Transform 66 Outside the Beltway: Construction update meeting on Sept 4th for Vienna-Oakton area
On Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project Team will host an update meeting on upcoming work near the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro Station, Route 123 Interchange construction progress, and the new design for the Nutley Street Interchange. The meeting will be held at the Providence Community Center, 3001 Vaden Drive, Fairfax, with an open house from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will begin at 7 p.m. and will be repeated at 8 p.m.
Two major milestones for the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project were reached in August, including setting the first bridge beams at the new Bull Run Drive overpass and achieving a major safety milestone of two million safe work hours on the project.
Additional activities included:
• New temporary traffic patterns at the ramp from I-66 West to Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) North and Braddock Road at Route 28, so work can progress on the new Route 123 and Route 28 interchanges
• Traffic pattern shift on I-66 West near Gallows Road and the start of new bridge piers next to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro Station for the new Gallows Road overpass
• Progress on new retaining walls near Jermantown Road along I-66 East and West
• Bridge foundation work at Route 28, I-495, Route 234 Business (Sudley Road), and Bull Run Drive
• Paving at the University Boulevard Park and Ride Lot in Gainesville
“Steve the Crane” is making a name for himself on I-66
By now, many of you have probably driven by or seen media featuring the now semi-famous Transform 66 team member that some social media users have named “Steve the Crane.” While he may be a fun diversion for many on their daily commutes, for the I-66 project team, Steve and his fellow cranes are critical to our construction efforts as we transform I-66.
Steve and similar cranes, professionally referred to as 500-ton cranes, have some impressive capabilities. Standing 189 feet tall when extended, Steve’s arms provide critical support for lifting heavy loads. He helped us set the first bridge beams of the project at the new Bull Run Drive overpass. Each of the 10 bridge beams are 131 feet long and 62 tons in weight. Steve then moved to Route 234 Business (Sudley Road), setting up in the median below I-66 to lift beams for the new bridge carrying the collector-distributor road for traffic exiting I-66 West.
Steve does not yet have a location for his next lifting session, but with many more bridges to build on this 22-mile project, keep an eye out for him and his fellow cranes!
Nutley Street interchange design change
The new “double roundabout” design proposed for the Nutley Street Interchange will move forward beginning in early 2020. This alternative and innovative design will improve traffic flow and safety on Nutley Street and can be built in a smaller footprint than the earlier design proposal. These and other benefits were highlighted at a public information meeting in June 2019. Find additional details about the new design on the project website outside.transform66.org. Nutley Street Interchange construction will be coordinated with the planned temporary closure of the nearby Vaden Street bridge over I-66 to minimize impacts to the traveling public.
Fender Bender? Move it over to a pull-off area
Keeping people safe and traffic moving are top priorities for the Transform 66 Project team. Drivers who are involved in a minor crash (no one injured, the car can be driven) or a breakdown can do their part by moving their vehicle out of the roadway to avoid obstructing traffic. It’s not just the right thing to do – it’s the law.
There are currently 16 designated emergency pull-off areas located on the right shoulder along the I-66 Outside the Beltway construction corridor. These areas are identified with orange signs and provide designated places for drivers to stop in case of crashes or emergencies to keep drivers safe and help reduce congestion and secondary crashes.
If you’re in a minor crash or breakdown, do the safe thing – move your vehicle to the shoulder or an emergency pull-off area.
A Pledge to Excellence: Warren County Sheriff’s Office earns prestigious state accreditation
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office has proudly announced that they have joined the top 100 law enforcement agencies across the Commonwealth in gaining state accreditation. This achievement is significant, as state accreditation is the best measure of a law enforcement agency’s compliance with professional standards. These standards are determined by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission, comprised of Virginia sheriffs and police chiefs chosen for their professional expertise and knowledge.
The accreditation process involves a thorough review of every facet of the agency’s organization, management, operations, and administration, thereby ensuring that agency resources are used in alignment with agency goals and objectives and that any internal deficiencies and inefficiencies are promptly addressed before they become public problems.
