UPDATE: Tonight's meeting has been postponed because of road conditions, but Wednesday night's meeting is still scheduled to be held.

ORIGINAL STORY: Stafford County officials will host two sessions to lay out transportation plans as part of a comprehensive study identifying future needs and how to pay for them.

The county has produced an “objective, data-driven” evaluation study aimed at improving roads, Stafford spokeswoman Shannon Howell said in a news release. The meetings will cover information from the study, including a list of recommended projects.

And officials want feedback.

One meeting will take place Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Anne E. Moncure Elementary School in North Stafford. The meeting will be broadcast live on the county’s Facebook page. The second meeting will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Drew Middle School in Falmouth. A presentation of the study also will be available on the county’s website.

While the Virginia Department of Transportation is the lead on road projects, locally and around the state, Howell said that the county also focuses on road work, spending $57 million in the past eight years on 22 projects.

The county’s work has largely been driven by the Youth Driver Task Force, formed a decade ago after deadly crashes involving young drivers. The task force focused on addressing some of the county’s dangerous rural roads, some of which have been improved as a result.

“We continue to be proactive in identifying problem roads and formulating transportation solutions with our current road study,” said Keith Dayton, the project manager for the task force. “These meetings are designed to provide an opportunity for public involvement as we move forward.”

The study analyzed 114 roads or road segments. The Board of Supervisors told staff to do further study on 63 roads or road segments.

Questions and comments can be made at the meetings or by emailing Dayton at kdayton@staffordcountyva.gov.

Let’s follow up on last week’s question about navigation concerns in the construction zone of the State Route 630 widening and interchange projects in Stafford County. The first question focused on the temporary commuter lots, this one concerns the exit.

Dear Scott: Another problem at the State Route 630 exit from southbound Interstate 95 is that most traffic is taking a left off of the exit, including a high volume of semi trucks.

The volume of traffic causes a back up at the light/bridge and vehicles are left in the intersection because they are trying to beat the light coming off of I–95, resulting in those trying to get on southbound I–95 from the left-turn lane on Courthouse Road having to sit through multiple lights.

—Dawn Walter, Locust Grove

Anyone who wants to see what life would likely morph into should some kind of apocalyptic event take place need do no more than watch congestion-hardened drivers battle their way through work zones.

Blocking intersections appears to be an acceptable practice to a select portion of these work zone drivers. Many of these folks could simply be suffering from a haywire hypothalamus crossing up their fight or flight signals. Or they’re just impatient hotheads.

Either way, work zones always are less than ideal, and local Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kelly Hannon said that while rush-hour congestion won’t go away during construction, crews will check to see if pavement markings or signs could improve things.

She also noted that “conditions demonstrate why the new diverging diamond interchange is underway, as more travel lanes and a different pattern are needed to adequately accommodate the number of people and vehicles traveling through the Exit 140 interchange at peak times.”

When work is finished in 2020, Courthouse Road will have six lanes at the new interchange, with traffic flowing on and off interstate ramps and managed by traffic signals, which “are designed to enhance vehicle movements through this corridor,” Hannon said.

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

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