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GW Parkway Lane Closures Start Today Due to Bridge Repairs

The National Park Service is warning drivers about severe traffic backups on the GW Parkway starting today (Monday) and running through the fall, as rehab work on the Windy Run Bridge gets going.

Workers have spent the last few weeks removing guard rails and center curbs, as well as doing some paving work, in order to prepare for work on the bridge, located in northeast Arlington near the Woodmont and Riverwood neighborhoods.

Starting today, the NPS plans to reduce the parkway from four lanes down to three, and expects to:

  • Lower the work zone speed limit to 35 miles per hour
  • Direct all traffic into three narrow travel lanes
  • Shift travel lanes to accommodate rush hour traffic

The NPS plans to always keep one lane open in each direction, reversing the third lane as needed to match the direction of traffic in the morning and evening rush hours on weekdays.

That means the reversible lane will run northbound from noon to 8 p.m. and run southbound from 8 p,m. to noon. On Saturdays and Sundays, the reversible lane will only run southbound.

“Drivers should expect a lower speed limit, narrower lanes and a substantial police presence until this fall,” park superintendent Alexcy Romero wrote in a statement.”We need to shift traffic so that workers can safely rehabilitate the road surface of Windy Run Bridge.”

The bridge was built back in 1959, and the NPS plans to “restore the bridge deck by removing and replacing its top layer” in order to extend its life.

While work on Windy Run should wrap up before the year is out, the NPS also warns that “all of the bridges and roadway on the northern part of [the parkway] will also soon need maintenance work.” The NPS recently closed a public comment period on some of that planned work, and expects to release more details in the coming months.

Photo via the National Park Service

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Cherrydale ‘Five Points Intersection’ Work to Wrap Up Soon

An overhaul of the “Five Points Intersection” in Cherrydale should be completed soon, with night work to finish pavement markings and paving scheduled from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Monday (July 30) and continuing through Thursday (Aug. 2), weather permitting.

Work got underway last September, and changes included upgrading all traffic signal equipment, adding or modifying several lanes and improving crosswalks.

The County Board awarded a contract for the revamping last April after several years of study and discussion of the intersection, which is located at Lee Highway, Old Dominion Drive, N. Quincy Street, Military Road and N. Quebec Street.

The county advises drivers to avoid the intersection during the upcoming night work.

Photo via Arlington County

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Crystal City Twilighter 5K to Close Roads Saturday Night

The Crystal City Twilighter 5K will kick off tomorrow night (July 21) at 8:30 p.m., accompanied by several road closures.

Here are all of the affected roadways, according to the county:

6-11 p.m.

  • The entirety of Crystal Drive between 23rd Street and 20th Street

8-11 p.m.

  • Northbound lanes of Crystal Drive between 23rd Street and 26th Street
  • Northbound lanes of Crystal Drive between 12th Street and 20th Street
  • Northbound lanes between 12th Street and 15th Street
  • North and Southbound lanes of Long Bridge Drive as well all traffic around 6th, 10th, and Ball Streets

There will also be limited access to parking garages and restricted street parking on affected roads.

Photo courtesy Crystal City BID

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Lane Closures on I-395 Kick Off This Weekend, Hefty Delays Likely

Expect some major traffic backups on I-395 starting this weekend, due to construction work set to run from Springfield through the D.C. line.

Starting tonight, two general purpose lanes will close on the highway from Friday nights through Monday mornings every weekend through Aug. 26.

The construction will mainly include the rehabilitation of bridges on the highway, including the bridge over Four Mile Run, as workers build an eight-mile extension of the I-395 toll lanes from Edsall Road near Springfield to S. Eads Street near the Pentagon.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says closures will alternate between the highway’s northbound and southbound lanes as work progresses, and two general purpose lanes will remain open in each direction during “peak-travel daytime hours.”

VDOT also plans to make the highway’s HOV lanes available to all travelers starting at the entrance just north of Edsall Road to the D.C. line, running in the same direction as construction occurring at the time. Officials are advising drivers heading past the Pentagon to D.C. or south of Springfield to use those lanes, while local drivers should use the general purpose lanes.

The 395 work is also causing some traffic headaches on local roads near the Pentagon’s south parking lots. VDOT is aiming to have the extended express lanes open by the fall of 2019, and the whole project wrapped up by 2020.

