(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) Road conditions around Arlington are bad and are only expected to get worse as today’s snowstorm increases in intensity around rush hour.
Numerous crashes, involving cars, postal vehicles and buses, have been reported on Arlington’s roads and highways this afternoon. Other vehicles are getting stuck or spinning out of control on snow-covered hills. Sections of George Mason Drive and Carlin Springs Road are particularly treacherous, we hear.
ART buses are operating under a Severe Weather Policy, with limited service for ART 41, 51 and 77 routes and all other routes cancelled.
Via Twitter, Arlington residents report 1.5 to 3 inches of snow on the ground so far, with higher amounts generally to the north. The National Weather Service says 6-10 inches of snow will fall by the time the flakes tapers off tonight.
In addition to the snow, frigid temperatures and high winds are expected to bring additional wintry misery tonight. The predicted -5 to -15 degree wind chills prompted a plea from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).
“I urge every Virginian to make proper preparations as this storm moves in and brings snow, potentially life-threatening low temperatures and high winds,” Gov. McAuliffe said in a statement. “Unfortunately, injuries and even deaths from hypothermia, heart attack, stroke and traffic crashes are all too common during the winter storms of this type. Don’t travel unnecessarily, and be prepared to stay where you are until conditions improve.”
A boat fell off its trailer on Lee Highway in Cherrydale Saturday evening, requiring a 40-ton crane and several hours to remove it from the roadway.
The boat belongs to Tom McNulty, a Yorktown resident who took his 16-foot Bayliner power boat out on the Potomac to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather on Saturday. Driving back on Lee Highway, McNulty said he hit a big bump in front of the Dunkin Donuts at 3520 Lee Highway.
“We weren’t going fast, maybe 27 or 30 mph,” McNulty told ARLnow.com today. “We hit the bump and the trailer doesn’t have any suspension. We felt it slide, slowed down, and that’s when it drifted into the right lane and hit a street light.”
McNulty said multiple safety chains and other securing mechanisms snapped, allowing the boat to come completely off the trailer. Once it hit the pavement, it slid down the road “about 100 feet,” McNulty said, leaving fiberglass residue all over the pavement.
The incident happened around 4:45 p.m. McNulty said it took about three hours for the crane — which was called in after a flatbed tow truck operator took one look at the boat and realized he could not tow it — to finally lift it and take it to a yard, where it now sits awaiting an insurance claims adjuster.
“My brother was the one who called it in, and the 911 dispatcher thought we said a bird in a road,” McNulty said. “I’m sure dispatch thought some idiot called in a bird in the road, so when they sent a squad car they realized what was actually happening.”
McNulty said there’s only superficial damage to the boat, but said this isn’t the first time he’s had problems keeping his boat out of harm’s way.
“A tree fell on my first boat,” he said. “During the derecho storm last year. This massive tree just came right down on it. I’m getting my pilot’s license next year so I hope I have better luck with planes.”
Nearly 2.4 million people, or about 41 percent of the metro region’s population, are expected to travel 50 miles or more during the time period from this Saturday, December 21, through Wednesday, January 1. That’s a small increase of 0.1 percent over last year. This will be the fifth consecutive year for such an increase, and the highest recorded travel volume for the winter holiday season.
“Unfortunately, a number of Washingtonians sat out three of the first four holiday travel periods of the year as an upshot of all the political drama in the nation’s capital and the economic stress it engendered. But they will not be denied nor deny themselves or their families during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel period,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs.
Air travel is expected to slightly decline to 129,300 travelers, compared with 130,400 last year. The number of people traveling by train or bus is also down this year, by about two percent. Automobile travel, however, is expected to increase by 0.3 percent, to more than 2.1 million people.
D.C. metro area residents plan on traveling an average of 965 miles for the holidays. That’s up from 805 miles last year.
(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) An accident involving a Metrobus and an overturned vehicle has shut down two lanes of northbound traffic on Route 1 in Crystal City.
Police and medics are on the scene at Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) near 23rd Street S. One person suffered an arm injury in the accident, according to police radio traffic, and was transported from the scene in an ambulance.
