Crews working on the second stage of the project, the southbound widening, which should be completed by the end of September.
It's full speed ahead for Fort Myer Construction Corporation (FMCC), Washington, D.C., in the third year of the Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) $168 million Route 1 Widening project in Prince William County.
The work started in May 2016 and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2019. The project has Route 1 being widened from four to six lanes between Mary's Way and Annapolis Way, and includes upgrading and replacing underground utilities.
The project also includes enhanced access to the Woodbridge Virginia Railway Express kiss-and-ride facility; a new Route 1 bridge at Marumsco Creek; improvements to Occoquan Road, including a median and turn lanes from Route 1 to south of Horner Road; additional through and turn lanes on Route 1 and Occoquan Road; a 10-ft. shared-use path and 6-ft. sidewalk; and the demolition of several vacant buildings along the corridor.
“Demolition work is proceeding well,” said Marc Mandel, FMCC's COO and General Counsel “VDOT and FMCC are currently in the process of coordinating a foundation wall required to support a portion of a structure. In addition, the Route 1 bridge is approximately 25 percent complete and VDOT and FMCC are implementing a re-engineered design to the support of excavation.”
Planning for the Future
Route 1 currently carries about 35,000 vehicles per-day. The new infrastructure, designed by Whitman, Requardt & Associates, LLP., headquartered in Baltimore, Md., is expected to meet projected traffic volumes of 75,000 vehicles per-day in 2036. A number of safety issues also are being addressed.
“VDOT's consultant completed the design for the widening project currently under construction, as well as the partial design of the interchange as presented at the March 2011 public hearing. “The interchange design has not yet been completed. The purpose is to improve the flow of traffic, reduce accidents, and support traffic demand from planned development in the area,” said Jennifer McCord, VDOT communications manager. “Widening Route 1 to six lanes was in the Prince William County Comprehensive Plan (Long range plan) 2008 Thoroughfare Plan Map. It also was included in a multi-jurisdiction location study that was completed in the mid-2000s with input from VDOT, leaders from Prince William County and other jurisdictions.
“Each intersection is being improved with widening, turn lanes and traffic-based signal timing,” McCord continued. “Pedestrian and bicyclist improvements include a ten-foot shared use path along southbound Route 1, as well as a six-foot concrete sidewalk along the southern leg of Route 1, including the bridge over Marumsco Creek and along Occoquan Road. Medians will be added to separate opposing traffic and limit left turns to and from the mainline and private driveways. Retaining walls are being installed to provide an aesthetic finish using form liners to place a pattern on the concrete, as well as adding color to the concrete finish.”
Funding has come from a combination of sources. Federal and state monies covered $13.9 million for preliminary engineering, $85.4 million for right-of-way, and $56.4 million for widening operations. Duct bank design and construction were covered by local funds in the amount of $12.1 million. The construction is being completed in three stages.
“The first stage widened the northbound lanes of Route 1 between the Marumsco Bridge and Occoquan Road,” said McCord. “Traffic has not been shifted onto this pavement. The second stage combined the north end of Route 1 (both southbound and northbound from Occoquan Road to Annapolis Way), with southbound widening between Occoquan and South Easy Street. The southbound widening should be completed the end of September. The north end should be completed by next summer. The third stage will be the south end of Route 1 from the Marumsco Bridge to Mary's Way. This stage should be complete toward the end of next year.”
Keeping Traffic Flowing
As with all multi-year projects, there have been ongoing impacts on traffic. VDOT stresses that drivers can expect daytime lane closures (weekdays) from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; nighttime closures, if needed, from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. (weekdays), and between 9:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. on weekends.
“In this busy area, we are working to balance good traffic operations, especially during peak periods, with providing access to residents and businesses,” said McCord. “During construction, we are striving to maintain traffic flow by limiting lane closures during peak traffic periods, and by carefully phasing or shifting traffic patterns.”
So far Fort Myer Construction has been on schedule in meeting benchmarks as the work progresses.
“Inherent in all heavy highway construction projects are unforeseen challenges, such as the abundance of rain this summer, that may require engineers to re-evaluate design, construction, schedule, coordination with utilities, or any combination of these disciplines,” said Marc Mandel, FMCC's COO and General Counsel. “VDOT and FMCC work closely together using the partnering process to overcome such challenges. Specifically, VDOT and FMCC are continuously analyzing, updating, and upgrading the project schedule while examining potential impacts of existing utilities and alternative means and methods to be employed to achieve the best results for our external customers.
“VDOT and FMCC have and continue to increase personnel and equipment to work on multiple phases of the project contemporaneously,” he added, “while addressing storm water runoff and examining alternate methodologies and the use of alternative equipment for work near the railway tracks.”
Mandel is confident that the project will meet all desired goals, stating, “FMCC is proud to continue to provide over 46 years of exceptional service to our customers,” he said. “We pride ourselves on our knowledge, professionalism, integrity, and experience and our work with VDOT to deliver another successful project to the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Subcontractors on the project include: Pessoa Construction Company Inc., Capitol Heights, Md., Tessa Construction, Sterling, Va., B&B Signal Company LLC, Manassas, Va., Muller Erosion Control & Site Services Inc., Falls Church, Va., and InfraTech Construction Company, Sterling, Va. On peak days there are approximately 50 people, working in crews of seven, on the site.