The left lane of northbound Route 110 approaching Marshall Drive was shut down by Arlington County Police during the evening rush hour after nearly a dozen vehicles became disabled, blocking traffic with flat tires caused by what officers described as a “crater” in the road.
As of 7 p.m. the lane was still blocked and traffic was backed up almost to the Pentagon. VDOT crews were on scene making emergency repairs.
A local TV station was also on scene, interviewing the stranded motorists as they changed tires or awaited roadside service.
Update at 8:30 p.m. — The pothole has been repaired, at least temporarily, and the lane has reopened.
In a press release, VDOT says that motorists should “use extreme caution” tonight.
Snow showers are expected to begin as early at 5 p.m. and accumulation is likely given the frigid temperatures.
Although a three-day weekend is on the horizon, motorists are asked to finish trips in northern Virginia by early afternoon today, says the Virginia Department of Transportation, or plan to use extreme caution during the evening rush hour. With below-freezing temperatures in place and snow showers expected to begin as early as 5 p.m., VDOT will have 1,150 trucks deployed to continually treat roads by early afternoon. Crews began treating roads in advance yesterday and are finishing mid-day today.
What drivers should know
- Snow showers are expected to begin as early as 5 p.m., with temperatures well below freezing through the night.
- Drivers are asked to leave early today if possible to be off the road prior to the storm, to avoid icy conditions and give crews room to work.
- If driving is necessary, be alert possible icy conditions. Reduce speeds, increase following distance, and brake gently. Plan now to allow extra time for a slow and extremely cautious trip.
- Icy conditions are possible through the rush hour and overnight; with icy patches possible through the weekend given the low temperatures forecasted.
Check www.511virginia.org or the mobile app before leaving for road conditions.
Arlington County is also encouraging “caution” on the roads tonight.
#ArlWX We'll have crews out this afternoon into the night treating roads. Please exercise caution as you head out for your evening commute.
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) February 12, 2016
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) February 12, 2016
Update at 5:15 p.m. — The road has reopened with lane closures.
Wilson Blvd is temporarily closed between N. Oakland and Pollard streets in the Ballston area due to a vehicle crash.
The two-vehicle, T-bone collision happened just after 4:30 p.m. No serious injuries were reported, though an ambulance did respond to the scene.
It’s unclear what led to the collision, which occurred mid-block.
Wilson Blvd is closed between Rosslyn and Courthouse due to a water main break.
The closure is between N. Quinn and Rhodes streets, in front of the Colonial Village Shopping Center. Traffic is being diverted onto N. Quinn Street.
As of 3:15 p.m., water was still flowing from 2-3 areas where the roadway had buckled and cracked from the pressure of the burst water main.
The closure is expected to remain in effect throughout the evening rush hour, according to Arlington County. Drivers are being encouraged to seek alternate routes.
As of 9:45 a.m., the northbound I-395 HOV lanes are jammed starting around Army Navy Country Club, while mainline I-395 slows near the Pentagon.
Memorial Bridge and Washington Blvd around the Pentagon is jammed. Traffic on eastbound I-66, approaching the Roosevelt Bridge slows near Rosslyn. N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn and the Key Bridge are also crawling.
Federal employees are to report to work on a three hour delay today, with an option for unscheduled leave or telework, the Office of Personnel Management announced last night.
Arlington County offices opened on time today, though certain community centers are closed or operating under modified hours. Arlington parking meters are being enforced today for the first time since the blizzard, but only in commercial districts. While Arlington Public Schools are closed, APS offices are opening at 10 a.m.
There’s some good news for commuters: full Metrorail service has returned to all lines, though some delays were reported on the Red and Green lines this morning. Also, the Custis Trail is clear for cyclists, though only one lane is cleared in places and some connecting trails are still snow-covered.
— Joel Holland (@joelkentholland) January 27, 2016
— Gina Gil (@gmazul) January 27, 2016
For the second day in a row, a significant crash has occurred on southbound I-395 near the Washington Blvd/Arlington Ridge Road ramp.
A pickup truck and a van collided, initially trapping one of the drivers in his or her vehicle, according to scanner traffic. The driver was quickly freed by first responders and no serious injuries were reported.
Yesterday a vehicle overturned as a result of a crash in nearly the same location. In 2011, at least five crashes occurred in the same general area — a curvy stretch of southbound I-395 — during rainy weather.
Traffic volume on I-395, I-66 and Route 50 was relatively light this morning. Some delays were reported on I-395 at King Street earlier, possibly the result of snow clearing operations.
Every Metrorail line is running every 12 minutes except the Silver Line, which remains closed. WMATA was unable to open aboveground service on the Orange Line between East Falls Church and Vienna this morning, so Ballston is the Virginia end of the line.
Metrobuses are operating on a “severe snow plan” with half hour delays, while Arlington Transit service is operating on a Sunday schedule between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. with “severe service” detours. Only the ART 41, 42, 45, 51, 55 and 87 lines are running.
Arlington County snow removal crews, meanwhile, are making slow but steady progress on clearing neighborhood streets. Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said this morning that 30 percent of residential streets had been plowed.
(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Police and firefighters were on the scene of a crash involving an overturned vehicle on I-395 earlier today.
The crash occurred near exit 8B on the southbound lane of I-395 just before 3:30 p.m. this afternoon.
