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Traffic & Transit

Updated: Rescue Squad, SUV Collide in Dumfries

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DUMFRIES, Va. – A rescue squad was involved in a crash with an SUV in Dumfries.

The crash occurred about 3:30 p.m. Saturday on U.S. 1, and it involved the SUV and an ambulance from the Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad from Station 23 in River Oaks. The two vehicles collided at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Possum Point Road, according to witnesses.

The driver of the SUV ambulance was taken to a local hospital and treated for injuries that did not appear to be life threatening. The ambulance was responding to another crash when the accident occurred, said Dumfries Triangle Rescue Squad Assistant Chief Steven B. Chasin.

Traffic on U.S. 1 north was diverted around the crash scene for about an hour while police investigated the accident. It’s unclear who was at fault and if charges were filed in the case.

Tree Falls on Blackburn Road

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – This morning deluge of rain is already causing issues on the roads.

A tree fell across Blackburn Road in Woodbridge about 7:30 a.m. causing a temporary road closure, according to Rob Holtzhauer who sent PotomacLocal.com the photo of  the tree on the road. The road connects U.S. 1 with Featherstone Road.

‘Skies over Manassas darkened about 8:15 a.m. where a hard preceded to fall. Storms and heavy downpours are expected all day today.

Updated: HAZMAT Crash Snarls I-95 near Dumfries

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Update 12:50 p.m.

Stafford County officials have good news for commuters: the wreck involving a tractor trailer on Interstate 95 north at mile post 150 in Prince William County has been cleared from the highway as of 12:40 p.m.

There are traffic backups in the northbound direction from North Stafford to Dumfries.

 9:30 a.m. 

DUMFRIES, Va. – Police and fire and rescue crews have been called to a HAZMAT crash on Interstate 95 near Dumfries.

The crash, which occurred on the northound side of  I-95, was reported by Prince William police just before 9:30 a.m. It’s unclear if anyone was injured in the crash.

Several lanes of I-95 are closed near the crash scene. Police said extensive delays can be expected.

More as we have it.

 

Gas Leak Closes Portion of Dale Boulevard

DALE CITY, Va. – A portion of Dale Boulevard is closed due to a gas leak tonight.

Police are redirecting traffic away from the of the four-lane road between Benita Fitzgerald Drive and Cherrydale Drive. The gas leak originated on nearby Barksdale Drive, according to a statement from Prince William police.

Gas crews have been called to fix the leak. There is no estimated time of repair, police said. Officials urged drivers to avoid the area.

The closure has also impacted local bus service. All of OmniRide’s Dale City buses are being routed along Benita Fitzgerald Drive to avoid the closure.

Route 610 Expansion will Continue into 2017

(File) A crawler excavator dumps dirt onto what will become the widened portion of Va. 610 in North Stafford. (Mary Davidson)

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Stafford County has entered into a contract to design and build further road improvements on Garrisonville Road in North Stafford.

Work is currently underway under the management of VDOT on 610, but the County will pick up where this project ends, continuing the road expansion with lane widening and improved turn lanes.

“It’s basically a widening, from four lanes to six lanes, plus some turn lanes; that will extend from the improvements at Onville Road and Garrisonville Road that are being worked on by the Virginia Department of Transportation. So we will pick up it from there and continue west to Eustice Road,” said Keith Dayton, Deputy County Administrator for Stafford County.

In addition to the road widening, the project will include sidewalks on both sides of the road and improved turn lanes at intersections.

This project is a result of a 2008 transportation bond referendum, where voters identified the stretch between Onville Road and Eustice Road as an area in need of improvement.

Once VDOT has completed their portion, with a projected completion of late 2015, early 2016, the County will begin work, projecting their extension to be completed by mid 2017.

“We’ve completed much of the field survey work and working on the preliminary design. Our expectation is that land acquisition is going to take a while,” Dayton said.

The County sees some potential challenges with the project, including the loss of some private business parking, utility relocation of water, sewer and power lines, and a traffic impact on motorists.

“We speculate that we’re going to affect business parking. We don’t expect to take any businesses, but when you take some of their parking you’re going to have to look at trying to replace it somewhere else,” said Dayton.

