By Supervisor Ruth Anderson
According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia drivers spend more than 1.2 million hours in traffic delays per year on the 1 mile stretch of road on I-95 South before the Occoquan exit.
- A considerable portion of those drivers are Prince William residents.
That means 1.2 million hours of missed opportunities that compromise the quality of life for families and negatively impact personal, educational, and health outcomes.
- That is unacceptable.
When I began my term as Occoquan District Supervisor in January 2016, my vision was to Bring Prince William Home by bringing a fresh perspective to the big transportation issues facing our region that for years people said were too tough to solve.
- After 3.5 years, the long road from that vision has delivered big results in 2019.
What started as resident transportation think tanks held by my office in 2016 to brainstorm remedies for Old Bridge Road backups led to the question of ‘What can we do to fix I-95 and in doing so ease congestion on Old Bridge Road too?’
- I took that question to our PWC Department of Transportation and they designed a solution using an I-95 southbound auxiliary lane from Route 123 to Prince William Parkway.
- I made it my mission through community meetings, visits to the General Assembly and state transportation funding boards, and multiple speeches to put Virginia on notice that this dangerous bottleneck must be fixed immediately.
My mission succeeded on January 29, 2019, when the auxiliary lane project overcame the odds of naysayers and a flawed Smart Scale score to receive state-negotiated funding from Transurban to be built in 2021.
I also defied the odds on other commuter projects.
- After initially denying the project, almost 12 million was allocated in my district by the Commonwealth Transportation Board to realign the Occoquan Road-Old Bridge Road intersection.
- In addition, we secured over $11 million in partial funding for Telegraph Road area improvements from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
Reducing congestion does not just mean road construction, but also making transit an affordable and accessible option so fewer cars are on our roads.
- On November 4, two new OmniRide routes (8 round trips) will begin picking up commuters from two Stafford commuter lots for Pentagon and DC destinations to relieve our over-capacity commuter lots in Prince William County and keep more cars off the interstate.
- Local bus service along Route 1 will also be expanded.
- As Chair of OmniRide (PRTC), I was pleased to play a major role in securing the funds to make this happen.
My next transit mission is to Improve the Commuter Experience by making drastic improvements to our commuter lots and commuter technology.
- That means updating lots to be ADA compliant, adding sidewalks and signage for safer slugging, and revamp the underutilized 1-95/123 lot to better serve commuters.
- After a county-wide tour of our transit facilities this summer, I submitted dozens of recommendations to the Commonwealth Transportation Board, and several are now on their published list of possible I-95 corridor improvements.
The work is far from over to ensure Prince William families can spend more time enjoying all our county has to offer and spend less time on the road.
- Much of that work requires major reforms to state and federal policy to ensure Prince William has a seat at the table for congestion relief funding.
- However, the results I have delivered for the Occoquan District and our county in 2019 by looking at the root of our traffic problems give me optimism that years of simply enduring the status quo on our roads are over.
Visit ruth4supervisor.com and be sure to vote on November 5.
This post is paid for and authorized by Friends of Ruth Anderson.