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Traffic & Transit

Progress on Route 610 widening: New eastbound lanes open

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garrisonvilleroadwiden1 - Edited

We spoke with Stafford County Transportation Project Manager Alex Owsiak this week, and he told us the new eastbound lanes of Route 610 in North Stafford opened to traffic.

The new lanes carry drivers past Eustace Road and are part of a $13 million project to widen the portion of Route 610 between Eustace and Onville roads.

When complete, Route 610 will be six lanes — three westbound and three eastbound lanes — between Eustace and Onville, widening it from four lanes.

There’s also The Garrison, a new commercial development that will feature a new Regal Cinemas, and it’s located in the area where the road widening is underway.

The widening project should be complete by October 2018. Most of the lane closures for the project take place between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. during off-peak travel times.

As part of the project, crews had to relocate utility lines and install new stormwater drainage.

Photo: Mary Davidson

‘Alternative 2B is incompatible with the historic character of the Bull Run Regional Park and would significantly degrade the integrity of the hallowed ground’

As transportation officials search for a solution for Route 28 congestion, The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority’s proposal, dubbed “Alternative 2B,” the most popular idea for relieving local congestion, has generated strong opposition from local preservation and conservation agencies concerned about historical and environmental impacts.

If approved, Alternative 2B would extend Godwin Drive from Sudley Road near the Manassas Mall, between the Lomond neighborhood in Prince William County and residential neighborhoods in Manassas Park, across a new bridge over the Bull Run River connecting to Route 28 in Fairfax County.

Historical Impacts

In a letter dated September 11, 2017, James Lighthizer, President, Civil War Trust letter, stated Alternative 2B “would have a significant negative impact on Bull Run Regional Park, which includes significant acreage associated with the Battle of Blackburn’s Ford…one of the first notable engagements of the Civil War, with 151 estimated casualties.”

According to Lighthizer, the acreage through which the northern part of Alternative 2B would cut, particularly the land contained in Bull Run Regional Park, is located well within the potential National Register Boundary and the “core” battlefield boundary as determined by the federal Civil War Sites Advisory Commission (CWSAC) and its Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields.

“The Trust strongly believes that Alternative 2B is incompatible with the historic character of the Bull Run Regional Park and would significantly degrade the integrity of the hallowed ground of the Blackburn’s Ford Battlefield, the quality of the visitor experience, as well as the area’s scenic and historic viewshed,” said Lighthizer.

“Moreover, by crossing Bull Run Regional Park, Alternative 2B threatens potential prehistoric and historic archeological resources that may be present in the path of this proposed alternative.” (more…)

The plan: Extend E-ZPass lanes to south Stafford beginning in 2019

STAFFORD — An extension of the Interstate 95 E-ZPass Express Lanes could begin as early as 2019. 

The lanes would carry drivers from its current terminus in the area of Garrisonville Road south to the area of Warrenton Road (Route 17) in Stafford County. 

The lanes would not cross the Rappahannock River. 

Your comments on the project (welcomed in the comments below) and at VDOT, emailed to project manager Krishna Potturiby by October 10, 2017.

Here’s a brochure distributed Monday night by the Virginia Department of Transportation during a meeting at Stafford High School:

Download the PDF file .

 

The shared-use path on Prince William Parkway will be repaved

The Virginia Department of Transportation will begin repaving the shared use path on Prince William Parkway. 

The path sits on the westbound side of the roadway and is popular with walkers, joggers, and bicyclists. 

The repaving effort will take place on both Prince William and Fairfax County parkways.

From a press release: 

Paving of portions of the Fairfax County Parkway Trail and the Prince William Parkway trail will begin Wednesday morning, Sept. 27, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The Prince William Parkway trail work will start Wednesday morning at Hoadly Road, making its way north in sections to Liberia Avenue. The paving is scheduled for completion later this fall.

The Fairfax County Parkway Trail paving will begin later this fall and is scheduled for completion in summer 2018. The section of the trail between I-66 and Route 7 will be worked on first, followed by the section from I-66 to Whitlers Creek Drive (about a quarter-mile north of Rolling Road).

The work totaling nearly 30 miles between the two parkways will take place weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Trail users should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes; VDOT will provide regular updates regarding work zone locations to local biking organizations, as well as via the project page and VDOT Northern Virginia’s Twitter account. Reflective barriers will be installed at each work zone.