The project budget is just over $13 million, with the funding coming from the Garrisonville Road service district, with some of the funding coming from loans.

 

Updated: Woodbridge Man Dies in Bus Crash; Passengers Were Returning to Prince William

Update

A bus carrying 17 people including its driver was returning to Prince William County after a birthday party in Washington, D.C. early this morning when it was involved in a crash where nine occupants were ejected.

The crash occurred while the van was traveling south on Interstate 95 at Lorton was cut off by a 2-door Acura traveling at a high rate of speed, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller. The car and bus collided causing the bus driver to lose control of the vehicle, run off the side of the highway, strike a guardrail, and then overturn.

The driver was not wearing a seatbelt and is being treated for non life-threatening injuries. Another passenger is also being treated for serious but non life-threatening injuries.

One passenger – Alberto Sanchez, 24, of Woodbridge, was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Thirteen others that were on board the bus suffered minor injuries.

The driver of the Acura, identified as Manuel Barrientos, 31, was arrested at his home this morning and faces charges in connection to the crash.

Update

A man who lives in a home behind a Walmart near Dumfries has been arrested in connection to a bus crash this morning on Interstate 95.

Of the 17 people who were taken to a local hospital, Alberto Sanchez, 24, of Woodbridge, has died. A second person is still being treated for life-threatening injuries.

Here’s the latest from Virginia State Police:

Thanks to witness information, state police were able to track down the white car to a residence in Dumfries, Va. A white Acura was located at the residence in the 16,000 block of Gentle Wood Lane and its driver, Raphael Manuel Barrientos, 31, of Dumfries, Va., was taken into custody without incident. Barrientos has been charged with one felony count of hit-and-run. He is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. Additional charges are pending consultation with the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

A total of 17 individuals – 16 passengers and driver – were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment. All passengers are in their early 20s and from Prince William County.

• Two were flown from the scene to Inova Fairfax Hospital – one these two, David Alberto Sanchez, 24, of Woodbridge, Va., succumbed to his injuries later Sunday morning at the hospital; the second one is still being treated for life-threatening injuries.

• The driver and one other passenger are being treated for serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

• The remaining 13 passengers suffered minor injuries.

All southbound lanes of I-95 were open as of 8 a.m.

9:30 a.m. 

LORTON, Va. – One person is dead after a bus crash this morning on Interstate 95 in Lorton.

Here’s the latest from Virginia State Police:

At 3:28 a.m. Sunday, Virginia State Police were called to the scene of a crash involving a small, 16-passenger shuttle bus in the southbound lanes of I-95, just south of Exit 163 for Lorton.

The shuttle bus was traveling south on I-95 when, according to witnesses, a white, four-door passenger vehicle traveling at an extreme high rate of speed swerved into the bus’s travel lane. In order to avoid the car, the driver of the shuttle bus swerved to the right. The shuttle bus then ran off the right side of the road, struck the guardrail, and overturned.

The 16 passengers and driver on board the shuttle bus have been transported to nearby hospitals for treatment. State police was just notified that one of the two individuals flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment of serious injuries has succumbed to his injuries.

State police are asking if anyone saw the white sedan prior to or following the crash, to please call the Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026. State police are currently looking for the vehicle at this time…all we have right now for a description is a white, four-door sedan.

All southbound lanes of I-95 were open as of 8 a.m.

The crash remains under investigation.

Stafford Supervisor Takes Issue with Military Vehicles on 610

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Have you seen military vehicles traveling on Garrisonville Road lately?

Several Marines were using light armored vehicles, known as LAVs, when training at Quantico last weekend. Some drivers, including Garrisonville District Supervisor Laura Sellers, noticed the LAVs using Va. 610 (Garrisonville Road) to transport Marines to the training sites.

Sellers noted seeing the LAVs during a discussion about the Quantico Joint Land Use Study which, among other things, talks about the need for military personnel to use Va. 610 to transport vehicles to the western portions of Quantico, where many of the base’s muntions ranges are located.

