Arlington, VA

A fire in the engine compartment of a Loudoun County commuter bus snarled traffic in Rosslyn this morning.

The fire was reported shortly before 7:30 a.m. on Lee Highway and N. Nash Street. The fire was small — at least compared to yesterday’s truck fire in Pentagon City — and quickly extinguished.

No injuries were reported, but at least two lanes of Lee Highway were blocked as a result of the emergency response.

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A medical emergency might have been the cause of a fatal crash last night on I-395.

The single-vehicle crash happened around 10 p.m. in the northbound lanes of the highway, near the Pentagon.

The driver of the car, a 54-year-old Maryland woman, was later declared dead at a local hospital. All northbound lanes of I-395 were closed as a result of the crash, which is being investigated by Virginia State Police.

More from VSP:

Virginia State Police Trooper T. Karbowski is investigating a fatal crash in Arlington County. The crash occurred Dec. 3, 2019 at 9:51 p.m. on Interstate 395 at the 8 mile marker.

A 2008 Nissan Altima was traveling north on I-395 when it ran off the left side of the interstate, sideswiped the Jersey wall and then struck an impact attenuator.

The driver, Eddy A. Hernandez-Torres, 54, of Adelphi, Md., was transported to a nearby hospital where she was declared deceased.

A medical emergency is being investigated as the cause of the crash. The Arlington County Fire Department assisted at the scene.

Photo courtesy Dave Statter

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A portion of Lee Highway in Rosslyn will be closed during the day this week for paving.

The southbound section of Lee Highway, adjacent to the Custis Trail between N. Lynn Street and Fort Myer Drive, is expected to be closed from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.

The work is part of the Lynn Street Esplanade and Custis Trail widening project.

More from a Virginia Dept. of Transportation press release:

Southbound Route 29 (Lee Highway) between North Lynn Street and Fort Myer Drive will be closed Wednesday, Nov. 20 and Thursday, Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day for paving as part of the Lynn Street Esplanade and Custis Trail Improvements project, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Traffic will be detoured via North Lynn Street and Fort Myer Drive back to southbound Route 29.

During the closures, traffic coming from the Key Bridge will still be able to proceed through the Fort Myer Drive/southbound Route 29 intersection. The Custis Trail will also remain open to bicyclists and pedestrians during the work.

A quarter-mile of a wider Custis Trail from North Lynn Street to North Oak Street opened to bicyclists and pedestrians in August. The overall Lynn Street Esplanade and Custis Trail Improvements project is scheduled for completion in spring 2020.

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The Memorial Bridge rehabilitation project is halfway complete.

The bridge is back open today after a total closure over the weekend (delayed from earlier this month) that allowed crews to replace concrete support structures and panels, along with other work, on the southern side of the span.

The National Park Service released a new video (above) highlighting work so far on the $227 million project, which kicked off last fall. The video notes that the bridge is “a symbolic link between north and south” and “a symbolic entrance to our nation’s capital.”

It took years to secure federal funding for the project, as warnings of the bridge crumbling and becoming unusable grew more dire.

More on the construction progress so far, from NPS:

Over the weekend, workers finished preparing the southside of the bridge for users and made changes to transition to the next phase of the rehabilitation project. The work included:

  • Moving the bridge’s center barrier.
  • Striping the southside of the bridge for drivers.
  • Moving the poles that support overhead lights guiding drivers in three reversible lanes.
  • Installing or uncovering new detour signs for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The total rehabilitation of Arlington Memorial Bridge began in fall 2018 and is on schedule.  So far, workers have:

  • Replaced the concrete structures that support the southside of the bridge.
  • Installed new pre-cast concrete panels to replace half of the bridge deck.
  • Placed new steel beams on the southside of the bridge.
  • Cleaned, repaired and reinstalled the bridge’s historic granite balustrade.

“Since its dedication in 1932, Arlington Memorial Bridge has served as a monument to national sacrifice and valor — a symbol of reunification, spanning the historic divisions of the North and South,” NPS said of the bridge, which connects Arlington and D.C. across the Potomac River. “As one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects in National Park Service history, the rehabilitation of Arlington Memorial Bridge will give new life to our Capital’s ceremonial entrance while respecting its character, history and national significance.”

