WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia



Traffic & Transit

Crash claims life of passenger

Fairfax County, Va. –– One person was killed Wednesday night in crash on Interstate 95 near Springfield.

It appears the driver of an SUV lost control of the vehicle at 7:08 p.m. while traveling north on the highway, near mile post 166. The vehicle was traveling in the far right lane, flipped, and then crossed three lanes of traffic and landed on its top of the Jersey Wall on the left shoulder, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

The passenger was killed instantly, and the driver was flown to a local hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life threatening.

There were only two people inside the SUV when it crashed, said Geller. (more…)

Metro reacts to alleged terrorist plot, requests vigilance

Washington Metro System (Courtesy: Planet Ware)

Alexandria, Va. ––  Transportation officials called for continued vigilance after federal authorities say a Virginia man planned to bomb several Metro stations next year.

Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Ashburn, was arrested Wednesday after investigators said he was working with suspected members of al-Qaeda in planning multiple bombings at Metro stations.

Ahmed was indicted in an Alexandria federal court yesterday on charges of attempting to provide material to support a designated terrorist organization, collecting information to assist in planning a terrorist attack on a transit facility, and with attempting to provide material to support to help carry out multiple bombings to cause mass casualties on the Metro system, according to federal officials.

Farooque remained under federal surveillance between April and Oct. 25, and was unable to carry out any of the alleged planned attacks. (more…)

Will slugs be allowed to return to 14th Street?

An OmniRide commuter bus bound for Dale City on Tuesday stops at 14th Street and New York Avenue in Downtown Washington and picks up about 20 passengers as slugs looked on.

Washington’s transportation department Tuesday is expected to release the results of a new survey of commuters who were told to relocate their Downtown Slug line.

A two-week pilot project earlier this month required the relocation of Slugs – commuters who ride in vehicles of three or more occupants – from their pick-up point on 14th Street, between H Street and New York Avenue, one block over to 15th Street.

City officials wanted to gauge whether the relocation would improve traffic flow on busy 14th Street, said District Department of Transportation spokesman John Lisle.

Commuters were concerned that drivers who pick up slugs wouldn’t go to 15th Street, but instead would go to other spots in the city to pick up slugs for their drive back to Virginia. (more…)

Death prompts talk of road upgrades

Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Dudenfefer, R-Garrisonville.

Stafford County, Va. –– There is renewed talk about improving Stafford’s roads following the death of a high school student.

Every road in the county should be reviewed for safety, said Board of Supervisor’s Chairman Mark Dudenhefer earlier this month. But he focused specifically on Mountain View Road – a two-lane thoroughfare that is used to transport commuters to and from work, and students to Mountain View High School.

Though improvement plans are in the works, specific details are not yet available for public viewing.

“Obviously the county, the state, the federal government does not have all the dollars to fix all of the roads in Stafford County. But we have put together a plan, and we will aggressively follow that plan as best as we can…I look forward to the day when I can ride that stretch of Mountain View Road…and believe that we’ve done some things that made that stretch of road better,” said Dudenhefer. (more…)

Bus changes implemented today

OmniLink switch buses at the Potomac Rappahannock Transportation Center in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. –– Changes are coming to some OmniRide and some OmniLink buses today, as part of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission’s fall service change.

Here’s a list of the some of the changes that will affect riders in the Potomac Communities:

OmniRide Changes:
Dale City – Navy Yard – AM D-301 trip retimed.

Montclair and South Route 1 – PM Stop at 11th before G Street no longer served due to safety concerns.

Tysons Express – New shuttle connects locations in eastern Tysons with Tysons Express buses at West Park Transit Center. Promotional fares have been extended to June 2011. (more…)

New slug line a non-starter

Photo: Mary Davidson
Photo: Mary Davidson

Commuters use a busy Interstate 95 near Woodbridge on a weekday morning. (Mary Davidson)

Woodbridge, Va. –– It’s a bust for a new commuter slug line from Woodbridge to Alexandria.

The new line, which was scheduled to begin Tuesday at the Virginia Railway Express station in Woodbridge, was going to the first slug line to take commuters to Old Town Alexandria.

In the morning, slugs were to stand near the Woodbridge station and wait to be picked up. For their return trip home in the afternoon, slugs were supposed to wait at the VRE station in Alexandria to be picked up and be taken back to Woodbridge.

It appears few got the message. (more…)

Speed limits going up in Virginia

The drive across some of Virginia’s highways will become faster as part of a speed limit increase mandated by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell.

After several safety reviews, and after portions of Interstates 295 and 85 saw their speed limits raised from 65 to 70 mph earlier this year, 680 additional miles of highways will see their speeds increased to 70 mph by Dec. 31, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced today.

