The plan is to create a one mile long auxiliary lane by connecting the Washington Blvd on-ramp to the off-ramp at the Dulles Airport Access Road. Workers will also construct a new 12-foot wide shoulder with full-strength pavement capable of carrying traffic during emergencies. Today, VDOT awarded a $23 million contract for the project to The Lane Construction Corporation.
A similar project was completed in 2011, when the acceleration lane at the Fairfax Drive on-ramp was extended to the deceleration lane at the Sycamore Street off-ramp. That created a continuous lane that stretches for nearly two miles.
The improvements slated to begin next year are scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2015. A third, similar project is planned between Lee Highway and Glebe Road, but it is not yet fully funded.
VDOT will try to do most of the work overnight to minimize the impact on drivers. More details about lane closures and traffic impacts will be announced when the construction schedule is finalized.
On Saturday, the Board is expected to approve a staff recommendation to lower the speed limit on N. Lynn Street and Fort Myer Drive from 30 to 25 mph. The change encompasses the stretch of each road between Arlington Blvd and Lee Highway.
According to a traffic engineering study, the change is not expected to lower the volume of traffic on the roads. Rather, it is hoped that lower speeds will improve safety, since Lynn and Fort Myer are heavily used by pedestrians.
Presently, the collision rate for both roads is “well below the statewide average rate,” according to the staff report. The average vehicle speed is at or below 25 mph on each.
It is Arlington’s stated transportation policy to lower speed limits on “downtown” arterial streets to 25 mph. The Board lowered the speed limit along Wilson and Clarendon Blvds from 30 to 25 mph in July.
The cost of installing new speed limit signs, should the change be made, is estimated at $2,000.
Photo via Google Maps
AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding motorists to drive carefully in wet weather.
The association sent out the following press release this afternoon.
As the coastal storm continues through the Washington metro area today, motorists will face hazardous driving conditions during their evening commute due to rain and standing water, warns AAA Mid-Atlantic. The auto club is advising motorists to exercise caution when driving.
“Commuters heading home tonight will face the same hazardous weather conditions as this morning’s drive to work,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “When driving in wet weather remember to buckle up, slow down, and keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. Also, remember, it’s the law in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia to turn your headlights on if your windshield wipers are in use.”
To minimize the hazards associated with wet weather driving, AAA Mid-Atlantic recommends the following precautions for navigating in heavy rain, reduced visibility and slick pavement:
- Slow down and increase following distances. Speed limits are set for ideal road conditions. When it rains, visibility is reduced and braking distances increase. On dry pavement, a safe following distance permits two to three seconds for stopping; that should be increased to eight seconds on slippery roads. Train your eyes farther down the road than normal, so you can anticipate changes and adjust your course gradually.
- Do not attempt to drive through standing water on the roads that look too deep. Avoid bridges and roads that are known to flood. When driving on pothole-filled roads, hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control. Just a few inches of water can turn your vehicle into a boat, and could put your life, and the lives of those around you, at great risk. Turn around; find another way to get to your destination.
- Watch out for hydroplaning. No car is immune from hydroplaning on wet surfaces, including four-wheel drive vehicles. Just because brakes work under normal conditions doesn’t mean they will react the same on slippery roads where tires roll with far less traction.
- Alert drivers behind you that you’re slowing with your brake lights. Without anti-lock brakes, squeeze the brakes until they are about to lock up and then release. With anti-lock brakes, use the same move – but don’t pump the brakes, which would work against the operation of the ABS system. Slow down as you approach a pothole. However, do not brake when your vehicle is directly over a pothole.
- Use the central lanes. When driving during heavy rain, use center lanes of the road (without straddling the yellow line). Avoid outside lanes where the water collects at curbside.
- Use low-beam headlights to help other drivers see your car and increase visibility.
- Use your defroster with your air conditioning to keep the air dry and prevent windows from fogging.
- Do not drive around barricades. Many lives have been lost when drivers disregard official orders and find themselves trapped in rising waters.
- Turn off the cruise control in wet weather driving. The use of cruise control on wet roads can cause hydroplaning.
- If conditions worsen to the point where there is any doubt about your safety, take the nearest exit and find a safe location. Don’t just stop on the shoulder or under a bridge where you may feel less anxiety. If your visibility is compromised, other drivers may be struggling too.
- Watch for slick spots on the road. Fumes and oil leaks that build up on dry pavement rise to the surface of the road when it rains, making the road far slicker than it may seem.
A number of roads around the Virginia Square area will be closed Sunday morning for the annual Race for a Cause 8K.
The race will shut down N. Quincy Street between N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. From 7:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., the following roads will be closed for the race, according to Arlington County:
- Eastbound Wilson Boulevard from Quincy Street to 10th Street N.
