State police say 652 lives have been lost on Virginia’s roads and highways this year, compared to 633 at this time last year.
“State police are very concerned about the safety of the Commonwealth’s highways,” VSP said in a press release (below, after the jump). “To counter the increase in traffic crashes and fatalities caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints, state police will once again be participating in the Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.).”
VSP says motorists can expect to see an increase in troopers on the road between today and Sunday night.
During last year’s Thanksgiving holiday, state police cited 9,856 speeders, 2,315 reckless drivers, 706 seat belt law violators, and 91 DUI drivers.
VDOT has a new plan for High Occupancy Toll lanes on I-395, the Washington Post reported late Friday.
The news comes nearly five years after the state scrapped plans to build HOT lanes on I-395, following a legal battle with Arlington County. In a lawsuit, the county argued that HOT lanes, as then planned, would exacerbate pollution from and congestion on I-395, negatively impacting Arlington residents.
Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane told the Post that the new plan comes with guaranteed funding for carpooling and transit from private partner Transurban. Construction could start as soon as 2017 and would involve adding a third lanes to the existing HOV lanes while keeping the highway’s overall footprint mostly the same, the Post reports.
No word yet on a reaction from local officials.
Meanwhile, Arlington County has given its endorsement to a controversial plan for adding tolls to I-66 inside the Beltway during peak travel times. By a vote of 3-2 — John Vihstadt and Libby Garvey voted against it — the County Board adopted a resolution supporting the “Transform 66” project.
Last month Fairfax County offered conditional support for the plan, while calling for the widening of I-66. Loudoun County officials oppose the plan, which has faced heavy criticism from suburban commuters.
The plan calls for changing HOV rules on I-66 from requiring at least two people per vehicle during rush hour (HOV-2) to giving drivers the option of either having three people in a car (HOV-3) or paying a toll during peak hours.
In their endorsement, County Board members said they hoped that the changes would prevent the possible widening of I-66 inside the Beltway. The county wants VDOT to at least commit to not considering widening from two to three lanes in each direction through Arlington until 2025 at the earliest.
Lane has previously been quoted as saying the widening of I-66 through Arlington is inevitable.
After the jump, the press release from Arlington County on the I-66 project endorsement.
All lanes of Columbia Pike were closed during a portion of this morning’s rush hour due to a house fire.
The smoky fire was reported around 8:15 a.m., in a house fire on S. Monroe Street. As of 8:35 a.m., firefighters on the scene confirmed that they had extinguished the fire.
No injuries were reported.
Traffic congestion has been reported on the Pike as a result of the road closure, particularly westbound traffic in the area of S. George Mason Drive. Due to fire hoses on the ground, the road closure was not expected to be lifted until around 9:15 a.m.
The “no-excuses, zero-tolerance crackdown” is timed to coincide with the busy Thanksgiving travel period.
From an ACPD press release:
Every year, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times. Millions of Americans hit the roads to spend time with family and friends. Unfortunately, more vehicles on the road means the potential for more dangerous roads, and it’s as important as ever that everyone is buckled up.
The Arlington County Police Department will be joining other state and local law enforcement agencies to participate in the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) high-visibility seat belt enforcement campaign Click It or Ticket. The no-excuses, zero-tolerance crackdown combines powerful messages about seat belt safety, with increased patrols day and night, targeting all unbuckled motorists.
NHTSA research indicates that proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury by 50 percent. In 2013, seat belts saved the lives of 12,584 passenger vehicle occupants. If seat belt use had been at 100 percent, an additional 2,800 people would still be alive this Thanksgiving.
Nationwide, the seat belt use rate is at an all-time high of 87 percent, but the Click It or Ticket campaign aims to reach that remaining 13 percent. In 2013, for example, there were 9,580 unbuckled occupants killed in crashes–49 percent of all passenger vehicle occupants killed that year. At night, the numbers are even more disturbing. During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2013, law enforcement noted that 64 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed at night were unrestrained, as compared to 48 percent during the day.
It only takes a second to buckle up, and isn’t that easier than getting pulled over and ticketed? With the help of highway safety advocates and local law enforcement officers across the country, we can increase seat belt use and save lives on our roadways this Thanksgiving.
Remember: Click It or Ticket. You have a lot to lose otherwise.
For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.
