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Work on express lanes moving forward
Reader wonders about the alleged removal of a low-bridge sign on Courthouse Road and a quick update on the express lanes work on I-95 and I-495.

Date published: 11/5/2012

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By Scott Shenk

THE EXPRESS lanes work is really ramping up.

Work on Interstate 95's express lanes project is moving ahead, but the more immediate impact (for commuters primarily, but also for anyone heading to Dulles) is along Interstate 495.

Here's a little update on both projects, which will replace the HOV lanes with electronically tolled lanes.

I-495's new express lanes will open this month--as early as Nov. 17--but in the meantime, work on the project is reaching fever pitch.

That work will cause dozens of nighttime lane and ramp closures between now and the opening of the lanes.

Work on the I-95 express lanes is having an impact in our area, too.

Some of the work will be done at night. But there also will be daytime work that will impact interstate travelers.

For example, one lane each way on the interstate will be closed this week between the Garrisonville and Joplin Road exits so workers can move barriers. The closure is scheduled to last from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon Friday.

There are other closures slated, but primarily on overpasses and underpasses.

We'll keep you informed on the projects' impacts, but you can also find information on both projects at vamegapro jects.com.

Dear Scott: I hope you can help with an issue that has plagued our neighborhood for years now.

Awhile ago, during the Courthouse Road (Route 630) widening project east of Route 1 in Stafford, an essential sign was removed.

The sign was located heading east on Courthouse Road, just before the right turn onto Andrew Chapel Road, and alerted trucks to the low overhead of the railroad bridge spanning Andrew Chapel Road. The sign was never put back up after the Courthouse Road work was finished.

Now we have large trucks turning down Andrew Chapel Road, unaware of the fact that they won't be able to fit under the train trestle.

Andrew Chapel is a narrow country lane, with no room for a U-turn for a small car, much less a large truck.

Traffic is tied up in all directions by the train bridge while the truck driver scratches his head and figures out how to turn his rig around, and how to find another route to his destination.

The only way for the trucks to turn around is to back up into the driveway of the Brooke fire station, which blocks fire truck egress in an emergency.

Would it be possible for VDOT to return the sign to Courthouse Road (or put up a new one) alerting trucks to the low overhead?

--Pamela de Toledo, Stafford

According to VDOT's Tina Bundy, a review of the project's records didn't turn up anything about removing signs, but the question prompted engineer staff to check the area and they determined that low-clearance signs are indeed needed there.

You should expect to see the signage within the next two months.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436
Email: sshenk@freelancestar.com