The annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally will rumble through Arlington starting today.
The Memorial Day weekend event will begin with the expected arrival of thousands of motorcyclists this afternoon, many of whom will be arriving via I-66. Authorities are warning drivers to expect delays on eastbound I-66 between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.
The Hyatt Regency in Crystal City will serve as the hotel headquarters for the event, which according to organizers attracts some 900,000 bikers to the nation’s capital. The expected arrival time at the hotel is 3:00 p.m., according to a weekend schedule.
Arlington residents who live along the Route 1 corridor should, as usual, expect plenty of motorcycle noise throughout the weekend.
Aside from activity around the hotel, no Rolling Thunder events are planned in Arlington on Saturday. On Sunday, starting at 7:00 a.m., participants will gather at the Pentagon north and south parking lots for a large rally, which this year will include food trucks.
From the Pentagon, the bikers will depart for a rally on the National Mall, featuring various speakers and musical tributes, at noon.
To accommodate the large expected crowds, Arlington County and Virginia State Police will close Washington Blvd between I-395 and the Memorial Bridge from about 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.
“In addition, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway or northbound Route 110,” ACPD said in a press release. “Motorists should expect large numbers of motorcyclists in Northern Virginia and the entire Washington Metropolitan area this weekend.”
Flickr pool photo by Michelle Dupray
Starting Monday, April 27, the Virginia Department of Transportation will close off the two lanes to make way for the next phase of work in replacing the 74-year-old bridge. Construction on the project began in March.
The lane closures are expected to last the duration of the project, which has a projected completion date of May 2018 and a price tag of $31.5 million, per VDOT.
“Drivers are advised to expect delays and use alternate routes if possible, particularly northbound during the a.m. rush hour, where drivers could experience a 10-minute delay,” VDOT said in a press release announcing the traffic shift. “Motorists are also asked to be alert to Pentagon and Virginia State Police who will help facilitate traffic movement.”
When complete, the new bridge will be wider, taller, and longer than the current one, which VDOT has deemed “structurally deficient.” It will also include a 14-foot-wide shared use path on one side and an 8-foot-wide sidewalk on the other.
Image via VDOT
Pothole-filled roads have been reported around the county and there have also been scattered accounts of flat tires and other pothole-related damage.
Arlington County has an online form for reporting potholes. Yesterday, we asked readers to report, via Twitter, the location of some of the worst potholes in Arlington. Here are some of the responses:
- “All of Wilson Blvd heading towards Ballston from 7 Corners to Glebe. It’s like off-roading.” (@isaachulvey)
- “Sycamore between 26th and Lee Highway” (@aoadair)
- “Courthouse Rd from Clarendon Blvd leading down to 50. Was only it last night and there’s literally craters from 14th down” (@mel_shoe)
- “Veitch St. right near Corner Bakery, nearest cross street is Clarendon Blvd. Absolutely horrendous potholes in a couple spots” (@vizzle311)
- “George Mason and N Pershing, same pothole comes back each time they fill it” (@RobertoClaure)
- “Old Dominion from Glebe to Williamsburg Blvd” (@JohnVasapoli)
- “Henderson Road and Thomas Street has become a nightmare over the past week! 3 potholes in the same stretch, no way to dodge” (@eablack)
- “Spout Run Pkwy between Lee Highway and GWPkwy, both ways” (@michbttx)
- “Construction zone on Glebe from just south of Columbia Pike to the post office. 6+ months now, no improvement. Maddening.” (@Ariadnes_Thread)
- “Nash St in Rosslyn, btwn Key Blvd and Wilson is atrocious. It is just one big pothole after another.” (@kylekeller)
- “The N-B stretch of S. Shirlington Rd. off 395N has been a disaster for over a year.” (@KyleFisherMBA)
- “Four Mile Run Rd between Geo Mason and Col Pike” (@dtwynn)
- “On Barton at 10th, heading toward 9th. As you head up hill, giant trench. Part fixed, but huge hole still there to right side.” (@samerfarha)
- “Fillmore between 10th and Clarendon Blvd. there are 4-5 huge ones!” (@emilylynnwalsh)
- “Corner of 28th Street S and 26th Street S” (@spencer4fsu)
- “On Carlin Springs Road by the bridge over George Mason Dr. Both sides” (@GusMacker1)
One more big problem spot of note: the George Washington Parkway, near Spout Run Parkway, which was partially shut down this morning for repairs after “over a dozen cars” were damaged by potholes.
Arlington County says crews are now tackling potholes on major roads, with plans to get to neighborhood streets a bit later in the spring. From Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter:
It’s been a rough winter season on our roads, particularly with the amount of frozen precipitation and sustained periods of extreme cold temperatures. As we enter this spring season, it is our priority to get crews out there to make potholes repairs. We will do so for the next two months beginning with major arterials. This will include working late into some evenings on non-arterial streets, as well as scheduling teams for Saturday work when weather allows.
AAA Mid-Atlantic issued a press release this morning, suggesting that drivers should file claims for pothole damage against local governments. The press release (reprinted, after the jump) also has tips for avoiding potholes.
“We’ve already responded to several vehicle accidents this morning,” the Arlington County Fire Department said this morning via Twitter. “Please slow down and use caution.”
Among the accidents reported so far this morning are a car that slammed into a tree near the intersection of 14th Street and N. Veitch Street in Courthouse. The driver was “injured and in shock” after the accident, according to a witness. Another accident, in which a car slid and became stuck on the curb, has been reported at 2nd Street and S. Fillmore Street.
Police are considering shutting down the icy, treacherous hilly portion of 14th Street, where the car slid into a tree. N. Courthouse Road has reportedly been shut down at Route 50 due to similar icy conditions, as has 13th Street at N. Troy Street.
“We’re basically coning off the entire Courthouse area,” one police officer was overheard saying. “We’re running low on cones.”
Other reported problem spots include S. Buchanan Street and 9th Street, where several cars have been abandoned, and Wilson Blvd and N. Emerson Street. Even relatively flat portions of main roads are said to be treacherous.
ARLnow.com hears that Arlington is now “out of salt,” after officials said they were running low yesterday evening. We also hear that the county expects a fresh shipment of salt at noon, with the goal of road crews resuming road treatments at 1:00 p.m.
Just after noon, Arlington County confirmed that more salt was on the way.
Arlington County will receive 2,000 additional tons of salt to help in clearing roads of snow and sleet. The first shipment will arrive today. The County previously received a mid-season resupply, but it was not enough due to the severity of this winter and stock supplies from the regional contractor nearing depletion.
Crews have been working around the clock to plow streets and have used salt conservatively, supplementing with sand. The County is currently clearing residential streets and will continue to do so for the remainder of the day and evening.
Residents should continue to expect hazardous travel conditions, particularly on side streets. Stay off the roads if possible. Cyclists should be extra cautious and on the lookout for accumulated sand on the roads.
Those driving aren’t the only ones experiencing travel woes this morning. The Blue, Orange and Silver lines experienced significant delays after an earlier train malfunction that prompted single-tracking between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom.
The single-tracking has ended, Metro said shortly before 9:00, but residual delays remain. Riders say platforms, particularly at Rosslyn, are crowded.
— George (@georgehartmann) March 6, 2015
After the jump, a warning about icy roads today and later tonight from VDOT.
Photo (top) courtesy @aklake34
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.