State wants to hear thoughts on transit

This Wednesday, the state will lend an ear to what you think should be done to our region’s roads.

Well, maybe half an ear.

They probably don’t want to hear requests to bring Metrorail to Woodbridge. Some elected officials laugh at that idea.

With the dwindling cash in VDOT’s pockets, officials on the Commonwealth Transportation Board might only want to hear about projects that improve safety.

But considering the amount of rear-end accidents in stop-and-go traffic, isn’t congestion dangerous, too?

Information on the CTB meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday can be found at under the two links on the “Six Year Plan.”

Dear Lane Ranger: I go in to work early and drive down Va. 234 at about 5:45 a.m. I can hit all of the lights green once I get started from Godwin Drive until I get to Lomond Drive. I frequently hit Lomond when it’s red and then get a red light at Sudley Manor Drive.

At one time I thought that I had heard that there was a timed sequence for all of these lights so that if you did about the speed limit you should be able to get all of them green going towards Interstate 66 in the morning and then coming from I-66 in the evening.

If so there must be a problem with the light at Lomond Drive.

Are these lights sequenced in some way so that you should be able to get them all green at a particular speed limit? If so what is that speed limit and what is the issue with the light at Lomond?

Sandy Wiseman

Dear Sandy: You are correct. There is a problem with the sensors at Lomond Drive. Construction crews had to cut several sensor connections to do work in the area, so the light changes on a default timer because it cannot sense if a vehicle is waiting to turn. The light changes even if no one is there, according to a source at the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The sensors should be reconnected and in working order during the first week of November, said Ryan Hall, VDOT spokesman.

Dear Lane Ranger: Recently I have had the misfortune of sitting in traffic jams for what looks to be no apparent reason.

Maybe someone at VDOT can explain the reasoning for the following.

The traffic signal on Va. 234 at the entrance to John F. Pattie Elementary School appears to be the cause of significant delays for motorists traveling east on Dumfries Road. For some odd reason the signal stays green for about 25 seconds, allowing four or five vehicles to pass through. Then it turns red.

This has been going on for a while now and at all times in the morning.

I have sat there for 20 minutes at 9:30 a.m.

This ought to be good.

John Peterson


Dear John: It looks like VDOT could be off the hook for this one — at least for now. This signal is controlled by a contractor until it’s handed over to VDOT control.

Ryan Hall, VDOT spokesman, said he called the contractor to make timing corrections.

VDOT takes ownership after an evaluation period to assure the signal was installed correctly and all the parts are free of defects.

If this light is defective, VDOT should make the contractor replace it before it becomes a taxpayer responsibility.

Thanks for catching this before it becomes a problem we have to pay for, John. No doubt you will notice if the contactor takes action.

Mixing Bowl work

closes I-495, I-395

The Virginia Department of Transportation continues night construction at the Mixing Bowl, causing complete closure of highways throughout this week.

Bridge demolition will close the inner loop of the Capital Beltway at the Springfield interchange overnight Monday through Friday.

Bridge detailing will close Interstate 395 from 9:30 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday and again from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday.

These are complete closures. Use the normal detours, which should be well marked.

For more details on the complete closures and single lane and shoulder closures, go to


Buses to run late

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission released the following notice on Oct. 23:

“Due to construction on Malcolm X Avenue and the ramp to Interstate 295 until further notice, evening OmniRide buses from Bolling AFB must make a detour that increases travel time to the Navy Yard. As a result, buses are estimated to run a few minutes late to their stops between Navy Yard and Pentagon. The construction is expected to last until spring 2007.

“PRTC apologized for the short notice; officials there weren’t aware of the construction until it started.”

Please send questions or comments on transportation to: Lane Ranger, c/o Potomac News, P.O. Box 2470, Woodbridge, VA 22195; fax: (703) 878-8099; e-mail: laneranger@; or by phone: (703) 878-8065.