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Morning commuters run into delays after equipment malfunction in Interstate 95 paving project in Stafford
By Scott Shenk
Paving snafu causes 9-mile clog on I-95
A paving-machine malfunction in a work zone was the cause of a big backup Thursday morning for northbound commuters on Interstate 95.
The traffic jam began early and continued throughout the morning. The Virginia Department of Transportation's 511 alerts reported nine-mile backups at about 7:30 a.m.
The equipment problem happened in the early morning hours and kept the contractor, Virginia Paving, from being able to clear out from the interstate before the mandated 4:30 a.m. deadline, according to VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon.
The crews are milling and paving a section of two lanes between the Courthouse Road and Aquia exits in Stafford County.
As the crews were milling the left lane in that area at about 1 a.m., there was a problem with a piece of equipment used to smooth asphalt being laid on the milled lane. After a consultation with a VDOT inspector, the crews laid the asphalt, even though it couldn't be smoothed.
The decision was made for safety reasons. Without the asphalt, the milled section was four inches lower than the untouched lane next to it, Hannon said. Laying the asphalt reduced the difference to 2 inches, but it still made for a bumpy ride.
Hannon said the work was done and the lanes reopened about 5 a.m. But crews still had to clear equipment from the shoulders.
Before the weekend, the crews will smooth over that left lane. On Sunday evening, they plan to start the process of completely topping off the lane with more asphalt.
On the bright side, drivers will get a break from road work come Memorial Day weekend. VDOT will suspend all interstate projects between next Friday and noon the following Tuesday so holiday drivers can avoid pesky construction delays.