Two years after concrete began falling from the “structurally deficient” Glebe Road/Route 50 bridge, VDOT expects to advertise its plan to replace the crumbling overpass next week.
The bridge has raised concerns recently as chunks of concrete began falling anew. On Friday, rush hour traffic was snarled when a chunk of concrete fell from the bridge onto a westbound lane of Route 50 around 4:30 p.m. Police shut down the bridge and one lane of Glebe Road for more than an hour as a result.
The falling concrete actually left a hole in the roadway from which one could look down and see the highway below, according to Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach. Over the weekend, VDOT patched up the part of the bridge from which the concrete fell.
VDOT will be installing a protective shield “as soon as possible” to make sure more debris doesn’t fall on Route 50, according to agency spokeswoman Jennifer McCord. The shield will either be a protective netting or some sort of wooden structure, she said.
McCord says VDOT expects to advertise a long-delayed plan to replace the bridge next week. The agency will expedite the bidding process so that work on the new bridge can begin as soon as this summer and be complete by August 2012, officials said.
The $6 million project will completely replace the bridge deck while widening it by 27 feet. The increased width will allow for a 17-foot shared use path on one side, a 10-foot sidewalk on the other and five travel lanes in between, including a new northbound turn lane. The bridge will feature “wrought-iron picket fencing, gateway pillars and decorative LED lighting,” according to McCord.
The cleanup is still on-going at Arlington’s courthouse building, which was damaged by a burst hot water pipe early Friday morning.
The pipe burst in a wall of a courtroom on the the third floor of the building. Water leaked down to the second and first floors, as well as the parking garage. Crews worked throughout the weekend to dry out damaged carpets, chairs and other furniture.
Several boxes of documents at the police department’s central records department were damaged, but a county spokesperson said that most of those documents had already been digitized and were waiting to be shredded. Another box of documents, which was intended to be preserved, suffered light water damaged but has since been dried out by a contractor.
“We lost nothing of any significance,” said county spokeswoman Mary Curtius. “The courtroom will reopen tomorrow and most of the offices are functioning already today.”
Damage is expected to exceed the county’s $50,000 insurance deductible, Curtius said.
The woman’s story was published on the Hollaback DC blog, which chronicles gender-based harassment in the Washington area. The woman said the driver’s suggestive comments about her height made her feel “paralyzed.”
“I was so mad, so pissed, I nearly cried,” she wrote.
The alleged incident took place during the evening rush hour on the 10B bus, which travels from Hunting Towers in Alexandria to the Ballston Metro station, via Shirlington and Buckingham.
Metro riders can submit complaints about employee conduct here.
M. Slavin & Sons, a seafood seller located on South Glebe Road near I-395, has closed.
The store maintained a well-reviewed retail business of selling fresh seafood to consumers via a front counter. It also distributed seafood wholesale to local businesses.
Reached by phone, a store employee said the store had been losing business and has not been able to keep up with rising expenses. The store’s last day in business was Friday. The company is based in the New York City area and has other locations in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Rhode Island, Florida and Puerto Rico.
Around lunchtime today, a steady stream of regular customers drove into the parking lot only to be greeted with “CLOSED” signs in the window. One woman said she came to M. Slavin to pick up seafood for most major holidays. Today, she was hoping to pick up crab legs for Valentine’s Day.
“Well, off to the waterfront I go, I guess,” she said, referring to the seafood market on Maine Avenue SW in the District.
“This is a big loss,” another customer said, via email. “They had by far the best fresh fish in the area.”
Hat tips to Sue W. and Josh M.
For just over four years, county staff have been taking an inventory of Arlington’s historic buildings. The fruits of that labor are now paying off.
Of the nearly 400 properties that were surveyed, Arlington has now designated 23 as “essential historic properties.” Among them are the Colonial Village apartments and the buildings that house some of Clarendon’s most popular nightspots, including Clarendon Ballroom and Lyon Hall.
In the county-produced video above, Arlington County spokewoman Mary Curtius talks with Arlington Historic Preservation Program Coordinator Michael Leventhal about what makes those properties “essential” and why it’s important to preserve them. The actual properties are listed near the end of the video, as well as online.
The video notes that since the survey began, about 100 of the 400 historic properties have been demolished.
A pit bull that attacked a pet sitter and then went after another dog was Tasered by police Friday evening.
Police were called to a home on the 2400 block of South Dinwiddie Street in Claremont for a report of a man being attacked by a dog. By the time officers arrived, just after 5:30 p.m., the dog was no longer attacking the man. Instead, it had another pit bull by the throat.
An officer attempted to separate the two dogs. When those attempts were unsuccessful, the officer used a Taser on the aggressive dog, according to police spokesperson Det. Crystal Nosal.
The man, who had been hired to watch over the two dogs, was injured and required medical attention. The pit bulls were taken to an emergency veterinarian.
The plan focuses on making sure that Arlington’s streets are safe and accommodating to a number of modes of transportation, including walking, biking, transit and driving.
“Arlington’s goal is to create ‘streets for people,’” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said in a statement. “Today’s action is the culmination of years of work by citizens and staff to craft County policies that will achieve our vision for ‘complete streets,’ streets that will support sustainable development and encourage healthier lifestyles.”
Under the new plan, streets will be classified into ten subgroups of arterial and local streets based on adjacent land use. The plan calls for all types of arterial streets to have a bike lane, a designated shared bike and vehicle lane or an adjacent trail. It also calls for “urban center local” streets to include a shared lane.
To improve safety, the speed limit on “downtown” streets will be reduced to 25 miles per hour. Speed limits would also be reduced in work zones. Meanwhile, pedestrian walkways will be improved through enhanced signage and high-visibility markings.
Street repaving will be done more frequently (on a 15-year cycle) and the quality of street repairs will be improved. Major streets and streets in poor condition will receive repaving priority, while streets lacking maintenance-saving improvements like gutters and curbs will be repaired instead of repaved.
Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief
Happy Valentine’s Day — To celebrate, Caribou Coffee is offering a buy one, get one free coupon. [Shirlington Village Blogspot]
Fairfax Supervisor Slams Arlington on HOT Lanes — The animus for Arlington continues over at the Washington Post. In an opinion piece published online, Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity says the Arlington County Board has “thumbed their noses at every motorist sitting in traffic on our region’s congested highways” by using “gutter-style tactics” to block HOT lanes and other projects. A pro-Arlington Letter to the Editor, however, says that “The Post needs to stop blaming Arlington County for congestion on I-395.”
Library Changes This Week — Arlington Public Libraries are transitioning to a new catalog system this week. As a result, a number of library programs and resources won’t be available for the next several days. [Library Blog]
House Bill Could Cost Arlington Schools $700K — The budget bill passed by the House of Delegates calls for steep cuts to education. Arlington would lose $681,534 under the bill. Fairfax County would fare worse, losing some $5.9 million. The state Senate’s budget bill, however, does not contain such cuts. [Washington Examiner]
Arlington Approves Pike Affordable Housing Project — The Arlington County Board approved a plan to build a 121-unit affordable housing complex near the western end of Columbia Pike. The apartments will be located next to the currently under-construction Arlington Mill Community Center. [Pike Wire]
Flickr pool photo by Michael T. Ruhl