Drivers should expect some traffic impacts in the area.
Update at 10:00 a.m. — VDOT says the change has been postponed: “Please note this new pattern has been postponed until January due to additional signal work. A new date for the shift will be announced soon.”
A new traffic pattern will be in effect at the under-construction Columbia Pike and Washington Boulevard interchange
VDOT says drivers heading eastbound on the Pike will now have a different way of getting to northbound I-395 (toward the District). Now, instead of bearing right after the light at S. Quinn Street, drivers will need to wait to turn left at the light, onto a new ramp to Washington Boulevard.
Those heading to southbound I-395 will still bear right onto the ramp after S. Quinn Street.
“Work to complete the switch will take place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday,” VDOT said in a press release. “Message signs will be in place to notify drivers of the new traffic pattern.”
“This new access is part of the $51.5 million project to replace the Washington Boulevard bridge over Columbia Pike,” the press release continued. “The project will be complete in summer 2015.”
As part of the project, the new bridge over Columbia Pike opened last month.
(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) A large water main break has been reported on Columbia Pike, just in time to cause significant issues with the evening commute.
The water main break was reported at Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road, on the Arlington/Fairfax county line. Fairfax County police are shutting down the Pike in both directions between Carlin Springs and Route 7.
Police have shut down the eastbound side of the Pike to pedestrian traffic, because workers are cautious to prevent the sidewalk from collapsing into a sinkhole, according to police on the scene. Fairfax Water workers are trying to turn off the water — which is still pouring out of the sewer grates in the closed-off section of Columbia Pike — before beginning repairs.
There are no estimates so far for the timeline of work to be completed, so drivers should avoid the area entirely on their commute, if possible. As of about 5:30 p.m., Carlin Springs Road was backed up all the way into the Buckingham neighborhood, and several other roads in the area were also suffering major backups.
The effects of Sunday’s winter storm continue to be felt as the county braces for another Tuesday morning.
Reports of downed trees, branches and electrical wires, as well as several car accidents, have continued to come in during the day (Monday).
As of late this afternoon, N. Glebe Road was still closed between Military Road and Chain Bridge Road due to a large downed tree. As of 4:15 p.m., 788 Dominion Power customers in Arlington remained without power.
Two pedestrians were struck by vehicles in shopping center parking lots in Arlington today, suffering non-life-threatening injuries. It’s unclear if accumulated snow and ice played a role in the accidents.
Arlington Office of Emergency Management spokesman John Crawford said the storm’s impact could have been worse had it not arrived on a Sunday and had residents not been alerted by forecasters well ahead of time. Closing schools and governments allowing “liberal leave” prevented further safety issues today, Crawford said.
“I think our roadways were fairly clear” for the morning commute, he said.
The county may not be so lucky for the winter storm that could arrive Tuesday morning, however. The National Weather Service has downgraded what was a Winter Storm Watch to a Winter Weather Advisory at 2:30 p.m., but it’s still calling for 3-5 inches of snow between 3:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
NWS is warning of a “hazardous morning commute,” saying the heaviest snow will be falling during the morning rush hour, while OEM is also preparing for the possibility that the snow could pose more problems for the evening rush hour.
“We’re tracking and watching the storm very closely to see if it’s going to have a significant impact on Arlington,” Crawford said.
“Commuters should be well aware of conditions tomorrow,” he said. “Coming home could be very sloppy if the temperature remains below freezing. If you absolutely have to drive, just be smart, be cautious and be prepared.”
Crawford remembered “Carmageddon,” the last major winter storm that impacted the area during a rush hour commute. Drivers were stuck on the George Washington Parkway and I-66 for several hours on Jan. 26, 2011. There were more than 100 calls for disabled vehicles throughout Northern Virginia.
The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang is still unsure about the true nature of the coming storm, calling it “tricky to predict.” It could be less than 2 inches or more than 5 inches of snow, CWG forecasters say.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is urging drivers to check weather conditions before leaving for their morning commutes tomorrow morning, and to “limit travel or use caution.” More than 1,200 VDOT trucks and plows will be out by 4 a.m. to try to clear roadways, the department said.
