Written by Supervisor Ruth Anderson
Over the last two years, I have held six community meetings specifically on traffic congestion mitigation in or near the Occoquan District. Several solutions were suggested by residents including improvements to I-95 from the Route 123 interchange to the Prince William Parkway interchange. Prince William County commuters suffer from the current configuration of I-95 south over the Occoquan River. As it stands today, traveling south, I-95 has four through lanes as you approach the I-95/Route 123 interchange. The 4th lane abruptly ends at the same time as the exit ramp onto Route 123 pulls away. This effectively creates a 2-lane reduction over about 200-300 meters. Moreover, the short acceleration ramp onto I-95 south from Route 123 creates a dangerous weaving motion that exacerbates the congestion.
To address these concerns I supported the Prince William County Board of Supervisors proposal to widen I-95 and apply for 2016 Smart Scale funding, which is the primary state funding source for transportation projects. This proposal was unsuccessful in its bid for several reasons. One primary challenge was a conflict with the existing HOT lanes contract (Transurban) for I-95 that limits future expansion of general-purpose lanes on I-95. Once the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) made this determination, I began working toward an alternate plan with elected officials at the Federal, State, and Local level as well as senior representatives from Prince William County Transportation, Virginia Department of Transportation, and Transurban. My new goal was to determine what project could be proposed for 2018 Smart Scale funding that would dramatically improve the safety and quality of life for commuters on I-95 southbound and secondary roads, without creating a new lane.
My office is working directly with all previously mentioned organizations as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation on a new proposal that creates a reinforced shoulder between the Route 123 interchange and the Prince William Parkway interchange. This will eliminate the need for cars entering I-95 southbound to merge quickly into traffic. The impacts of the proposed improvements are still being studied, but they would potentially make this section of road safer, improve the flow of traffic by reducing accidents, and make trips on the road more reliable for commuters. This project has been submitted for Federal funds with plans to submit for state funds this fall.
© Copyright 2018 What's Up Prince William. All Rights Reserved