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Will tolls and gas taxes solve state's road woes?

November 26, 2012 12:10 am

HOPE Thanksgiv- ing has been a good, relaxing break for all.

Here are some nuggets (including some leftovers) from around the transportation scene:

Is it now possible there will be tolls and higher gas taxes in Virginia?

Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration has pushed for tolls as a way to raise construction funds for Interstate 95. Already there are new electronically tolled express lanes on Interstate 495 and more to come our way on I-95. The state also is part of a pilot project to add a toll on the interstate's general lanes south of here in Sussex County.

Then, last week McDonnell put a pseudo gas tax hike on the table, as one of several alternatives to increase road funding. He's not alone in that respect, though, as several state lawmakers also have their eyes on the gas tax.

In a recent Quinnipiac University poll, tolling I-95 was unpopular, but those who took the poll prefer them to higher gas taxes.

Speaking of toll lanes, the Interstate 495 express lanes got off to an inauspicious start two Saturdays ago, pretty much turning into a bumper-car track at one merge area in its first few days.

There were at least six crashes in the first three days at the entrance at Braddock Road, according to Virginia State Police.

Digital warning signs and line painting had to be adjusted because of confusion in the area.

Probably can't blame it all on Transurban (the operator behind the express lanes curtain) because, face it, there are a lot of bad drivers out there, so it's a good bet "human error" played a role.

Plus, it's a big change and people are driving fast, so some level of confusion was probably inevitable.

Any way you cut it, though, it was not a real smooth start.

The new traffic signal at Mine and Lansdowne in Spotsylvania is scheduled to go fully operational on Tuesday.

The concrete rehab project on the Falmouth Bridge is going to take longer than expected--work is now scheduled to run into February.

Dear Scott: It's been nearly two months since the new section of Lake Anna Parkway has opened, yet the light at the intersection of Morris Road and Block House Road is still configured as a four-way intersection even though it's now a three-way intersection.

Drivers headed east on Morris have a left green arrow indicating they can make a left turn when no road is there to turn left onto.

Also, heading west on Morris approaching the parkway is a sign warning of a sharp left-hand turn, but now the road turns sharply to the right.

Can you please get somebody to look into this situation?

--John Thompson, Spotsylvania

The Virginia Department of Transportation checked on these issues and will be making some changes.

The signal should be reconfigured within a week or so, and crews are getting rid of the signs and replacing them with new ones that have the right directions.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

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