(Updated 6:35 p.m.) All lanes of Columbia Pike are blocked due to an overturned vehicle near Thai Square restaurant.
One person was reported to be trapped and injured. Firefighters removed the man from the vehicle, a Honda hatchback, and transported him to a local hospital.
The trapped driver is suspected of DUI, according to scanner traffic.
Initial reports suggest the driver in the Honda was driving westbound on Columbia Pike when he struck the rear quarter panel of a parked sedan, causing the Honda to flip on its side. An earlier report that the suspected DUI driver was in a different vehicle was incorrect.
All lanes of the Pike are closed between S. Walter Reed Drive and S. Glebe Road were closed for about an hour. The stretch reopened around 6:35 p.m.
(Updated at 11:00 a.m.) Traffic backups caused by a barricade situation in downtown D.C. have spilled over into Arlington.
In Rosslyn, traffic on Lynn Street approaching the Key Bridge is backed up all the way to the Iwo Jima memorial.
The Memorial Bridge, Route 50, I-66 and I-395 are all slow and congested approaching the city, even at 10 a.m. Heavy traffic has also been reported on large portions of the GW Parkway and Washington Blvd near the Pentagon.
Reports out of D.C. suggest a mentally unstable person, possibly armed with a high-powered rifle, is barricaded in a downtown office building. Police have closed a multiple block portion of downtown near the Farragut North Metro station to pedestrians and vehicles.
As of 11 a.m., the suspect was reported to be in custody.
The incident happened around 9 a.m., at the intersection of N. Madison Street and 9th Road N., in the Dominion Hills neighborhood.
Police say the garbage truck was turning right onto N. Madison Street, but was waiting for a pedestrian to cross the street. A driver in the high-end electric sports sedan apparently became impatient and attempted to go around the truck, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
With the Tesla in the truck’s blindspot, the truck driver proceeded forward and ran into the car, Sternbeck said.
A county worker on the garbage truck was transported to the hospital for “precautionary reasons.” The woman driving the Tesla was determined to be at fault for improper passing but did not receive a traffic citation, according to Sternbeck.
File photo via Twitter
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Southbound Route 1 was closed between 20th and 23rd streets, near Crystal City, due to a multi-vehicle crash this afternoon.
At least 9 vehicles were involved and medics responded for at least two injuries. One of the injured parties, a young mother, was transported to a local hospital after being trapped in her severely damaged Prius. Rescuers cut off the roof of the car to free her.
The crash was caused by a driver in a pickup truck who suffered a medical emergency while driving, according to initial reports.
The truck ran right through a line of southbound traffic approaching the intersection with 23rd Street, slamming into vehicles, losing a wheel and careening across the intersection before striking a pole and coming to a stop across the street from Legal Sea Foods, witnesses said.
“It was like a pinball machine,” a witness told ARLnow.com. The pickup truck driver was evaluated by medics on the scene but declined transport to the hospital, according to scanner traffic.
Southbound traffic was diverted onto 20th Street for about an hour. As of 3:10 p.m. two lanes of traffic were squeezing by, though there was still debris in the roadway and crews were still working to clear wrecked cars from the roadway.
The Prius driver is expected to be okay. She was returning home from work when the crash happened, said the woman’s father, who arrived on scene to pick up a child seat and stroller that had been in the car. Her two-month-old child was not in the car at the time, he said.
The remnants of a recent car fire were still sitting on a busy road near Shirlington around lunchtime Monday.
A BMW 3-series sedan, with its front end burned out, is parked along 31st Street, a road that connects Shirlington and the Fairlington neighborhood.
The acrid stench of burned vehicle components was still fresh in the air for residents walking their dogs near past the car. There were no fire department vehicles or tow trucks in the vicinity when ARLnow.com walked by the wreck.
No word yet on when the vehicle will be removed.
Update at 4:30 p.m. — The crashed vehicles are now on the right shoulder and two lanes of traffic are getting by. However, significant delays remain.
Update at 4:06 p.m. — One lane of traffic is now slowly squeezing by on the lefthand shoulder.
Earlier: The westbound lanes of I-66 are temporarily blocked due to a two-vehicle crash just past Glebe Road.
At least one non-life-threatening injury was reported and there appears to be some sort of a fluid spill on the highway at the crash scene.
