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Traffic & Transit

A crash, honey bees, and a lost dog amount to a bizarre story on Virginia’s Capital Beltway

From Virginia State Police: 

Virginia State Police Trooper C. Lanfranchi Jr. is investigating a multi-vehicle crash in Fairfax County. The incident first began around 4 p.m. Wednesday (May 2) with a minor. two-vehicle, fender-bender crash in the northbound lanes of I-495 near Georgetown Pike. 
 
As those vehicles were trying to move out of the travel lanes and over to the shoulder, they were struck by a northbound tractor-trailer that had veered into the Jersey wall. 
 
The driver of the tractor-trailer was found in his cab unresponsive due to a medical emergency. 
 
As Trooper Lanfranchi and medical personnel were assessing the scene, they were suddenly swarmed by bees. Further investigation revealed that the flatbed tractor-trailer was loaded with pallets of honey bees. During the crash, a strap had broken off and one of the pallets shifted – thus allowing the bees to escape.
 
During the course of the crash investigation, an elderly man and his son stopped out at the scene. They both happened to be experienced bee handlers and offered their assistance. They suited up, inspected the flatbed trailer, and helped secure the load and capture a majority of the bees.
 
In addition, a small dog was found running loose at the scene. Trooper Lanfranchi was able to rescue the pup and placed the dog safely in his patrol car. It was determined the dog belonged to the tractor-trailer driver. Because it took quite a while to clear the scene, the trooper even took the dog for a quick walk with an improvised “leash” he found in his patrol car. 
 
The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 56-year-old Missouri man, was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. 
 
Neither driver in the original crash was injured in either crash.
 

OmniRide riders on I-66 to pay half fares during toll lanes construction

HAYMARKET — Riders on OmniRide commuters buses that travel on Interstate 66 from the Gainesville, Haymarket, and Manassas areas will soon pay half.

The transit agency will launch its new half fare program on May 7 to encourage residents in western Prince William County to take transit as the work on the I-66 E-ZPass Express Lanes ramps up.

From a press release:

Riders will pay half-fares on OmniRide express buses that travel along the I-66 corridor for the duration of the construction, which is expected to last for four years. The discount applies to Manassas and Gainesville OmniRide express buses serving points in Washington, D.C., the Pentagon, and the Tysons Corner Metro Station.

Half-fares on the routes are funded by the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation to mitigate congestion along I-66 during Express Lanes construction. The goal is to encourage commuters to use transit rather than driving alone.

One-way SmarTrip fares on OmniRide buses to the Pentagon and points in Washington, D.C. will be $3.45 instead of the regular $6.90 fare, and on buses serving the Metro station will be $1.75 instead of the regular $3.45 fare.

The half-fare buses will serve commuter lots in Haymarket and Gainesville, however, OmniRide encourages new riders to use a commuter lot on Portsmouth Road near the Manassas Mall for its ample parking spaces, and more seating on buses that serve the lot.

The new toll lanes on I-66 outside the Beltway are expected to open in 2022. The lanes will look like E-ZPass Express Lanes in the Capital Beltway between Springfield and Tysons Corner, with separated lanes on each side of the highway for toll payers and transit buses to use. 

The transit system also urges those who work odd schedules to use OmniRide to find a vanpool.

A 29-year-old Manassas woman involved in fatal crash on I-66

From a press release: 

Virginia State Police J.H. Stubblefield is investigating a two-vehicle crash in Fairfax County. State police was called to the scene at 3:51 a.m., on Interstate 66 east of Exit 57. 

A 2012 Honda Civic was traveling west on Interstate 66 when it was rear-ended by a westbound 2015 Hyundai Elantra. 

The driver of the Civic, Lesly R. Coronado, 26, of Falls Church, Va., died at the scene. She was not wearing a seat belt. 

The 29-year-old female from Manassas, Va., who was driving the Hyundai, was not injured in the crash. She was wearing a seat belt. 

Charges are pending at this time. The Virginia State Police Fairfax Division Crash Reconstruction Team is assisting with the ongoing crash investigation.

OmniRide will take children to work free (with a parent, of course)

From a press release: 

In support of national Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, children age 17 and younger can ride any OmniRide bus for free on Thursday, April 26, when accompanied by a paying adult.

This is an opportunity to introduce students not only to the working world, but also to the many alternatives our region has to driving alone. Riders are encouraged to bring their children along for the ride on an OmniRide express bus or OmniRide local bus on April 26 and show them the basics about using public transportation so they can gain confidence as they mature and start their own careers!

Teens who want to continue using OmniRide local buses this summer can take advantage of the Teen Summer Bus Pass, which enables anyone ages 13-19 to take unlimited rides on local bus services from June 1 through September 1, 2018 for just $30. In addition, teens with a Summer Pass can travel on OmniRide express buses to nearby Metro stations simply by paying the difference between the local and express bus fares!

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is a national public education program that aims to connect what children learn at school with the actual working world. This day provides an opportunity for children to begin to envision their future home and work lives. OmniRide looks forward to welcoming many new young riders on April 26!

For more information, visit DaughtersAndSonsToWork.org.