The area is under a Winter Storm Warning through 10:00 a.m. Monday as forecasters call for a quarter inch of ice. Via Twitter, readers have reported slick roads, especially on neighborhood streets. A Domino’s delivery driver in south Arlington told ARLnow.com that side streets were “very bad,” and that another driver had been involved in an accident. Bridges were also said to be particularly icy.
VDOT, which is responsible for maintaining highways and certain major roads in Arlington, says Monday’s morning rush hour could be impacted by the slick conditions.
“Crews are plowing as well as heavily salting roads and will continue to do so through tomorrow morning’s rush hours,” VDOT said in a tweet.
Arlington canceled evening activities and closed all schools and government buildings at 6:00 p.m. tonight (Sunday).
Freezing temperatures might have been responsible for a water main break near Lee Highway. The water main break happened at 20th Road N. and N. Woodstock Street.
Fairfax and Loudoun County schools will be closed Monday. So far, there has been no announcement from Arlington Public Schools.
Flickr pool photo by J. Sonder
The bridge, which has been under construction since 2012, was built to replace the previous structure. The old bridge was built in the 1940s as part of the original Pentagon Roadway Network and had been in “poor condition,” according to VDOT.
Construction on the project is still expected to wrap up at some point in 2015, according to VDOT’s project website.
Lane closures will continue on Columbia Pike into 2014 while the new bridge is finished and the old bridge is demolished. Demolition is expected to happen as soon as January.
Two water mains in south Arlington broke this morning, requiring major repairs and closing roads and county buildings in the process.
A 16-inch water main burst on S. Arlington Mill Drive at the entrance to the Village at Shirlington early Tuesday, closing the road from S. Randolph Street to S. Taylor Street. The break caused Abingdon Elementary School and Fairlington Community Center to close for the day.
Some neighborhoods around the area lost water service this morning, but according to Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) spokeswoman Myllisa Kennedy
water has since been restored to all residents, as well as the school, as repairs continue. The line is being excavated and repairs are expected to last until late afternoon, Kennedy said.
A separate, smaller water main also broke in Nauck this morning. Repairs have closed S. Monroe Street between 24th and 25th Streets as a result.
Update at 3:55 p.m. — Repairs on the 16-inch line are taking longer than expected. Residents in Fairlington will have little or no water pressure until the repairs are complete, according to DES spokeswoman Robyn Mincher.
The leaked 16 inch pipe has been exposed and workers found a long split. It may take another 5 to 6 hours from now to complete repairs. The traffic on Arlington Mill Drive will remain closed through early evening. The north entrance from Arlington Mill Drive to the garage located in Harris Teeter will be open by 4 p.m. to accommodate the tree lighting event. The attempts to open the other feed to Fairlington area were not successful. More repairs on valves will be done at a later date. As of now, Fairlington has no water or may be experiencing very low pressure. This situation will last until the 16 inch main is repaired.
Update at 7:15 p.m. — Repairs are continuing, Mincher says, but might stretch into Wednesday.
The intersection from Arlington Mill Drive to the north entrance of Harris Teeter’s Garage will remain closed. The traffic will stop at S. Randolph St. on Arlington Mill Drive.
The repair has run into complications with excessive water draining from the pipe that required more time to pump out. The replacement will be for two sections of pipe instead of one. These complications have added time to completion. The projected time of completion is approximately 5 ½ hours from now. The crew is complying with 16 safe-hour limit and will stop to continue in the morning if work is not completed by 10 pm. Night crew is working on a valve repair to restore water to Fairlington. If they finish early, they will supplement work on the pipe repair.
Update at 10:15 p.m. — County repair crews are calling it a day. Repairs will resume after rush hour tomorrow.
Crews will resume repair work tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. after the rush hour. This is due to the complications mentioned earlier and the 16 safe-hour limit. There will be one westbound lane open to traffic on Arlington Mill Drive and police will control the traffic throughout the night.
The Fairlington area will remain on low water pressure until the valve on the other line can be fixed.
