Update at 3:15 p.m.: All lanes are now reported to be back open.
Arlington police are preparing to close Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) at the Reagan National Airport overpass, near Crystal City, due to a report of a downed power line.
Firefighters are on the scene and requested the busy artery be closed in both directions, according to scanner traffic.
No word yet on how long the road will be closed.
A report that Arlington backed out of an agreement with Alexandria to conduct an environmental assessment for the Route 1 transit corridor project is incorrect, according to a county government spokeswoman.
The two jurisdictions have been cooperating on a transit project that will bring bus rapid transit and, ultimately, a streetcar to the Route 1 corridor of Crystal City and Potomac Yard. But today Connection Newspapers reported that Alexandria officials were upset because Arlington supposedly withdrew from an agreement to pay $2.4 million of the $3.4 million cost of an environmental analysis.
In reality, says Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius, the environmental analysis is currently underway and Arlington County is paying its $1.78 million share of the $3.56 million cost. The Arlington county manager and the Alexandria city manager signed an agreement to split the cost of the analysis in 2010, she said.
At issue, according to Curtius, is an “Alternatives Analysis” that was optional under the agreement.
“Arlington recently informed Alexandria that we do not intend to do an Alternatives Analysis,” Curtius told ARLnow.com. “Such an analysis is required in order to apply for federal small/new starts funding. Arlington does not intend to apply for such funding for Route 1. We are continuing to work with Alexandria on how to proceed in a way that enables Alexandria to apply for federal funding for its part of the transit project, should it choose to do so.”
In an apparent effort to dispute the report about rising tensions between the two jurisdictions, Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes and Alexandria Mayor William Euille have issued a joint statement regarding their transit partnership.
Arlington County and the City of Alexandria have been transit partners for more than 35 years. Together, we’ve ensured safe, efficient transit options for hundreds of thousands of people … every day.
Throughout our region’s history, federal and state transportation funding has been the backbone of supporting transit projects. Unfortunately, that landscape has changed dramatically in just the last few years, greatly impacting local transit planning across the country. All of us have to reassess transportation projects, determine how we can fund them, and make some tough strategic decisions.
The City of Alexandria has decided to focus its attention and its funding on the planned infill Metrorail station; this investment will benefit not only the City, but the entire region.
Arlington needs a streetcar system in Crystal City to support development there — and has funding available through a special tax district.
We are both committed to providing more transit options for people who live and work in the Route 1 corridor. Our strategies are not exactly the same at this point in time. We look forward to working together collaboratively as we continue to move people efficiently through our communities and the region.
County Urges Residents to Buy CO Alarms — Arlington County Chief Fire Marshal Daniel Fitch is urging residents to buy, install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms. The recommendation, in the form of a press release, came one day after five people died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Oxon Hill, Md. [Arlington County]
Route 1 Transit Corridor Tension – Arlington and Alexandria are at odds over the proposed transit corridor along Route 1, reports Michael Lee Pope. Arlington has, for some reason, backed off a promise to kick in $2.4 million for an environmental analysis for the project, according to Pope. [Arlington Connection]
United Exempts Foreign Service from New Pet Fees – Rep. Jim Moran is applauding a decision by United Airlines to exempt the cost of transporting pets overseas for the country’s more than 5,000 Foreign Service workers. Last month United announced new charges to transporting pets, but at the time exempted only military personnel. “The policy change could have added thousands of dollars in moving costs to Foreign Service personnel,” Moran’s office said in a press release.
No Drones Over Arlington — Despite a report that the Arlington County Police Department has been cleared by the FAA to operate drone aircraft, the department says they’re drone-free. “The Arlington Police Department cleared is in Arlington, TX,” said department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “ACPD has no plans [for] ever using drones.”
Update at 4:35 p.m. — The flooding has cleared up and all lanes have reopened, according to Dr. Gridlock.
Route 1 is closed just south of Potomac Yard in Alexandria due to flooding in the roadway.
High water and mud spilled onto the roadway from an adjacent construction site, a tipster tells us. Earlier rains have since stopped, but so far no word as to how much longer Route 1 will remain shut down.
Traffic is reportedly being rerouted onto Potomac Avenue, which runs behind Potomac Yard and into Crystal City.
Photo courtesy David Hyde
The Arlington County Board’s recent vote to change the name of Old Jefferson Davis Highway to “Long Bridge Park” was preceded by a thorough dissing of the former namesake by Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman, the Sun Gazette reports this morning.
“I have a problem with ‘Jefferson Davis,’” Zimmerman said of the former Confederate president. “I don’t believe Jefferson Davis has a historic connection to anything in Arlington… He wasn’t from Virginia. I don’t really see why we need to honor him.”
Though last week’s vote may be a victory for the anti-Jefferson Davis crowd, it only renames a narrow, pothole-ridden backroad that connects Crystal City with a future county park. The much larger and more heavily-traveled State Route 1 will continue to be known as Jefferson Davis Highway.