In 2016, extensive patching and crack sealing occurred on both trails in anticipation of this paving. Maintenance also occurred in 2014 along the Fairfax County Parkway Trail between Route 29 and Route 7.

‘Speed, alcohol, and drugs do not appear to be contributing factors in this crash’

Signal light planned for dangerous intersection

A serious crash on Route 28 in Manassas on Friday night left three people in a hospital. 

MANASSAS — The crash occurred at the intersection of Route 28 and Pennsylvania Avenue, a junction that city officials say they are working on fixing. 

From Prince William police: 

We responded on September 21 at 8:52PM for a two vehicle crash at Nokesville Rd and Pennsylvania Ave. Investigation revealed that the driver of a 2003 Hyundai Sonata was attempting to make a left turn onto Pennsylvania Ave from southbound Nokesville Rd when the vehicle collided with a 2000 Chevrolet Suburban traveling northbound on Nokesville Rd. The driver and two other passengers from the Sonata had to be extricated from the vehicle.

The driver and a passenger of the Sonata were transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. A second passenger of the Sonata was flown to an area hospital with serious, non-life threatening injuries. No injuries were reported to the driver (and only occupant) of the Suburban, an adult male. The three occupants of the Sonata were male juvenile teenagers. Speed, alcohol, and drugs do not appear to be contributing factors in this crash. Charges are pending for the driver of the Sonata.

From Manassas public works director Steve Burke: 

The City is currently working to design improvement to Nokesville Road that extend from Pennsylvania Avenue to just east of Godwin Drive.

The intent of the planned improvement is to improve safety and travel through the Route 234 (Prince William Parkway) interchanges.

Coordinating with future improvement by Prince William County, the ultimate typical section through the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue will have three through lanes with dedicated left turn lanes for east and westbound traffic.  A traffic signal is also planned for the intersection.

The project recently entered the Right-of-Way Acquisition phase.  Our current schedule has construction bids being advertised in April 2018.

‘Access to all businesses, hotels and destinations in Central Park will be maintained during the road work’

From a press release: 

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) project to improve safety and operations at the Exit 130 interchange on Interstate 95 in Fredericksburg continues with overnight lane closures for water line and storm sewer work. 

The Central Park main exit at Carl D. Silver Parkway to Route 3 will be closed overnight on Sunday, Sept. 24 through early Monday, Sept. 25.

Drivers will be guided by detour signs to use Trade Street and Central Park Boulevard to exit Central Park during the work zone. Access to all businesses, hotels and destinations in Central Park will be maintained during the road work.

Weather permitting, the following lane closures are planned near the Exit 130 interchange beginning Sunday, Sept. 24:

Carl D. Silver Parkway (Central Park Exit)

Sunday, 10 p.m.  7 a.m. All southbound lanes on Carl D. Silver Parkway at Route 3 (Plank Road) will be blocked to allow crews to relocate water and sewer lines. Traffic will not be permitted to exit at the main entrance to the Central Park shopping area. Signs will guide traffic along the detour route to Trade Street and Central Park Boulevard. 

I-95 Southbound at Exit 130

Monday  Friday, 9 p.m.  6 a.m.

The Exit 130 off-ramp will be reduced to a single lane from I-95 southbound to Route 3 westbound at Carl D. Silver Parkway for storm sewer installation. All lanes will re-open at 6 a.m. Friday.

Flickr photo: m01229

Residents plea for a new signal light on Route 1

STAFFORD — Both residents and leaders want a new traffic signal erected on Route 1 near an iconic crucifix.

Stafford County resident Amy Wieman said the cross is there for a reason.

“…if you pull out that road especially at rush hour you’re not at all like you literally have to pray. That’s why the crucifix there,” she said.

OK, not really. The crucifix is a historical marker to note the nearby location of the first Catholic settlement in Virginia.

But the intersection of Route 1 and Telegraph Road has long plagued Stafford drivers, especially during the afternoon rush hours when parents go and pick up their children at the nearby Widewater Elementary and Sheirly Heim Middle schools.

“Every single time I leave school I say a little prayer and I hope I don’t get into an accident. It’s gotten to the point where I won’t even let my father-in-law pick up the kids from school because it is so dangerous,” one resident told the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.

Hers is a story shared with other residents, like this one from Stafford resident Amy Bancroft, of Aquia Harbour: (more…)

Updated: Arrest made in safety services patrolman hit-and-run

Police are searching for the driver of a green Mustang who fled the scene after striking the safety patrolman while he was rendering aid to another disabled driver. 