No injuries were reported and everyone was able to safely escape the car, a Toyota, according to scanner traffic.
Workers removed the flipped car around 4 p.m. and traffic began moving normally shortly thereafter.
The county has begun “phase three” of its snow removal process, during which workers will clear snow-covered neighborhood streets. Crews may take until Tuesday night to reach every street, the county said.
Though some major roads remain treacherous due to patches of ice, most traffic across the area appeared to be light or moderate with no major backups or road closures reported as of 8 a.m. this morning.
We appreciate your patience- we're making progress! This is a huge operation & it may take until Tues night to reach all the streets. #ARLwx
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) January 25, 2016
Want to know which streets are clear? Arlington’s snow plow map keeps track of where road crews have and haven’t been. And starting at noon today, residents can use the county’s snow reporting form to “identify snow issues that need attention.” Residents can also report issues by calling the streets hotline at 703-228-6485.
Although VDOT says most interstates and primary routes in “minor to moderate condition,” many side roads are still completely covered in snow and ice.
“Even though the snow has stopped and dry weather is on the horizon, snow removal will be very extensive through the week,” VDOT said in a statement released earlier this morning.
VDOT urges drivers to “stay off roads to give crews space to clear snow and ice.”
Image via VDOT traffic camera
Most roads throughout the region are currently buried in snow and ice as snowflakes continue to fall.
Residents are being strongly urged by Virginia’s Department of Transportation (VDOT) to stay off the road unless absolutely necessary, but it seems like many across the area are heeding that advice.
Normally busy streets across Arlington have been virtually devoid of cars all morning. Though some people have ventured out into the snow and ice — two drivers were spotted struggling to climb a hill on Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn earlier this morning — many appear to have stayed home.
Those that do drive, expectedly, are running into trouble. According to scanner traffic, a few cars have gotten struck on treacherous roads throughout the area, including one emergency vehicle.
Arlington County will be installing new traffic signals, featuring a blinking yellow arrow, along certain high-traffic roadways.
The flashing yellow signals will replace the familiar left turn signal with unblinking green and yellow arrows.
The older signals run from green arrow, to yellow arrow, to a solid green light, followed by a solid red. They’re accompanied by a metal sign that says “left turn yield on green.”
The new signals will run from a green arrow to a flashing yellow arrow, then to a steady yellow arrow followed by a red arrow. A sign with the words “left turn yield on flashing yellow arrow” will be placed next to the signal.
“The blinking yellow arrows help motorists know when to yield to oncoming traffic while attempting a left turn and support recommendations from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program,” according to a county press release. “Studies show that the flashing arrow signal is better understood by drivers than the more common circular green and yellow lights.”
“The flashing yellow arrow has been proven to increase compliance and reduce collisions. It’s already in use in other parts of Virginia,” the press release continues. “The new signals also provide traffic engineers with more flexibility in the way left turns are directed if traffic conditions change.”
Arlington will initially be installing the new signals along parts of Arlington Blvd, Glebe Road and Lee Highway, at a cost of $60,000. Additional installations are expected to follow.
VDOT is currently installing the new signals in parts of southern Virginia.
(Updated at 4 p.m.) Once one of Arlington’s top 5 intersections for collisions — particularly those involving pedestrians and cyclists — the “Intersection of Doom” in Rosslyn now isn’t even in the top 25.
Safety improvements at the intersection have dramatically reduced accidents at the intersection of Lynn Street and Lee Highway, said Larry Marcus, the county’s head of transportation engineering, in a new county-produced video.
The county faced a challenge with the intersection: how to design quick and relatively inexpensive improvements at an intersection where 1,700 bicyclists per day try to cross a street also being crossed by 600 vehicles per hour exiting I-66.
“The obvious thing to do is separate these movements,” Marcus said.
Bicyclists and pedestrians now get a 10 second head start to start crossing Lynn Street while the traffic exiting I-66 waits at a red light with an illuminated no right turn signal. Pedestrians and cyclists then get a don’t cross signal while traffic turning right onto Lynn Street clears out.
Those relatively simple “operational improvements,” along with traffic enforcement and a public education campaign by Arlington County police, have dropped the intersection out of the county’s top 25 most crash-prone, Marcus says.
Despite the improvement, Marcus said the county is getting ready to begin a planning process for a more permanent solution to pedestrian-car conflicts at the intersection.
“There’s certainly an opportunity to build something,” he said.
The Tuesday after Thanksgiving (and first day of December) is proving to be a turkey in terms of traffic.
Steady rain and accidents have helped to slow the commute to a crawl across much of Arlington.
On I-395 at 9 a.m., nearly the entire length of inbound I-395 was slow. I-66 is reported to be backed up all the way to Falls church. And the GW Parkway is a slog starting at the first overlook.
A reader reports that Route 50 was no picnic, either.
.@ARLnowDOTcom traffic on rt 50 into DC is backed up to Washington Blvd
— Robin (@RNS48) December 1, 2015
Elsewhere, minor flooding was reported in the area of Chain Bridge. Expect the rain to continue throughout the morning, forecasters say.
Big, solid area of rain over DC region. A washout for next several hours. pic.twitter.com/PURVBrB6Hn
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) December 1, 2015
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.