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Traffic & Transit

Changes coming to transit systems for July 4

From PRTC: 

In observance of the Independence Day holiday, there will be no PRTC bus service on Monday, July 4. Regular Saturday service will resume on Tuesday, July 5.

For best results, local OmniLink passengers wishing to make a reservation for an off-route trip for Tuesday, July 5 should call Customer Service by 7 p.m., Friday, July 1.

In preparation for the three-day weekend, PRTC will have a few extra PM OmniRide buses available for potential overflow on Friday, July 1. Because PRTC experiences a significant increase in mid-day and early afternoon OmniRide passengers on the day before a three-day weekend, to avoid overcrowding you may want to consider taking Metrorail or other regional bus services and transferring to a Metro Direct bus to complete your commute.

For more information, call our Customer Service office at 703-730-6664 or email Schedule information is posted

From VRE: 

In observance of Independence Day, VRE will not operate normal service on Monday, July 4th. Regular service will resume on Tuesday, July 5th.

From Metro: 

Metro will provide frequent rail service during the evening hours of Monday, July 4, to accommodate those attending the fireworks display on the National Mall.

Several hundred thousand passengers are expected to take Metrorail on Independence Day, with crowds primarily traveling to and from the 9:10 p.m. fireworks display on the Mall, as well as other events around the region. Metrorail service will operate from 7 a.m. until midnight, with near rush-hour service levels before and after the fireworks. Off-peak fares will be in effect for the entire service day.

For more information, please see the news release:

Photo: John H. Gray



VDOT will tear down beams from the old Catharpin Road overpass

Update from VDOT on June 28, 2016

Update: Closures for eastbound I-66 tonight and westbound I-66 Wednesday and Thursday are being rescheduled to next week (new dates will be announced). The eastbound work for Wednesday and Thursday nights will continue as planned.

Original post

From VDOT:

The Virginia Department of Transportation will conduct overnight lane closures on I-66 several nights this week between Route 15 and Route 29 in Gainesville, weather permitting, for crews to remove beams from the old Catharpin Road overpass.

On eastbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 28 through Thursday, June 30. Intermittent total closures up to 20 minutes will begin around midnight each night. One lane will be reopened after each total closure, with all lanes reopened by 5 a.m.

On westbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday, June 30. Intermittent total closures up to 20 minutes will begin around midnight each night. One lane will be reopened after each total closure, with all lanes reopened by 5 a.m.

Motorists should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

The new Catharpin Road overpass is part of the I-66 Widening Project, which will add one regular and one HOV lane in each direction from Route 29 in Gainesville to Route 15 in Haymarket. The $65 million project is scheduled for completion in August.

Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova


More info on PRTC fare hike coming July 5

From PRTC: 

As of July 5, fares will increase an average of 5%. The one-way fare on OmniRide commuter buses will increase from $6.20 to $6.50, Metro Direct commuter buses will rise from $3.10 to $3.25, and OmniLink local buses will increase from $1.40 to $1.50.

In another change, OmniRide commuter bus routes will offer fewer trips on Fridays and will no longer operate on these holidays: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Friday, and Christmas Eve.


Tuesday, July 5 on buses operated by the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC). PRTC updates its bus schedules twice a year to reflect changes in routing and travel times. These service changes and the fare increase were the subject of a series of public hearings held in February.

PRTC currently operates 17 commuter routes and 7 local bus routes serving Prince William County, the City of Manassas and the City of Manassas Park. In FY16, PRTC buses have carried an average of 11,200 passengers daily.

And, finally, 

Other notable changes taking effect July 5:

The Capitol Hill OmniRide route is eliminated.

Dale City OmniRide buses no longer service Crystal City. Instead, passengers going to Crystal City must ride a Lake Ridge OmniRide bus, or transfer to one.

Many OmniRide buses no longer serve neighborhood routing; instead service begins and ends at area commuter lots.

Manassas Metro Direct buses no longer offer all-day round-trip service between Manassas and the Tysons Corner Metro Station. In the morning, buses travel only from Manassas to Tysons, and in the afternoon/evening, buses travel only from Tysons to Manassas.

Manassas OmniLink local bus route is split into two separate routes: Manassas OmniLink-North and Manassas OmniLink-South. The buses meet at Manassas Mall at specific times to enable passengers to transfer.

Manassas Park OmniLink offers service only on the counter-clockwise Loop A routing, and buses meet up with the Manassas OmniLink North and South routes at Manassas Mall to enable passengers to transfer.

Online versions of the new schedule brochures – showing new routing and timetables – are available at For additional information about PRTC’s transportation services, contact PRTC’s Customer Service office at (703) 730-6664.