“It doesn’t’ happen often, but just last week I have a question about what that does to our roads. If they’re going to be out there are they going to make sure 610 is going to be taken care of,” asked Sellers. “There’s wear and tear on the road, and it’s a heavily-traveled road.”

Quantico officials point out that the LAVs are “road ready” and use pneumatic tires, not tank tracks; the same kind of tires you would find on any truck. As more Marines return home from Iraq and Afghanistan, there is the potential that even more training will be conduced on base to warfighters can maintain their training.

But the military vehicles, like large trucks, are heavy, and vehicle weight is something that Virginia State Police monitor at places like truck weigh scales along interstate highways.

“Weight matters, and tanks are not light,” Stafford Rockill District Supervisor Cord Sterling chimed in.

Sterling also serves on Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board with whose entire mission is highways and transportation.

Base officials say Stafford residents shouldn’t be alarmed to see the LAVs on Va. 610.

“Tactical vehicles are designed to support military and humanitarian missions and as such will look different from something you would drive off the showroom floor at a dealership. But as far as contact with the road and impact on infrastructure are concerned, most military vehicles are similar to their civilian counterparts,” said Quantico spokesman 2nd Lt. Matthew Rojo. “Also, because safety is one of our top priorities it important to mention that each military driver is specially licensed to operate their vehicles to ensure the roads are safe for all who share them.”

Officials from Stafford County who worked on the Joint Land Use Study told Sellers and Sterling that more discussion needs to take place between the county and the base, and that Stafford County could provide some type of escorts for the military vehicles during evening hours when traffic on Va. 610 is lighter.

There has also been discussion about building a road on the base itself so vehicles wouldn’t have to use Va. 610 at all, but there is currently no funding for such a military thoroughfare.

Police Nab Driver After Car Explodes

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – A car traveling on Joplin Road hit a tree and burst into flames late Thursday. The driver then jumped out the burning vehicle and fled into the surrounding woods.

Fire and rescue crews were called to mile post 20 on Joplin Road, about three miles south of the Prince William County Public Schools complex, about 9:15 p.m. They found an abandoned SUV fully engulfed in flames.

A second fire engine was called to the scene after the first engine ran out of water trying to douse the blaze. Police were called shortly thereafter to find the driver, who was found in the woods near the crash scene.

It was unclear at time if the unidentified male was injured or why he fled the scene of the crash, said Prince William police Sgt. Carl Carter.

A potion of the 2-lane Joplin Road, which links Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 at the main entrance of Quantico Marine Corps Base and Independent Hill in central Prince William County, was closed for the duration of the accident investigation.

A crew from the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department offered a night vision camera to police in an effort to help find the missing driver. Fire crews said they carry the camera on their trucks and use it when they need to locate people who could be trapped inside a burning house.

Telegraph Road Bridge Reopening This Weekend

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NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – The Telegraph Road bridge connecting drivers on U.S. 1 to Quantico in Stafford is set to reopen this weekend.

The original bridge was demolished and replaced with a new bridge as part of the Interstate 95 Express Lanes Project.

Here’s more in a press release:

Commuting near Marine Corps Base Quantico will improve with the opening of the new Telegraph Road bridge over I-95 in Stafford County scheduled to open weekend (March 22-23).

The original bridge was demolished in April 2013 as part of the 95 Express Lanes project. The bridge was actually two spans with an earth mound in the center between the north and southbound lanes of I-95. With the new 95 Express Lanes coming through the highway’s median, the ground has been leveled and a pier built to support the center of the new bridge that now stretches across the entire length of I-95, including the regular lanes and future Express Lanes.

The bridge is located between mile post 143 at Garrisonville Road at mile post 148 at Russel Road at Quantico.

Video Shows I-95 Express Lanes Progress over 6 Months

 

 

The construction crews behind the Interstate 95 Express Lanes are making progress.

A recent video produced by the Virginia Department of Transportation show just how much things have changed along the corridor, from Edsall Road in Alexandria to Garrisonville Road in Stafford, in the past six months.

When complete in 2015, the Express Lanes on I-95 will connect with those already operating on I-495 between Springfield, Tysons Corner, and the Dulles Toll Road. The lanes will charge single-drivers an electronic toll while vehicles with three or more people will be able to use the lanes for free.

