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I-66 Outside the Beltway Project: Lane closures and traffic changes – Week of October 27, 2019

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The Vaden Drive bridge over I-66 closed Oct. 18 for about 10 months so that it can be demolished and rebuilt. Find details on detours and upcoming work here.

Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project construction continues throughout the corridor during daytime and overnight hours as weather conditions allow. Current activities include:

• Demolition of Vaden Drive bridge

• Constructing bridge foundations at Compton Road, Route 28, Route 123, and I-495
• Small charge dynamite operations along I-66 West in Centreville, west of Route 28
• Bridge deck work for new Bull Run Drive overpass, collector-distributor road over Route 234 Business (Sudley Road), and new Route 28 bridges over I-66
• Relocating waterlines at Northbourne Drive, Stringfellow Road, and Jermantown Road
• Constructing new utility duct bank and relocating underground utilities along I-66 East between Jermantown Road and Cedar Lane
• Paving for new E.C. Lawrence Park access road
• Retaining wall construction along I-66 and Route 28
• Corridor-wide roadway maintenance as needed

The Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project will add express lanes stretching 22.5 miles from the Capital Beltway to Route 29 in Gainesville, rebuild major interchanges along the I-66 corridor, create thousands of new park and ride spaces, and expand trail options for cyclists and pedestrians. Learn more at Transform66.org.

Upcoming Lane Closures and Traffic Changes
The following planned lane closures are expected to have significant traffic impacts. All work is subject to change based on weather and schedule. Find the latest information on travel conditions and work zones by visiting 511virginia.org or downloading the Virginia511 app.

ROUTE 29 / GAINESVILLE
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 234 BUSINESS (SUDLEY ROAD) / MANASSAS
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 28 (SULLY ROAD) / CENTREVILLE
Route 29 North and South
Monday, Oct. 28: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
One lane will be closed on Route 29 North and South to implement lane shifts for construction. Drivers should expect occasional 20-minute stoppages and slowdowns along Route 29.

Ramp from Route 29 South to I-66 West
Monday, Oct. 28: Midnight to approximately April 2021
After midnight on Monday night, the existing ramp from Route 29 South to I-66 West will be closed. Drivers will access I-66 West by turning left at the traffic signal using two new left turn-only lanes to join the existing ramp from northbound Route 29 to I-66 West. This new, temporary traffic pattern will remain in place for approximately 18 months.

I-66 West from Route 28 to Route 29 Centreville
Tuesday, Oct. 29, and Wednesday, Oct. 30: 9 p.m. to 10 a.m.
Two lanes will be closed for paving operations.

Ramp from Route 29 North and South in Centreville to I-66 West
Tuesday, Oct. 29, and Wednesday, Oct. 30: 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Temporary ramp closure for paving operations. Traffic will be detoured to I-66 East, and then directed to exit at Route 286 (Fairfax County Parkway) North, and stay to the right and follow signs for I-66 West.

Ramp from I-66 West to Route 29 Centreville
Tuesday, Oct. 29, and Wednesday, Oct. 30: 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Temporary ramp closure for paving operations. Traffic will be detoured prior to the closure to Route 28 South, then follow signs to Route 29 South.

I-66 East from Route 29 Centreville to Route 28
Thursday, Oct. 31, and Friday, Nov. 1: 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Two right lanes will be closed for paving operations.

Ramp from I-66 East to Route 29 Centreville
Thursday, Oct. 31, and Friday, Nov. 1: 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Temporary ramp closure for paving operations. Traffic will be detoured farther east to Route 28 North to Westfields Boulevard West, stay to the right for Route 28 South, then follow signs to Route 29.

Route 28 South between Braddock Road and I-66
Ramp from Route 28 South to I-66 East
Sunday, Oct. 27, and Monday, Oct. 28: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Two lanes will be closed each night for crews to work on the new bridge over Route 28. The ramp and two left turn lanes from Route 28 South to I-66 East will also be closed nightly from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Traffic will be detoured farther south to Route 29 North, stay to the right and then follow signs for I-66 East.

Route 28 North between Route 29 and I-66
Tuesday, Oct. 29, through Thursday, Oct. 31: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Two lanes will be closed on northbound Route 28. Drivers should expect periodic 20-minute stoppages.

Ramp from I-66 East to Route 28 North
Tuesday, Oct. 29, and Wednesday, Oct. 30: 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
The ramp from I-66 East to Route 28 North will be closed for crews to perform overhead bridge work. Traffic will be detoured farther east to Route 286 (Fairfax County Parkway) North, stay to the right for I-66 West, then follow signs to Route 28 North.

