The ramps from 10th Street to eastbound Route 50 and from N. Fairfax Drive to westbound Route 50, along with a new ramp from Courthouse Road to westbound Route 50, are scheduled to open Friday, April 25, according to Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jennifer McCord.
The westbound frontage from Route 50 to 10th Street N. will still have barriers on it but will open a few weeks later, McCord said.
There will still be some intermittent lane closures on Route 50 until the project wraps up by July, McCord said. The $39 million interchange began construction in April 2011 and was originally scheduled to be completed by fall of 2013, but the project was delayed, apparently to make sure traffic could continue to flow on Route 50 during construction.
Update at 10:25 a.m. — One southbound lane of Route 1 has reopened, according to Arlington County. A tow truck is on scene and all lanes are expected to reopen shortly.
An RV has caught fire on southbound Route 1 in Crystal City, causing police to shut down the southbound lanes to traffic at the tail end of this morning’s rush hour.
The fire started just before 9:00 a.m., according to scanner traffic, on the highway near the intersection with 15th Street S. The Arlington County Fire Department and Virginia State Police were the first responders to the scene.
According to ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani, three people were inside the RV when the fire started, but they all escaped the vehicle safely and no injuries were reported. The fire is believed to have been caused by a mechanical failure in the engine block, Marchegiani said.
“The driver didn’t notice the fire at first, just that the car was acting funny and he smelled smoke,” Marchegiani told ARLnow.com. “They happened to pass by a Virginia State Police officer who saw that the car was on fire and flagged them down.”
The roadway will remain closed temporarily. Drivers should avoid the area if possible.
(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) Traffic on eastbound I-66 was backed up to the Beltway this morning due to roadway damage on the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge.
A photo sent to ARLnow.com from an I-66 commuter shows a section of roadway that has sunk a foot or more, creating a large gap. The damage is located on the east end of the bridge at the E Street exit, we’re told. In a tweet, DDOT says one lane is closed as a result.
That lane closure is causing big problems: even at 10:30 a.m. traffic on eastbound I-66 was very slow inside the Beltway, which in turn caused backups on Arlington arterial roadways that lead to the highway.
DDOT spokesman Reggie Sanders says the damage was caused by a “utility cut in the roadway.” As of 5:30 p.m., DDOT had installed metal plates over the damaged section.
(Updated at 9:35 a.m.) Traffic on northbound I-395 is slow from the Beltway to Arlington due to an accident involving a truck near the Pentagon.
A truck slammed into the jersey wall and a light pole in main line northbound lanes, just before the 14th Street Bridge. Crews are working to get the truck down from the jersey wall.
Two lanes are blocked as a result of the accident.
Parts of Crystal Drive and Potomac Avenue will be closing this evening and the following three Fridays to make way for the Crystal Run 5K Fridays.
Starting at 6:30 p.m. tonight and on the evenings of April 11, 18 and 25, the race will kick off at 2121 Crystal Drive and run 3.1 miles from Crystal Drive, down to Potomac Avenue, up to 12th Street S. and back.
Registration for the races are $20 each or $60 for the series and runners can pick up their packets and bibs by the start line. The races are a USATF-approved course and use the same timing tag as most other races.
Below are the street closures the next four Fridays, starting at 6:00 p.m. and opening back up at 8:00 p.m. Street parking in the area will also be restricted, with “No Parking” signs posted around the course.
- Northbound lanes of Crystal Drive between 23rd Street and 12th Street S.
- Northbound lanes of Crystal Drive between 26th Street and Potomac Avenue/27th Street S.
- Northbound lanes of Potomac Avenue between 27th Street and 33rd Street S.
- One southbound lane of Potomac Avenue between 27th Street and 33rd Street S.
- One westbound lane of 12th Street S. between Crystal Drive and Long Bridge Drive/S. Clark Street
- One lane of Long Bridge Drive northbound will be closed for approximately 100 feet (Police will cone a new northbound lane and a southbound lane to maintain access)
Photo via Crystal City BID. Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) A road in Rosslyn has been shut down due to a gas leak.
