Arlington, VA

(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) A reported wrong-way crash prompted the closure of Wilson Blvd at N. Rhodes Street, between Rosslyn and Courthouse.

A witness told ARLnow the driver of a blue SUV was driving in reverse down the street and struck several parked vehicles. A Metrobus was also struck.

Northbound N. Rhodes Street was also closed at Clarendon Blvd shortly after the crash. Rhodes and one lane of Wilson have since reopened as of 2:30 p.m.

Police placed the driver of the SUV in handcuffs after conducting a breathalyzer test. Open cans of beer could be seen inside the vehicle following the crash.

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(Updated at 9:30 a.m.) Arlington County is considering a series of transportation improvements, including a fix to the complicated West and South Glebe Road intersection.

At Saturday’s County Board meeting the Board scheduled to vote on the approval of a series of grant requests for up to six projects with a total funding of up to $5.4 million.

The most expensive of the projects would be cleaning up the somewhat crash-prone Glebe Road intersection for $3 million in grant funding. W. Glebe Road, S. Glebe Road and S. Four Mile Run Drive all feed into the same intersection. By adjusting the geometry and the lane configuration, the county hopes to reduce instances of crashes.

Staff also note in the proposal that adjusting traffic signal timing and turn movements on S. Four Mile Run Drive could alleviate congestion on northbound I-395 by reducing backups on the ramp to S. Glebe Road.

The grant requests also include a series of transit improvements. The report notes that motorists frequently violate the Potomac Yard Transitway travel restrictions in Crystal City. The planned fix would add red markings to the lanes to denote the entry points to the transitway.

Other improvements include reliability upgrades for the 22F and 16Y Metrobus lines, serving Pentagon-Shirlingt0n-Fairlington and Columbia Pike-Court House-Farragut Square, respectively.

The 7Y Metrobus route would also gain additional noon-to-midnight bus service starting in December.

Also included among the grant requests is a funding request for $211,962 to extend the Commuter Store operations at the Pentagon for another 12 months. The store sells transit passes and provides commuter assistance, serving approximately 1,800 customers per month according to the staff report. Current funding for operations is set to expire on March 31, 2020.

Photos via Google Maps

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Drivers at the busy Washington and Wilson Blvd intersection are continuing to make the left turn onto Wilson, despite that action having been made illegal in March.

Current plans call for the tricky intersection to be overhauled and made easier to navigate for both pedestrians and drivers. That includes eliminating the left turn that has caused frequent backups.

At least two signs at the intersection indicate that left turns are not allowed, even though the street does feature a left-turn lane that serves seemingly no purpose as the road funnels into one lane at the other side of the intersection.

County transportation spokesman Eric Balliet told ARLnow that the violations are not surprising when a change is made to an intersection like that.

“It takes time to change driver behavior, especially when the change is to a long-standing travel pattern,” said Balliet. “We always start with education, finding ways to inform drivers about the change and their options. Our efforts so far included a blog post and video shared multiple times through the county’s email listservs, social media posts from our department as well as Arlington County Police, an electronic message board located near the intersection, and the new signage we’ve installed noting the restriction.”

Navigation apps Waze and Google Maps no longer direct drivers to make the turn, which Balliet said was partially the result of communication from county staff.

Balliet said he believes as construction continues on the intersection, known at Clarendon Circle, the confusion should clear up.

“The no-left-turn will become clearer to drivers as construction for the Clarendon Circle project moves forward and the street is reconfigured to remove the left turn pocket,” said Balliet.

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Update at 11:50 a.m. on 5/13/19 — Per the National Park Service: “Due to continued rain, the National Park Service now hopes to reopen one lane in time for the evening rush hour on Tuesday, May 14. If this schedule changes, we will share an update.”

Earlier: The northbound lanes of the GW Parkway are closed just north of Arlington due to a large sinkhole.

Sinkholes have been a recurring problem on the Parkway, with the most recent sinkhole-related closure happening in March.

The Parkway’s northbound lanes are currently closed from Route 123 in McLean to the Beltway, with traffic backing up prior to the detour onto 123. The National Park Service issued the following press release about the closure Friday night.

The U.S. Park Police and National Park Service have closed the northbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway from Virginia Route 123, Chain Bridge Road to I-495 the Capital Beltway. The closure began around 6:45 p.m. when a U.S. Park Police officer observed a sinkhole. The northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway will remain closed in that area as engineers and work crews fully assess and repair the road.  Southbound travel lanes remain open.

