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.
Concrete Falling From Bridge — A local bike blog reports that chunks of concrete seem to be falling off the I-66 bridge over Lee Highway, near Lyon Village. Concrete chunks large and small have been accumulating on the sidewalk below the bridge. [Windy Run]
Orange, Blue Line Delays This Weekend — Due to track work and work to mitigate tunnel leaks, Metro trains on the Orange and Blue lines will run every 16 minutes this weekend, instead of the normal 12 minute intervals. [WMATA]
Arlington SAT Scores Rise — The Arlington Public Schools Class of 2o13 had an average SAT score of 1645 this year, up from the two previous years. The state average this year was 1528 while the national average was 1498. Among Arlington students, females averaged 1654 while males averaged 1635. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
The incident happened around 2:00 a.m. An inbound Orange Line train struck the man on the aboveground portion of track along I-66, away from either station. The man, a 21-year-old Massachusetts resident, was pronounced dead on the scene, according to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.
Eight passengers were aboard the train that struck the man. After an hour delay due to power being cut to the tracks, they were transferred to another train to continue their trip, Stessel said. Other trains were able to get around the incident with minimal delays.
Crime scene investigators from the Arlington County Police Department were called to the scene by WMATA, to assist Metro Transit Police. So far, there’s no word as to how or why the man managed to get on the tracks.
“It is unclear why he was on the tracks,” said Stessel. “The investigation is ongoing.”
Photo courtesy @dangerousashes
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
The County Board may decide to decrease speed limits on a number of roads throughout Arlington, including the main thoroughfares from Rosslyn to Clarendon. Board members are scheduled to take up the issue at their meeting on Saturday (July 13).
The Department of Environmental Services conducted studies to examine the viability of changing speed limits on several streets. Information was gathered regarding factors such as vehicle speeds, collisions, traffic volumes, pedestrian and bicyclist activity and development patterns. Studies were performed in the following areas: N. Meade Street from Arlington Blvd to Marshall Drive (formerly Jackson Avenue), Clarendon Blvd from Washington Blvd to N. Oak Street, Wilson Blvd from Route 110 to Washington Blvd, and N. Sycamore Street from Washington Blvd to 17th Street N. and N. Roosevelt Street from 17th Street N. to the county line.
The studies indicated that speed limits along N. Meade Street, Clarendon Blvd and Wilson Blvd could be decreased from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour. The N. Sycamore Street/N. Roosevelt Street studies indicated the speed limit could be lowered from 35 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour.
Arlington’s Master Transportation Plan includes a policy to design streets with lower vehicle speeds without impeding or diverting traffic. Part of that involves adopting a 25 mile per hour speed limit in the county’s “downtown” areas where pedestrian traffic is high, such as along Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd.
The Board also has been asked to authorize the correction of speed limit discrepancies along parts of I-395 and I-66. According to VDOT records, the speed in the regular lanes of I-395 from Alexandria to D.C. is 55 miles per hour. The county code, however, was recently discovered to list a portion of the segment as 35 miles per hour, and that the entire segment is 55 miles per hour. There is a similar discrepancy between county code and VDOT records regarding the HOV lanes. Additionally, the county code does not include speed limits for I-66, but VDOT lists the limits at 45 miles per hour and 55 miles per hour, depending on the section in question.
County staff members recommend Board approval for the speed limit discrepancy corrections and for decreasing the speeds along the four stretches of county roads.
The cost of installing new speed limit signs to reflect the changes is estimated to be $5,000. Funds are available in the Fiscal Year 2014 Department of Environmental Services Transportation Engineering and Operations operating budget.
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and County Board Chair Walter Tejada announced Wednesday that the state, county and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority are looking into leasing the air rights above I-66 near the East Falls Church and Rosslyn Metro stations in order to generate additional revenues for transportation improvements.
“By leasing airspace above certain transportation facilities owned by the Commonwealth, we can better utilize our existing infrastructure to generate additional revenues to fund future transportation improvements, while at the same time attracting new jobs and economic development,” McDonnell said in a statement. “Additionally, by co-locating these potential developments around existing Metro stations and other major transportation facilities, we can reduce congestion and create more livable communities.”
From the press release:
Air rights development projects have proven a successful revenue generator in other parts of the United States. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, for example, generated $40 million in FY 2011 through leases, with long-term lease income projected at $868 million. Further, earlier this year MassDOT awarded a contract for an additional air rights project through a 99-year lease that will generate $18.5 million (net present value) in rental payments.
