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GETTING THERE: Let’s talk about I–95 cables and sour slugs

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SOME local drivers have been wondering about work being done along Interstate 95 in the area.

No, it’s not road work.

It’s an underground fiber optic network being installed by Dulles-based SummitIG.

The company is installing the cables underground along I-95 and Interstate 66, as well as State Routes 28 and 234, according to local Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kelly Hannon.

The cable system will stretch from Richmond to Ashburn.

The work is supposed to be completed in September, Hannon said.

She also added that VDOT, and travelers, will benefit from the work.

In exchange for VDOT granting SummitIG access to I–95’s right-of-way, the company will give the highway department a fiber link to VDOT’s traffic operations centers in Northern Virginia and Richmond.

“As you and many 511Vir ginia.org users have experienced, the cameras may not always be functioning at rush hour due to the heavy use of the wireless network at that time of day,” Hannon said in an email. “Once we transition to fiber, this issue will be resolved as fiber is a more reliable and faster transport for video, and the cameras should be consistently visible.”

GIVING SLUGS A BAD NAME

I got a note recently from a commuter that has me wondering if we are losing all sense of civility and common decency around here.

The note came from a commuter who uses diabled parking at two Stafford County commuter lots, U.S. 17 and Staffordboro.

Her problem involves slug lines, both people and cars, blocking parking spaces reserved for the disabled.

The commuter, who rides a bus to work, sums it up like this:

“Each morning as I pulled up along the slug line I would roll down my window and say, ‘Excuse me, please,’ and wait for a few moments as it would sink in with them that I needed to park; they reluctantly would clear an area for me to do so.

“Sometimes I had to repeat my request more than once because people were wearing earphones or had their heads lowered looking at their phones and not paying attention.

“I usually would receive disgusted looks and people would point to parking further down the line that was open, but was not as close to the bus stop as the parking spaces I preferred. In my condition, the less walking I had to do, the better.

Even though I clearly was having difficulty and was using a cane, one morning a man even said to me as I parked my car: ‘You’re a

pain .’”

There are a few other choice words to describe folks like that, and “slug” ain’t one of them.

This isn’t to suggest that slugs are bad people or a nuisance. To the contrary, as Hannon says, the slugging community is an important factor that helps ease the congestion on I–95.

Hannon says VDOT officials are aware of the situation and are working on solutions, such as adding signs around the disabled spots.

Also, the Staffordboro lot expansion will address the situation.

The new section of that lot will separate most of the disabled parking spots from an area designated for carpools pickups and drop-offs.

That should work just fine for slug pickups and drop-offs, too.

That won’t change the issue at other lots, so it’ll be up to those offending slugs to reconsider their stance.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

 

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