Pedestrian struck by train is Friday’s second fatality in Prince William

One person was struck by a train outside Manassas tonight. 

We don’t have much, just these notifications from police: 


This is the second confirmed fatality tonight in Prince William County.


Motorcyclist killed in crash on Occoquan Road at G Street in Woodbridge

Updated June 27, 2016

From Prince William police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation – On June 24 at 4:06PM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Occoquan Rd and G St in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a two vehicle crash. The investigation revealed that the operator of a 2006 Yamaha R1 was traveling eastbound on Occoquan Rd in the above area at an excessive speed when he collided with the driver of a 2014 Nissan NV2500HD van. The operator of the Yamaha R1 was transported to an area hospital where he died as a result of his injuries. Minor injuries were reported by the driver of the 2014 Nissan NV2500HD van. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors in this crash. The victim was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. The investigation continues. 


The driver of the 2006 Yamaha R1 motorcycle was identified Javier VANEGAS MORATAYA, 23, of Woodbridge.


The driver of the 2014 Nissan NV2500HD van was identified was identified as 23 year old man of Woodbridge.

Update 6:55 p.m.

From Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok: 

…this will be a confirmed fatal. Motorcycle operator, an adult male, succumbed to inquiries from the crash. Other driver of a work van was not injured.

Police plan to provide more information on the crash on Monday.

Original post

Serious crash involving a motorcycle. That’s all we know right now. 


Next rounds of Metro SafeTrack work to impact Virginia commuters; PRTC plans temp changes

PRTC will implement some temporary changes for the next phases of Metro SafeTrack work to impact Virginia commuters. 

Potomac Mills mall announced it would add some additional temporary commuter parking during the work. We asked Potomac Mills how many more spaces drivers could expect, but they didn’t respond.  A PRTC spokeswoman also didn’t have the information.

From a PRTC email: 

The third and fourth phases of WMATA’s SafeTrack work are scheduled to shut down a segment of the Blue and Yellow lines in Arlington and Alexandria. Visit Metro’s SafeTrack webpage for details about train frequency and shuttle buses.

   –From July 5 through July 11, there will be no rail service between Braddock Road and National Airport. 

   –From July 12 through July 18, there will be no rail service between National Airport and Pentagon City.

PRTC will implement a few minor changes (detailed below) to help PRTC and Metro passengers.

Also to assist during SafeTrack, Potomac Mills Mall will temporarily increase the number of spaces set aside for commuter parking starting on June 29.

 –Several evening trips on the Prince William Metro Direct route will leave later than scheduled, enabling more passengers to make connections. These accommodations will be in place only during these phases of SafeTrack.

The 7:45 p.m. weekday trip will depart the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station at 7:55 p.m.

The 10:40 p.m. weekday trip – the last trip of the night – will depart the Metro station at 10:55 p.m.

The 10:35 p.m. Saturday trip – the last trip of the night – will depart the Metro station at 10:50 p.m.

   –Eastern Prince William County residents may want to ride one of the many PRTC OmniRide buses to the Pentagon, Crystal City orRosslyn-Ballston and transfer to Metrobus, Arlington Transit bus or Alexandria DASH bus.

   –Those who travel mid-day should consider PRTC’s Dale City – Washington OmniRide MX-1 trip, which leaves PRTC at 11:05 a.m. and picks up passengers at the Route 123/ I-95 Commuter Lot before traveling straight to multiple destinations in downtown D.C. 

Potomac Local Poll 

This poll has ended.

Has your commute gotten worse because of Metro's SafeTrack repair program? 

Medivac called after Hylton Avenue crash

Submitted by @Surveillance911:

Big changes coming for OmniLink buses

PRTC sent us a list of upcoming changes to its commuter and local bus systems starting July 5: 

PRTC’s Service Change and fare increase will take place Tuesday, July 5. This Service Change includes the service reductions that were publicized earlier in the year during the FY 2017 budget public hearing process. New timetables are now available New schedule brochures will be available from operators upon request beginning Tuesday, June 28.

A comprehensive list of all the changes is available on our website.

OmniRide: **Service for most OmniRide routes will be reduced on Fridays. Modified Holiday service becomes no service for OmniRide buses.** There will be significant changes to most OmniRide routes.

Metro Direct: **Modified Holiday service becomes regular service for Metro Direct buses.** All Metro Direct routes will have significant changes. See detailed list here.

OmniLink: All OmniLink routes will have significant changes. See detailed list here.

Cross County Connector – Timetable changes; some service reductions.