 

Work on U.S. 1 Bridge Continues, Temporary Closures Expected

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Drivers should be aware of temporary road closures on U.S. 1 in North Stafford this week.

The closures are part of an effort to improve a bridge that carries drivers on U.S. 1 over Aquia Creek.

Here’s the latest noticed from the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office:

From the Stafford County Sheriffs Office – Beginning Sunday motorists should expect delays on Route 1 at the bridge over Aquia Creek. Lane closures will impact traffic from Sunday, March 16 until Sunday, March 23. The following schedule has been established for the lane closures

 

U.S. 1 Widening Scores Low in 1st Round Funding Review

WOODBRIDGE, Va. Improvements to Fairfax County Parkway and Interstate 395 south scored highly on regional wish list of needed traffic improvements.

A total of 32 transportation projects went through a pre-qualification funding screening, and the results have been accepted by Northern Virginia Transportation Authority – the government agency that will dole out some $200 million for highway improvements in Northern Virginia. The funds will come from the landmark transportation improvement bill signed into law in 2013 by then Gov. Robert F. McDonnell.

Improvements to Fairfax and Loudoun County parkways scored 78 and 61, respectively, out of 100 possible points. Improvements to Godwin Drive in Manassas scored 53, and widening U.S. 1 in both Woodbridge and Dumfries scored lower on the scale each netting a 41 and 48, respectively.

MORE to the STORY: The entire list of pre-qualification scores and projects can be seen in this presentation.

All of the aforementioned projects were submitted by localities at the request of NTVA. The agency received 38 fewer projects than expected during its first year.

Four projects were submitted by officials in Richmond on the Commonwealth Transportation Board to include building interchanges on Prince William Parkway at Minnieville and Smoketown roads in Woodbridge, widing Va. 7 which runs in Fairfax and Loudon counties, adding a new lane to I-395 south in Alexandria, and improving U.S. 1 at Fairfax County Parkway. Of the four CTB projects, improvements to I-395 ranked the highest and the Prince William Parkway interchanges the lowest.

To be considered for funding, the projects must have been regionally significant and must be designed to relive traffic congestion on area roadways. Transit projects for buses and rail were not considered in this round of funding for FY2015.

NVTA’s Chairman, and Prince William County Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe said some of the scores are hard to justify at this point, especially the low scores on widening potions of U.S. 1 in Woodbridge.

“That is a surprisingly low score. Compared to other projects, it’s supposed to be measured on congestion relief and regionalism…it is very difficult to argue that the Route 1 widening project is not regionally significant, and that it won’t relieve a lot of congestion,” said Nohe.

Projects that were closer to the Capital Beltway, with the prospect of improving the commute for more drivers, appeared to have scored better on the initial screening.

Now the pre-qualifying scores will go to the CTB in Richmond for acceptance.

The projects will once again be evaluated during another round of scoring where officials from NVTA, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and local governments will once again evaluate what traffic improvements need to be funded first. Nohe says a “highly technical” rubric of 16 to 17 conditions will be used to once again score each project.

A final list of projects that will be funded by NVTA is expected in December.

 

Toll Gantries Going Up Along I-95 Express Lanes

It’s a clear sign that the Interstate 95 Express Lanes Project is moving along.

The first six of 30 new overhead toll gantries have been installed along the project corridor from Edsall Road to North Stafford. The gantries will allow drivers on the Express Lanes to pass under them and will read EZ-Pass transponders used to pay tolls, which will be required in each vehicle to use the lanes.

The first gantries have been placed above the existing High Occupancy Vehicle lanes near Edsall Road. The HOV lanes north of Edsall Road are not included in the Express Lanes project, however, the HOV lanes south of Edsall Road will be converted to toll lanes at all times of the day when the project is complete in early 2015. Those lanes are also being extended south from Dumfries to Va. 610 in Garrisonville as part of the project.

Over the coming months, crews will work to install the remaining overhead gantries housing the technology, including E-ZPass readers and cameras, used to manage the Express Lanes at 15 locations along the 29-mile project corridor, according to a press release.