Ramp from I-66 East to Route 28 North
Thursday, Oct. 31: 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Periodic 20-minute stoppages will occur during the overnight hours on the ramp from I-66 East to Route 28 North.

I-66 East and West between Route 29 Centreville and Stringfellow Road
Ramp from Route 28 South to I-66 West
Ramp from Route 29 North to I-66 East
Ramp from Route 29 Centreville to I-66 East
Monday, Oct. 28, through Friday, Nov. 1: 11 a.m. to noon
Temporary 15-minute stoppages of traffic on I-66 East and for blasting operations. Additionally, stoppages will also occur on the ramp from Route 28 South to I-66 West, the ramp from Route 28 North to I-66 East, and the ramp from Route 29 Centreville to I-66 East starting at 11 a.m.

I-66 East at Compton Road
Route 29 North at Stone Road
Route 29 South at Trinity Parkway
Ramp from I-66 West to Route 29
Wednesday, Oct. 30, and Thursday, Oct. 31: 11 a.m. to noon
Temporary 15-minute stoppages of traffic on eastbound I-66 and on Route 29 North and South near I-66 for blasting operations Additionally, stoppages will also occur on the ramp from I-66 West to Route 29 starting at 11 a.m.

ROUTE 286 (FAIRFAX COUNTY PARKWAY)
Stringfellow Road between Fair Lakes Boulevard and Village Square Drive
Ongoing through late November
The right lane of southbound Stringfellow Road will be closed for underground utility relocation. The lane will be reopened weekdays between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. to accommodate the evening rush.

ROUTE 50 / FAIRFAX
I-66 East and West from Monument Drive to Route 123
Monday, Oct. 28, through Wednesday, Oct. 30: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Three lanes will be closed on eastbound I-66 between Monument Drive and Waples Mill Road, and on westbound I-66 between Route 123 and Waples Mill Road for installation of Cox Communications conduit along Waples Mill Road. Drivers should expect periodic 20-minute stoppages.

ROUTE 123 (CHAIN BRIDGE ROAD) / OAKTON – CITY OF FAIRFAX
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 243 (NUTLEY STREET) / VIENNA
I-66 East from Blake Lane to Nutley Street
Monday, Oct. 28, through Friday, Nov. 1: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Saturday, Nov. 2: 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.
Demolition of the Vaden Drive bridge over I-66 East will require lane closures. I-66 East through lanes will be closed between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. with traffic diverted to the eastbound collector-distributor road. All lanes will be reopened by 5 a.m.

I-495 (CAPITAL BELTWAY)
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

Commuter Alternatives
VDOT and the project team have invested in a broad range of programs to help commuters and others stay mobile and safe during construction. Learn more about carpool, vanpool, telework, and commuter bus alternatives.

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Update on train derailment: ‘hazardous material’ cars removed from scene

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Early Friday evening Warren County Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico responded to Royal Examiner’s inquiry on details of the train derailment in the Linden area of eastern Warren County that morning. Maiatico said that “proper authorities”, likely as in a national and/or state transportation oversight agency, would conduct the accident investigation, so declined to theorize on a cause of the derailment.

Royal Examiner is awaiting a response from Norfolk Southern Railroad on a request for additional information on the accident investigation and cleanup of the scene.

As for the number of involved railcars, the county fire marshal explained, “The train consisted of five locomotives and 44 railcars. The five locomotives carry a large quantity of fuel and various other fluids that can be potentially hazardous when released. The fuel tanks and other containers holding liquids in the locomotives remained intact and did not rupture in the derailment.”

As can be seen in Royal Examiner’s exclusive video of the accident scene, while derailed the five-unit train engine complex remained upright.

In these still images from our video at scene, above, you can see the slightly listing lead engine and trailing locomotive cars remaining upright though derailed; below, a closer look at the start of the derailment behind the engine apparatus. Royal Examiner Video/Mark Williams

“Of the 14 cars that left the track, all but two were empty. The two with cargo consisted of a wood and plastic product,” Maiatico added.

As to the “limited hazardous materials” reported to have been carried by railcars not involved in the derailment, Maiatico said, “Several cars that remained on the track behind the 14 derailed cars were transporting various materials meeting the classification of hazardous. These cars have been removed from the area by disconnecting and transporting away on the unaffected track.”

We will continue to update this story as additional information becomes available through investigative agencies and Norfolk Southern Railroad.

