane closures for maintenance, construction and permitted work on impacted roads during the day.

This poll has ended.

Has your commute gotten worse because of Metro's SafeTrack repair program? 

News
Work to move island, merge lane at Minnieville & Parkway begins

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Work is underway to bury utility lines at Prince William Parkway and Minnieville Road,

Once buried, crews will move an out-of-place concrete traffic island on Prince William Parkway east and move it to the right, as well as move a merge lane that carries drivers turning right onto the parkway from Minniville Road.

We wrote about the project last year. The effort is now expected to cost $2.7 million and should be finished by the end fo the year, according to Prince William County Transportation Department spokesman Rick Canizales.

Crews last year completed work to widen Prince William Parkway from four to six lanes between Minnieville and Old Bridge roads. This is the final phase of that project.

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