Changes coming to Woodbridge/Lake Ridge OmniLink bus

The Woodbridge/Lake Ridge OmniLink buses will no longer serve some stops and will stop traveling through Tacketts Mill shopping center. 

From an email of OmniRide: 

New routing and bus stops will be served as of Monday, April 23 for all local Woodbridge/Lake Ridge buses at Smoketown Plaza and Tackett’s Mill.

At Smoketown Plaza, local Woodbridge/Lake Ridge buses will begin serving a new bus shelter across from Arby’s, behind the Mobile 1 Lube Express. The last day that buses will serve the current bus stop, in front of Subway, will be Saturday, April 21.

At Tackett’s Mill, local Woodbridge/Lake Ridge buses will no longer travel through the shopping center at the management company’s request. (However, Lake Ridge Fellowship House will continue to be served as an on-demand and off-route trip location.) Instead, starting on April 23, two new bus stops will be served outside the shopping center at:

  • Tackett’s Mill Drive after Minnieville Road, behind CVS and in front of Burger King; and

  • Harbor Drive before Lake Manor Drive, next to the lake and across from the Car Wash. This stop will serve as the start and end point for all trips that currently are listed as starting and ending at Tackett’s Mill. It also will be a time point, which means any early-arriving buses will remain at this location until the scheduled departure time.

OmniRide takes a page from Uber’s book, proposes on-demand commuter lot service

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I-95 Express tolls suspended due to flooding — No access at Prince William Parkway

Officials have suspended tolls on the Interstate 95 Express Lanes this morning.

Flooding on the I-395 HOV Lanes at Landmark in Alexandria has caused major backups on the main lanes of Interstates 95 and 395.

There is no access to the Express Lanes at Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge.

From I-95 Express Lanes spokeswoman Pierce Coffee:

“…flooding on 395 means it has remained closed this morning as crews pump out the water. We’re working to have it open as soon as possible.

The Lanes are being closed and diverted at Prince William Parkway in coordination with Virginia State

Police and VDOT to try and manage this morning’s incidents and closures.

We’re working to have all lanes reopened as quickly, and safely, as we can.”

The reversible lanes are expected to close to all traffic at 11 a.m. for its regularly scheduled turnaround time, reopening at 1 p.m. for drivers headed south from Washington, D.C. into Virginia. 

From the National Weather Service:

Truck hauling wood chipper catches fire on Bristow Road

BRISTOW — A Ford F-550 pick-up hauling a wood chipper caught fire this morning about 9:15. 

Police and fire and rescue crews were called to the scene on Bristow Road near Barbee Road, according to Prince William police spokesman Nathan Probus.

Crews doused the blaze and the truck and chipper were removed from the roadway. 

No one was injured. 

The truck fire occurred near the Brentsville Historic Courthouse Centre. 

Thanks to Jeff Gallop for sending us these photos. 

Metro funding fix leaves $200 million Route 28 improvements in a lurch

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‘The 95 Express Lanes reversal will be adjusted this weekend’

From an email: 

Good afternoon Uriah,

The 95 Express Lanes reversal will be adjusted this weekend to support increased traffic visiting Washington D.C. for the “March For Our Lives” demonstration on Saturday, March 24.  

Here is what drivers should expect:

Saturday, March 24:

  • At about midnight, the southbound Lanes will begin closing for reversal. The Lanes will reopen in the northbound direction by about 2 a.m.
  • At about 10 a.m., the northbound Lanes will begin closing for reversal. The Lanes will reopen in the southbound direction by about noon and remain southbound until Sunday.

Sunday, March 25:

  • At about midnight, the southbound Lanes will begin closing for reversal. The Lanes will reopen in northbound direction by about 2 a.m.

  • Lanes will remain northbound until Monday at 11 a.m.  

Work on Pentagon ‘pork chop’ means changes for slugs

From VDOT: 

Work to reconfigure slug lines and create new bus-only travel lanes at the Pentagon Reservation’s South Parking Lot “Pork Chop,” located east of Eads Street and north of I-395, will begin on or about Monday, March 19. Pedestrians and motorists should exercise caution while traveling in the area.

The work is part of the I-395 Express Lanes Project, a public-private partnership project between VDOT and Transurban that is extending the existing I-95/I-395 Express Lanes eight miles from Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road in Alexandria to the Washington, D.C. line.

As part of this change, crews will temporarily relocate the slug lines in the order shown in the diagram. Temporary signage will direct drivers and pedestrians.

Privately owned vehicles will no longer be able to use the exit to VA-110 and will enter and exit the “Pork Chop” from Eads Street.

In addition to the South Parking Lot work, the 395 Express Lanes Project will convert the South Rotary Road drop-off/pick-up lane to a right-turn Express Lane entrance ramp. As part of the South Rotary Road work, crews will install gates along the South Rotary turn lane, and install traffic signals on Eads Street at North and South Rotary Roads.

The I-395 Express Lanes are scheduled to open in fall 2019, while other elements of the project are expected to be completed by summer 2020. For additional information about the project, go to www.395expresslanes.com and www.virginiadot.org/395express.

From the scene: Oxygen truck overturns closing Route 234 for hours Friday afternoon

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