Potomac News Online | Commuter lot to close for cleaning

The commuter parking lot on Gemini Way, located between Minnieville Road and Dale Boulevard, will close Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for routine sweeping. The Virginia Department of Transportation urges motorists not to leave their vehicles parked overnight so that vehicles will not interfere with large street sweeping equipment used to clean the lot.

Va. 234 project costs

The $20.4 million widening of Va. 234 from Purcell Road and Snowfall Drive was completed this month around $2 million over budget. The Lane Ranger called up to find out why so much.

Subtracting right-of-way costs of $5.9 million, the project cost $14.5 million to build. Virginia’s six-year road plan was amended in June to add $1.4 million to the project.

Much of the extra cost was because of extra crossovers in the median and a nine-month extension of the project, said VDOT Assistant Resident Engineer Dusty Holcombe.

It cost nearly $200,000 for additional crossovers at Meadowgate Drive and Connector A. If readers remember, the high grade at Meadowgate Drive was a safety concern for that neighborhood. The project added other temporary detours and crossovers for safety, Holcombe said.

The project was scheduled to be done Nov. 15, 2002, so those extra costs of staffing with inspectors, engineers, a environmental specialist, and other technicians added $400,000, he said.

Monthly adjustments in fuel prices that affect the cost of asphalt added $80,000 over the last two years.

Undercut excavation overruns added $98,000, materials to maintain private entrances along the alignment added $150,000, and other items associated with maintenance of traffic during the original contract time period and the extended time over the winter added $75,000, he said.

Now these numbers do not add up to $2 million. The other extras fell into the project’s contingency budget of around $1 million, he said.

troopers fill positions

Richmond politicians last year promised to close a shortage of troopers caused by constant turnover to other jobs by additional training academies. How are they doing?

In January 2002, Northern Virginia’s had 16 vacancies out of 137 sworn officer positions. At the start of July the area had 20 vacancies out of 143 total positions. A training academy of new troopers graduates this month and effective Sept. 1 takes that vacancy number to six, said Lt. Kimberly Luttner, assistant resources director for state police.

Where are troopers going? Since January 2002 Northern Virginia has lost 20. Six went to federal law enforcement, six went to local law enforcement, two went to the ABC, one retired, one was killed in the line of duty, and four left for other reasons, she said.

Trooper academies continue. One starts in January and another in May. Starting pay is $29,211, with a 25 percent differential for Northern Virginia.

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 to: [email protected]; or by phone: (703) 878-8062.

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