“Virginia has long been a leader in partnering with the private sector to advance innovative solutions to our transportation infrastructure needs,” said Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton. “The potential development of these air rights presents a unique opportunity to attract additional private sector investment to the Commonwealth and better utilize our existing assets to fund future transportation projects.”
Arlington County is currently undertaking a review of the Rosslyn Sector Plan. As part of that process, development over I-66 in the northern and eastern edges of the Rosslyn Metro Station area can be evaluated. While there are no existing mixed-use development rights over the I-66 right-of-way at either Rosslyn or the East Falls Church Metro Station location, the East Falls Church Area Plan currently supports mixed use development on VDOT and WMATA’s property next to I-66.
Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada emphasized, “It is important to involve our residents, businesses and developers in this conversation about air rights. We will ensure that any potential transit-orientated development using these air rights in Arlington County is consistent with our community’s vision and is consistent with the County’s land use and transportation plans.”
The state has issued a Request for Information to gauge private sector interest and feasibility. Following the RFI, the county, various state agencies and WMATA will weigh in on assessing how the air rights would match up with the planned development for the communities. The state will then issue a Request for Proposals in the fall, according to the governor’s office.
The Rosslyn project has a suggested location adjacent to the Lynn Street overpass, but staff of the state Office of Public-Private Partnerships said it would consider other areas of I-66 in Rosslyn if those were deemed feasible.
At East Falls Church, the area of I-66 between Sycamore Street and Route 29, including the Metro parking lot to the north, is the targeted area.
The vehicle rollover accident was reported around 11:30 a.m. The occupants of the vehicle were able to get out safely on their own and were unhurt, according to scanner traffic.
Paramedics and firefighters have cleared the scene, and police are awaiting a tow truck to haul away the wreckage.
(Updated at 2:05 p.m.) An SUV overturned on eastbound I-66 between Glebe Road and Quincy Street this afternoon.
The accident happened just after 1:00 p.m. Initial reports suggest the driver of the overturned vehicle got spooked by a merging vehicle and swerved into the median. The SUV then flipped on its side.
A second vehicle that was reported to have been involved in the wreck didn’t stay on scene, but stopped further down I-66, according to scanner traffic.
Only one lane of EB I-66 is getting by the wreck at this time. No word yet on any injuries, but an ambulance was called to the scene.
VDOT has lifted all rush hour HOV restrictions on I-66 inside the Beltway through Tuesday.
The agency says it made the decision to waive the HOV requirement today and tomorrow in order to “help ease delays on arterial routes due to signal outages.” Across Northern Virginia, VDOT says there are more than 80 traffic signals affected by power outages and about 50 roads closed due to downed power lines and trees.
Regular HOV restrictions will remain in effect on I-395 and on I-66 outside the Beltway. HOV rules on I-66 will also be waived on Wednesday due to the July 4 holiday.
Separately, the Office of Personnel Management announced today that it will extend its unscheduled leave/unscheduled telework policy through Tuesday for federal government employees affected by Friday’s storm.
I-66 HOV Restrictions Lifted — To ease congestion on arterial routes, which might be affected by traffic signal outages from Friday’s storm, VDOT lifted the HOV requirement for I-66 inside the Beltway during the morning rush hour.
Federal Gov’t Under Unscheduled Leave Policy — With nearly a quarter of all electricity customers in the D.C. area without power, the federal government is operating under a Unscheduled Leave/Unscheduled Telework Policy for today, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
Tejada Still Thinking About Streetcar — Walter Tejada says he still hasn’t decided whether he supports the planned Columbia Pike streetcar line. Tejada says he’s concerned about the streetcar’s impact on affordable housing. ”Transit-oriented development has been cruel” to low income people in Arlington, Tejada is quoted as saying. [Arlington Mercury]
Bolivian Parade Held — Despite the sweltering heat and continuing storm cleanup, Saturday’s AGROBOL Bolivian heritage parade was held as scheduled on Four Mile Run Drive. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by ddimick
An accident in the Rosslyn tunnel on eastbound I-66 is snarling traffic.
Police have re-opened eastbound I-66, after having shut it down at Spout Run for a while. Traffic is crawling past the accident via the left shoulder.
Initial reports suggest there are injuries, but so far there’s no word on how many people are involved or how severe the injuries.
Drivers are advised to avoid eastbound I-66 until the scene clears, which may take a while. There are also reports of traffic backups along Spout Run and Lee Highway, where traffic had been diverted earlier.