The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) jointly form the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission. Active Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, who are members of the Commission, set professional standards and oversee the accreditation process. The DCJS manages the daily operations of the Commission.
Accreditation offers a range of benefits, including enhanced community understanding of the law enforcement agency and its role in the community. It also boosts public confidence in the agency’s policies and practices, fosters cooperation with other law enforcement agencies and branches of the criminal justice system, and ensures a uniform and efficient delivery of law enforcement services to the community.
For officers within the agency, accreditation ensures the availability of written policies and procedures at all times, provides objective measures to gauge the effectiveness of the agency’s programs and services, and increases employees’ confidence in the effectiveness and efficiency of their own agency.
In essence, accreditation is a coveted award that symbolizes professionalism, excellence, and competence in law enforcement. The employees of Warren County Sheriff’s Office now take pride in their agency, knowing it represents the very best in law enforcement.
Accredited Agencies in our area include:
- Berryville Police Department
- Clarke County Sheriff’s Office
- Page County Sheriff’s Office
- Winchester City Sheriff’s Office
- Winchester Police Department
- Woodstock Police Department
Experience the hidden wonder of Middletown’s Ogdens Cave: Exclusive access granted by DCR for one day only
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is set to provide a unique opportunity to the public during Virginia Cave Week from June 4-10. On Tuesday, June 6, between 2-7 p.m., the public will be allowed to tour Ogdens Cave Natural Area Preserve. Normally sealed off due to the delicate species living inside, this one-off event promises an adventure to remember.
Virginia Natural Heritage Program speleologists and cavers, part of DCR, will guide the tours inside the preserve, which will include a short exploration of the cave. Each tour will last up to one hour, giving visitors a glimpse into a fascinating, often unseen world.
Attendees need to prepare adequately for the trip. The department will provide helmets and headlamps, but visitors are advised to wear sturdy shoes or boots with treads, long pants, a light jacket or rugged shirt with long sleeves, and gloves. This is due to the cave temperature maintaining a steady 54 degrees.
For those interested in taking part in this rare opportunity, RSVP by emailing Meredith Weberg at email@example.com by Monday, June 5. Specific driving directions will be provided to attendees.
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: Groundhog(s)
These two infant groundhogs serve as a reminder of why you should never trap and relocate adult animals, especially during the Spring and Summer months!
Multiple adult groundhogs were trapped and relocated from a location. Unfortunately, days later, these two baby groundhogs were found out of their burrow, severely emaciated and weak after being without their mother for days.
Relocating animals also can spread disease, causing further suffering to the animals that already exist in the areas these animals are relocated to.
Relocated animals no longer know where to find food or shelter and can find themselves attacked or injured by present animals defending their territory or limited food sources.
Many people think the only option for wildlife conflict is to either relocate the animal or have it euthanized, but there’s a third option—exclusion!
There are many ways to humanely exclude animals from your yard or property that allow the parents to take their babies with them, preventing orphans and the negative consequences of relocation!
If you’re having a problem with a wild animal in your yard or on your property, please give us a call FIRST before taking matters into your own hands. Keeping babies with their parents is always in their best interest!
These two are slowly going through a refeeding protocol and have now begun to eat some solid foods on their own.
Trapping and relocating wildlife is not only illegal in Virginia and most other localities, but it’s also inhumane and unethical.
Relocating an animal causes situations like these, where orphans who otherwise would’ve grown up with their natural parents now have to be cared for in a rehabilitation setting. Many more orphans are never found and are left to die from starvation or the elements slowly.
Looking for an easy way to help native wildlife? Become a monthly BRWC donor! For as little as $5/month, you can provide year-round, sustainable support that helps us fulfill our mission.
Warren County commits to supporting veterans with U.S. Army PaYS partnership
An important ceremony is set to take place on June 7, 2023, at 1:00 p.m., marking a significant partnership between the U.S. Army and the County of Warren. The Army Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) signing ceremony will be held in the Community Room of the Warren County Public Safety Building, located at 200 Skyline Vista Drive, Front Royal, VA 22630. The public is cordially invited to witness this monumental event.
