Providing adequate transportation infrastructure and access are two major issues for Woodbridge, Prince William County and all of metropolitan Washington. Traffic congestion is a significant concern of Woodbridge residents. Gridlock is commonplace along Route 1 and Interstante 95 during morning and evening rush hours as residents struggle to get to and from their daily activities.
As the community grows, more drivers with more automobiles put stress on the existing road network. Prince William County has tried to alleviate the problem by creating its own transportation department, funding numerous road projects through public bonds and participating in multi-modal mass transit initiatives. Infrastructure improvement projects are underway to increase capacity, move commuters more efficiently through Woodbridge and improve access within the community.
The widening of US Route 1 through Prince William County from the Fairfax County line to the Stafford County line has been approved. The cross-section will include 3 northbound lanes and 3 southbound lanes, with a landscaped median. Sidewalk will be provided on one side of the roadway, and a trail on the other side. These improvements are made in segments, several of which have already been funded.
Additionally, the Department of Rail and Public Transit (DRPT) has conducted a Route 1 Multi-modal Alternatives Analysis to consider multi-modal options for Route 1 between I-495 in Fairfax to Route 123 in Woodbridge. Read more about the study here.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is improving Route 1 between Annapolis Way and Mary’s Way. The design for the interchange project was completed in 2011, after multiple public hearings with the community. The project is broken into two phases. Phase I will widen the road from four to six lanes with turn lanes, a raised median, sidewalk on the east, multi-purpose trail on the west, and crosswalks. This phase includes the acquisition of 99 properties, some of which need to be demolished, the undergrounding of utilities along Route 1, and finally the widening of the roadway.
Phase II includes a 23 foot tall flyover along Route 123 into Belmont Bay. This phase is estimated at $100 Million, which has not been identified. Mary’s Way to Featherstone Road:
The 1.3 mile segment of Route 1 exists between the other two road projects. If left unaddressed, it will create a significant bottleneck. Having been left out of the planning process for years, we have now secured several million dollars to fund the design and planning of a road widening project in this location. The estimated $54 Million for actual construction of the road has not yet been identified. However, this segment of road was declared the number one road priority in Prince William County by the Board of County Supervisors in 2013. Supervisor Principi is confident that we can solicit regional transportation funding to move this project forward.
Featherstone Road to Neabsco Mills Road:
The 2006 voter-approved road bond referendum included $100 million to begin work on the widening of Route 1. Two segments were identified in the referendum – Featherstone Road south to Neabsco Mills Road, and Bradys Hill Road south to Joplin Road in the Potomac District. Prince William County began construction of Route 1 from Featherstone Road to Neabsco Mills Road in 2013 with the purchase of right-of-way and the demolition of structures in the pathway of the road. Utilities are being buried underground, as crews prepare to widen the roadway.
Neabsco Creek Bridge:
The construction of the 6 lane bridge over Neabsco Creek was completed in the spring of 2010. The bridge was raised from its previous height to alleviate flooding issues. Under budget and ahead of schedule by 3 months, this project was an excellent partnership between Virginia Department of Transportation, Prince William County Government, and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Interstate 95: On the weekend of July 4th, 2011, the Virginia Department of Transportation unveiled a fourth lane on both the north- and southbound sides of I-95 between Woodbridge and Fairfax. Stretching from the Purple Heart Bridge to the existing lane between Lorton and Springfield added much-needed capacity for Woodbridge commuters on the congested interstate. The project took over a year to complete and cost the state approximately $123 million. Current construction for the I-95 Express Lanes is underway. This project will convert the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes into toll lanes. Beginning in 2015, you will need an EZ pass to use these lanes. You can read more about this project, how to use the new system, and about the EZ Pass at this link.
Neabsco Mills Road:
A group of private developers have extended Neabsco Mills Road from Dale Boulevard to Optiz Boulevard (in front of Stonebridge) as a 4 lane, divided roadway. This segment completes a network (Neabsco Mills Road, Blackburn Road, Reddy Drive, and Opitz Boulevard) that will allow local circulation without using US Route 1 in this area. Currently, another developer is widening the road from Dale Blvd to the entrance to Freedom High School or Northern Virginia Community College. The remaining segment from the Community College down to Route 1 has been identified as a highly travelled route.
Blackburn Road Bridge: After the earthquake and hurricanes of 2011, this bridge was closed for emergency renovations when it was discovered that the foundation had large cracks. VDOT replaced the bridge under an emergency contract, adding a sidewalk at the strong urging of the community.
