VDOT eyes HOV switch for January

Dear Lane Ranger: I want to know when the Virginia Department of Transportation is going to close the HOV lanes to non-HOV cars on Interstate 395/95 between Edsall Road and Springfield? VDOT stated that they allowed these cars because of mixing bowl construction, but would stop once the project was complete. So what’s the deal?

Tommy, Woodbridge

Dear Tommy: You are on point. VDOT is moving toward closing those lanes to single occupant vehicles during rush hour, but it won’t be until about January until the restrictions are finalized, said Joan Morris, VDOT spokeswoman.

First, VDOT needs approval from the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

“We hope that sometime early next year non-HOV users will no longer be able to use that stretch,” Morris said. “We have to get CTB approval and then we will have a public outreach campaign to get the word out to non HOV’ers that they can no longer use that three mile stretch.”

Originally VDOT opened the section of HOV lanes to all traffic to relieve congestion in the “Mixing Bowl.”

Morris said that now there is no more weaving, merging and “horrendous backups” at the Springfield Interchange, so VDOT officials want to again restrict that stretch of lanes to HOV users.

“I’m expecting early January, we’ll announce it,” Morris said.

Right turn lane abusers rile driver

Dear Lane Ranger: Action needs to be taken at the intersection of Bulloch Drive and Va. 234 near the Manassas battlefield. As you probably know, Bulloch Drive is the entrance to a large shopping center next to the Manassas battlefield.

There are four exit lanes: two right turn, one straight and one left turn. There are red lights for each of these turn lanes as well as signs on the lights and on the side of the road indicating no right turn on red.

The extreme right-hand turn lane is only for traffic going toward Interstate 66 westbound — no turn on red. The inside right turn lane is for Va. 234 south.

The other day I was stopped at the light on Bullock Drive awaiting my turn to exit the shopping center and turn right onto 234 south. I counted a line of 22 vehicles running the red light in the far right lane designated for I-66 traffic. A constant stream of drivers ran this light and to make matters worse, a good percentage of those light runners were cutting over in front of some of the other light runners to continue south on Va. 234.

Something needs to be done with this intersection before someone is killed or seriously injured. I have been cut off on numerous occasions by these red light runners while traveling south on Va. 234 from the battlefield area. The lane markings on Va. 234 just after this intersection mean nothing to these drivers and they will race across the lane to cut you off to go south on Va. 234.

I have never seen any traffic enforcement at this intersection, which probably should be rated at the top of “Most Dangerous Intersections” in the Manassas area.

If the police will not enforce the law for running red lights at this intersection and VDOT will not install some sort of Jersey wall to keep I-66 westbound traffic in line, perhaps this intersection would be a good candidate for cameras to catch the red light runners.

After a few $40 tickets for running a red light, some, (not all) will soon learn that when you have a red light and a signs that say “NO TURN ON RED,” it means just that.

Hoping someone will look at this situation,

C. Murphy, Manassas

Dear C.: Police were sympathetic to your letter.

“Since receiving your complaint, officers of the Prince William County Traffic Unit have conducted an evaluation of this intersection and noted one violation,” according to an e-mail from 1st Sgt. Miller of the Prince William County Police Department. “Suggestions were made to the County Transportation Office on signage that may improve the situation at this intersection.”

Miller said the police would continue to enforce the “no turn on red” sign at this intersection.

Perhaps more can be done to sign the intersection better, but VOT said your suggestion to install barriers is a no-go.

“Bulloch Drive and Battlefield Parkway are approximately 600 feet from the entrance ramp to I-66,” wrote Jerry Pauley, Northern Virginia Area Manager for VDOT. “There are dual lef-turn lanes exiting Battlefield Parkway and as was stated dual right-turn lanes exiting Bulloch Drive. The volume of turning vehicles has dictated the need for the dual turn lanes. If we installed a barrier and the appropriate impact attenuator there would not be enough distance for vehicles coming from Battlefield Parkway to access Interstate 66.”