From police: 

At 6:20 a.m.Friday (Sept. 22), Virginia State Police responded to a report of a hit-and-run of a VDOT Safety Services Patroller in the northbound lanes of I-95 near Exit 166B.

The Safety Services Patrol (SSP) unit had responded to that location to aid a disabled motorist. The SSP unit parked his vehicle on the right shoulder with its sign board and amber emergency lights activated. The SSP unit was in the process of setting out traffic cones for the safety of the disabled motorist when a green Mustang traveling north on I-95 struck the SSP employee. The Mustang then fled the scene.

Thanks to eyewitness accounts and assistance from local law enforcement, state police have detained an individual for questioning in this incident.

The SSP unit, an adult male, was transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital and is being treated for serious injuries.

The incident remains under investigation at this time.

Updated

From a press release: 

Thanks to eyewitness accounts and assistance from local law enforcement, state police located and charged Ginnun S. Frazier, 27, of Alexandria, Va., with one felony count of hit-and-run and for driving on a revoked license.  State police also located the green Ford Mustang driven by Frazier.

The SSP unit, an adult male, was transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. 

Residents get a glimpse of a future commuter ferry service for Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE — About 40 people gathered at Harbor View conference center in Woodbridge at 7 p.m. Thursday for the capstone event of a daylong series of events to discuss the future of a passenger ferry that could, someday, provide commuter service between Prince William County and Washington, D.C.

“We need to use our region’s last unused highway, the Potomac River,” said Prince William Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi, whose long pushed for the creation of a “fast ferry” from Woodbridge to Washington.

Thursday’s Fast Ferry Summit was the second ferry summit Principi has held while in office. The first one was in 2009.

He kicked off the event noting that ferry service was once popular among area plantation owners between 1760 and 1790.

“George Washington built a wooden bridge to get across the river. It washed out. What did they do next? Ferry service,” said Principi.

He then introduced a panel of experts who discussed ferry service operations, challenges, and the likelihood of a new fast ferry in Woodbridge.

‘Like a Rubix cube… there are a lot of challenges on the Potomac’

Capt James Barnberger, with the U.S. Maritime Administration Department of Direct Risk Analysis, said that while there of hundreds of water taxi options in New York City, bringing a commuter ferry to Prince William County will have a unique set of challenges.

“Like a Rubix cube… there are a lot of challenges on the Potomac, but in time you can overcome them. This is not an easy thing to do, I know because I was part of a lot of successful operations in New York, and I was apart of an operation that didn’t make it here on the Potomac River.”

Some of the larger challenges outlined by Barnberger include environmental concerns, getting people to change their commuting habits and abandon their car for a ferry, and cost. (more…)

I-95 express lanes extension public hearing to be held Sept. 25

From Virginia Department of Transportation:

The public is invited to attend a location and design public hearing for the I-95 Express Lanes Fredericksburg Extension project next week to review the proposed design and submit comments.

The I-95 Express Lanes Fredericksburg Extension project would extend I-95 Express Lanes approximately 10 miles from Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) to the vicinity of Route 17 (Warrenton Road) in Stafford County.

As part of this project, new access to the Express Lanes corridor is proposed in the vicinity of the Route 17 and Route 630 (Courthouse Road) interchanges along Interstate 95. New access is also proposed on I-95 at Exit 148, which connects with Russell Road near Quantico Marine Corps Base.

The extended Express Lanes would connect to the I-95 Southbound Rappahannock River Crossing project. The Rappahannock River Crossing is doubling the capacity of I-95 southbound to six lanes from just north of Route 17 to just south of Route 3 in Fredericksburg.
(more…)

Speeding fines are going up on Featherbed, and possibly Featherstone

GAINESVILLE — Drivers on Featherbed Lane watch out: Fines for speeding will increase.

New signs are warning drivers an additional fine of up to $200 will be installed along the two-lane thoroughfare in western Prince William County. According to county documents, based on the number requests from residents for speed enforcement, as well as speed studies completed in the area, “Featherbed Lane has a documented speeding problem.”

Three new signs warning of the higher fines will be placed along the route, from Sudley Road to Route 29. The road will keep its 25 mph speed limit.

The fines collected could generate additional revenue for the county, according to county documents.

One of the state requirements for the signs to be installed, county officials noted they received a petition requesting the new signs be installed, signed by more than half of the residents who live in the area.