Supervisor Principi strongly supports a feasibility study for bringing Metrorail to Woodbridge via extension of the Blue line in Franconia/Springfield. With the recent opening of the Silver Line in Tyson’s Corner, it is clear that major transit infrastructure projects are still possible, but require many, many years of thoughtful study and planning. Metrorail is a long term solution, but why wait to start the discussion? We need to start now.
Passenger Ferry Service:
On May 6, 2009 Supervisor Frank J. Principi hosted a Commuter Ferry Summit in Woodbridge, Virginia. The summit was held in conjunction with a Virginia Department of Transportation ferry feasibility study that included a three day Route Proving Exercise. The study predicted a ridership of 340,000 person trips per year. Commuters who live in the Washington, DC -area suburbs, particularly military personnel and contractors, were considered some of the primary users of this service. To serve these commuters, the proposed service would include: Quantico Marine Corps Base; NSF-Indian Head; Marshall Hall; Fort Belvoir; National Harbor; the City of Alexandria; Reagan National Airport; and the Washington Navy Yard, among others.
On September 23, 2010, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) conducted the first stakeholder meeting for a Commuter Ferry Service on the Potomac. Since these first stakeholder meetings, a Steering Committee has continued to guide the progress for the passenger ferry service along the Occoquan, Potomac or Anacostia Rivers. A regional market analysis was recently concluded that determined the amount and locations of current demand for this service.
Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Service:
VRE provides commuter rail service from the Northern Virginia suburbs to Alexandria, Crystal City and Washington, D.C., along the I-66 and I-95 corridors. Service began in 1992 with 16 trains and 5,800 passengers daily. Now, VRE operates 30 trains from 18 stations. The Fredericksburg Line, which runs through Woodbridge, has carried a record high of 21,000 passengers in one year. Two VRE stations currently exist in Woodbridge. A brand new station was announced in August of 2014 to be built at the Potomac Shores development on the Cherry Hill peninsula.
In recent years, VRE has been investing in expanded service by adding cars to the tracks and extending platforms at local stations. To learn more about VRE, please visit their website.
PRTC Bus Service:
The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) is a multi-jurisdictional agency representing Prince William, Stafford and Spotsylvania Counties and the Cities of Manassas, Manassas Park and Fredericksburg. PRTC provides commuter bus service along the busy I-95 and I-66 corridors to points north (OmniRide & Metro Direct), and local bus services in Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park (OmniLink & Cross County Connector). To learn more about PRTC, please visit their website.
PEDESTRIAN & BICYCLE NETWORK
Sidewalks line both sides of the road in many Woodbridge residential neighborhoods. Yet, once residents arrive at a major thoroughfare, the sidewalk abruptly ends essentially creating a “sidewalk to nowhere.” Today, students from Freedom High School walk on the shoulder of Dale Boulevard to get home, shoppers walk on Route 1 to cross over Powell’s Creek and residents of Potomac Town Center cannot safely walk or ride their bikes to recreational destinations such as Veterans Park, Rippon Lodge, or the Rippon VRE Station. Since 2008, nineteen pedestrian accidents occurred in the Woodbridge District. National statistics and studies prove that sidewalks reduce the number of injuries to pedestrians.
In the fall of 2012, transportation and planning experts from local and state government attended a Pedestrian Network work session to identify a total of 31 gaps in sidewalks and 4 crosswalks that were essential to creating a Pedestrian & Bicycle Network. The top five priorities are listed below:
- Route 1 at Powell’s Creek Bridge ($710K) FUNDED
- Dale Boulevard from Neabsco Mills Road across Route 1 and along Rippon Boulevard ($1.8M) FUNDED
- Opitz Boulevard from the Wawa to Neabsco Mills Road ($1.5M) FUNDED
- Blackburn Road from Rippon Boulevard to the Cow Branch Bridge ($500K) FUNDED
- Blackburn Road from Reddy Drive to Featherstone Road ($600K)
All of these have been funded by developer proffers, regional grants, or road projects, with the exception of half of Opitz Boulevard (from the library to Stonebridge). As the District strives to move from a suburban auto dependent community to an urbanized pedestrian friendly community, it must ensure residents can safely walk or ride bikes from their homes to parks, recreational facilities, schools, churches, and businesses.
Bike to Work Day:
Each year, Supervisor Principi hosts a “pit stop” on Bike to Work Day to support riding a bike to the train station, as opposed to driving. Biking is becoming a popular mode of transit for many people. It’s healthy, less expensive, and good for the environment. Learn more here.