November 8, 2016
Big change slated Nov. 29 for Opal intersection
Virginia Department of Transportation
VDOT will allow left turns to continue, but the frontage road will end south of Sheetz and other businesses.
By month’s end, southbound motorists no longer will be allowed to turn left at Opal on their way to Bealeton and points beyond.
A large paved area will give vehicles room to turn around and head back north to the stoplight. Southbound Route 17 traffic would need to use the interchange, south of the intersection, that opened in November 2013.
This congestion has resulted in a high rate of rear-end and side-swipe crashes near the Opal intersection.
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Three years after opening a $44.6-million interchange designed to improve traffic flow through the busy crossroads, Virginia Department of Transportation officials believe they must take more action.
The interchange, south of the intersection, has proven confusing for drivers, particularly tourists. Traffic often stacks beyond the left-turn lane and drivers swerve among lanes at the last minute as they try to pick the quicker route south.
> Businesses reactions mixed
More than 41,000 vehicles a day — many of them tractor-trailers —pass through Opal.
“To improve safety and traffic flow on southbound Route 15/29 in the Opal area, the Virginia Department of Transportation will restrict Frontage Route 1077 (Marsh Road) to local traffic only,” the agency said in a press release Tuesday morning.
The change will close “access to Route 17 southbound from the signalized Opal intersection by constructing a U-turn facility,” VDOT said. “Through motorists will instead use the loop ramp on Route 15/29 just south of Opal to reach Route 17.”
Access to Sheetz, other businesses and homes “will be maintained, and Route 17 northbound traffic will not be restricted,” the release said.
> Changes to Routes 15/17/29 crossovers also proposed
A VDOT crew will build a U-turn area, similar to a cul-de-sac, the entrance to the private Pomeroy Lane. Work will stop Nov. 21-28 to avoid disrupting Thanksgiving travel.
“On the morning of Nov. 29, the roadway will be re-striped, and motorists should expect the closure to take effect before the afternoon rush hour,” VDOT said. “The through-traffic restriction will alleviate backups in the Route 15/29 left-turn lane and through lanes, particularly during the afternoon commute and on weekends.
“This congestion has resulted in a high rate of rear-end and side-swipe crashes near the Opal intersection.”
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JeffeJudeo · November 15, 2016 at 7:36 am
Get rid of the traffic lights altogether. How hard can it be to dig a hole from Opal Road to Marsh Road and put a James Madison Highway bridge over it with cloverleaf on/off ramps?
The McDonalds and Sheetz are going to have to disappear eventually as the population and traffic increases. It's called “progress”. VDOT needs to exercise its domain of eminence.
The new flyover is a sunk cost, hardly intuitive, requires an extra mile of travel, and does nothing for the NB folks that have to stop for a traffic light anyway.
Send the pesos that Mexico owes us for the wall to build Opal into a modern world class city rivalling Dubai and Shenzhen with a plan to install metrorail tracks linking the Warrenton–Fauquier Airport to Culpeper and the Ashburn Silver Line at Dulles Airport with an interchange and parking lot at Germantown Rd and Catlett Rd in Midland.
Instead of sending the 1- to 2-million undocumented immigrants back to where they came from, put them to work here where they can earn citizenship. Now that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is out of office, he has extra tents we can use to temporarily house the illegals until they finish the overpass, railway, stations, and parking lots.
Tell It Like It Is · November 8, 2016 at 3:50 pm
Lets see how much more money we can waste between Warrenton and Opal on RT 29.
A failed weight station that cost several million that has NEVER been used, and
A failed interchange that cost several more million that has not done it's job and even part of that had to be redone at the taxpayers expense. If we had taken all that money and redesigned the Opal interchange 10 years ago we would not be here with the mess we have now.
Now we are gonna waste even more money making more modifications to modifications that were poorly conceived and designed to begin with?
Come on VDOT, where did you people get your engineering diplomas?? Jack and Jill?
Use some common sense between Warrenton and Opal and get it right this time and put some addition "how to's" in the driving manual.
Stop wasting our tax dollars!!!
You need another lane north and south from Warrenton to Opal and scrap the stupid overpass idea because VDOT will screw that up like they did in Opal.
You need to extend the southbound on ramp several 100' from 29 business entering 29 south on the south end of Warrenton.
You need to put how to properly navigate an 4 lane turn around back in the driving manual.
You need build a western bypass around opal to access 29 south the 17 overpass you already poorly designed and bypass Opal.
If we had not wasted all taxpayers dollar on dumb civil engineering no thanks to VDOT we'd have the money to fix properly. Better yet if had thought Opal through properly 10 years ago and designed right we would not be here.
It's only complicated if you make it complicated.
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