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Traffic
Police remove woman from VRE train

QUANTICO, Va. — If the woman would have taken the free ticket maybe police wouldn’t have forced her from the train.

A conductor on Virginia Railway Express train #308 from Fredericksburg to Washington on Tuesday asked a woman for her ticket, so he could validate that she paid to ride.

But the woman became angry and told the man that the ticket machines at the station where she boarded were not working and then refused to show a ticket, said VRE spokesman Mark Roeber.

She became more confrontational when the conductor pressed her on the issue, telling her she couldn’t ride without one. (more…)

Traffic
Camaro goes up in flames on Va. highway

LADYSMITH, Va. — State police were called to a car fire on Interstate 95 on Monday.

The flames engulfed the car as it sat on the right shoulder of the northbound side of the highway about 3:30 p.m., near Ladysmith, said Virginia State Police Sgt. Thomas J. Molnar.

No one was injured, but the right lane was blocked for a short time while fire crews worked to douse the blaze.

Ryan Patrick Kennedy witnessed the burning car while driving along the highway. The car looked to be a red 1980s model Chevrolet Camaro, he said.

“It didn’t look like there was anyone near the car, but it was something to see,” said Kennedy. (more…)

Traffic
Passenger blamed for stalling VRE train

An “unruly passenger” has made commuting difficult this morning for those in Virginia Railway Express train #308 from Fredericksburg to Washington, accoring to the commuter railroad.

The train was stopped at the Quantico station just before 8 a.m. VRE said the passenger was the reason for the delay. The train eventually moved about a half-hour later, making its way to the Rippon station in Woodbridge.

We’ll have more on this story when it becomes available.

Traffic
Portion of Mine Road closed to traffic

A portion of Mine Road in Stafford County will close to traffic today.

Electronic messaging signs now mark the spots where drivers will no longer be able to access the road, between Exeter Lane and Austin Ridge Drive, according to a press release from Stafford County officials.

The two-lane portion of the road that is now closed is set to be widened from two to four lanes and could be closed until early September, according to the press release.

Signs have been posted marking the detour route that will direct drivers around the closed roadway, according to the county’s Web site.

Mine Road connects Va. 610 (Garrisonville Road) with Va. 630 (Courthouse Road), two major thoroughfares in the county.

The road has already been widened to four lanes, between Va. 610 and Exeter Lane. The next phase of the widening project, which is about a mile long, will relieve a bottleneck at Exeter Lane.

A popular commuter lot in North Stafford also sits off of Mine Road.

Traffic
Traffic and transit changes coming this weekend

Photo: Mary Davidson

Commuters use a busy Interstate 95 near Woodbridge on a weekday morning. Photo: Mary Davidson

UPDATE: Virginia officials will lift restrictions on the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on I-95 and 395, between Dumfries and the Pentagon, on Monday.

Independence Day weekend will bring changes to commute patterns in our area.

Highways

On Interstates 95 and 395, the High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes will be open to southbound traffic from noon Friday until 2 p.m. Saturday.

The lanes will then be reversed for northbound traffic at 4 p.m. Saturday until 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

After a fireworks show on the National Mall in Washington, the HOV lanes will again be reversed at 9 p.m. (more…)

Traffic
Frustrated official: No money for U.S. 1 improvements

Questions are mounting about the widening of U.S. 1 between Stafford and Prince William counties. And they’re coming before an influx of federal workers is expected to relocate to Quantico Marine Corps Base in 2011.

The road is currently being widened from four to six lanes in Triangle, between Joplin and Brady’s Hill roads, as part of the planned Triangle Village near the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Improvements to the small stretch of road are being paid for by Prince William County taxpayers.

But it seems there won’t be any federal help when it comes to additional road improvements for the BRAC relocation to Quantico. (more…)

Traffic
VRE offers free rides after massive delays

Fredericksburg line train 309, coming from Fredericksburg to Washington’s Union Station, was late making it back to pickup passengers for its 5:15 p.m. departure from the Washington rail hub.

After completing it’s midday run as train 301, which left Union Station at 12:55 p.m., the train encountered problems on its return trip south of Franconia, said VRE spokeswoman April Maguigad.

When it reached Union Station, passengers boarded, but the train and left about an hour late. (more…)

Traffic
Neighborhoods can set parking rules

Parking restrictions in Stafford may get tighter.

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors this week unanimously voted to allow the leaders of homeowners associations in the county to petition the board as to which types of boats, commercial and recreational vehicles that are allowed to be park on their streets.

Though no neighborhood has filed a petition yet, once they do, a public hearing will be scheduled before the board and then the supervisors will have the final say when it comes to implementing a parking restriction, according to Stafford County Attorney Joseph Howard.

Stafford Sheriff Charles E. Jett said if the Board approves a parking restriction his deputies would enforce it during their regular traffic duties.

The Board chose to allow subdivisions to set their own rules instead of issuing a county-wide policy.

*This story originally appeared on PotomacLocal.com on Friday June 18, 2010.

Traffic
Plan to use taxes to build HOT lanes explored

Photo: Mary Davidson

Commuters use a busy Interstate 95 near Woodbridge on a weekday morning. Photo: Mary Davidson

Taxpayers could get a bill for the cost to build High Occupancy Toll lanes on Interstates 95 and 395.

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton said his office is reviewing plans which explore the financial viability of converting HOV lanes between Dumfries and the Pentagon to toll lanes, and then extending then south to Stafford and Spotsylvania counties.

Part of those plans, presented by the Virginia Department of Transportation at Connaughton’s request, include slapping taxpayers with a portion of the construction costs for the proposed lanes.

Another scenario has two private firms, Texas-based Fluor, Inc. and Australia’s Transurban, which would operate, maintain and profit from the lanes for up to 80 years, harboring all of the construction costs, said Connaughton.

VDOT’s plans could become public in the next few weeks, after they are reviewed the Federal Highway Administration, said Connaughton.

The renewed interest in building the lanes follows a combined $20,000 donation from Fluor, Inc. and Transurban to the Virginia GOP last month, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

After giving $25,000 to Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell during his 2009 campaign, Fluor, Inc. also donated $15,000 to McDonnell’s inaugural committee in January, according to VPAP.

In addition to donating to R. Creigh Deed’s gubernatorial campaign last year, Fluor, Inc. has donated $13,500 to state Democrats so far in 2010, VPAP showed.

The I-95 / 395 HOT lanes project was put on hold in August when VDOT said Fluor Inc. and Transurban couldn’t come up with enough private investors for the project.

Then Arlington County sued state and federal officials claiming that required environmental impact studies needed before the lanes could be built were not done, and that the lanes would adversely affect residents who live along I-95.

Arlington leaders last fall courted Prince William County officials about joining their suit, but they declined after reading the suit’s allegations that only rich, white suburbanites from Stafford and Spotsylvania counties would benefit from the new lanes.

*This story originally appeared on PotomacLocal.com on Tuesday June 15, 2010.

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