Express Lanes spokesman Michael McGurk said the company that will operate the lanes, Transurban, is getting ready to launch a regional awareness campaign aimed at educating drivers about the importance of getting an EZ-Pass or EZ-Pass Flex. The electronic tolling device that allows an automatic debit from a credit card that already works along the majority of toll roads in the northeast and on the 495 Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway will be required to use the lanes on I-95.

The Flex transponder allows drivers to switch between single-driver mode and carpool mode. While in carpool mode, drivers with three or more occupants inside their car will be able to use the lanes for free.

Drivers who don’t already have an EZ-Pass can order one online.

 

Updated: I-95 Reopened after Bus Crash Injures 4

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11 a.m. 

Xiao

Xiao

Before a bus loaded with 58 passengers flipped over on Interstate 95 early this morning in Stafford County, it stopped to refuel in Woodbridge.

Here’s the latest from police:

The bus driver is being held on a $5,000 unsecured bond at Rappahannock Regional Jail in Stafford County on the reckless driving charge.

The bus left Brooklyn, N.Y., last night and had stopped to refuel in Woodbridge, Va., Monday morning. No passengers got on or off the bus in Woodbridge. The bus’s only stop in Virginia was to be in South Hill Monday morning. Its final destination was Doraville, Ga.

8:45 a.m. 

A man from Flushing, N.Y. identified as the bus driver in this morning’s crash on I-95 has been charged. 

Here’s the latest from police: 

All 54 passengers were transported to area hospitals – to include those not injured. State police requested the assistance of Stafford County to provide school buses to transport passengers who were not injured from the scene. The decision to transport injured and non-injured passengers to the hospitals was made in order to keep passengers together and provide them immediate, adequate shelter from the winter storm.

The driver of the bus, Qilong Xiao, 50, of Flushing, N.Y., refused medical treatment at the scene. He has been charged with reckless driving, as speed was a factor in the crash.

The bus, a 2005 Van Hool, was operated by Princess Tours, Inc., headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind. The bus had departed from New York and was en-route to Doraville, Ga.

The Virginia State Police Motor Carrier Safety Team also responded to the scene to inspect the vehicle. State police also notified the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The crash remains under investigation at this time.

8:25 a.m.

Update

An overturned bus that crashed this morning while traveling Interstate 95 south has been removed from the roadway.

All lanes of I-95 that had been closed following the crash for the police investigation have once again reopened.

7 a.m. 

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – A bus with at least 50 people on board crashed this morning near Centreport Parkway in Stafford County.

The bus was traveling I-95 south when the crash occurred. At least four people are seriously injured.

Here’s the latest from Virginia State Police:

At 4:05 a.m. Monday (March 17, 2014), Virginia State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 near the 136 mile marker in Stafford County.

The crash involves a commercial passenger bus (please note it’s NOT a Greyhound) with at least 50 passengers on board. At least four suffered serious injuries and been transported to a nearby hospital. There are no reported fatalities at this time.

State police requested the assistance of Stafford County to provide school buses to transport passengers from the scene and are coordinating to provide shelter from existing weather conditions. Shortly before 5 a.m. passengers began loading the buses and leaving the scene.

At this time, all southbound lanes of Interstate 95 are closed to through traffic. Motorists are advised to be prepared for significant traffic delays due to the interstate closure and road conditions resulting from the weather.

Helicopter Called After Serious Crash in Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – A helicopter was called to take at least one patient to a hospital after a serious crash in Woodbridge.

At least two cars collided on Va. 123 overpass at Interstate 95 this morning. One of the cars was cashed in the accident and emergency crews appeared to be working on assisting a crash victim. Another patient had been placed on a stretcher and was most likely waiting for a helicopter.

Police report traffic has been reduced to one lane on the overpass in the area. Investigators are on the scene trying to piece together what caused the crash.

Furnace Road Reopened, Pipes Replaced

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Residents of Stafford’s Vista Woods neighborhood can once again use Furnace Road to access busy commuter route Va. 610.