The new fare structure will be:


     -Cash $8.75

   -SmarTrip $6.50

   -Reduced Fare $4.35*

Metro Direct:

       -Cash $4.00

      -SmarTrip $3.25

      -Reduced Fare $2.00

OmniLink & Cross County Connector:

     -Cash $1.50

     -SmarTrip $1.50

     -Reduced Fare $0.75*

     -OmniLink Off-Route Trip Surcharge $1.50

     -10-pack of Tokens $15.00

     -Reduced Fare 10-pack of Tokens $7.50*

Day Pass – Valid for travel within the local service area (SmarTrip only):

     -SmarTrip $3.40

     -Reduced Fare $1.70*

Weekly Pass – Valid for travel within the local service area (SmarTrip only):

     -SmarTrip $13.65

     -Reduced Fare $6.80*

*Reduced fares are available to adults 60 years and older, persons with a disability, or persons presenting a valid Medicare card. Additional information about PRTC’s reduced fare policy is available at

More from PRTC Interim Director Eric Marx: 

A Message from the Interim Executive Director:

While PRTC is on the verge of reducing services and raising fares, I’m pleased to report that we have begun a two-phased strategic planning effort funded by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). 

Phase I consists of developing recommendations for establishing alternative funding mechanisms and sources including:

—Reviewing and documenting the current state of practice for transit funding in the United States;

—Identifying potential funding opportunities that are not currently used by PRTC; and

—Recommending a number of strategies based on evaluation of the information gathered during plan development.  

The Phase I analysis will identify both short-term funding sources, necessary to reduce/eliminate the agency’s remaining average annual $2.2 million shortfall, and sources and strategies to ensure long-term (5+ years) sustainability/growth. 

Phase II will develop a strategic plan to guide PRTC’s provision of transit and other Transportation Demand Management (TDM) services through the year 2030. This new plan will build upon and update several documents that have guided PRTC over the past decade. Among the items that will be addressed are:

—Ensuring the sustainability of current services;

—Determining existing service gaps;

—Examining alternative methods of service provision; and

—Developing a framework for future growth.

Recognizing PRTC’s role in both the regional and local transportation networks, this effort will consider significant trends and planned changes within and outside of the three PRTC bus-sponsoring jurisdictions, and will be in keeping with PRTC’s stated mission and the values and goals expressed in those jurisdictions’ plans.

Phase I results are expected in August; Phase II work will begin in July.  PRTC anticipates the plan’s development will involve significant general public, customer, and stakeholder participation, and the PRTC Board of Commissioners has already established a project steering committee. 

Crash closes all lanes I-95 south at Prince William Parkway


From Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller: 

At 8:40 a.m., Wednesday, Virginia State Police responded to a crash in the southbound lanes of I-95 at Exit 158. The crash involved an SUV pulling a trailer. Two people were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. All lanes were reopened by 9:51 a.m. Crash remains under investigation.

10 a.m.

All lanes reopened.

9:08 a.m.

A crash involving a U-haul occurred about 9 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 at Prince William Parkway.

We don’t know yet if there are any injuries, or how the crash occurred. 

VRE running Firecracker Express trains on July 4

Riding Virginia Railway Express into Washington, D.C. is an easy way to enjoy the fireworks on the National Mall.

We rode the Firecracker Express two years ago in and out of the city for the annual fireworks show.

The ride was mostly uneventful. Some passengers on the trip home apparently had a little too much fun during the Independence Day party, so we had to watch our step to avoid a small mess on the floor.

More from VRE: 

As you probably have heard, we are operating trains so people can go to DC and see the fireworks on July 4th. Although tickets are available on-line until Friday, June 24th, you may now contact our main office at (703) 684-1001 for more details about purchasing.

The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) will run a Firecracker Special on both the Fredericksburg and Manassas Lines to downtown Washington, DC for Fourth of July Fireworks 2016. Trains will come northbound in the afternoons and will return southbound approximately an hour after the fireworks end.
How Much?

Tickets will be sold online from June 6, 2016 to June 24, 2016 for $10.00 each person roundtrip (from any station) including all children. Tickets will be sold in our Alexandria office until July 1, 2016, 6:30pm. To purchase tickets at our office visit us at 1500 King Street, Suite 202 Alexandria, VA 22314 or call us at 703-684-1001 9am to 6:30pm any weekday until July 1, 2016 6:30pm. Tickets are non-refundable.

Tickets can be purchased on our website at:

Tickets are non-refundable.

Valet, more commuter parking coming to Potomac Mills mall

One word is synonymous with the Potomac Mills mall parking lot on any  weekend: Jammed.