Sheriff’s Office adds to train derailment information; Route 55 could be closed various times over the weekend

No injuries or immediate threat determined from Linden train derailment

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Victory Garden Update

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About two weeks ago, volunteers from our community planted the first Victory Garden here in Front Royal. Our publisher Mike McCool stopped by the garden Saturday, May 30, 2020 to check on the progress. He spoke with Fern Vasquez one of the organizers of the Victory Garden.

The volunteers have formed an organization called CHEO. It stands for Citizens Helping Each Other. Click here to reach their Facebook page.

CHEO is looking for volunteers to water and weed in the garden. You must have a signed waiver on file to volunteer in the garden. Waiver forms are available at Fussell Florists or by e-mailing CHEOcommunitygarden@gmail.com.

Community gardens help everyone of all ages to come together, participate, contribute, and get a sense of pride in helping one another. CHEO (Citizens Helping Each Other) Front Royal is a group of citizens, working with the support of the County leadership, to help our neighbors in need and promote unity in our community. 2020 sees the launch of the Pandemic Victory Garden Program. CHEO is not a program of local government. CHEO is an alliance of private citizens and community service groups.


See the first story on our Community Victory Garden.

Local volunteers start community Victory Garden to support area food banks

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Sheriff’s Office adds to train derailment information; Route 55 could be closed various times over the weekend

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A Warren County Sheriff’s Office Press Release on the Linden train derailment was distributed from the County Administration Office at 12:19 p.m. Friday. That release presented some seemingly contradictory information on the number of train cars being pulled by the involved five-locomotive engine apparatus. The sheriff’s office release cited 12 cars, as opposed to the 50 mentioned, with 14 leaving the tracks, in an “Incident Report” posted earlier on the Warren County Fire & Rescue Facebook page.

Calls to the Sheriff’s Office and Fire & Rescue to attempt to clarify the discrepancy prior to publication were unsuccessful.

Sheriff Butler asks that drivers consider using an alternate route instead of Route 55 toward Linden. Watch for detours and stopped traffic in that area.

Here is the WCSO release in its entirety:

“An inter-agency response that included members from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Warren County Fire & Rescue, Virginia State Police (VSP), and Norfolk Southern Railroad (NSR) occurred on Friday, May 29, 2020 at approximately 8:52 AM due to a train derailment.

“The train consisted of five locomotives and twelve cars, mostly empty at the time of the incident. No fire or explosion occurred, no hazardous materials were involved, and no injuries were reported. The cause of the incident is undetermined at this time; however, it is under investigation by the VSP and NSR.

“As of 10:15 AM, the derailment did not affect vehicular traffic on major County roads or the interstate. The only affected area consisted of four small roadways in proximity to the incident. These roads are Pickrell Drive, Keyser Wood Lane, Winona Drive, and Red Barn Lane. There are approximately ten residences in that area, all have been notified by the Warren County 911 Center by use of the reverse 911 System and RAVE alert system.

“The time for reopening of all roadways is estimated to be between 08:00 and 10:00 PM this evening. Updates to follow if this time changes.”

See Royal Examiner’s on-site video of the derailed train scene with a related story:

No injuries or immediate threat determined from Linden train derailment

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LFCC virtual commencement scheduled for Saturday, June 6

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LFCC will celebrate its graduates at 1 p.m., Saturday, June 6, with a virtual commencement ceremony. The ceremony will feature the national anthem, remarks from President Kim Blosser, a student speaker, student awards and the conferring of degrees.

LFCC student Rebecca Hoffman will perform the national anthem, which will be followed by remarks from President Blosser and the presentation of the Outstanding Graduate Awards for the Fauquier Campus and the Middletown Campus. A faculty member from each campus will also address the Class of 2020.

Nursing graduate Shannon Weisbrodt is the student commencement speaker. She is also the mother of our 2018 commencement speaker, Morgan Ryan, who is a 2020 graduate of Mary Washington University.

Graduates’ names will scroll across the screen, and throughout the video, photos of those who submitted them will be shown. The college provided free mortarboards and tassels to all those students who RSVP’d to attend the virtual graduation ceremony.

LFC has never had a commencement ceremony like this one before, President Blosser noted.