Currently, 19th Street N. is closed between Lynn Street and N. Kent Street. We’re told a 2-inch high pressure gas line was ruptured. Police and firefighters are on the scene, waiting for Washington Gas to make repairs.
As of 2:20 p.m. the gas had been shut off and the road was being reopened to pedestrians. However, traffic restrictions are expected to remain in place.
Williamsburg Boulevard is closed between N. Somerset Street and N. Rochester Street due to a school bus that hit a utility pole.
It appears that the top of the bus clipped the pole, which is located directly adjacent to the street. The accident snapped the top of the pole. Dominion Power is responding to the scene to repair the pole and the power lines.
No children were on the Arlington Public Schools bus at the time and no injuries have been reported. No word yet on whether the driver will be cited for the accident.
Williamsburg Boulevard is expected to remain closed for part of the day while Dominion crews repair the lines. Some local power outages are also expected.
Arlington County has stepped up it pothole repair effort this year due to the harsh winter.
County crews were out filling potholes in response to resident requests this weekend, after spending the week plowing snow and cleaning equipment, according to Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Robyn Mincher. One of the stretches of road where crews worked “extensively” was the 2200 block of N. Harrison Street, where numerous potholes were reported.
The county has up to five times as many employees working potholes repairs this winter, Mincher said.
“We have five teams, about 35 employees, in our streets maintenance section concentrating on either potholes or snow,” she told ARLnow.com. “In lighter winters, we would typically have one team assigned to potholes.”
“We anticipate continuing to concentrate on potholes [this] week, and assessing over the next few weeks our needs for later in the spring,” she added.
In addition to responding to problem reports from residents — there have been more than a dozen pothole reports in the past 24 hours — crews are also “fixing other potholes we find along our travels,” Mincher said.
Video via Arlington TV
The southbound lanes of S. Walter Reed Drive are expected to remain closed throughout Wednesday’s evening rush hour as crews work to repair a large water main break.
The 16-inch water main burst this morning on Walter Reed Drive near Pollard Street, causing a messy and slippery commute for some drivers as the water runoff turned to ice. Crews thought they had isolated the leak around 11:00 a.m., but we’re told that the leak reopened this afternoon, meaning the repairs will take longer than first hoped.
Police are on scene helping to control traffic. A detour has been set up for those heading southbound on Walter Reed Drive between S. Glebe Road and Four Mile Run Drive. One northbound lane of Walter Reed Drive remains open.
“At this point, lane closures and detours are expected to stay through rush hour,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Robyn Mincher.
(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) Arlington has largely wrapped up its snowplowing effort following Monday’s snowstorm.
As of last night residential roads were “essentially plowed,” with the exception of some streets that were “packed down ice after the cold temperatures,” according to Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Robyn Mincher.
“Driving conditions are stable, and residents should drive with care,” Mincher said. “Several snowplows are out working this morning on reported requests or any issues with schools. Plows have ceased active street-to-street plowing, and we are applying salt or sand in areas with significant need such as hills.”
County crews — more than 40 trucks — were in “full snow mode,” plowing and treating Arlington’s nearly 1,000 lane miles of roadway, from midnight Sunday to 10:00 p.m. Tuesday night, according to Mincher.
A high temperature in the mid-40s and plenty of sunshine today is expected to continue to melt the snow, slush and ice that remains on local streets.
(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) A woman has died after being struck by a dump truck on N. Little Falls Road, in front of Nottingham Elementary School.
The incident happened around 11:30 a.m. as the woman was placing a young child in the rear seat of her minivan, which was parked on the side of the street, according to police. The force of the collision sheared off the van door but the child was uninjured.
The woman, identified as 39-year-old Jennifer Lawson, was reported to be unconscious when paramedics arrived. She was rushed to the trauma center at Inova Fairfax Hospital but died this afternoon, police said.
The child was not a student at the school, but Lawson does have other children who attend the school, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Lt. Michael Watson. The child, a little girl, could be seen being picked up from the school by a friend or family member about an hour after the incident.
Little Falls Road was shut down for most of the day as police investigated the accident. It as since reopened.