From 4:00 to 10:00 p.m., Campbell Avenue, from Arlington Mill Drive to S. Quincy Street and S. Randolph Street, from Arlington Mill Drive to the alley behind Charlie Chang’s Restaurant (roughly the 3000 block), will be closed for the event.
During that time, vehicles will not be allowed to leave Harris Teeter’s covered parking lot onto Campbell Avenue. Parking in the area is also restricted, so drivers should be on the lookout for spaces with “No Parking” signs.
Light Up the Village will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The tree lighting should begin at 6:30, hosted by WTTG’s Allison Seymour. There will also be horse and carriage rides available for those donating non-perishable goods to the Arlington Food Assistance Center, photos with Santa at the UPS Store (2776 S. Arlington Mill Drive), free face painting and live holiday music.
Two passengers of a Red Top taxi cab were injured in a three-vehicle collision today.
The crash happened around noon in the southbound lanes of George Mason Drive, in front of the Army National Guard Readiness Center. Initial reports suggest an Arlington County work truck and the Red Top Cab sedan were stopped in the right-hand lane when the cab was rear-ended by an Advanced Towing truck. The cab was sandwiched between the other two vehicles, causing front- and rear-end damage.
An Arlington couple in their 60s were in the backseat of the cab at the time of the crash, according to Tanvir Ahmed, their son. Ahmed said his mother, who was returning home from cancer treatment at Virginia Hospital Center, suffered a head injury and was bleeding when she was taken via ambulance back to the hospital. His father suffered minor injuries, he said.
All three drivers remained on scene following the wreck. Only minor damage was visible on the rear bumper of the county truck. The tow truck had moderate front-end damage.
So far, there’s no official word from police regarding the cause of the crash. No other injuries were reported.
The race is hosted by Christ Church of Arlington. All 3,100 registration spots have been claimed, according to the church’s website.
Arlington police issued the following press release about closures associated with the event.
The Arlington County Police Department will close N. Pershing Drive between N. Fillmore Street and N. Glebe Road from 7:50 a.m. until approximately 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 28, 2013 for the 2013 Turkey Trot 5K.
Neighborhood roadways north and south of N. Pershing Drive will be affected briefly as the runners move through the course. It is anticipated N. Pershing Drive will be reopened completely by 9:30 a.m.
Additionally, certain areas will be designated as “no parking” along the route between midnight and 10:00 a.m. on November 28, 2013. These areas are identified below:
- N Highland Street between N Pershing Drive & 7th Street N
- 7th Street N between N Highland Street & N Irving Street
- N Irving Street between 7th Street N & 9th Street N
- 9th Street N between N Irving Street & N Fillmore Street
Metro bus service will be temporarily unavailable along N. Pershing Drive. Routes have been adjusted to provide pickup at the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Washington Boulevard along N. Pershing Drive.
All questions should be directed to Lieutenant Robert Medairos at (703)228-4160.
Today is perhaps the busiest travel day of the year — in the middle of the busiest travel week of the year — travel experts have some advice for travelers to make their journeys home as smooth as possible.
For those flying on Thanksgiving, expect crowded airports and airport parking lots until Monday, Dec. 2, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. The peak times for holiday flights is early in the morning, between 5:30 and 8:00 a.m., and late afternoon, between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Because of the heavy volume of passengers, MWAA recommends getting to the airport two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights. Because planes will be so full, MWAA recommends packing lightly to ensure carry-on luggage fits in on-board compartments and under the seats.
For those leaving the area in their cars, the Washington Post’s Dr. Gridlock writes that on the I-95 corridor, traffic will only begin to ease up tonight after 11:00 p.m., and it will start to get heavy again on Thursday at around 9:00 a.m.
Those going south on I-95 should remember that there’s a 29-mile work zone south of Springfield, so drivers can take a 20-mile workaround by taking I-66 West to Route 28 South in Centreville, then to Route 17, which meets up with I-95 around Fredericksburg.
The accident happened right in front of the on-ramp from the George Washington Parkway. Multiple lanes were blocked as fire trucks and police cruisers responded, but the cars have been moved so they are blocking only the right lane.
No significant injuries were reported.