Commuters should seek alternate routes.
A serious-looking crash temporarily closed N. George Mason Drive this afternoon, but no serious injuries were reported.
The incident happened around 3:30 p.m., just north of the intersection of N. George Mason Drive and Pershing Drive, in the Buckingham neighborhood.
A driver in a car somehow knocked over a light pole in the center median of George Mason Drive, then drove over a sidewalk and up an embankment before running into a two-story brick apartment building.
The building was not significantly damaged. George Mason Drive was closed while a tow truck driver maneuvered and used a chain to pull the car from the embankment and back onto the street. The road has since reopened.
A second vehicle that was reported to be involved in the crash was pulled over by police one block away from the accident scene.
In a separate incident that happened around the same time, the top of a utility pole with live wires snapped and fell down in the Lyon Village neighborhood, prompting several street closures. From Arlington Alerts:
Due to a pole with wires down the following streets are closed until further notice: Key Blvd at Fillmore, closed on Fillmore; Edgewood at Highland, closed on Highland N; 18/Harvard with no access NB; and Key at Highland with no access NB. Please seek alternate routes for this area.
Tens of thousands of runners and spectators will descend on Arlington for the annual Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday.
The race, now in its 40th year, will have up to 30,000 participants running around Arlington and the District.
As a result of the race, Arlington County Police Department, Virginia State Police and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency will be closing down more than 20 roads for much of the day, including parts of Wilson Blvd, Washington Blvd and Lee Highway.
N. Kent Street in Rosslyn will be closed from Wilson Blvd to 19th Street N. from noon on Saturday, Oct. 24, until the end of the marathon on Sunday, for the marathon’s finish festival.
Route 110, between Washington Blvd and the Pentagon north parking lot, will be closed from 4 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The highway will also be closed between I-66 and Jefferson Davis Highway from 4 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., as will Marshall Drive from N. Meade Street to Route 110.
The following roads will be closed from 4 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- N. Meade Street from Marshall Drive to N. Lynn Street
- Wilson Blvd from N. Nash Street to Route 110
- N. Lynn Street from N. Meade Street to Lee Highway
- Fort Myer Drive from N. Meade Street to Lee Highway
- N. Moore Street from Wilson Blvd to Lee Highway
- 19th Street N. from N. Lynn Street to N. Nash Street
Eastbound Lee Highway from N. Lynn Street to N. Kirkwood, Spout Run Parkway from GW Memorial Parkway to Lee Highway and GW Memorial Parkway from Spout Run Parkway to Memorial Circle Drive will be closed from 7-10 a.m.
The Key Bridge will be closed from 7 a.m. to noon. HOV lanes on the 14th Street Bridge and I-395 near the Pentagon will be closed from 7:35 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A number of closures in Crystal City are planned to accommodate the tail end of the marathon course and the Crystal City MCM Family Festival.
The following roads will be closed starting at 7:30 a.m.
- S. Eads Street from S. Rotary Road to Army Navy Drive until 2 p.m.
- Army Navy Drive between S. Fern Street to 12th Street S. will reopen at 2:30 p.m.
- 15th Street S. from Crystal Drive to S. Eads Street will open at 10 a.m.
The following roads will be closed between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- 12th Street S. from Army Navy Drive to Crystal Drive
- Crystal Drive from 12th Street S. to 23rd Street S.
- Long Bridge Drive from 12th Street S. to I-395
- Boundary Channel Drive from I-395 to Pentagon north parking
- Washington Blvd from Columbia Pike to Memorial Circle with southbound lanes reopening around 9:30 a.m.
Street parking will also be limited in parts of the county near the marathon course during the race. Participants and spectators are advised to either Metro in or — in Crystal City — park in a parking garage at Crystal Drive and 23rd Street S. before the road closes.
More nighttime road work is coming to portions of South Arlington, starting Sunday.
The county will be milling and paving part of Columbia Pike, between Washington Blvd and S. Walter Reed Drive, and S. Four Mile Run Drive, between S. George Mason Drive and Columbia Pike. Both roads were on the county’s paving schedule this year.
For the most part, paving on Columbia Pike will take place between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. in order to minimize traffic disruptions, according to the county’s notice. Road work is expected to start Sunday, Oct. 25 and is planned to last about a week, depending on the weather, said county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter.
