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Pickup truck smashes through decorative Memorial Bridge stone railing

Pickup truck that crashed into and damaged the side of the Memorial Bridge (photo courtesy John Wilcox)

The driver of a pickup truck nearby ran off the side of the Memorial Bridge this evening.

The truck mounted the southern sidewalk and smashed through the decorative masonry on the side of the bridge, over the GW Parkway and the Mt. Vernon Trail. It was likely just a few feet away from falling off the side of the bridge and onto the trail.

Police described it as a single-vehicle crash. U.S. Park Police officers and Arlington firefighters were among those to respond to the scene. No information on injuries or the cause of the crash was immediately available.

The inbound lanes of the bridge were closed to traffic for a time after the crash but have since reopened.

Memorial Bridge underwent an extensive, two-year rehabilitation project that wrapped up in 2020. The work included cleaning, repairing and reinstalling the bridge’s “historic granite balustrade.”

It appears that the truck smashed through one of those sections of balustrade. Repairing it may take awhile.

More on the balustrade work from a 2019 Washington Post article:

Hunks of curbing, benches and hundreds of ornate 80-pound balusters, for the balustrade, or stone railing, were scattered across a large Lorton Stone company work yard in Upper Marlboro, Md., like pieces of a huge puzzle.

There, they were being power-washed and repaired, if needed, said National Park Service spokesman Jonathan Shafer.

Many of the pieces have been stained by rust over the years from passing cars and nicked by snowplows, said Lindy Gulick, a Park Service architectural conservator.

Missing parts are being replaced by new pieces that are glued in place and sculpted to fit.

The original balusters were handcrafted from stone cut in a quarry in Mount Airy, N.C.

Replacements for the few that could not be repaired are being made with the help of a computer and with stone from the same quarry, Gulick said.

More on the crash via social media:

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Lyon Park & Ashton Heights’ biennial home & garden biennial tour is back. The tour will include contemporary custom homes, older historic bungalows as well as renovated properties. One of the stunning homes on the tour is pictured above.  In addition to beautiful & unique homes, the Villa & Vistas ’22 event will conclude with a festive reception at the Lyon Park Community Center at 414 N Fillmore Street, Arlington VA 22201. What could be better right?

All proceeds from this event will go to the Lyon Park Citizens Association (LPCA) towards our neighborhood jewel & hub, the Lyon Park Community Center (LPCC).

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Where: Meet to get your tickets and the tour map at the Lyon Park Community Center (414 N Fillmore Street) We will have a table with information outside.

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