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BREAKING NEWS — Route 50 Shut Down Due to Gas Leak

by ARLnow.com March 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm 3,636 29 Comments

Update at 4:15 p.m. — The gas leak has been stopped and all lanes of westbound Route 50 are now open.

Earlier: The westbound lanes of Route 50 have been shut down near Fairfax Drive in Courthouse due to a gas line rupture.

Firefighters are reporting that a 16-inch gas transmission line has been ruptured in the area of the 10th Street Bridge. The closure of westbound Route 50 is expected to last at least another hour while Washington Gas works to shut off the gas and repair the line.

The eastbound lanes of Route 50 were shut down for a short period of time, but have since reopened. Still, significant traffic issues are being reported in the area. In addition to cars, police are also turning pedestrians away from the area.

This stretch of Route 50 has been the scene of on-going utility work.

  • steve

    I live right by this area, and there are always gas leaks. Well, not always. But I’ve walked by, smelled gas, called the police .They fix that. Then a few months ago, we had the explosions on Cleveland street right where I live. Now this. Hopefully my building will still be there when I get back this evening.

  • Aaron

    According to Arlington Alert at 3:26 (after your update) both sides are shut down as well as GW Pkwy ramps and closure is 2-3 hours:

    Arlington Blvd in the area of Court house road is shut down in both the East and West bound lanes, due to a large gas leak. In addition both the South and North bound ramps from the GW Parkway to Arlington Blvd will be closed. Closures are expected for the next 2-3 hours. OEM/WPE

  • Aaron

    And based on VDOT traffic cameras, the ramp to 50 from the TR Bridge is also closed down. Which should make HOV enforcement interesting

    • Lou

      The County just tweeted that HOV on 66 is suspended.

  • TryTheTacos

    Are residential buildings in the immediate area being asked to evac or anything?

    • Cyrus

      All this talk about gas, tweets and tacos is making my tummy rumble…

    • There were no evacuations.

  • Josh S

    Wow. If the construction workers are responsible, I hope there are major fines involved.

  • Tabby

    Thanks. I just checked wmata.com and Dr. Gridlock. NO news. I guess it’s a metro to bus day instead of the 16Y.

  • V Dizzle

    Was this a “rupture”, a leak, or a line strike that resulted in release?

  • Aaron

    Scott — really need to update this article as it has incorrect information … all lanes are closed and will be for hours. Included in this in ramp from TR Bridge and GW Parkway

    • Lou


    • ArlRes

      Only the westbound lanes are closed. I can see it from my window and just drove home on the eastbound lanes through to Rosslyn. Eastbound is still closed but they are diverting cars up Courthouse Rd, but very slowly.

    • There was nothing incorrect about the article.

      • V Dizzle

        Other than the word “rupture”, though I don’t doubt that it was reported incorrectly to you that way.

        • The GW Parkway ramp shut down did happen, but I was on scene by the time that happened so I didn’t get a chance to mention that. I think Aaron was going by reports from Arlington Alerts, which were incorrect.

          • V Dizzle

            Sorry, only commenting on it being a leak vs a “rupture” which indicates a more severe situation. For the most part its a technicality. Good job staying on top of things.

  • Concerned Citizen

    This is another example of why we must move away from gas. There are too many dangers to ignore. We should immediately look for alternative energy sources that are clean and safe!

    • V Dizzle

      Though I don’t disagree about to need to find cleaner sources of energy, your logic does not match the numbers when addressing safety. Natural gas transportation by pipeline is by far the safest current way to move energy (actually considered the safest form of transportation when compared to mass transit options as well). You are talking orders of magnitude safer than moving the commodity by truck (the only other option). Yes, there are several high visibility incidents per year that receive national attention, but you don’t hear of the overturned trucks that claim lives in traffic, more frequently. If this were a reason to avoid transportation via pipeline, you could also argue similarly that we should stop commercial aviation due to the high profile accidents that happen on occasion.

  • JamesE

    I was just driving back from Ben’s chili bowl with the windows down.

  • ThankYouConcernedCitizen

    Any suggestions?
    Gas works fine. It’s the ancient infrastructure that contains gas that is the problem.

  • SoCo Resident

    Hats off to ARLNOW for such prompt reporting on an incident that could have been catastrophic, and was horrific traffic-wise. In contrast, at 4:58 P.M. not a word about this on WTOP.com.

  • Because

    yet more pontificating by the fact-less. The fact of the matter is that natural gas leaks occur all the time… They usually are the result of some type of construction crew accidentally striking and rupturing a pipe. Most of them go relatively unnoticed by the blog commentators because they don’t interrupt the rush hour of blog commentators rushing home to their computers for more blog commentating.. And yes, I am quite aware of the irony of my comments criticizing the blog commentators. Only in Arlington could people take a simple rush-hour traffic diversion blip story about a gas line leak and turn it into social commentary on humanity’s energy problems(!)…

    • V Dizzle

      I believe it was news-worthy as it interupted a major artery out of DC, just before the evening commute. But yes, there are 1000’s of these situations a year in the Metro area alone. Remember to call before you dig “811”!

    • Josh S

      I agree not every little accident needs to be escalated into a huge reflection on national energy policy. But there ARE connections. So it’s not absurd to point them out. It might be a little naive to think that natural gas isn’t going to be part of our future for some time to come….

  • Because

    and where is novapj when we need some entertaining comments about fire department operations?? Surely the LAFD has a helicopter fleet that would have resolved this crisis in mere minutes, a fleet which should be emulated by the ACFD… Why limit your profound public safety expertise to just the ACPD/LAPD??? Share with us, and allow us to feed off your profound insights!! (Just to give you a starting point… Why do some of the firefighters in this story’s pics have black turnout gear, er “pants and jackets”, and others tan?

    • ArlFF

      surely the helicopters could hover above and use their rotors to blow air downward and naturally ventilate the gas saturated air below! The orange jumpsuits are Washington Gas, the tan turnout gear is Arlington FD, and the black turnout gear is Fort Myer FD… Fort Myer, Engine 161 routinely gets dispatched off of the base to handle incidents in the Lyon Park and Penrose area, and is due on a full structure response as far as Rosslyn, Crystal City and Glebe Rd. They’re also first due to all the buildings at Arl Cemetery.

      • This post has been edited.

        • ArlFF

          yea, thanks for that. Sorry if I offended your friend.


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