While none of the highways in the Potomac Communities will see an increase, the speed limit on I-95 between Ashland and just south of Fredericksburg will see an increase, as well as I-66 between the I-81 interchange in Strasburg and U.S. 15 in Prince William County. (more…)

Railroad work could slow rescue response

Traffic across a rail road crossing on Featherstone Road has been reduced to one lane, as crews work to replace the crossing. It could mean a delay for fire and rescue vehicles, officials said.

Woodbridge, Va. –– Ongoing work at a Woodbridge railroad crossing means it could take longer for fire and rescue crews to get to the Featherstone Shores neighborhood.

Traffic on busy Featherstone Road has been reduced to one lane across the rail road crossing, which is the gate way to the collection of single family homes that sit on the Belmont Bay.

Crews are working this week between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to replace the crossing, and are expected to have  the work completed by the end of the week, said CSX Transportation spokesman Bob Sullivan. (more…)

Signal light being erected where pedestrian was killed

Dumfries, Va. –– The man who was struck and killed Friday near the Va. 234 commuter lot in Dumfries was working to make that area safer for drivers and pedestrians.

Miguel Zelaya-Jovel was working to install a traffic light at the intersection of a commuter lot and Va. 234, just north of U.S. 1, said Prince William County spokesman Jason Grant.

After the commuter lot was expanded by 490 parking spaces last year, officials in April noted the need for a stop light at the commuter lot entrance and had been working since that time to install the light. (more…)

Pedestrian stuck at Dumfries lot Tuesday, police don’t take report

Dumfries, Va. –– Friday wasn’t the first time this week someone was hit at the Dumfries commuter parking lot on Va. 234.

After a 38-year-old man was struck and killed there Friday morning, now word comes that Jeremiah Boenisch, a U.S. Air Force Airman who had just gotten off of an OmniRide commuter bus after a day of work at the Pentagon, was hit by a car at the lot about 6 p.m. Tuesday.

He was walking past the entrance of the lot that faces Va. 234 when a car pulled into the lot from the busy six-lane road and then hit him in the knee, injuring the Medial Collateral Ligament.

“The guy stopped and got out of the car and told me the sun was in his eyes and he couldn’t see me,” said Boenisch. (more…)

What to name a new VRE station?

Widewater, Va. –– There’s a lot of talk right now about a new Virginia Railway Express station in Stafford County.

If it’s built, it’ll be located in the Widewater Peninsula, in the northern portion of the county on the Potomac River.

But as the Free-Lance Star’s Jonas Beals reports there seems to be some disagreement on what to call the new station. (more…)

Pedestrian killed on Va. 234

Correction: Police said the driver of a white box truck in which investigators believe struck a pedestrian who died this morning at a commuter lot on Va. 234 in Dumfries may have done so without knowing he struck the victim. Police are still looking for the driver, whom  they believe could provide investigators more information on the crash.

Update 11: 20 a.m. – Police said Va. 234 near Dumfries has been reopened in both directions following a pedestrian being struck and killed there this morning.

Update 9:30 a.m.

A 38-year-old man was struck and killed this morning as he tried to cross Va. 234 in Dumfries.

It happened at 6:40 a.m., at the commuter lot at the intersection of Va. 234 and U.S. 1., police said.

Police said the man walked across the road, where there is no cross walk, and was hit by a 1999 Dodge Ram truck driven by a 47-year-old man.  That man stayed on the scene of the crash and has not been charged.

Investigators also suspect an older model box truck also hit the victim at the same time as the Ram truck, or shortly thereafter, and then fled the scene, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok. (more…)

Expect longer Metro hours Sunday

From press release –

Metrorail will stay open an additional hour on Sunday, Oct. 17, to accommodate the crowds expected to attend the Washington Redskins game at FedEx Field. The organizers have paid Metro in advance to keep Metrorail open for an extra hour and so the system will close at 1 a.m. on Oct. 18.

The last Blue Line train headed toward Franconia-Springfield will depart the Largo Town Center Metrorail station at 12:24 a.m. and the Morgan Boulevard Metrorail station at 12:27 a.m. If the football game goes into overtime, trains will be available to get fans home.

In anticipation of the crowds, Metro will place additional trains into service at the end of the game. To assist riders, additional Metro personnel will be at the Morgan Boulevard Metrorail station, which is a short walk from the stadium. (more…)

Few faces, fewer answers appear at Stafford HOT lanes meeting

By Marty van Duyne
For PotomacLocal.com

North Stafford, Va.  — Only a handful of people trickled into the Virginia Department of Transportation HOT Lanes Environmental Assessment Citizen Information Meeting on Tuesday evening.

VDOT hosted the event to allow citizens to view documents, maps, drawings, and reports that comprise the EA for the Interstate 95 HOT Lanes corridor.

The opportunity session was listed on the VDOT web site and public notices have been published in area newspapers.

But there were only 11 visitors during the first two hours. And included in that number were three journalists, a county planning official, and three county supervisors.