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Arlington is considering removing a planned section of road in the Metropolitan Park site in Pentagon City, the future home of Amazon’s permanent HQ2.

The Arlington County Board will vote during its meeting this Saturday, November 16 on the first step to nixing a stretch of 14th Road S. that was supposed to one day extend eastward on the lot that now slated for the first phase of Amazon’s headquarters plan.

Officials say the road no longer necessary now that Amazon is moving in.

The 14th Street segment was originally planned to “connect South Elm Street to a private court at the rear of two planned residential buildings” once envisioned on the site almost two decades ago, per a staff report to the Board.

Now that Amazon is finalizing designs for two sky-high office towers on the lot, “there will no longer be the need for the planned 14th Road segment,” the staff report noted. “The proposed new buildings have been designed to utilize S. Elm Street and 14th Street S. for their vehicular access.”

If members vote to advance the removal, the county will hold a public hearing on Monday, December 2 during the county’s Planning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. in the Bozman Government Center (2100 Clarendon Blvd.) The discussion would then return to the County Board for a final vote on December 14.

Approving a public hearing is currently listed on the Board’s consent agenda for tomorrow’s meeting — a position usually reserved for items staff expect members to pass without debate.

The Transportation Commission unanimously approved removing the road in a vote last month, per a letter of support sent to the Board.

Nearby, the Board also recently considered doing away with a pedestrian path in the way of the Verizon site project on 1400 11th Street S.

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Last week’s major water main break near Chain Bridge is not done disrupting traffic.

Arlington County crews are planning to close N. Glebe Road again tonight, between Military Road and Chain Bridge Road, for more repairs. The work is intended to “restore full water system capacity and redundancy following the large water main emergency of last Friday,” according to a press release.

The closure is expected to start “no earlier than 7 p.m.” tonight (Wednesday). The road is expected to reopen by Thursday night’s rush hour “barring complications.”

More from the county:

Throughout the work, northbound traffic on Route 123 will only be able to turn left onto Chain Bridge. Traffic crossing Chain Bridge from the District will have to turn right onto Route 123.

Within a few hours of the Friday break, crews were able to isolate and stabilize the break and restore pressure to the County’s drinking water system. This week’s work is required to repair the 36-inch transmission main segment, which was installed in 1944.

The repairs are not expected to have any impact on customers’ water service.

Permanent roadway infrastructure repairs including guard rail replacement and drainage improvements will be conducted in the coming weeks. These repairs will be scheduled to minimize traffic impacts.

Glebe Road is a state route but Arlington County’s Department of Environmental Services has taken the lead in repairs in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Meanwhile, the cold and changing temperatures have raised the specter of additional water main breaks. Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services is encouraging locals to call them if they suspect a water main break somewhere in the county.

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It’s a rough morning for anyone driving on either end of Glebe Road in Arlington.

In addition to the closure of a portion of N. Glebe Road due to a large water main break, a portion of S. Glebe Road is temporarily closed due to a crash.

The crash, involving a box truck and at least one car, has prompted the closure of Glebe at 24th Street S., near I-395, in both directions, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.

“Expect major delays and seek alternate routes,” ACFD said.

So far, there’s no word on injuries.

Updated at 9:15 a.m. — The road is back open after the earlier closure.

Photo via Arlington County Fire Department/Twitter

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A multi-vehicle crash is currently blocking Old Dominion Drive near Marymount University.

The crash, at the intersection with 25th Street N., happened around 1 p.m. and involves 3-4 vehicles, including a Mercedes and a Jeep that were heavily damaged in a T-bone style collision. The force of the impact pushed the Jeep up onto a sidewalk.

No injuries were reported, according to an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman. Police are on scene directing traffic.

Staff photographer Jay Westcott contributed to this report. Map via Google Maps.

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(Updated at 10:10 a.m.) The reconfiguration of Clarendon’s worst intersection is one step closer to finishing as crews begin paving.

Working began repaving the roads that together form the notoriously dangerous “Clarendon Circle” — a.k.a. the intersection of Wilson, Clarendon, and Washington Blvds — this past weekend.