Initiated by Sheriff Mark Butler, an Army veteran himself, this partnership aims to increase the recruitment of qualified personnel for the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Butler’s familiarity with the Army PaYS program led to the establishment of this partnership, which is expected to significantly increase the pool of qualified applicants while guaranteeing interviews for veterans.
In an effort to extend the benefits of this partnership, the Warren County Human Resources Department also expressed its desire to join the Army PaYS program. Following this, on December 6, 2022, the County of Warren was made an official Army PaYS partner with the signing of an agreement by Warren County Administrator Dr. Edwin Daley.
The Army PaYS program is an initiative designed to assist soldiers as they transition into civilian careers after their service. The program connects them with employers who value the skills, discipline, and work ethic that military service members bring to their businesses. The program also encourages business owners to view the Army as a reliable and plentiful source of recruitment.
Since its inception in 2000, the Army PaYS program has partnered with more than 1020 employers, indicating the program’s broad reach and impact. The U.S. Army and the County of Warren’s partnership promise to further extend this impact, opening up more opportunities for veterans and aiding in their smooth transition into civilian life.
A Day of Remembrance: Colonel James Wood II Chapter, Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution and American Red Cross hold Memorial Day event
The hallowed grounds of Winchester’s National Cemetery reverberated with the echoes of history this Memorial Day. Local citizens, the youth of Cub Scout Den 45, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution (named after Colonel James Wood II, an influential figure in the American Revolution), and the American Red Cross (a humanitarian organization tracing its roots back to 1881) came together to pay homage to the heroes of our past.
This event beautifully encapsulated a tradition that traces its lineage to the era of the Civil War. The roots of this observance trace back to a suggestion by Henry Welles in 1865 in the village of Waterloo, New York, for a day of decorating the graves of the fallen Civil War heroes, which came to be known as Decoration Day.
In keeping with this rich history, ahead of the Memorial Day ceremony on May 29th, flags were placed on the graves at the National Cemetery. Leslie Caliva of the American Red Cross, an organization with a rich history of service, hosted the formal observance. The color guard, led by Commander Brett Osborn, and the honor guard, led by Jim Cordes, presented colors in a show of respect for the fallen.
CJWII Chaplain Thomas Reed, inheriting the historic title of Chaplain, offered an inspiring invocation, while the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Charles Hunter, USA (Ret), from the storied VFW Post 2123. The keynote address was given by Terry Stotler, Chief of Voluntary Services at the Martinsburg Veterans Administration Medical Center, detailing the myriad of services the VA provides to support the veterans in the tri-state area of northwest Virginia, northern West Virginia, and western Maryland.
Following a musket salute fired by the SAR Musket Squad and renditions of ‘God Bless America’ and ‘Taps’ by Charles Hunter, SAR members stood alongside dual members Bryan Buck (Fort Harrison), Dave Cook, and Jim Cordes (Fairfax Resolves), participating in the ceremony and bringing history to life.
As we remember our fallen heroes on this Memorial Day, we recognize the historical journey from Decoration Day to Memorial Day and the nationwide observance it has grown into today. This commemoration at the Winchester National Cemetery symbolizes a steadfast tradition and a tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Traffic Charges filed after car strikes Downtown Front Royal Pavilion support beam
The below photos show the result of a motorist striking one of the Front Royal Village Commons/Gazebo area Pavilion support beams on Thursday, May 25th. The time of the accident was listed on the resulting traffic summons as 2:27 p.m. (14:27). The driver was identified at the scene by responding Front Royal Police as local resident Elizabeth Ann Smith, age 69. She was issued a summons for “Driving a vehicle which is not under control; Reckless Driving.” No injuries were reported as a result of the accident. Smith has a pending mid-July traffic court date in Warren County General District Court. As of publication, the pavilion remained cordoned off pending permanent repairs.
Wind: 1mph NNW
UV index: 7