The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
MOST AREA ROADS REOPENED, POWER RESTORED AT TRAFFIC SIGNALS
BY SCOTT SHENK
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Most of the road problems created by the powerful derecho storm that hit the Fredericksburg area Friday have been cleared.
The storm knocked out power to dozens of traffic signals, and fallen trees and power lines blocked roads throughout the area.
“We estimate that 70 traffic signals were out in Stafford, Spotsylvania and King George,” said Kelly Hannon, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Fredericksburg District.
As of Monday afternoon in Stafford, just one signal remained out—at U.S. 1 and Hospital Center Boulevard near the county courthouse. The lights at one other intersection—U.S. 1 and Eskimo Hill Road—were running on a generator.
Three to four signals remained dark in Spotsylvania on Monday, Hannon said. Crews were still checking on those, she said.
Over the weekend, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office was monitoring eight major intersections where signals were out, with deputies directing traffic at three “all day long, well into the evening,” said spokesman Bill Kennedy.
Kennedy said the department was ready for the storm.
“When the storm hit, we automatically called in extra deputies,” he said.
He said deputies continue to monitor county roads in search of trees or limbs that could become hazards.
Kennedy didn’t know of any serious crashes related to the storm. Virginia State Police Sgt. Les Tyler also didn’t know of any bad crashes related to the storm or the aftermath in the Fredericksburg region.
Hannon said several dozen area roads, mostly secondary, were closed at some point over the weekend because of the storm. As of Monday afternoon, just two in Stafford—Greenbank and McCarty roads—and one in Spotsylvania—Ely’s Ford Road at Rapidan Road—remained closed.
Hannon added that VDOT was working with utility companies to shut down the lines so highway department crews could clear debris from the roads.
The Spotsylvania Courthouse Battlefield also was closed because of debris blocking the main road, said Russ Smith, superintendent of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He said he hopes the park will reopen by noon today.
The road and signal problems shouldn’t have an impact on VDOT projects or holiday traffic.
Either way, in preparation for July 4 traffic, VDOT will suspend all work zone closures beginning at noon today. The suspension will be in place through noon Thursday.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436