- Eastbound 10th Street N. to Washington Boulevard
- Southbound Washington Boulevard from 10th Street N. to Columbia Pike
Parking along these streets may be restricted, so those leaving their cars in and around the area Saturday night should be on the lookout for “No Parking” signs along the race route. The race will begin at 8:00 a.m.
A crash involving multiple vehicles is blocking two lanes of traffic on northbound I-395 near the Glebe Road interchange.
The crash occurred just after 12:10 p.m. today (Tuesday), and traffic cameras show at least two vehicles that appear to be involved in the collision.
As of 12:30 p.m. police and fire department personnel were on the scene and had shut down the two left lanes of NB I-395. No word yet on any injuries.
Update at 12:45 p.m. – The accident scene has been cleared and all lanes of traffic are open.
A cyclist has reportedly been struck by a vehicle on Route 50.
The incident happened around 11:45 a.m., near the intersection of Route 50 and Fillmore Street. Initial reports suggest the cyclist has a possible broken leg.
As of 12:00 p.m., police and fire department activity was blocking two lanes of westbound Route 50.
(Updated at 9:45 p.m.) The long-stalled plan to build a western entrance to the Ballston Metro station is taking a small step forward thanks to new transportation funding.
On Tuesday, the Arlington County Board approved a funding plan for the county’s share of revenue generated by Virginia’s new transportation legislation. The plan, which will be submitted to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), calls for $500,000 to be allocated to planning for the new Metro entrance during the current fiscal year.
The entrance is already partially designed. As proposed, it will be located at the intersection of N. Fairfax and Vermont Streets, allowing easier access to the new developments along Glebe Road in Ballston, the Bluemont neighborhood and other points west. The station will feature two street-level elevators and escalators, connecting to an underground passageway and mezzanine (with an attended kiosk) that will lead to the train platform.
“The County’s goal with the new funding is to advance the design of the West Entrance and proceed to construction,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Laura G. Smith. “In the next few months, the County will assemble [stakeholders] and reexamine the previous preliminary design.”
In another set of funding priorities submitted to NVTA, for fiscal years 2015-2017, the Board requested $56 million over those three years to cover 75 percent of the estimated $75 million cost of constructing the new entrance. Additional funds for the project are expected to come in the form of a $11 million developer contribution — tied to an approved but thus far unbuilt redevelopment project — and from other local and state sources.
The funding request would suggest that the entrance could be built by 2018, but the construction timeline does not appear to be set in stone.
“The Ballston Metro West Entrance Project has a lot of moving parts,” Smith noted.
Also included in the FY 2015-2017 priority list is $10 million for the planned realignment of the eastern end of Columbia Pike, between the Air Force Memorial and the Pentagon. Arlington is hoping to reach an agreement with the military on the realignment plan and a related land exchange “within the next six months,” said Smith.
Four Arlington transportation projects were approved by NVTA this summer. Other transportation funding requests made by the County Board on Tuesday include:
- Clarendon Circle pedestrian safety improvements ($2 million)
- Crystal City street improvements ($2 million)
- New Arlington Transit bus maintenance facility ($2.25 million)
- Streetcar project management ($2.5 million)
- New traffic cameras and signals ($1 million)
- Design of improvements to Glebe Road ($2 million)
The bridge was rebuilt as part of the $39 million Route 50/Courthouse Road/10th Street interchange project, which is expected to be complete by mid-2014. The old bridge was torn down in January, but crews made quick work of the new bridge, erecting steel beams for the span in July.
For now, the bridge is only carrying traffic from Courthouse Road to eastbound Route 50. Eventually, it will also carry traffic from eastbound Route 50 to Courthouse Road, with a traffic signal regulating traffic entering and exiting the highway.
VDOT currently anticipates opening the bridge to two-way traffic around Christmas of this year, according to spokeswoman Jeanene Harris.
Update at 4:30 p.m. — Police say the 35-year-old man who fell at the construction site has been pronounced dead at Virginia Hospital Center. Police remain on the scene as part of the investigation. OSHA is on the way to the scene to conduct its own investigation.
Earlier: Medics are performing CPR on a construction worker who fell two stories at a construction site on Columbia Pike.
The worker fell about 20 feet at the Rosenthal development site at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road. He is reported to be unconscious and bleeding from the ears, according to scanner traffic.
A technical rescue team has been dispatched from the scene and is discussing using a crane to extricate the worker from the site.
Police have shut down all southbound lanes of Glebe Road at Columbia Pike due to the emergency response. Arlington County detectives and state occupational safety investigators are en route to the scene.
