The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Getting There: Waze can help you get around traffic jams, find cheap gas
BY SCOTT SHENK
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
There are than a few websites and mobile apps out there to help us find the best gas prices. GasBuddy and AAA both are really good.
Now there’s another one that can help you find the best gas prices. But this free app does more than that.
It’s called Waze, and it uses a social-media approach to help drivers navigate traffic in real time. It recently added the gas-finder option as a user-generated tool.
Waze relies on users to create all of its traffic information, such as speeds, congestion, accidents and even speed traps. You can also use it to find different routes to your destination.
Mindful of the dangers of distracted driving, Waze disables typing while vehicles are in motion. Users can use voice commands to get and input information.
One neat aspect of Waze—which commuters and even slugs might find useful—is the option to create communities that share traffic information specific to them. Waze could give them a way to better navigate the clogged roads—or long lines for slugs—they deal with so often.
Waze can be used on iPhones and Droids.
Dear Scott: Traveling south on U.S. 1 nearing the Massaponax exit, there is always a long line waiting to get onto Interstate 95 northbound. At the same time, the line of cars heading north on U.S. 1 to get onto I–95 northbound has more time and a light to control the traffic.
Why can’t this light be adjusted so the traffic heading south on U.S. 1 does not have to wait in line so long, overflowing into the regular traffic lanes? Also, why can’t this bumpy exit be paved/repaired?
—Joyce Hardin, Spotsylvania
The situation boils down first to safety and then to traffic flow. The light timing favors northbound traffic because VDOT wants to limit the number of vehicles that spill from the turn lane into the through-traffic lane.
VDOT also wants to keep down the number of northbound vehicles that turn left when both lights are green.
On the southbound side, the turn lane is free-flowing, meaning the only light that holds back traffic is the northbound turn signal. This should give those drivers more chances to make the turn.
Also, VDOT’s Kelly Hannon said, the turn lane was made longer than on the northbound side to help keep too much traffic from spilling into the through lanes, even though that still happens during peak travel times.
As for the pavement, Hannon said crews found the ramp to be in good condition. But VDOT will have a maintenance contractor smooth over previous pothole patches.
She added that the asphalt on the northbound entrance ramp was poured over concrete, which has joints. So riding over those joints in this spot can be noisy and bumpy.
Exit ramps are paved when nearby sections of Interstate 95 are paved.
While there is extensive repaving going on in our area this summer, the area near Exit 126 isn’t on the list. In the meantime, she said, VDOT will continue to monitor the exit ramp to make sure it’s up to snuff.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436