Furnace Road closed in early February when a problems were found with the street surface and the metal pipes that run underneath.

Here’s more in a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

Furnace Road in Stafford County has re-opened to traffic between Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) and Choptank Road.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and its contractor have substantially completed emergency repair work to the road. Guardrail installation will be scheduled, and can occur while the road is open.

The road was closed on February 5, 2014, after a dip formed in the road over two 60-inch corrugated metal drainage pipes.

The pipes had deteriorated and rusted away at the base, causing the pipes to sink into the soil. VDOT and its contractor removed and replaced the pipes, and restored the road’s travel surface.

 

Free Bus Helps You Save Gas, Avoid I-95 Congestion as HOV Lanes Close

You can beat traffic congestion on Interstate 95 this weekend by riding the Metro Direct bus from Woodbridge for free.

The HOV lanes will be closed this weekend from 11 p.m. tonight to 2 p.m. Sunday, and that can cause major traffic headaches through the region as the lack of the two HOV lanes can cause delays to stack up on the highway.

Officials at the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission who operate the Metro Direct bus between Woodbridge and the Franconia-Springfield Metro station say don’t waste gas sitting in traffic, or money to pay for parking.

Here’s more in a press release from PRTC:

Buses start at 7:35 a.m. and run until 10 p.m. with local stops at Potomac Mills Mall and the PRTC Transit Center, where you can transfer to OmniLink local buses serving eastern Prince William. There’s plenty of free parking in the commuter lot at the PRTC Transit Center! Check out the Saturday Metro Direct service map and timetable!

The Saturday Metro Direct bus service will continue to provide free rides until May 17.

 

Region’s Leaders Keep Focus on Bi-County Parkway, Route 28 Improvements

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Business leaders in Manassas got another earful from elected leaders on just how bad the state of transportation is in our area.

The region’s top leaders said the Bi-County Parkway, and improvements to Va. 28 which links Manassas and Manassas Park to Fairfax County, must happen if Prince William County is going to continue to attract jobs and investment.

Together, Prince William and neighboring Loudoun County have 800,000 residents. A planned Bi-County Parkway that would link Interstate 95 with Dulles Airport would bridge the two counties.

“Take a look at a map of the Battle of Manassas in 1861, and you know what you are going to find? The road network is the same as it is today,” said Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart.

Stewart, an outspoken supporter of the parkway, said those who oppose it should not be allowed to hold up progress on a road that would link Prince William and Manassas with job centers around Dulles Airport.

“Anyone who is in the way of a highway is going to be opposed to it, I understand that and I feel for them. But you cannot hold back the prosperity of this community going forward because of some opposition,” said Stewart.

The highway has been opposed by residents who live in and near Manassas Battlefield National Park, as the road could be routed through a portion of the park. Several Republicans in Richmond have also voiced opposition to the highway.

The Manassas City Council has not voiced its support for the Bi-County Parkway, but instead has identified improvements to Va. 28 between the city and the Fairfax County line as critical. A hotbed of congestion, Va. 28 now serves as the main link between Prince William County and Dulles.

“If you travel on that road, if you’re business is on that road and your customers travel to you in the morning or the evening, you’re going to have a very difficult time moving around,” said Manassas Mayor Harry Parrish, II. “If we don’t make the tough decisions, Loudoun will continue to grow and we will not.”

Manassas Park Mayor Frank Jones called the roadway a “huge chokepoint” for the region. His day job is at the Mark Center federal building in Alexandria, and it took Jones more than four hours to commute to and from his job last Wednesday, he said.

“I don’t have my own business, Suppose I work in business and I were trying to get to a meeting that could have a million, or two, or three million investment looming on how well that business meeting went and now I have been frustrated, I have been set aside, I am not focused, and I am late to that meeting,” said Jones.

All three elected officials spoke at a Prince William Chamber of Commerce event held on Thursday in Manassas.

 Photo: Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, Manassas Mayor Harry Parrish, and Manassas Park Mayor Frank Jones.

Chain Reaction Crash Injures 5

Photo: Mary Davidson

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – A crash that closed a portion of Interstate 95 Sunday injured five people. A tractor trailer driver is now charged.