The National Park Service took this action to ensure public safety, and no accidents have been reported.  Staff have continued to monitor the parkway since March when a sinkhole developed in the same area next to Dead Run.

The George Washington Memorial Parkway is a critical link in the national capital region’s transportation network, and closing it is never a decision that is made lightly. Drivers should follow local news or visit www.nps.gov/GWMP for the latest information.

Map via Google Maps

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The S. Clark Street bridge over 18th Street S. in Crystal City is set to be torn down this month, prompting some detours.

Knocking down the bridge is “tentatively set for late May,” the county wrote in a press release, noting that the exact date could be three to four weeks from today.

The county is warning drivers the demolition will cause detours, namely:

This work will require a series of alternating eastbound and westbound closures on 18th Street between South Eads and South Bell Streets. The detours are expected to last for 2-3 weeks.

Drivers will be encouraged to use 15th and 20th Streets South as alternate routes. Additional details for the detours will be shared soon, as plans for the bridge removal are finalized.

The demolition is part of a $6 million project to tear down the elevated section of S. Clark Street and build a “new open space” with streetscaping that’s friendlier to development. It’s happening in an area next to the Crystal City Metro station that’s likely to increasingly become a hotspot with Amazon’s arrival.

“To make way for new building sites and an improved surface street network, the Crystal City Sector Plan and accompanying Multimodal Transportation Study called for its demolition,” wrote the Crystal City Business Improvement District on its website.

Demolition started last summer and as of the beginning of 2019 crews had already demolished the S. Clark Street overpass over 15th Street S.

Officials have said they hope to complete the project by this summer.

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Expect lane closures and heavy traffic on I-395 this weekend and at least four consecutive weekends due to a bridge rehabilitation project.

VDOT says crews will be working to “rehabilitate five bridges along I-395 between the Springfield interchange and Washington, D.C. line,” but the work will require closing at least two lanes at a time throughout the weekend, from Friday nights through Monday mornings.

This weekend’s work will take place between Duke Street and Pentagon City, in the northbound lanes.

More on the closures from a VDOT press release:

Travelers should expect lane closures on the I-395 general purpose lanes beginning the weekend of April 26-28, and continuing for at least four consecutive weekends, depending on weather. The weekend closures, which will occur from Friday nights until Monday mornings, are needed for crews to safely rehabilitate five bridges along I-395 between the Springfield interchange and Washington, D.C. line. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes. If travel in this area is unavoidable, drivers should use caution and plan extra travel time.

What Drivers Should Expect:

  • Two general purpose lanes on I-395 will close for entire weekend periods starting on Friday nights through Monday mornings (alternating between south- and northbound directions, depending on location of bridge work); additional lane closures will occur in the opposite direction of I-395 as needed to allow crews to access work areas.
  • At least two general purpose lanes will remain open on I-395 (in both directions) during peak-travel daytime hours.
  • To help ease traffic impacts, the HOV lanes from just north of Edsall Road to the D.C. line will be open in the same direction as the bridge work, whether northbound or southbound.
  • Thru-traffic (northbound to DC and southbound to Springfield) will be encouraged to use the HOV lanes, while local traffic will need to use the two open general purpose lanes.
  • Weekly updates with specific closure information will be available at: 395ExpressLanes.com and VDOT’s 395 Express Lanes Web Page.
  • Current plans call for the reversible I-95 Express Lanes, from near Edsall Road to past Garrisonville Road in Stafford, to operate according to their normal schedule.

Details for First Weekend, April 26-28:

  • Work and double lane closures will take place in the northbound direction on I-395 from Duke Street (Exit 3) to past Pentagon City/Crystal City (Exit 8C).
  • HOV lanes will remain open in the northbound direction.
  • Ramps from Duke Street to I-395 North will be closed. Drivers should follow detour signs.

The 395 Express Lanes eight-mile northern extension are scheduled to open this fall.

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(Updated 2:15 p.m.) A crash involving a motorcycle and a subsequent fire prompted the temporary closure of the westbound lanes of Arlington Blvd near Courthouse around noon today.

Firefighters were called to the scene around 11:55 a.m. for a crash between a motorcycle and an SUV. First responders reported that the motorcycle was on fire as they arrived on scene.

ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said all lanes re-opened at 1 p.m. and that the motorcycle rider was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

“The driver of the vehicle did not sustain any injuries, remained on scene and was cited with unsafe lane changes,” added Savage.

Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant told ARLnow that firefighters had doused the flames “quickly.”

At 12:45 p.m. two lanes were still shut down under the 10th Street bridge and firefighters were again hosing down the motorcycle, which had by that point been placed on the bed of a tow truck.

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Update at 3:35 p.m. — One lane of westbound I-66 has reopened, just in time for the evening rush hour. Crews remain on scene assisting with the cleanup.

Earlier: A tree has fallen across I-66 near Spout Run, blocking the westbound lanes of the highway.

The tree fell around 1 p.m. At least two cars crashed into the fallen tree, though so far no injuries have been reported, according to scanner traffic. All westbound lanes are blocked and traffic is stopped.

Eastbound lanes are not currently blocked, though traffic becoming increasingly backed up prior to the scene due to rubbernecking delays.

On traffic cameras, cars can be seen driven the wrong way in the westbound lanes, as drivers try to escape the jam. Due to the size of the tree the lanes may remain closed for at least part of the afternoon. Those driving in the area should expect delays in Rosslyn due to detoured traffic.

A number of trees are reported to have fallen around Arlington amid today’s gusty winds.

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Several road closures are planned for this weekend’s Arlington Festival of the Arts in Clarendon.

The 7th annual arts event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the 3000 block of Washington Blvd. The free festival is set to feature handmade paintings, jewelry, ceramics, glassware and more creations from around 150 artists.

ACPD announced the event will prompt a number of road closures between 4 a.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday including:

  • Washington Blvd between 10th Street N. and Clarendon Blvd, except for one lane of traffic which will be open eastbound.
  • N. Highland St. between Washington Blvd and Clarendon Blvd.
  • 11th Street N. between N. Highland and N. Garfield Streets, except for delivery traffic.

Southbound N. Garfield Street will have eastbound left turns open to Washington Blvd, according to police, though additional road closures may be necessary. Police are encouraging attendees to take Metro or ride-hailing services, as parking will be limited.

Drivers should watch out for “No Parking” signs in Clarendon near the festival this weekend, according to ACPD.

Photos via Howard Alan Events

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(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) An intersection in Crystal City is closed as a result of a major water main break in the middle of the intersection.

The break was reported around 1:15 p.m. at the intersection of Crystal Drive, S. Potomac Avenue and 27th Street S.

Traffic camera footage showed water flowing from a gash in the asphalt and first responders setting up “caution” tape around the intersection, which is along a dedicated bus route.

A “significant” sinkhole was forming in the roadway as a result of the break and nearby parking garages were starting to flood, according to scanner traffic. Firefighters established an incident command at the scene due to structural concerns.

As of 2:15 p.m., public works crews were on the scene and the flow of water appears to have been stopped or significantly slowed, but not before water seepage reportedly caused a power surge and outage in the Crystal City area. Several buildings in the area are also reported to be without water service.

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The civic association for Aurora Highlands and Crystal City are requesting the county officials take action on traffic caused by the Uber and Lyft waiting area along S. Eads Street.

The area, sometimes called the “TNC lot,” comprises two parking lots located at 2799 S. Eads St. where Uber and Lyft drivers must park while queuing for passengers at Reagan Airport.

The associations say there have been persistent traffic problems caused by the lot, and discussions about solutions have “stalled.”

The neighborhood groups wrote a letter to Arlington Department of Environmental Services (DES) Director of Transportation Dennis Leach this week citing ongoing congestion woes caused by “7,800 additional vehicles per day” on Eads Street northbound.

That’s despite the county opening an entrance to and exit from the lot along Route 1, to ease traffic near the residential neighborhoods along Eads.

Aurora Highlands Civic Association President Scott Miles told ARLnow that as of last night (Thursday at 5 p.m.) the associations have not received a response from county officials.

Miles and Crystal City Civic Association President Carol Fuller signed the letter, which proposed two solutions for DES and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority:

  1. Allow ride-hailing drivers to enter, but not exit, the lot via Eads Street.
  2. Turn the lot into airport employee parking and make Uber and Lyft drivers wait at a new lot on airport property instead.

Today, Uber’s guide for drivers picking up at DCA features a section how vehicles should queue in the waiting area, noting that, “When exiting the lot, left turns only are permitted in an effort to reduce traffic congestion along S. Eads St.”

Before picking the Eads space for the lot, the Airport Authority had set up a temporary parking space a block northward at Crystal Drive and 26th Street S. which also caused traffic headaches.

Image via Google Maps

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