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BOOMS TO BRING EXPRESS LANES
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 Work on the I-95 express lanes extends into Stafford. Pile driving will begin soon near State Route 610.
PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 1/31/2013

BY SCOTT SHENK

The familiar booming that's part of life around Marine Corps Base Quantico will soon become more frequent, but not because of exploding munitions.

Pile-driving work on the Interstate 95 express lanes near the Aquia-Garrisonville interchange will soon add to the rumbling.

Some North Stafford residents may have already noticed booming around the Russell Road area. Crews just wrapped up pile driving there for the replacement I-95 bridge as part of the express lanes project.

Crews soon will move their equipment south to the Garrisonville exit, said Michelle Holland with the Virginia Department of Transportation's Megaprojects.

Workers will start on the foundation for the new flyover ramp that will carry southbound traffic from the new electronically tolled express lanes to the primary interstate lanes and to the State Route 610 exit.

The flyover will cross over southbound I-95 and run along the outside lanes in an effort to avoid backups in the interstate.

Crews will be driving the piles, which are needed as supports for the flyover from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays. The loudest part of the work is done in 15-minute intervals. This phase of the project is expected to run into late February.

People who live near Staffordborough Boulevard or shop at Stafford Marketplace will really notice the booming from the project.

At this point, the work on the bridges may only cause sporadic lane closures, Holland said. But eventually, work on the bridges will lead to more lane closures.

"When crews begin setting steel for these new bridges and flyover ramps, there will be significant lane closures on I-95," Holland said. "Demolition of the old bridges and structures also requires significant closures."

There also will be similar bridge work on Telegraph Road near Quantico. That bridge will be closed so it can be torn down and replaced with a new one. That work is slated to start in March.

The nearly $1 billion express lanes project will add nine miles of lanes in the I-95 median, from Garrisonville to Dumfries, where they will join with the current HOV lanes.

All of the HOV lanes are being converted to toll lanes with congestion-based pricing.

Vehicles with less than three passengers will pay a variable toll rate, but the lanes will be free for motorcycles, buses, vanpools and carpools.

The lanes are expected to open in early 2015, according to Transurban, one of the two companies building the system.

There are plans to eventually extend the express lanes to Massaponax in Spotsylvania County.

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