Photo via VDOT

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VDOT Warns Drivers of Delays on Washington Blvd Bridge Tonight

Watch out for some delays along the S. Washington Blvd bridge near the Pentagon tonight (Thursday).

The Virginia Department of Transportation says workers will be shifting the two westbound lanes to left, closer to the middle of the road, from about 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. They’re advising drivers to avoid the area, near the Pentagon’s north parking lots, or prepare to encounter some backups.

VDOT adds that the shift is to “allow for railing and pedestrian fence installation along the west side of the bridge deck,” as work on the renovation project nears its end. Construction has been ongoing since 2015, and VDOT hopes to have it wrapped up by sometime this fall.

The County Board recently asked state officials for permission to name the newly renovated bridge “Arlington Veterans Bridge.”

Photo via VDOT

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S. Eads Street Construction Set to Snarl Traffic Near Pentagon Parking

Construction around one of the Pentagon’s parking lots kicking off this week could produce some big headaches for drivers and bus riders alike.

Starting this morning (Monday), work will shut down the west side of S. Eads Street from Army Navy Drive to where it nears the Pentagon’s south parking lot at S. Rotary Road.

That will shift both northbound and southbound traffic to the east side of the street. In the mornings, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., that will cut off access to I-395’s northbound HOV lanes and Army Navy Drive from S. Rotary Road. Crews will post a detour and drivers should follow signs. In the same time period, access to northbound S. Eads Street from the right lane of S. Rotary Road will be reserved for anyone heading for I-395’s southbound HOV lanes.

Construction will include “median reconfiguration, road widening, pavement and drainage work,” according to VDOT, prompting some major traffic snarls.

“As current traffic volume along Eads Street is near capacity during peak periods, we expect significant traffic congestion and delays along Eads Street,” VDOT wrote in an advisory. “Periodic nighttime/weekend closures may also take place to complete the construction activities.”

VDOT is recommending that drivers looking to reach the I-395 HOV lanes during the construction to use the ramps near the Pentagon’s north parking lots at Boundary Channel Drive instead.

Arlington Transit is also warning bus riders looking to reach the Pentagon to expect “significant delays for ART buses entering and exiting” the facility’s lots. ART plans to issue service advisories as needed.

VDOT says work will shift to the east side of S. Eads Street sometime this fall, then last for an additional two months. The construction is included as part of the broader project focused on the I-395 express lanes.

Photo via VDOT

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Military Road Closed Due to Downed Wires

Some downed wires have closed both lanes of Military Road in Donaldson Run.

County police say the wires are down along the 3000 block of the road, not far from Zachary Taylor Park and Taylor Elementary School.

A county traffic alert warns that the road will be closed for “an unknown amount of time,” and urges drivers to seek other routes.

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Downed Pole Closes Lanes of Washington Blvd During Rush Hour

A light pole toppled over on a busy road near Clarendon this afternoon (Thursday), prompting lane closures and traffic delays.

The pole fell to the ground around 5:45 p.m. on Washington Blvd at the intersection with 10th Street N. At least one vehicle was damaged — a sedan with visible damage to its front that was driven up onto the median. Two other vehicles were stopped nearby with no obvious visible damage. All three were being driven when the streetlight fell.

No serious injuries were reported. It’s unclear what caused the pole to fall.

Emergency vehicles blocked one travel lane in each direction on Washington Blvd, causing traffic backups in the area.

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Lanes Closed After George Mason Drive Crash

Southbound N. George Mason Drive is closed at Lee Highway due to a crash between a car and an SUV.

Two lanes of eastbound Lee Highway is also closed at the accident scene.

One person was reported to be trapped in a vehicle after the crash, though they have since been extricated. No word yet on the extent of the injuries.

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Planners Want Your Feedback on Some Major Rehab Work on the GW Parkway

Some major renovations are on the way for the GW Parkway as it runs from Rosslyn to I-495, and transportation planners want to hear from you about how the highway can improve.

The National Park Service, which maintains the road, is accepting public comments on the project from now through July 14. The effort is a long way from kicking off — the NPS has yet to even find funding for the construction — but officials are dubbing it a “major rehabilitation” of that section of the highway as it nears “the end of its design lifespan.”

