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Four die on area roads in nine-day stretch

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WE LIKE TO think of spring as a time of renewal, when life blossoms and all is good (except for the allergies).

In many ways that is true. It is a time to enjoy.

But life isn’t so simple—chaos is always part of this gamble we call life.

Unfortunately, several people lost that gamble on area roads recently, in an unusually short span.

Four Spotsylvania County residents died in crashes during a nine-day stretch this month.

That’s hard to fathom, especially when you consider that 11 people died on Spotsylvania roads all of last year.

These spikes are unexplainable; they just happen, just like the welcome lulls in deadly car crashes.

Three of the crashes happened in Spotsylvania. The fourth happened just across the county line in Orange, and it took the life of the youngest of the victims, 15-year-old Kayla Longerbeam.

While we all move on to the blooming of life that comes with spring, consider taking a moment to think of those who lost their lives so suddenly, and for the loved ones they left behind.

I–95 Express Lanes

The Interstate 95 express lanes work is advancing rapidly, with only 30 percent of the job left to be done.

It’ll be a big change, so the folks at Transurban are ramping up the information campaign.

To that point, they recently started a Web page that has details for practically any mode of travel on the new electronically tolled lanes, which could open by the end of the year, earlier than expected.

Everyone from slugs to solo drivers to car-poolers can use the site to find information on how the new lanes will work for you.

You can find the Web page at 95expresslanes .com/makeaplan, or on the Transportation blog (

Dear Scott: About 10 years ago, the Virginia Railway Express had two trains that left Fredericksburg and went into D.C. on July 4 (I cannot remember the times, but perhaps one at 2 p.m. and one at 5 p.m.).

Then, after the fireworks, one train left about 10:30 and the other at midnight.

Both were packed. It was such a wonderful way to get into D.C. without worrying about traffic or parking. I don’t remember the fee, but it was reasonable.

Last year, I sent you a query as to why they don’t still do this.

A few months later, you forwarded a survey from VRE that asked “If we had a train on July 4, would you ride it from Fredericksburg to D.C. and back?”

I responded, but never saw the results of the survey.

So please get on VRE so we can get a train going again this year!

—Penny Parrish, Stafford

VRE wants to run the “firecracker” trains this year.

They are waiting for approval from CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern and Amtrak so the VRE trains can use the tracks.

If approved, the plan would be to run one train each on the Fredericksburg and Manassas lines.

VRE folks are still working out the ticket prices and what time the trains would run.

If all goes according to plan, VRE plans to sell the tickets next month.

Stay tuned.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436


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