VDOT Updates Community on Utility Burial on Route 1

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Provided by Prince William County

People who attended a recent Virginia Department of Transportation “Pardon Our Dust” briefing at the O.W.L Volunteer Hall in Woodbridge found out what they should expect to see as work begins to bury utilities along both sides of U.S. 1 from Mary’s Way to just north of Annapolis Way at the Occoquan River Bridge.

Virginia Department of Transportation officials and county residents discuss the undergrounding of power lines along U.S. 1 in Woodbridge.

Virginia Department of Transportation officials and county residents discuss the undergrounding of power lines along U.S. 1 in Woodbridge.

Burying utilities requires that VDOT crews and contractors build a “ductbank,” which is a system of conduits to carry various utility cables and wires.

According to VDOT’s Utility Construction Program Manager Shea Ridings, the first thing people will see is the demolition of derelict buildings along with a few light poles, signs and a couple of billboards to make way for the ductbanks.

Many of the buildings are old and contain asbestos, but Ridings said VDOT is prepared to handle the problem. “Don’t be alarmed when you see people out there with spacesuits on. It’s just protocol. We’ve got to abate some of the asbestos. There are some of the buildings we can demolish with the asbestos in place, but we do have to abate some asbestos.”

Ridings went on to say that there would be minimal traffic disruptions as construction continued. The folks who build and bury ductbanks have several boring and trenching methods available to keep the work within the road shoulders. “We’re going to do everything in our power to limit the lane closures. That’s not saying we’re not going to have lane closures, but we do have criteria that we have to follow. We’re going to provide pedestrian access up and down the road. We’re going to make sure that everybody is safe going through our project.”

According to Ridings’ presentation, 13 structures will be demolished to make way for the first segment of the project, between Mary’s Way and Occoquan Road. The first segment is scheduled for completion by this fall. VDOT will demolish another 18 structures to complete the second segment between Occoquan Road and the Occoquan River Bridge. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2016.

The work to bury the lines precedes a U.S. 1widening project scheduled to begin in 2016 with final project completion scheduled for the summer of 2018. The widening project is set to include a new bridge over Marumsco Creek, a 10-foot shared-use path and a six-foot sidewalk along either side of the highway along with enhanced access to the Woodbridge Virginia Railway Express-Amtrak Station.

Visit VDOT’s website for project updates and further project information.

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