Signs notifying residents that county leaders were seeking comments from residents about the new increased speeding fines signs were posted along Featherbed Lane between July 17 and 31. No one commented, county documents state.

The new signs should be installed in about a month. County late this year leaders will also consider installing similar signs along Featherstone Road in Woodbridge, according to Steve Stevens, at the Prince William County Transportation Departement. (more…)

Residents examine Route 28 Manassas bypass, unintended consequences

MANASSAS PARK — Extending Godwin Drive across the Bull Run River into Fairfax County is shaping up to be the most popular idea to relieve congestion on Route 28.

But some residents question whether four-and-a-half mile road, with and its nearly $200 million price tag, will do anything at for congestion relief on Route 28 in Manassas.

The roadway has become Northern Virginia’s most congested corridor.

Dubbed “Alternative 2B,” the proposed road would extend Godwin Drive from Sudley Road near the Manassas Mall, between the Lomond neighborhood in Prince William County and residential neighborhoods in Manassas Park, across a new bridge over the Bull Run River connecting to Route 28 in Fairfax County.

About 200 people gathered Thursday night at the Manassas Park Community Center to gain insight, and to give input to local officials. Several large project display boards lined the room showing where roads could go, and whose homes could be at risk.

Prince William County Coles District Supervisor and Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) Chairman Marty Nohe stressed no decision has been made on where to place any new road.

“I couldn’t stand here and look you in the eye and tell you there won’t be impacts from this project. There will be impacts, and some will be impacted more than others,” Nohe told the crowd. “We won’t see these big maps change. We will see a more detailed map.” (more…)

Route 28 improvement community meetings start tonight

MANASSAS PARK — Though a dinosaur, the Tri-County Parkway remains in Prince William County’s Comprehensive Plan — for now.

The road has been talked about for more than 12 years and will probably never be built.

The county’s board of supervisors on Tuesday declined to remove the road from its comprehensive plan ahead of two community meetings, the first of which is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Manassas Park Community Center at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park.

Prince William leaders opted to hear from constituents before removing the parkway that would have taken drivers from the intersection of Sudley Road and Godwin Drive in Prince William County north through Fairfax County, terminating in Loudoun County.

Instead of the Tri-County Parkway, a plan to extend Godwin Drive from the Sudley Road to Route 28 at the Fairfax County line is one of three alternatives to be discussed at tonight’s meeting. Two others include widening Route 28 in its existing right-of-way, and extending Euclid Avenue from Manassas north to Orchard Bridge Drive, creating a Route 28 bypass, of sorts. (more…)

Prince William must ax old Tri-County Parkway if it hopes for funding for Godwin Drive Extended

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Out with the Tri-County Parkway and in with Godwin Drive Extended.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday could decide to remove the Tri–County Parkway, a limited-access highway from Manassas to Loudoun County conceived 12 years ago but never built, from Prince William’s comprehensive plan.

The Tri-County Parkway would have carried vehicles from the intersection of Route 234 and Godwin Drive to Loudoun County Parkway. The planned road is not to be confused with the on-again, off-again project, the Bi-County Parkway from Dumfries to Dulles Airport.

Removing the Tri-County Parkway from the comprehensive plan would allow supervisors to replace it with a new road called Godwin Drive Extended. This planned roadway in Prince William would traverse nearly the same path that was planned for the Tri-County Parkway along the border of Manassas, however, instead of taking drivers all the way to Loudoun County it would end at the border of Prince William and Fairfax counties at Compton Road. (more…)

Labor Day vacationers expected to fill E-ZPass Express lanes

Long-distance travelers use the E-ZPass Express Lanes on Interstate 95.

And the operators of the lanes said they’ll be ready for them, Today via a press release, they’re warning other drivers to be ready for them, too, this Labor Day weekend.

“Last Labor Day, the busiest getaway travel times on the regular I-95 lanes and the 95 Express Lanes was Wednesday between 4 to 7 p.m. and Thursday between 2 to 6 p.m. As such, drivers traveling along the 95 Express Lanes corridor over Labor Day weekend should prepare for heavy traffic volumes,” according to a press release.”

Beginning Tuesday, September 5, the start of the weekday morning reversal will shift from 10 a.m. back to 11 a.m. Here’s what drivers can expect Labor Day weekend:

Thursday, August 31: Southbound reversal begins at 10 a.m.
Friday, September 1: Southbound reversal begins at 10 a.m.
Saturday, September 2: Lanes reverse to northbound at 2 p.m.
Sunday, September 3: Lanes remain northbound
Monday, September 4: Express Lanes remain northbound all day
Tuesday, September 5: End of early summer reversal – southbound reversal now begins at 11 a.m.”

