Many main roads were treated before the snow fell, making for an easy commute earlier this morning. The Arlington Public Schools cancellation and the federal government’s two hour delay resulted in much lighter traffic than usual.
As the snow has continued to fall throughout the morning commute, some neighborhood streets are now reported to be slick.
A hilly portion of S. Edgewood Street, near Columbia Pike, is being monitored by police due to cars getting stuck. Meanwhile, the following accident was photographed in Fairlington.
— Wayne (@VACoffeeGuy) February 26, 2015
Arlington County government and county facilities are open, and trash and recycling collection is proceeding as usual.
Arlington County gov't OPEN on time today, w/unscheduled leave and telework options in effect for employees. Go to http://t.co/1eF3IKciR9
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) February 26, 2015
Update at 9:55 a.m. — An Arlington County employee says that a lack of communication from the county, and at least one conflicting Facebook message, produced confusion among the county’s workforce this morning.
This morning the Arlington Employee Email alert system sent no message (at least to my phone) about County offices being open. This is in contrast to January 14, 26 and 27 (and most times when there are any weather questions in the past.) Moreover, for a period of time the County’s official Facebook page indicated that offices would be open two hours late. There was considerable confusion among County employees.
(I was momentarily confused by the Facebook message myself but chose to come to work anyway since there was no other notification one way or another.)
Not sure why communications broke down but of all days this is one where County employees could have used some accurate and timely guidance.
Here is the message from January 27:
Arlington County government offices, courts, and facilities are open today, Tuesday, January 27, 2015. Unscheduled leave and telework options are available to County employees, with supervisor’s approval. GAS/ OEM
No such message today. Nada.
Drivers and pedestrians alike should be on the lookout for ice this morning as the temperature dips back below freezing.
Forecasters say slippery conditions are likely. From the National Weather Service.
… PATCHES OF ICE RESULTING IN HAZARDOUS TRAVEL POSSIBLE THIS MORNING…
AIR TEMPERATURES WILL FALL BELOW FREEZING THIS MORNING AND CONTINUE DROPPING THROUGHOUT THE DAY. WITH ROAD TEMPERATURES ACROSS MARYLAND AND WEST OF I-81 ALREADY BELOW FREEZING… THIS WILL LEAD TO ANY SNOW AND ICE THAT MELTED YESTERDAY TO REFREEZE ON UNTREATED SURFACES. PLEASE USE EXTRA CAUTION AND GIVE YOURSELF EXTRA TIME TO GET TO YOUR DESTINATION IF TRAVELING TODAY. REDUCE SPEED AND STAY ALERT FOR PATCHES OF ICE AND SLICK ROAD CONDITIONS.
The changing temperatures are also playing havoc with pipes that are exposed to the elements. Several instances of burst pipes have been reported around Arlington this morning.
The freezing and refreezing is also causing some big potholes on local roads, like the one seen below on the 4700 block of Washington Blvd.
— Michael Rosen (@Mike_EDIH) February 23, 2015
The accident happened at the exit 8A ramp off of northbound I-395, near Pentagon City. Two travel lanes and the ramp are blocked approaching the scene.
Initial reports suggest that it’s a single-vehicle accident involving an overturned SUV. The driver was able to get out of the overturned vehicle on his or her own power, according to scanner traffic.
The driver’s injuries are said to be minor.
(Updated at 11:00 a.m.) A sizable sinkhole has formed on Williamsburg Blvd due to a water main break.
The sinkhole is located in a crosswalk, in a southbound lane of Williamsburg Blvd just off of Sycamore Street and the Williamsburg Circle.
A photo tweeted by Arlington County Police shows a small geyser of water inside a deep crater in the roadway.
“We usually recommend using a crosswalk…but maybe not this one at Williamsburg & Sycamore Street,” the police department said via Twitter.
Drivers should expect limited access to Williamsburg Blvd near the sinkhole and a lengthy repair process, according to Arlington County. A second possible sinkhole was also reported this morning, near road work at Washington Blvd and N. Ohio Street.
Photo via ACPD
(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) George Mason Drive is shut down between N. Henderson Road and Park Drive due to a single-vehicle wreck that knocked over a utility pole.
The crash happened around 1:00 p.m. A driver in a sedan lost control of her car while heading down George Mason, near Barrett Elementary School. The car flipped on its roof and knocked over a utility pole and active power lines.
An Arlington County Fire Department rescue squad helped to pull the woman out of the overturned vehicle while keeping clear of the power lines. She was transported to a local hospital but her injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. Initial reports suggest that alcohol might have been a factor in the crash.
The road is expected to remain closed while utility crews work to repair the pole and the lines.
Update at 12:10 a.m. — All lanes have reopened.