New School Budget Approved — The Arlington School Board approved a new $499.98 million budget last night. The budget includes a 2.84 percent cost of living increase for school employees, but no seniority-based “step” increases. The per-student cost at Arlington Public Schools will increase to $18,615, up from $18,400 in Superintendent Patrick Murphy’s FY 2013 proposed budget and $18,110 in this past year’s budget. [Sun Gazette]
Extra I-66 Lane Studied — Adding an extra lane in each direction on I-66 would improve travel times for drivers by only about 2 percent, while costing some $310 to $685 million, according to a preliminary study. [Greater Greater Washington]
Human Error in Rosslyn Derailment — Human error is suspected in Tuesday night’s derailment at the Rosslyn Metro station. Two Metro employees were placed on paid leave following the incident. [Washington Post]
Randy Johnson Visits W-L – Future Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson came to Arlington to watch a Washington-Lee High School baseball game last Friday. The Big Unit spent time in the dugout and posed for photos with players. [Patch]
Last 5K Friday Tonight — The last Crystal City 5K Friday of the season will take place starting at 6:30 tonight. Registration for the race is $20. [Pacers Events]
(Updated at 8:35 p.m.) Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather was arrested on suspicion of DWI by Arlington County police early this morning, ARLnow.com has learned exclusively.
Meriweather was initially stopped for speeding on westbound I-66 in the area of N. Ohio Street at 2:54 a.m., according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Officers detected an odor of alcohol on his breath and performed a field sobriety test, which Meriweather failed, Sternbeck said.
The two-time Pro Bowl strong safety refused a breathalyzer test, was arrested and spent the night in the Arlington County jail, according to Sternbeck. Police say Meriweather claimed he was driving home from a club in D.C., but couldn’t remember the name of the club.
After starting his pro football career with the New England Patriots in 2007, Meriweather spent last season with the Chicago Bears before signing a two year, $6 million contract with the Redskins on March 15, 2012.
The incident started around noon when an officer in a marked ACPD cruiser stopped to assist Virginia State Police who had stopped a pedestrian on I-66 in Prince William County. A struggle ensued, the suspect struck the Arlington officer in the face and then hopped into the officer’s cruiser and sped off
Virginia State Police, Prince William County and Fairfax County police pursued the stolen cruiser, until the chase ended on I-66 at Cub Run, near the Prince William County/Fairfax County border.
The Arlington County officer whose cruiser was stolen received medical treatment for non-life threatening injuries..
From the Virginia State Police press release on the incident:
At 11:58 a.m., Virginia State Police Trooper C.T. Grzelak responded to a male pedestrian on Interstate 66 in the eastbound lanes at the 46 mile marker in Prince William County. As the trooper stopped out with the man, an Arlington County Police Officer pulled up to assist. Upon being approached by law enforcement, the male subject became combative and began banging on the trooper’s patrol car. As the trooper and officer tried to take the subject into custody, the pedestrian struck the Arlington officer in the face and then fled the scene in the officer’s patrol car.
The trooper then pursued the fleeing suspect. The pursuit continued off I-66 and onto Route 29 before returning to I-66 headed westbound. At the 47 mile marker in Fairfax County, State Police and Prince William County Police were able to encircle and contain the suspect vehicle and force it onto the shoulder where it finally came to a stop.
The suspect then ran from the stolen vehicle and jumped into the bed of a pickup truck that was stopped in the westbound lanes of I-66 (westbound traffic had stopped as the pursuit was brought to a conclusion). The male subject grabbed a shovel and started swinging it at the troopers as they approached him. He finally complied with the troopers’ verbal commands to drop the shovel, but then jumped out of the back of the pickup truck and climbed over the cement Jersey wall.
In the left shoulder of the eastbound lanes of I-66, the male subject still refused to be taken into custody and fought the trooper and sergeant during the course of the apprehension. Both the trooper and sergeant suffered minor injuries.
The male suspect was transported by Prince William County Police to the Prince William County Adult Detention Center. Charges are pending at this time.
The Arlington County Police Officer was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
The incident started around 5:30 a.m., when police were called for a man spotted banging on a vehicle in a parking garage on the 1900 block of N. Lynn Street, in Rosslyn. The man fled on foot before police arrived, and building security witnessed him heading in the direction of I-66, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Minutes later, police received a call for a pedestrian struck on I-66 near Route 110.
“A male subject was in the eastbound I-66 travel lane when he was struck by an eastbound van,” Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told ARLnow.com. “The van was coming through the curve and was unable to avoid striking the pedestrian in the lane.”
“The driver of the van, 68-yr-old Linden, Va. male, was not charged in this incident,” Geller said. “The pedestrian, Nicholas F. Brizzi, 26, of Arlington, remains in the hospital with life-threatening injuries.”
Arlington County police helped to direct traffic on I-66 for an hour while Virginia State Police investigated the accident, according to Sternbeck.