According to a press release, the construction work will start at the parkway’s Spout Run Parkway exit and include:

  • Making drives smoother by replacing the asphalt pavement
  • Repairing stormwater management systems to keep excess water from damaging the road
  • Improving safety by strengthening roadside barriers and constructing new concrete curbs
  • Rehabilitating parts of two historic, scenic overlooks
  • Lengthening entrance and exit lanes at some interchanges

The park service’s current plans also call for the replacement of the stormwater drainage grates that line the parkway, which have long made for a bumpy ride for drivers. The construction would also include improvements at the parkway’s interchange with Chain Bridge Road in McLean, such as adding a new traffic signal to the area.

Anyone looking to comment on the project can do so on the NPS website, or attend a June 27 open house from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Turkey Run Park in McLean.

NPS is tentatively planning on kicking off construction sometime in 2020.

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‘Wonder Woman’ Behind Heavy Rosslyn Traffic?

Traffic on N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn is backed up to the Marine Corps War Memorial as of 10 a.m. this morning.

The unusually-heavy, post-rush-hour traffic may be due in part to road closures across the Key Bridge in Georgetown, where Wonder Woman 2 is currently filming. (See tweets, below.)

Police are posted at the busy intersection of N. Lynn Street and Wilson Blvd to help control traffic.

Adding to the driving woes, a crash between a bus and another vehicle was reported on Lynn Street around 9:30 a.m.

Update at 10:30 a.m. — The backups have largely cleared up.

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Lyon Park Water Main Break to Snarl Evening Rush Hour Traffic

A water main break at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park is taking longer to repair than first expected.

An 8-inch water main burst along Washington Blvd this morning, causing hundreds of water customers in Lyon Park to either lose water service or experience low water pressure.

Traffic is being diverted around the work scene, causing slow traffic. Shortly before 3 p.m., Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said via social media that repairs would continue into the evening, after initial estimates were that work would wrap up by 4 p.m.

“Traffic will remain slow,” DES said. “Thanks for continued patience.”

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Numerous Local Road Closures Planned for Rolling Thunder

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means that it is also Rolling Thunder weekend here in the D.C. area.

Thousands of bikers are expected to stream into the area over the next couple of days. The event, intended to raise awareness of American service members who were prisoners of war or remain missing in action, is prompting a number of road closures in Arlington.

The first of the planned closures is on 23rd Street S. between S. Eads and Fern streets. Starting today and running through Sunday, the Crystal City Sports Pub and Crystal City BID are hosting a free outdoor concert series dubbed “Crystal City Thunder,” from 4-8 p.m. each night.

More from the Arlington County Police Department:

Motorists using S. 23rd Street can detour around the closure by using S. 22nd Street (one block north of S. 23rd Street) via S. Eads Street or S. Fern Street, depending on their direction of travel.

Parking will also be restricted in the same location from 3:00 PM Friday afternoon until 9:00 PM Sunday night, except for motorcycles.  Motorcyclists are encouraged to back their cycle to the curb and line up in an orderly fashion to maximize the space.  Vehicles in violation will be subject to tow. If you are towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communication Center at 703-558-2222.

Barrels and other traffic management equipment will be deployed in the area.  Motorists are reminded to follow police direction and be aware of the extra motorcycle traffic associated with this event and the Rolling Thunder Rally.

The police department is also warning of “severe” traffic impacts from a temporary closure of eastbound I-66 Saturday morning, “to allow veterans of the Vietnam War to travel to the Arlington National Cemetery.”

The Arlington County Police Department is informing the public that traffic on I-66 Eastbound on Saturday, May 26, 2018 from 8:15 a.m. to approximately 9:30 a.m. will be severely impacted by temporary closures to allow veterans of the Vietnam War to travel to the Arlington National Cemetery. Route 110 southbound and Washington Boulevard (Route 27) near Columbia Pike will also incur temporary traffic disruptions.

In addition, between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., traffic in the Crystal City area may experience delays as another veterans’ group is escorted through the area.