The paving work will continue for the rest of this week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is expected to close some traffic lanes and cause temporary detours, the county’s Department of Environmental Services warns on its webpage for the project.

“Increased traffic congestion is expected, and drivers are encouraged to seek alternate routes and avoid Clarendon Circle during this work if possible,” DES said on its website.

On Monday, for instance, through traffic on Wilson Blvd was blocked and redirected to Washington Blvd. On Tuesday, steam and a burning rubber smell clouded the intersection as crews directed traffic around a cluster of paving equipment.

Work on the project is expected to wrap up by Veterans Day, this coming Monday.

The county has long aimed to redesign the intersection to be safer for pedestrians and cyclists and less confusing for motorists, with a goal of reducing crashes. The project design selected will realign Wilson and Washington Blvd, shorten crosswalks, and widen sidewalks.

Construction kicked off last year after the Arlington County Board awarded a $2.5 million contract to Ardent Construction Company.

Since then, the county has made several changes to the tricky nexus of roads, including cutting off N. Irving Street and banning left turns onto Wilson from Washington — though many drivers at least initially ignored the ban.

Image 1-5 via Arlington County

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The much-hyped Popeyes chicken sandwich is back and causing some traffic chaos in at least one corner of Arlington.

The sandwich returned to Popeyes restaurants on Sunday, weeks after the chain sold out nationwide amid a national craze. With the return of the sandwich, however, has come problems — some more serious than others.

Around lunchtime today, the sandwich was causing a traffic jam in front of the Popeyes at 4675 King Street — on Arlington’s western border, not far from Wakefield High School.

One lane was effectively blocked along westbound King Street approaching the Walter Reed/Beauregard Street intersection as drive-thru customers waited over 40 minutes to get their hands on the savory combination of bread, fried chicken and sauce. In the eastbound lanes, drivers trying to turn left into the cathedral of cluck also caused heavy traffic.

Leaving the restaurant, college student Bryce Davis of Ft. Washington, Md. was empty-handed.

“I waited at least 30 minutes and left without a sandwich,” he told ARLnow. “The wait is ridiculous. With social media and everything, there is too much emphasis placed on just a chicken sandwich. I heard it’s pretty good, though.”

For Nick Jirasophakul, an Alexandrian who works at a local car dealership, the sandwich was worth the slog.

“I think it’s worth the wait,” he said, chowing down with coworkers. “The sauce really ties it together. The sauce is good and it’s crispy.”

Similar to the drive-thru wait, Jirasophakul and his coworkers reported waiting about 40 minutes inside.

“This is my second time” getting the sandwich, Jirasophakul said. “It’s better the second time.”

Photos and reporting by staff photographer Jay Westcott

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The time has come for big change for local commuters: after two years of work, the I-395 HOV lanes inside the Beltway are becoming express toll lanes later this month.

The switch over is slated to take place on Sunday, Nov. 17.

Among the changes of which drivers should take note:

  • The number of reversible lanes is increasing, from 2 to 3
  • While the lanes remain HOV-3 — that is, free to use for vehicles with three or more occupants — you will need to have an E-ZPass Flex transponder switched to HOV mode
  • Tolling and HOV restrictions will now be in place at all times, rather than just non-holiday rush hours
  • Vehicles with 1-2 occupants will need to pay tolls that will increase and decrease with demand, like on I-66. Tolls can only be paid via an E-ZPass device.
  • The new tolling will run from Edsall Road, at the end of the I-95 Express Lanes, to the 14th Street Bridge
  • Exiting to the Pentagon and Pentagon City will be easier thanks to a reconfigured S. Eads Street interchange
  • Those entering the HOV lanes bound for the 14th Street Bridge at Eads Street in Pentagon City will need an E-ZPass

The tolls will offer “busy drivers a convenient new choice,” will help reduce traffic in the regular lanes of I-395, and will generate $15 million annually for transit projects, according to toll lane operator Transurban.

The project is also adding a fourth southbound regular lane between Duke Street Edsall Road to alleviate backups.

More from a press release, below after the jump.

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