The retailing center today announced some changes to its parking lot:


The three new parking services include:

Veterans-Only Parking [Opening Wednesday, June 29th
To honor the brave men and women who have served our country, Potomac Mills will have six reserved spaces for Veterans and their families. The spaces will be located near the main entrance of the mall.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 29th near the AMC theaters to officially open the spaces. Remarks will be provided by Marie Moore, Mall Manager, Potomac Mills.

For more information about attending the ceremony, contact Michael Timberlake ( or call 202-207-3659).

Weekend Valet Parking Program [Now Open] 
For a nominal fee, valet parking will be available at the newly remodeled mall entrance next to the restaurant plaza. Hours of operations will be Friday (5 pm – 12:30 a.m.), Saturday (11 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.).

Expanded Commuter Parking Lot 
As the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) SafeTrack initiative gets under way, more Prince William County residents are expected to be affected. To help ease the situation, Potomac Mills will be expanding its commuter parking lot to accommodate temporary parking for affected residents. The existing commuter lot will nearly double in size allowing more residents the convenience to park their cars and access alternative transportation routes. 

Potomac Mills in 2011 reduced the number of commuter parking spaces by 75% to make way for the expansion that included Bahama Breeze, Cheesecake Factory, and Matchbox restaurants. 

We did a lot of reporting on it back then, as the move riled commuters: 

Fewer parking spaces got you bummed? You have options

Commuters Can Park at Church

Church Lot Flops, New Commuter Lot Picked

Frustrated Slugs slowed by parking changes

$95,350 Paid for Parking Spaces

Traffic is getting worse thanks to Metro SafeTrack. What you can do to avoid the mess.

It is the second week of Metro’s big SafeTrack repairs and Virginia transportation officials say traffic has gotten worse. 

From VDOT:

While day-to-day analysis of traffic patterns continues, VDOT’s traffic operations center has observed an increase in congestion and delays on some major routes when compared with the same weekdays in recent weeks. Drivers are reminded that impacts may fluctuate based on accidents and other events, and that the month of June can also generally include an uptick in traffic volume on northern Virginia roads, with early vacation traffic, an increase in regional visitors, and schools in session for most of the month.

What you can to to prevent getting stuck in a delay: 

During surges that impact their route, commuters are strongly urged to rideshare, telework, adjust work schedules and use other alternate options. For those who must drive, allow additional time for trips and plan for extended rush hours, and remain alert to increased congestion as commuters adjust routes and travel methods during each surge.

Commuters are reminded to visit for details on station-specific impacts, links to transit options and local commute alternatives.

VDOT’s traffic operations center will monitor and adjust signal-timing to help support extended peak hours and changes in traffic patterns.

VDOT will also continue to evaluate lane closures for maintenance, construction and permitted work on impacted roads during the day.

This poll has ended.

Has your commute gotten worse because of Metro's SafeTrack repair program? 

Work to move island, merge lane at Minnieville & Parkway begins

Work is underway to bury utility lines at Prince William Parkway and Minnieville Road,

Once buried, crews will move an out-of-place concrete traffic island on Prince William Parkway east and move it to the right, as well as move a merge lane that carries drivers turning right onto the parkway from Minniville Road.

We wrote about the project last year. The effort is now expected to cost $2.7 million and should be finished by the end fo the year, according to Prince William County Transportation Department spokesman Rick Canizales.

Crews last year completed work to widen Prince William Parkway from four to six lanes between Minnieville and Old Bridge roads. This is the final phase of that project.

Friday afternoon traffic tie ups in the country and city

Hey back way commuters who use Aden Road to Fitzwater Drive to get to Stafford County and points south: this will delay your trip.

A blue sedan went into a ditch while headed east on Aden Road, at the intersection of Parkgate Drive. The accident scene is just east of a four-way stop at Aden that causes a major backup for drivers on Aden Road ( the country).

Fire and rescue crews pulled up at 4 p.m. The driver appeared to be outside of his car talking on his cell phone. He appears to be OK.


At about 2:30 p.m. near Manassas (the city), fire and rescue crews were called to a report of an unconscious person at the intersection of Sudley Road and Sudley Manor Drive.

A Prince William police spokesman said it was a medical call. A fire and rescue spokesman did not have any about the incident at the time we emailed him.

It looks like at least one person was taken to a hospital. A two truck was called to the intersection to remove a silver hatchback.

Portion of Purcell Road to close this weekend

From VDOT:

Purcell Road will be closed to through traffic between Hunter’s Grove and Westside roads from 8 p.m. Friday, June 10 until 5 a.m. Monday, June 13 to replace a drainage pipe, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Access during the closure will be limited to residents within the closure area and emergency responders.  

Through traffic will be detoured via Kahns Road and Hoadly Road back to Purcell Road (pictured).