The truck belongs to Titan Erosion Control of Manassas. So far there’s no word on any pending charges against the driver.
“The investigation remains ongoing,” Watson told ARLnow.com around 5:00 p.m. Witnesses who have not yet talked to officers are being encouraged to call police.
“Police are asking that anyone with any information regarding this accident contact Arlington County Police Detective Mohammed Tabibi at (703) 228-4618, or at Mtabibi@arlingtonva.us,” ACPD said via a press release.
A monster pothole has been claiming hubcaps and testing the suspensions of unsuspecting drivers in Pentagon City.
The pothole is located on S. Joyce Street, across from Pentagon Row. As of last night, it measured approximately 4 feet by 4 feet, with a depth of 6 to 9 inches. That makes it even bigger than our previous contender for biggest pothole in Arlington, which was located on N. Fillmore Street in Clarendon.
The pothole was consistently being run over by the right tires of vehicles last night, occasionally producing a loud thud from those with smaller vehicles or tighter suspensions.
The pothole has been there for at least two weeks, and has been growing bigger by the day. Myllisa Kennedy, spokeswoman for Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services, suggested that the maintenance crews responsible for filling potholes have been slowed down by recent snowstorms.
“Crews have had to shift back and forth between pothole/other maintenance work and snow because of all the storms — doing as much as they can when the weather is cooperating,” she said via email.
Kennedy explained that Arlington County prefers to use a more durable method of pothole repair, which requires better weather conditions than the more temporary alternative.
“Crews fix the potholes using a longer lasting ‘hot’ mix – as opposed to a ‘cold’ mix used for temporary repairs in some places — whenever possible to reduce the likelihood we have to come back around and fix the same pothole,” she wrote.
The harsh winter is producing more potholes this year, Kennedy said. Maintenance crews are expected to be back out on the streets today trying to catch up on the pothole backlog.
“The severe weather fluctuations this winter are leading to more potholes earlier in the season and thus there is a need to for crews to start focusing on pothole repairs sooner than they would in milder winters,” said Kennedy. “Our plan is to get back out and continue filling the potholes County-wide. Our streets crews, which total about 35 employees, will be out on the roadways today, throughout this month, and well into the spring working to fix the potholes caused by this year’s extreme freeze and thaw weather. We will also bring in contractors to help with larger potholes and patches.”
The second act of today’s snowstorm has arrived, with a couple more inches of snow expected to accumulate.
The snow returned just as Arlington road crews were starting to tackle still snow-covered neighborhood streets. It could force the snow plows to continue focusing on primary and secondary arteries while the residential roads remain barely, if at all passable.
“Crews have moved into residential streets with a focus on school related routes,” Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services tweeted late this afternoon (Thursday). “Additional snow late could affect progress on residential/neighborhood streets.”
From DES, later: ”Big, heavy snow flakes falling again. Although many main roads are clear, please don’t drive so plows can continue to do job.”
DES said that it could take up to 36-48 hours to clear roads after a 10-inch snowfall, which Arlington is on the verge of reaching, depending where in the county you were measuring.
The snow caused other, unexpected problems on the roads in some parts of Arlington.
On Lee Highway, near Rosslyn, a nearly half-mile-long portion of the fence that runs along I-66 collapsed onto one of the still snow-covered travel lanes, according to police radio traffic.
In Courthouse, a gigantic mound of plowed snow was piled up in the median, blocking a crosswalk adjacent to the Metro station. That is creating a hazard for pedestrians and drivers alike.
VDOT said tonight, before the snow started falling again, that it was making progress clearing roads in Northern Virginia.
“Interstates are mostly clear and wet,” VDOT said. “Primary roads are partially clear with some lanes open and many secondary roads remain snow-covered.”
VDOT warned that a refreeze may make driving even more treacherous overnight.
“Roads that appear to be bare pavement may become slick from sleet and refreeze,” the agency warned.
Other transportation options were slowly returning Thursday night.
Reagan National Airport’s main runway was back open as of 5:05 p.m., allowing some flights in and out. Still, many flights were canceled as a result of the 7 inches of wet snow that fell, making it difficult for crew to clear runways and taxiways.