All lanes of the northbound George Washington Parkway are being temporarily diverted due to an earlier accident, according to D.C. police.
The accident happened this morning just prior to Route 123.
“Recovery operations” related to the accident have prompted the temporary closure. Traffic is being diverted onto the Spout Run Parkway, police said.
(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) A two-vehicle collision flattened a traffic signal and caused some traffic disruptions on Lee Highway this afternoon.
The crash happened between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m., on Lee Highway between Spout Run and the I-66 overpass. An SUV and a commercial van were involved in the wreck, which knocked over a traffic light in the median.
“One car was coming from the 66 off ramp and the other was driving on Lee Highway,” a witness told ARLnow.com.
Police on scene believe the slick roads may have been a factor. So far, no injuries have been reported. Police are remaining on scene while tow crews prepare to haul away the vehicles.
The county’s traffic engineering department has been notified of the damaged signal. According to officers, the signal that was knocked down will not significantly affect the intersection’s safety, and no officers will be needed to help with traffic flow.
Forecasters say accumulating snow may start falling by mid-to-late afternoon. VDOT says its crews are out in force treating roads, but drivers should consider leaving work early.
From a press release:
The Virginia Department of Transportation is asking northern Virginia drivers to prepare for today’s afternoon commute, which is expected to be much more difficult than this morning as rain and wintry mix increases to snow throughout the day.
Drivers are asked to commute and travel in the early afternoon if possible, prior to 4 p.m., to get ahead of increasing precipitation and dropping pavement temperatures expected this evening.
Between the morning and afternoon rush hours today, crews will apply a light application of salt, or mix of salt and liquid magnesium chloride, to problem spots such as bridges, ramps, hills and overpasses on main roads and in neighborhoods. Crews will continue to treat roads through the evening rush and overnight tonight.
Bridge and pavement temperatures are forecasted to be at or below freezing from 6 p.m. today through mid-day Tuesday. Drivers are asked to use caution, particularly in neighborhoods where slick conditions may develop this evening.
About 900 trucks will remain on duty this evening throughout Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington counties.
Reminders and resources:
- Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination
- Be aware of potentially icy areas such as bridges, ramps, curves and overpasses
- Check www.511virginia.org for road conditions
- Get more details on snow removal in northern Virginia
- Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova
A single-vehicle accident on S. Arlington Mill Drive ended with the car rolling down an embankment and ending up on its roof.
The accident happened just after 2:00 p.m. The driver of a newer-model Acura was heading down Arlington Mill Drive, near 9th Street S., when she somehow lost control of the vehicle, drove over a curb and down the steep embankment.
The car ended up on its roof, just steps from Four Mile Run and a popular pedestrian path. Amazingly, the driver was unhurt and was able to crawl out of the passenger side of the vehicle on her own power as police and a fire department rescue squad were arriving.
Police on the scene said they were unsure exactly how the accident happened. A flatbed tow truck is currently on scene, trying to figure out how to get the car up from the embankment.
No word yet on whether the driver will face any charges. The accident happened less than a block from the Arlington Mill Community Center and the site of an earlier water main break.
The road closure is expected to last until around midnight, as crews complete repairs, according to an Arlington alert.
Authorities are also concerned that the water on the roadway may turn to ice as the temperature dips below freezing overnight.
(Updated at 11:25 a.m.) All of the street signs in Arlington are in the process of gradually being replaced by signs with bigger lettering.
Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter said about 120 street signs in Arlington have already been replaced as part of compliance with new Federal Highway Administration regulations.
“Although the requirement is only for new and replacement signs, because of the improvement in readability and therefore safety that is brought about by the new lettering type, we are implementing the new style throughout the County,” Baxter told ARLnow.com in an email. “The new signs are larger with both upper and lowercase reflective… lettering. They enhance safety and navigation with improved visibility.”
Baxter said the installation program began in July 2014. DES will begin replacing signs again in May with the Wilson and Clarendon Boulevard and Crystal Drive corridors.
There is no special budget for the project — it’s coming out of DES’ normal operating budget, Baxter said. Each sign costs roughly $40, depending on the size and lettering of each one.
(Updated at 7:30 a.m.) Roads are covered with white, powdery snow as Arlington and the rest of the D.C. region gets its first snow of the year and first measurable snow of the season.
Several accidents have been reported around Arlington as an inch or so of snow has made driving treacherous. The crashes are happening throughout the county — on I-395, Glebe Road at Route 50, Wilson Blvd and elsewhere.
The Wilson Blvd crash, at N. Larrimore Street, reportedly involves several vehicles. Wilson Blvd is shut down between N. Kensington and Larrimore Streets as of 7:00 a.m.