Meanwhile, another state route — Route 29 — is named after an even more prominent, but slightly less controversial Confederate leader: Robert E. Lee. While Jefferson Davis Highway runs north-south through south Arlington, Lee Highway runs east-west across north Arlington. Both serve tens of thousands of commuters each day.
Though the Civil War figures prominently in the history of Arlington, should these roads be renamed for something or someone not associated with slavery and the losing side of a horribly costly war? Or should we preserve our history, warts and all?
A drab piece of vacant land that serves as the decidedly unspectacular southern entryway to Crystal City will soon be getting a new look.
The 30,000 square foot, triangular lot at the intersection of Crystal Drive and Jefferson Davis Highway will be getting “a large-scale lighting and landscape enhancement that will create a truly enticing gateway experience.”
“The project adds new turf, 28 trees, and beautiful LED lighting features laid out in an interesting and attractive geometric pattern that continues up the façade of the southernmost building in Crystal City,” according to the Crystal City Business Improvement District. Nearly 50,000 drivers per day pass by the entryway. The revamped look will communicate “the excitement and vibrancy of Crystal City,” according to the BID (see illustration, below).
A groundbreaking will be held on Monday, Oct. 3. Construction is expected to wrap up by Thanksgiving.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
A man with a bullhorn barked pronouncements of doom in passing, in case motorists were not able to see the graphics on the side of the half dozen RVs in the convoy.
We spotted the convoy driving south on Route 1 in the Crystal City area around 3:45 p.m. No word on where they were headed.
Update at 4:45 p.m. — Commenter CW has identified the likely culprits, who believe the apocalypse will come on May 21.
Every afternoon for the past week — and quite possibly for longer than that — this Loudoun County Transit bus has parked itself on the right shoulder of the busy ramp from Route 110 to Route 1 in Pentagon City, forcing cars to veer to the left as they drive by.
Other commuter buses in the area like to idle on the side of bumpy, narrow Old Jefferson Davis Highway while waiting to pick up passengers in Crystal City, but for some reason this bus likes the on-ramp.
There’s got to be a safer place to park, right?
Traffic is backing up on I-395 South as confused drivers slow down at what is usually the busy exit to Route 1. Instead of an exit, commuters are encountering orange barrels.
Even though Arlington County road crews have opened up one left lane of southbound Jefferson Davis Highway (Rt. 1) in Crystal City following last night’s water main breaks, VDOT is keeping the I-395 exit closed, perhaps out of worries about the thoroughfare being able to handle rush hour commuter traffic.
Arlington County says the middle lane of southbound Jeff Davis should open around 6:00 p.m. tonight. The far right lane “may also open later.”
The faulty water pressure regulator that caused last night’s water main breaks has been turned off, according to the county. Meanwhile, crews are still working to repair a water main break on South Eads Street.
Update at 2:10 p.m. — South Eads Street, which runs parallel to Route 1 from Pentagon City to S. Glebe Road, is not a viable option as an alternate route past 23rd Street. Eads is currently closed between Ft. Scott Drive and S. Glebe Road while crews work to fix another water main break.
Arlington County is warning that only one lane of southbound Jefferson Davis Highway (Rt. 1) in Crystal City will be open in time for tonight’s evening rush hour. The continued lane closures will likely cause major backups for commuters throughout South Arlington.
A series of water main breaks last night caused sections of Route 1 between 23rd St. and 27th St. (near the ramp to Reagan National Airport) to collapse. The breaks have been fixed, but road repair work has gone more slowly than originally anticipated.
Late last night, the county said they were working to reopen southbound Route 1 by the morning rush hour. This morning, engineers said they hoped to have all lanes open by 4:00 p.m. Now, we’re told that one left lane will be open, hopefully by 3:30 p.m.
In otherwise light traffic this afternoon, the closure pushed cars onto side streets, backing up exits and turn lanes off of northbound Jefferson Davis Highway.
Drivers should consider the George Washington Parkway or I-395 as an alternate route tonight, but those already-busy thoroughfares will likely see backups due to increased traffic volume.
South Clark Street, which can be accessed via the I-395 South exit to Boundary Channel Drive, is another option, but it too will likely be backed up.
Commuters coming into Virginia via I-395 can also consider taking Arlington Ridge Road to S. Glebe Road to Route 1 as an alternate route.
A major water main break will cause big-time traffic problems in Crystal City during the morning rush hour.
The southbound lanes of Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) are currently closed from I-395 to the McDonald’s near the Reagan National Airport access ramp. The county does not expect to reopen the road until tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at the earliest.
Public works crews are on the scene trying to repair three breaks in a 12-inch water main. Heavy digging equipment has been brought in due to part of the road collapsing under the weight of the water.
The county is warning residents and businesses in the area that they may experience low water pressure or a complete water shut-off. When the water pressure returns, residents should run the cold water tap for a few minutes to clear the pipes, the county advises.
Video from the scene, after the jump.