“There have been significant flight cancellations throughout the day,” the airport authority said on its website. “Check with your airline for flight information and do not drive to the airport before confirming the status of your flight.”
Metrorail continued to operate on a near-normal schedule. Metrobuses are now running on major arteries again.
ART bus service, however, is still suspended. Arlington Transit said it will wait until 10:00 tonight to post an update on planned ART and STAR service tomorrow.
The National Weather Service, meanwhile, says that the D.C. area could receive another 2-4 inches of snow tonight before the winter storm system finally moves out.
… HEAVY SNOW TO IMPACT AREAS EAST OF BLUE RIDGE INCLUDING THE GREATER METROPOLITAN AREAS OF WASHINGTON AND BALTIMORE THROUGH MIDNIGHT…
AREAS OF MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOW WILL IMPACT THE REGION THROUGH MIDNIGHT… WHERE 2 TO 4 INCHES OF NEW SNOWFALL ACCUMULATION CAN BE EXPECTED AS AN UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCE MOVES THROUGH THE AREA. AT 600 PM… MOST LOCATIONS HAVE TRANSITIONED TO ALL SNOW AFTER THE SLEET AND RAIN FROM EARLIER IN THE AFTERNOON.
THE AREAS OF HEAVIEST SNOWFALL WILL OCCUR ALONG AND EAST OF INTERSTATE 95… AND ALSO IN HOWARD AND CARROLL COUNTIES IN MARYLAND.
THIS ADDITIONAL SNOWFALL WILL MAKE TRAVEL HAZARDOUS AS ROADS WILL ONCE AGAIN BECOME SNOW COVERED. VISIBILITIES WILL BE LOWERING TO BELOW 1/4 MILE AT TIMES… SO TRAVEL IS NOT ADVISED UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
Morning rush hour traffic on Columbia Pike has gone from bad to worse thanks to a new traffic pattern at the Washington Boulevard interchange, drivers tell us.
Two weeks ago VDOT, as part of its Route 27/244 interchange project, altered the traffic pattern for vehicles heading eastbound on Columbia Pike. Drivers heading toward northbound I-395 now have to turn left at the traffic signal on S. Quinn Street, whereas before northbound and southbound traffic could both take the right-hand ramp that also leads to southbound I-395.
Last week, one reader told us the new traffic pattern was a “disaster,” with eastbound Pike traffic backed up to S. Courthouse Road at 7:45 a.m. Today (Wednesday), another reader said that traffic was backed up to S. Walter Reed Drive at 8:15 a.m.
“That is absolutely ridiculous,” said Thierry Driscoll, a Pike commuter who now uses S. Courthouse Road as a shortcut to Washington Boulevard. “There are cars backed up in the left lane of Columbia Pike waiting to take a left onto the Washington Blvd access ramp, but cannot because the access ramp is full.”
“There is no excuse for such a boneheaded design,” he continued. “This new pattern has inconvenienced a lot of people.”
VDOT spokeswoman Jennifer McCord says the current traffic pattern is temporary and will be in place for another 8-12 months while new ramps are built.
“We realize it’s slower for drivers trying to get to I-395N since they have to yield to the oncoming traffic,” she said. “Our folks… added as much time as possible to the left-turn signal” to alleviate some of the traffic.
“No more significant changes” are planned, said McCord. She advised using S. Glebe Road as a possible alternate route to I-395 for those heading from western portions of Columbia Pike.
From 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the ramp will be closed to traffic. It will be re-opened in time for the evening rush hour.
“Crews are completing a concrete median barrier here,” said VDOT spokeswoman Jennifer McCord. “Keep in mind it’s weather permitting… although scheduled I doubt there will be any work on Thursday this week.”
These closures are happening about a month before the ramp from eastbound Route 50 to the 10th Street N. bridge is expected to open, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation project page.
The $39 million is still projected to be completed by the middle of this year. The entire interchange will look different, with ramps to 10th Street N. and Courthouse Road from both EB and WB Route 50, and a signalized “T” intersection at Fairfax Drive and the Courthouse Road ramp.