Cars and buses are struggling to make it up hills, particularly on neighborhood streets. Police have asked a salt truck to expedite to 16th Street N. near Virginia Hospital Center, as hospital employees and other drivers are having trouble making it up a hill.
Arlington snow crews “are out treating primary and secondary roads through the morning snow,” according to the Dept. of Environmental Services.
ART buses are running this morning, but delays are likely.
“Roads and sidewalks have become very slippery,” ART said in an alert. “ART routes are running but delays are expected.”
Students, meanwhile, will be disappointed to know that Arlington Public Schools has not seen fit to delay school as a result of the snow. The school system announced this morning that it’s opening on time, on a normal schedule.
School are opening on time in the District of Columbia and Fairfax County, as well.
On Tuesday, January 6, 2015, Arlington Public Schools is operating on a normal schedule and opening on time.
— Arlington Schools (@APSVirginia) January 6, 2015
VDOT has reported 21 crashes in Northern Virginia as of 6:55 a.m.
Photo courtesy J. Sonder
Anyone who’s driven along Clarendon Blvd near the Whole Foods at 2700 Wilson Blvd knows the grocery store has a tendency to cause minor backups.
This afternoon during the lunch hour, the traffic problems escalated, backing up traffic for several blocks in the area and leading to police being called for traffic control. We’re told backups like this are common around major holidays, like Christmas and New Years.
Part of the problem, according to the responding officers, is cars parking — legally — in pay spots on the left-hand side of Clarendon Blvd between the entrance to Whole Foods and N. Edgewood Street. That causes cars waiting to turn into the store’s parking lot to wait in one of the travel lanes.
At about 1:00 p.m., there were three officers on Clarendon Blvd helping to direct traffic. That helped to clear much of the backed up traffic, which also extended to several side streets.
When asked, two of the officers each said it was far from the worst Whole Foods-caused traffic they had seen in Clarendon.
Four out of ten D.C. area residents — nearly 2.5 million people — are expected to travel 50 miles or more during the 13-day holiday travel period around Christmas and New Year’s, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.
That’s up 3.3 percent from 2013.
Most of those travelers will be taking to the roads — 91 percent — while 5 percent will be flying and 4 percent will be traveling via other modes of transportation, AAA said. The busiest day on the roads: today, Dec. 23.
The weather is already making travel more difficult. Departure delays ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours, due to fog, are being reported for flights going to eastern seaboard cities like Boston, New York and Philadelphia.
While the 24th and 25th are expected to be lighter travel days, it’s yet to be seen what impacts the expected wind and rain may have.
Locally, forecasters say to expect the fog to linger through this evening. From the National Weather Service:
… PATCHY DENSE FOG INTO EARLY AFTERNOON…
PATCHY DENSE FOG WILL CONTINUE TO DEVELOP ACROSS PORTIONS OF EASTERN AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA LATE THIS MORNING. LOW CLOUDS ACROSS THE AREA WILL CONTINUE TO LOWER IN HEIGHT TOWARD THE SURFACE… REDUCING VISIBILITIES TO NEAR OR BELOW A QUARTER MILE IN LOCALIZED AREAS.
IF TRAVELING… USE EXTRA CAUTION AND BE PREPARED FOR QUICKLY REDUCED VISIBILITIES IN FOG.
Photo courtesy @SBDSLLC
(Updated at 12:50 p.m. Tuesday) Seven vehicles — five cars, an ART bus and a mixing truck — were involved in a collision at about 5:45 p.m. at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Dinwiddie Street.
According to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm, the ART bus was in the parking lot of Columbia Pike Plaza when a car turned in front of it. The ART bus, driven by 26-year-old Agere Sileshi, struck the car, at which point Sileshi lost control of the bus, Malcolm said.
The bus pushed the car into a parked vehicle, Sileshi accelerated and pushed all three vehicles over the brick retaining wall and onto S. Dinwiddie Street, Malcolm said. There, the bus hit three cars stopped at a red light, creating another chain reaction in which the seventh vehicle, a parked car, was pushed into benches and a tree on the sidewalk in front of Arlington Mill Community Center.
Sileshi was charged with reckless driving for failure to control her vehicle, Malcolm said. Three motorists were transported from the scene with non-life-threatening injuries, as was one pedestrian “struck by flying debris.”
Westbound Columbia Pike was closed for more than an hour around the scene as emergency crews from Arlington and Fairfax sort out the aftermath, which included cars strewn all over the intersection and a substantial part of the brick wall along Dinwiddie Street destroyed.
In addition to the cars and walls damaged, several bicycles parked in front of Arlington Mill Community Center were damaged in the accident, and at least two benches affixed to the ground were either destroyed or displaced.