Project Studies Section Head and Project Manager for the EIS Christopher Collins said, “I only received two e-mail comments prior to the meeting. One was strongly for the project and one was strongly against.” (more…)

HOT lanes to be a topic at North Stafford meeting

North Stafford, Va. –– Residents have been invited for an informational meeting about the proposed High Occupancy Toll lanes project on Interstate 95.

The meeting will be held from 4:30 until 7:30 p.m. at Moncure Elementary School, off Va. 610 in North Stafford.

The southern portion of the proposed toll lanes would be constructed between Dumfries and Massaponax in Spotsylvania County. The northern portion of the lanes would replace the existing High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, between Dumfries and the Pentagon. (more…)

Stalled frieght train affects commute

*This story has been corrected

Woodbridge, Va. –– Passengers onboard a stopped Virginia Railway Express have been told to get off at on the far track at the Rippon station.

VRE’s Fredericksburg line train had to work its way around a stalled freight train south of Woodbridge Thursday afternoon, said VRE spokesman Mark Roeber.

The train left Union Station in Washington at 4:40 p.m.

An earlier version of this story reported passengers were being forced off of the train at VRE’s Rippon station, which was incorrect.

D.C. forces slugs from 14th Street

An OmniRide commuter bus bound for Dale City on Tuesday stops at 14th Street and New York Avenue in Downtown Washington and picks up about 40 passengers as slugs looked on.

Washington –– Tensions rose Tuesday afternoon when Lake Ridge commuters were told they could no longer slug from a busy street in Downtown Washington.

About 15 slugs – commuters who ride in cars of three or more passengers so they can use High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on Interstate 95 and 395 – were handed fliers from the Washington, D.C. Department of Transportation, stating they could no longer stand and wait to be picked up on 14th Street, between H Street and New York Avenue.

The slug line will be relocated one block over, to the less-congested 15th Street, the flier stated.

The change, which officials say will be a two-week trial as they look to see if traffic flow on 14th Street improves without drivers stopping to pick up slugs, came as a surprise for many who now fear they’ll be left without a ride home. (more…)

Mall ramps up commuter parking enforcement

Commuters on Tuesday were greeted with yellow cones and barriers as they tried to park at a crowded parking lot at Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge Va.  –– Those who arrived at the Potomac Mills mall commuter lot after 7:30 a.m. Tuesday were met with cones and barriers, and many were forced to park their cars elsewhere.

Members of the mall’s security force were out Tuesday corralling commuters, whom in recent days have apparently taken up more spaces than the mall allows.

“While Potomac Mills has an agreement with Prince William County to provide 275 spaces for commuter parking, we have been providing at least 975 spaces for several years, more than any other private property owner in the county. Also for several years, each weekday morning our security team has been placing barricades to clearly identify the 975 designated parking spaces, making it easier for commuters to understand in which spaces they may park,” said Potomac Mills spokeswoman Caroline Barry Green. (more…)

New slug line starts Oct. 19

Photo: Mary Davidson
Photo: Mary Davidson

Commuters use a busy Interstate 95 near Woodbridge on a weekday morning. (Mary Davidson)

Woodbridge, Va. –– Commuters can rejoice as a new slug line to Alexandria starts Oct. 19.

Slug-lines.com in their quarterly newsletter announced the new slug line, which for the first time will take commuters directly to Alexandria.

The new line is in addition to other slug lines that take Virginia commuters to Washington, Crystal City, The Pentagon and Rosslyn. (more…)

U.S. 1 re-pavement project to finish in early Nov.

Fairfax County, Va. –– A large stretch of U.S. 1 near Ft. Belvoir now being repaved should be finished by early next month, officials said.

The 8-mile, $3.3 million project will see the re-pavement of the road surface between Mount Eagle Drive and Backlick Road in south Fairfax County comes as more than 20,000 jobs are expected to relocate to Ft. Belvoir by September 2011.

Work to repave the road began in early August, and it’s expected to be finished by the first week of August, said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jennifer McCord. (more…)

6 injured in 95 crash, truck driver charged

Virginia State Police trooper E.D. Brown Jr., 30, was injured in a crash Monday that sent him and five others to the hospital. (VSP)

Woodbridge, Va. –– A bizarre string of events led to a crash that sent six people – including a Virginia State Police trooper –  to the hospital, and left one tractor-trailer driver facing charges.

The crash happened about 1 p.m. at mile post 159 on Interstate 95, just north of Prince William Parkway, and forced the closure of the highway for more than an hour Monday afternoon.

At all started when a white Mercedes driven by Thanh Tam Thi Phan, 39, of Woodbridge, broke down in the right shoulder of the highway, said VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

A Toyota 4-Runner, driven by Thi Hung Nguyen, 41, then pulled over to help the broken-down motorist. (more…)

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