The paving on S. Four Mile Run will take place during the day depending on the weather. Milling on the road started yesterday, and work is expected to last a week, Baxter said.
Drivers will not be allowed to park their cars on the street while the roads are being milled and paved, mostly affecting residents living in the apartment complexes on S. Four Mile Run Drive.
Some Crystal City apartment dwellers complained of loud noises from road work in the area earlier this month, saying the ruckus made it hard to sleep.
Some Crystal City residents say they’re fed up with nighttime paving on Crystal Drive that they claim has kept them from sleeping.
Roadwork on Crystal Drive should end tonight, which is ahead of schedule, said county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter, adding that the original timeframe had paving and milling continuing for several weeks.
“We apologize for the inconvenience, but this is important work that needs to get done. The end result will be a smooth, durable pavement that all roadway users will enjoy,” Baxter said.
Crystal Drive was on the county’s schedule for paving this year, and it needed to be completed so the county could finish the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway. Milling began last Friday, Oct. 9 at 9 a.m., but the majority of the paving was done at night in order to reduce traffic disruptions during the work day, she said.
“Milling tends to be noisier, which is why we scheduled it during the day to reduce the impacts in residential areas,” Baxter said. “The majority of paving, however, is taking place at night between 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. to minimize traffic impacts, maximize pedestrian safety and to expedite the work.”
Some Crystal City residents claimed that the paving noise was loud enough to keep them awake throughout the night, taking to Twitter to voice their frustrations.
— lindsaykat (@lindsaykat) October 14, 2015
— i fly dca ✈ (@flyidca) October 12, 2015
The noise was loud enough to be heard through earbuds, said Ryan Kaltenbaugh.
“Why would the County approve night time road work along a road with residential buildings with hundreds of residents? Even with ear plugs, it was extremely difficult to sleep, and I’m sure other residents along Crystal Drive had a difficult time as well,” Kaltenbaugh said.
While the county tried to minimize the disruptions to the flow of traffic, Kaltenbaugh said in an email that the road conditions were hazardous to drivers and pedestrians due to “an unmarked work zone (no cones, no police, no barriers, nadda).”
“On Saturday, with no Arlington County police officers present and no workers directing traffic, pedestrians and vehicles engaged in a game of Frogger – dodging workers, raised manhole covers and work vehicles and equipment on the unmarked road,” he said. “Throughout the day, there were a few near misses as work vehicles moved about and backed up in and around passing cars and crossing pedestrians.”
Arlington warned people living in Crystal Drive residences that there would be nighttime roadwork, Baxter said.
“We sent out notifications through the Crystal City-Pentagon City e-newsletter, the Crystal City Civic Association and BID, as well as to contacts at residential and office buildings,” she said. “In all of our communication, we shared that nighttime work should be expected.”
(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) N. Nash Street in Rosslyn was closed to traffic in both directions today due to road construction crews paving the road.
Signs have been placed at entrances to N. Nash Street, indicating cars should take a detour. Key Blvd, which intersects with N. Nash Street, has also been milled and crews were beginning to pave the road as of 3:30 p.m.
The road closure came as a surprise to many.
Workers parked in parking garages on N. Nash Street this morning — including a garage used by ARLnow.com employees — only to find that they were unable to leave. A spokeswoman with the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services said that paving on N. Nash Street will be finished tonight. (Update at 4:05 p.m.: Those parked in the garage are now being allowed to exit.)
Arlington’s police and fire departments were not told that the street would be closed, according to the fire department’s public information officer. The county typically tells emergency services which roads are closed or being worked on to allow them to adjust their response routes, he said.
The road should not have been closed to traffic in both directions, county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter said
“‘No Parking’ signs were posted along the block a few days before the operation began, and the roadway was not entirely shut down,” Baxter said. “Residents and workers should continue to have access to the garages.”
Road construction crews will start paving Key Blvd, between N. Nash Street and N. Quinn Street, once they have finished N. Nash. Paving is expected to be done by the end of the week, she said.
N. Nash Street is being repaved in response to complaints from residents, while Key Blvd was scheduled for paving this year, Baxter said.
“This street [N. Nash Street] was added to the paving list recently due to its deteriorating condition, pothole history (from the previous winter/spring) and amount of complaints we received through the Arlington, Va. App,” she said in an email.