Message signs alerting motorists to the closure are in place. Detour signage will be in place during the closure.

E-ZPass Express Lanes on I-95 switching to summer schedule

From 95 Express Lanes: 

The northbound 95 Express Lanes and I-395 high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes will close weekdays at 10 a.m. for the morning reversal beginning Friday, June 10.  The early closure will enable southbound travelers to enter the 95 Express Lanes around 11:30 a.m., one hour earlier than the current schedule.  Overnight weekday reversals will continue to take place from about midnight to 2 a.m.  

“During summer months, we consistently see much stronger demand in the southbound direction across both the regular lanes and Express Lanes during the late morning period,” said Nic Barr, vice president of operations, Transurban.  “By providing drivers with an extra hour of access to the southbound 95 Express Lanes, we hope to improve their travel experience and reduce congestion in the adjacent regular lanes.  With summer traffic beginning to increase, this is an ideal time to implement the adjusted schedule.”

The schedule will remain in place throughout the summer. 

Average Virginia commute hasn’t changed in 8 years, study finds

OmniRide buses that are used to take commuters from Prince William County to Washington. D.C. will continue to operate.

The transit system’s $56 million budget keeps commuter, and local buses running for the next year and includes a mixture of ride fare increases, service cuts, and administrative savings to include lower-than-budgeted diesel fuel costs. Overall, it’s good news for an agency that earlier this year faced a $9 million budget shortfall and discussed cost-saving measures like converting its commuter bus fleet to feeder buses only serving Metro stations.

Prince William County — the largest funder of OmniRide, because it has the most residents who use the service —  kicked in an additional $6 million in one-time funds to offset the budget shortfall this year. Next year, and for every year until 2021, the transit system will continue to face a $2.2 million budget shortfall, said Eric Marx, the interim director for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission.

It will be up to local politicians a year from now make up that funding, or else the transit agency must look for more cuts or “cost savings.”

Overall, Virginian’s have become more “multi-modal” since 2007, according to a statewide travel study conducted by the Southeastern Institute of Reasearch and heralded by Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

The study found a six-percent decrease in single-driving commuting, meaning those to travel to work along in a car. Statewide, commuters still travel the same distances (about 37 miles one way) and spend the same amount of time (about 30 minutes one way) in 2015 as they did in 2007.

Fredericksburg commuters have the longest commute in the state traveling on average 60 miles round trip, spending an average of 90 minutes roundtrip commuting, according to the study.

The statewide numbers are important to OmniRide. However, the agency will soon begin its two-phase study that will examine how other localities across the nation fund their transit systems. The buses in our region are funded by state, and federal subsidies, and from a motor fuels tax fund reserve that built up when gas prices topped $4 a gallon six years ago but now is near depletion.

“Are they using gas taxes, or are they using meals taxes or some other form of funding? These are the things we will look at,” said Marx.

A second phase of the investigation will examine alternative transportation modes. Slugging, and the rise of ride share services like Uber and Lyft, and how they impact or offset transit services, has gotten the attention of transportation officials.

Dumfries installs traffic barrier on Graham Park Rd.

New traffic delineator posts on Graham Park Road in Dumfries are in place to help control traffic.

The new posts are standing at one of the busiest intersections in the town at Graham Park Road and Route 1, between Dunkin Donuts and Triangle Shopping Plaza. This section of Graham Park Road is used by drivers from Route 1 north and south, and by drivers coming out of the Prince William Estates, Williamstown, and Graham Park Shores neighborhoods need to access Route 1.

Before the $2,000 delineators ware installed last week, drivers making a left from Graham Park Road into Triangle Shopping Plaza would stop traffic on the two-lane road. This caused backups on Route 1 north, said town manager Daniel Taber.

Drivers who want to turn left into Triangle Shopping Center now must turn left onto Route 1 south at a signal light, and then turn left into the plaza entrance from Route 1.

The traffic delineator is the next in a line of traffic improvements made to the busy intersection, to include retiming the two traffic signals at the intersection. A yet-to-begin improvement project at the intersection will install a new control box for the signal lights, consolidating the number of control boxes from two to one. Additionally, the project will add a new northbound lane alongside the southbound portion of Route 1 from Tebbs Lane to Graham Park Drive, so northbound drivers no longer have to turn right on southbound Route 1, exit the town, turn around, and drive north, said Taber.

A separate road project about two miles north of Graham Park Road, to add two new turn lanes from Route 1 north to Route 234 north is nearly completed. Severe traffic backups along Route 1 caused by drivers turning left onto Route 234 prompted the new lanes, said Taber.

The project was administered by Prince William County and VDOT.

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