Here’s more in a press release from Virginia State Police:

Virginia State Police investigated a multiple vehicle crash that resulted in five injuries Sunday (Feb. 23) in Stafford County. At 4:01 p. m., state police responded to the crash in the northbound lanes of I-95 at the 137 mile marker.

A tractor-trailer is traveling in the northbound lanes of I-95, when it brakes suddenly and swerves to the left to avoid slowed and stopped traffic ahead of it in the northbound lanes. As the driver tries to avoid striking vehicles, it ran off the left side of the roadway and struck a guardrail. The tractor-trailer then came back into the roadway and struck several vehicles causing a chain reaction that ultimately involved a total of seven vehicles being involved.

A total of five individuals in seven vehicles were injured. Two were treated at the scene by medical personnel and 3three were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment for injuries sustained in the crash.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Dwight Deon Smith, 53, of Elizabethtown, NC, was not injured. He was charged with reckless driving by Trooper H. Jamie who investigated the crash..

Northbound lanes of I-95 were re-opened by 5:21 p.m.

 

Intersection Improvements at Opitz & Montgomery Sought after Pedestrian Death

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A memorial for Sally Okuly stands at the intersection of Opitz Boulevard and Montgomery Avenue in Woodbridge.

Not made of steel or stone, the monument is simply a teddy bear strapped to a utility pole with a large piece of cardboard with her name, and “in loving memory” written in marker.

020314-montOkuly was killed in November when she was crossing Optiz Boulevard at a crosswalk. She was struck by a driver who was later charged in the crash.

A press release from Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi’s office states Okuly was on her way to a gas station to get a newspaper, something she had done frequently.

Now Principi is urging the Virginia Department of Transportation to restripe the current intersection to make it more pedestrian friendly, making a “block style” to be visible to more drivers. He also wants the traffic signal to be retimed so that when pedestrians are crossing the street they are the only ones moving through the intersection.

“I am focused on increasing pedestrian and bicyclist safety,” stated Supervisor Principi in an press release. “We are all motorists, walkers, or cyclists at one point or another. It’s time we learn to better share the road.”

He’s also asked for new signage in the median or overhang at the intersection, and for VDOT to consider modifying the lane configuration in the area.

More lighting, and filling a large pothole along nearby Southampton Street also appears in Principi’s requests. They were presented to VDOT in a letter from his office.

 

Northern Virginia Drivers Cited Most for Texting While Driving

Photo: Mary Davidson

More drivers in Northern Virginia are being cited for texting while driving than any other portion of the state.

New statistics from the police agency show 567 drivers were cited statewide for sending a text message while behind the wheel in 2013. A total of 287 of those drivers were cited while in Northern Virginia, to include Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun counties.

The citations come after a new law that increased the penalties for texting while driving went into effect July 1, 2013. It was championed, in part, by Prince William County Delegate Richard Anderson.

More in a press release from state police:

Since the law went into effect, Virginia state troopers have been enforcing it just like any other primary offense. The trooper must observe the illegal conduct of the vehicle’s operator, thus providing the trooper with reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop on that vehicle. Further investigation determines what, if any, offense(s) the driver will be cited for by the trooper. Troopers have the discretion to warn, summons or arrest a violator.

“Driving distracted puts everybody at risk on a highway,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “According to preliminary data*, driver distraction accounted for 20 percent of all fatal traffic crashes on Virginia’s roads in 2013. That accounts for 131 lives lost last year because of a driver failing to pay attention while behind the wheel of a vehicle.”

The new law passed last year made texting while driving a primary offense punishable by $125 for the first offense, and $250 for a second or subsequent offense. Before, texting while behind the wheel was a secondary offense and state troopers had to stop drivers for another reason before citing them with texting while driving.

Here’s a breakdown of the citations issued statewide:

Texting Enforcement: July 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013  
Richmond Division 1
86
Culpeper Division 2 13
Appomattox Division 3 26
Wytheville Division 4 28
Chesapeake Division 5 92
Salem Division 6 27
Fairfax Division 7 287
Safety Division (statewide) 8
Total 328

 

 

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