A survey conducted by toll lanes operators in May found 40% of users travel the E-ZPass Express Lanes when traveling to vacation destinations.

Let’s transform VRE from a commuter rail system into a run-trains-throughout-the-day transit system

Editors note: Potomac Local occasionally publishes opinion letters from our readers that address issues of broad community impact.

On September 7, a public meeting at the Manassas Park Community Center will highlight proposals to construct a new four-lane bypass around Manassas. 

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), City of Manassas, and Prince William County are now proposing solutions for traffic congestion on Route 28 (see http://www.route28study.com).  All the choices appear to be based on what they’ve done in the past.

“Build more roads” has been the solution to Northern Virginia traffic congestion since the Shirley Highway (now Interstate-95) was built to the Occoquan River in 1949 and expanded to four lanes in 1952.

How’s that worked, so far?  Is traffic flowing smoothly.  Think traditional solutions will fix future problems too?

It is now 2017.  Is it smart to assume Northern Virginia will continue its pattern of sprawl development, based on cars, for another 65 years – so we should build even more roads?

Hmmm, let’s pretend it is 1910.  Should we assume that the horse-and-buggy business would boom for another 65 years and build more stables? (more…)

In a growing downtown, Manassas confronts its parking problems

MANASSAS — New signs designed to make it easier to find parking in Downtown Manassas could be installed before Christmas.

The new blue signs with a large “P” printed on them, the international symbol to denote vehicle parking, will replace the traditional brown signs that match other street signs in downtown.

The news came Tuesday morning August 29 as city officials met with a handful of business owners who showed up at CENTERFUSE to discuss the downtown parking situation at a special program called “To Park or Not to Park.” While there, business owners told leaders their customers preferred parking on street side parking spaces, many of which have time restriction of 15 minutes, two or four hours.

They also said they want to make the city’s downtown as friendly to drivers as possible to ensure shoppers and diners keep coming back. (more…)

Old Centreville Road bridge closer to completion

MANASSAS PARK — A two-lane bridge is back to normal.

The Old Centreville Road bridge over the Bull Run River was scheduled to reopen to traffic in both directions Saturday morning, Aug. 26.

Since February, traffic along the Mansssas Park thoroughfare has been reduced to one lane and has been controlled in both directions by temporary traffic signals. The signals were scheduled to be removed Saturday. A VDOT spokeswoman said all remaining bridge work would be completed using flaggers Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Friday: 9 a.m. to noon.

This $4 million project aims to replace a two-lane bridge on Old Centreville Road built over the Bull Run River in 1968 with a new bridge. The project should be complete this fall. (more…)

$59 million Haymarket diverging diamond intersection safer, adds capacity

HAYMARKET — The orange cones are gone, and a new interchange in Haymarket is officially open.

Northern Virginia’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange, or DDI — where traffic is shifted to the opposite side of the road as vehicles pass through the intersection — carries drivers on Route 15 across Interstate 66.

The $59 million interchange took about two years to build, adds capacity to the road, reduces congestion, and improves safety by eliminating the need to make left turns in front of oncoming traffic.

“More than twice the number of cars can pass through this intersection then could pass through a traditional diamond interchange,” said VDOT District Construction Engineer Bill Cutter, who lauded the project for opening on time and budget. (more…)

Traffic study complete for proposed Kaiser South medical hub

WOODBRIDGE — If Kaiser Permanente builds a new medical campus, its patients are sure to follow.

The 335,000 square feet Kaiser South Northern Virginia Hub campus would be located on Minnieville Road, east of Caton Hill Road in Woodbridge. A new traffic analysis of the Minnieville and Caton Hill roads in the proposed development area shows about 530 trips to the center would be made during the morning hours and about 580 in the afternoon.

On a Virginia Department of Transportation-rated scale of A being the best and F the worst, the largest nearby intersection at Minneivlle and Caton Hill roads today operates at Level of Service D in the mornings, where there are a lot of cars but drivers can easily maneuver around the intersection. In the afternoons, it’s Level E where conditions are worse.

By 2020, traffic at the intersection will worsen, according to the study, with the intersection operating at Level E during the morning and afternoon peak rush hours, with some lanes operating at Level F. The study takes into account for 2% growth in traffic related to population growth in the area between now and 2020. (more…)

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