A two-vehicle collision has destroyed the traffic control box at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Kirkwood Road, near Clarendon, cutting off power to the intersection’s traffic signal.
The t-bone crash happened at about 10:45 a.m. The driver of one car was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, a police officer at the scene said. A passenger in that vehicle and the driver of the other car involved were relatively unharmed.
As a result of the traffic signal outage, Arlington County police have set up cones in the intersection, diverting all southbound Kirkwood Road traffic to a right turn on Washington Blvd and preventing left turns in either direction on Washington Blvd.
Arlington County workers, after inspecting the damage to the power box, said it would take “all day, maybe until tomorrow” to repair. We’re told that they hope to restore at least some functionality in time for rush hour, perhaps finishing repairs on Tuesday.
Police officers will be a high-visibility presence, directing traffic in school zones, and variable message boards will be placed along county roadways reminded drivers to take extra precaution as students start returning to area schools.
Arlington County issued the following tips for safe driving on the first day of school:
Drivers are reminded to:
- Obey speed limits which may change during school zone times.
- Avoid distracted driving and keep your attention on the road.
- Watch for students walking and riding bikes to school.
- Don’t pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading passengers.
- Have all occupants wear their seatbelts.
Students, bicyclists and pedestrians are reminded to:
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks and never against a red light.
- Look before you cross and follow the direction of the school crossing guards.
- Always walk on designated sidewalks or paths never along the side of a road.
With a little prevention, all drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians can arrive at their destinations in a timely and safe manner.
Sept. 3 is also being billed by AAA Mid Atlantic as “Terrible Traffic Tuesday,” the day when roads are jammed because school returns and summer vacation season ends.
According to AAA, “the average 20.4 minute daily delay that drivers experienced around [the D.C. area] in July and August will return to an average of 25.8 minutes during September.”
The Memorial Bridge will be closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic tomorrow (Wednesday) due to the 50th Anniversary March on Washington.
The event — which commemorates the anniversary of 1963 march and rally that featured Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech – will start at 9:00 a.m. with a 1.6 mile march throughout the District, and will culminate with speeches at the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool.
Among the planned speakers are President Obama, former presidents Clinton and Carter, and civil rights leaders. The program at the Lincoln Memorial will take place from 11:00 to 4:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Gates open at 9:00 a.m.
U.S. Park Police will close the Memorial Bridge to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic starting around 3:15 a.m. on Wednesday.
Metro is urging those attending the event to not use the Arlington Cemetery station due to the closure. Arlington Memorial Circle will remain open during the closure.
The organization estimates that 811,500 people will travel at least 50 miles this weekend, a 2.6 percent increase from 2012. Of those travelers, 707,000 — or 87 percent — are expected to travel by car. About 8 percent will travel by air and 5 percent will travel by train, bus or boat, AAA projects.
AAA says the average traveler will journey about 600 miles, which is close to the national average. Gas prices are “unlikely to be a major factor for people in determining whether they will travel this Labor Day,” even though most consider the current national average of $3.54 a gallon “too high,” according to AAA.
“Call it summer’s last fling,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “After staying put throughout the summer, Washingtonians are yearning for travel, so they are getting the heck out of town for Labor Day. In fact, this is the fourth year of increases in local Labor Day travelers in the Washington metro area.”
“The effect of sequestration is still felt locally,” Townsend continued. “However, local residents can now gauge its full impact on their discretionary budgets with the recent announcement that the number of civilian furlough days has been reduced from 11 to six. That’s enough unanticipated good news to put folks around here in the mood to travel.”
The Memorial Bridge will be closed from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday for the 50th Anniversary March on Washington Realize the Dream March & Rally.
The event, which will commemorate the anniversary of 1963 march and rally that featured Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, will take place Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Memorial.
The National Park Service says it’s taking “every effort… to minimize traffic delays during this event.”
“Variable message boards will be put in place in advance on Memorial Circle and the ramps from the George Washington Memorial Parkway to warn drivers of the [Memorial Bridge] closure,” NPS said in a press release.
Those heading to the rally are encouraged to take Metro to the Arlington National Cemetery station on the Blue Line.
The annual America’s 9/11 Ride is passing through Arlington this afternoon.
The riders are expected to head eastbound on I-66 around 2:45 p.m., before motoring southbound on Route 110 and arriving at the Double Tree hotel in Pentagon City (300 Army Navy Drive) by 3:15 p.m. In past years, Arlington County police have set up rolling road closures to ensure safe passage of the convoy.
The bikers started the day at the Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pa. They will spend the night in Pentagon City and will hold an event in the Pentagon parking lot early tomorrow morning, before departing for New York City around 7:00 a.m.
Photo courtesy edobson22207