“The saddest announcement I’ve had to make over the past few months was that we wouldn’t be able to gather together in person to celebrate the most special college event of all – commencement,” she said. “But, despite the physical restrictions, all of us at LFCC have worked hard to create a meaningful way to commemorate your hard work and accomplishments. We hope our graduates will gather together with their loved ones – in person or remotely – to watch the ceremony together. While we won’t be together in person for a traditional commencement ceremony, please know that all the faculty, staff, and your fellow students, are celebrating your accomplishments and wishing you the best.”

The Class of 2020 consists of nearly 1,300 students. Below is the number of graduates per service region:

  • Clarke County, 47
  • Fauquier County, 188
  • Frederick County, 321
  • Page County, 85
  • Rappahannock County, 24
  • Shenandoah County, 160
  • Warren County, 146
  • City of Winchester, 164
  • Other, 161

The ceremony will go live at 1 p.m.,  Saturday, June 6 at www.lfcc.edu/commencement. A recording of the ceremony will also be available on the site for future viewing.

Emma Revis is one of the graduates who submitted a photo for LFCC’s virtual commencement ceremony.

LFCC is also naming two professors emeriti for all they have done to serve the college and its students:

  • Frost McLaughlin, professor of English from 1997-2019
  • Ernest “Ernie” Grisdale, professor of chemistry from 1988-2019

Nursing graduates will have a virtual pinning ceremony that will go live on the site at 1 p.m., Sunday, June 7.

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No injuries or immediate threat determined from Linden train derailment

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Still images from the scene – Photos / Warren County Fire and Rescue Facebook Page

Just prior to 9 a.m., Friday morning, May 29, Warren County Fire & Rescue responded to a report of a train derailment in the 4000 block of John Marshall Highway/Route 55 East of Front Royal in the Linden area of Warren County. A notice of the incident was posted shortly after 10 a.m. on the county fire & rescue Facebook page.

County Emergency Services reported no injuries or public health threat from the derailed cars. According to the department’s initial “Incident Notice”, first responders found all five locomotives and 14 of 50 rail cars being pulled, derailed. However, traffic in the area was not impacted.

And while it was reported that some “limited hazardous materials” were part of the Norfolk Southern train’s cargo, none of the cars containing that material were among those that derailed. First responders also determined that none of the “limited hazardous materials” had leaked from their tanks on the still upright rail cars.

So, it was determined there was no immediate public health threat from the derailment.

Both the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police, as well as Norfolk Southern Railroad personnel were assisting at the scene. Those units were awaiting the arrival of additional Norfolk Southern personnel to begin the cleanup.

Additional information on the cause of the derailment, what the “limited hazardous materials” were, and the cleanup process will be reported as it becomes available.

Royal Examiner Videographer Mark Williams went to the scene around 11 a.m. and took this exclusive video footage:


Fire & Rescue Incident Notice

Following is the entirety of the original Warren County Fire & Rescue “Incident Notice” posted on the department’s Facebook page shortly after 10 a.m.

“The Department of Fire and Rescue Services, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, and Norfolk Southern Railroad are currently operating on the scene of a train derailment in the area of the 4000 blocks of John Marshall Highway. There is currently no threat or danger to the community.

“At 8:57 AM, the Department of Fire and Rescue Services responded to a reported train derailment in the 4000 blocks of John Marshall Highway. Units arrived on the scene to discover 5 locomotives pulling approximately 50 rail cars. Five locomotives and 14 cars left the track and derailed, leaving the remaining cars on the track.

“Fire and Rescue personnel were able to determine that no injuries occurred. While the train was hauling limited hazardous materials, no hazardous materials cars derailed or product leaked from their tanks.

“Units are currently awaiting the response of Norfolk Southern Railroad to begin the cleanup process.

“Citizens are urged to stay clear of the area, no traffic is effected at this time.”

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Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – May 28, 2020; Phase 2 could start June 5th

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Governor Northam joins the Virginia Emergency Support Team to share the latest updates on the COVID-19 response. Here are the highlights:

The Governor said that earliest the state could enter Phase Two would be Friday, June 5. Phase Two would look like this: stay at home for vulnerable populations, no social gatherings of more than 50 individuals, continued social distancing, continued teleworking, face coverings in public, and further easing business limitations.

He also mentioned the requirement to wear face masks starting Friday, May 29, people will be required to wear masks inside retail shops, restaurants, personal care, and grooming establishments, places people congregate, government buildings, and public transportation.

Exceptions will be allowed, including while eating or drinking, exercising, those with trouble breathing or health issues, and children under age 10. The governor stated enforcement would be done through the Virginia Department of Health, not by local Sheriff or Police.

Here’s the latest briefing:

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