The clock was always right twice a day. It was the other 22 hours that were confusing.
For the past two years, a tall brick clock tower on Lorton Road near the Amtrak Auto station has stood frozen in time, always reading 12 o'clock. At noon and midnight, a passerby may not have noticed that the hands of the clock never moved, but those who lived in Lorton were puzzled: Why have a clock that doesn't keep time?
A few weeks ago, those questions stopped when the clock started.
"We were waiting for VDOT [Virginia Department of Transportation] to finish their work on Lorton Road," said Cassie Cataline, vice president for marketing with KSI, Inc., which built the clock as part of the larger Lorton Station development.
VDOT completed its work on Lorton Road earlier this year, widening the road to three lanes in each direction to better accommodate the expanding population in Lorton in recent years.
"Once VDOT was finished with Lorton Road, Dominion Virginia Power was able to come in and move their power lines so we could hook it up to the clock," Cataline said. "The clock was turned on about four weeks ago."
Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) said he hadn't noticed the clock was ticking.
"I don't know when it happened, it's news to me," Hyland said a few weeks ago. "It's been sitting there for some time. Maybe they had to wait to get Quasimodo to be there to ring the bell."
Susan Fremit, a Lorton Station resident and president of that community's homeowner's association and the South County Federation, said she had received a number of phone calls and e-mails about the clock when it wasn't working.
"Like everything else, once things are working, no one says anything," Fremit laughed.
She said she received a few inquiries on whether the hands of the clock had been painted on after the Lorton Medical building opened in March, complete with a working clock.