On Sunday, Washington Blvd and the Memorial Bridge will be closed to traffic for the Rolling Thunder Rally. More from ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department and Virginia State Police will close part of Washington Boulevard near the Pentagon on Sunday, May 27, 2018, for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally.  From 7:00 a.m. to approximately 4:00 p.m., Washington Blvd. (Route 27) will be closed from I-395 to the Memorial Bridge.

In addition, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway or northbound Route 110.

Motorists should expect large numbers of motorcyclists in Northern Virginia and the entire Washington Metropolitan area during the Memorial Day weekend.

For questions or concerns, please contact Lieutenant Steve Meincke at 703-228-4148.

AAA Mid-Atlantic, meanwhile, is reminding drivers to keep an eye out for motorcyclists during the event.

During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, waves of motorcyclists, as far as the eye can see, will participate in the annual Rolling Thunder procession to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.   As a result, “motorists could encounter possible delays if operating in the vicinity of this event and may wish to consider alternative routes,” warns the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). With an upturn in motorcyclists in the region this weekend, area motorists should know how to detect and respond to so many bikers sharing the road, advises AAA Mid-Atlantic. For safety’s sake, motorists should also listen for the sound of motorcycles approaching in blind spots during Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom XXX.

Tragically, “motorcyclists are overrepresented in crashes and fatalities,” highway safety advocates warn.  Advocates point the finger of blame at the rising age of motorcyclists, traffic congestion, and distracted driving as overarching factors in the number of roadway deaths of motorcyclists. Other factors include alcohol impairment and recreational marijuana and drug impairment.  “In 2016, one-quarter of motorcyclists who died had a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, the highest percentage of any vehicle type,” according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). “Data suggest that trend continued in 2017.”

“Across the nation and around the Washington metro area, motorcyclists are disproportionately vulnerable to losing their lives and limbs in traffic crashes,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “Although the average motorcyclist rides his or her bike between 3,000 to 6,000 miles per year, motorcycle riders and passengers are ‘about 27 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash, and six times as likely to be injured,’ research shows.”

Watch out for motorcyclists during Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom XXX. Motorcycle fatalities soared to the highest level in a decade in Virginia during 2017, according to Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) data. All told, 107 motorcyclists lost their lives in crashes on Virginia roads in 2017, as motorcycle fatalities increased nearly 50 percent over 2016, when 72 motorcyclists died in motorcycle-related crashes across Virginia, according to the 2017 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts report. Of the 1,794 motorcycle riders injured in crashes in 2017, almost half, 830 bikers or 46.2 percent, were age 41 or above. Motorcycle crashes comprised 1.7 percent of all traffic crashes in the state, but 12.7 percent all fatalities.

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

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VDOT to Discuss Widening Work on Eastbound I-66

Workers are about to kick off construction on one of the most congested sections of eastbound I-66, and VDOT is rolling out its plans to widen the highway early next month.

State transportation officials are holding a community meeting to discuss the project on Tuesday, June 5 at Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Blvd). The event will run from 6:30-8:30 p.m., with a presentation from VDOT set to start at 7 p.m.

VDOT is adding another lane to eastbound I-66 between the Dulles Connector Road and Fairfax Drive (Exit 71), which is routinely ranked as one of the most intensely jammed locations in all of Northern Virginia. The work is taking place within the existing I-66 right of way.

The $85.7 million project will also connect two existing ramps at the I-66 and Route 7 interchange to connect I-66 eastbound directly to the West Falls Church Metro station. Additionally, plans call for a new bridge for the W&OD Trail over Lee Highway.

VDOT is hoping to start construction this year and open the new lane on I-66 by the fall of 2020.

Photo (1) via Google Maps

 

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VDOT Seeking Feedback on Shirlington Circle Improvements

State transportation officials want to hear from you about how to best improve the I-395 interchange at exit 6 near Shirlington.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is in the midst of studying safety and operational improvements to the area, known as Shirlington Circle, and they’re convening a public meeting on the project this Monday (May 21). The gathering is set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street), and VDOT staff plan to give a presentation on potential improvement options at 7 p.m.

VDOT is also eyeing changes to several other roadways in the area, including:

  • The ramp from S. Glebe Road (Route 120) to southbound I-395
  • The intersection of S. Shirlington Road and S.Arlington Mill Drive
  • The intersection of Gunston Road and Martha Custis Drive

VDOT is examining ways to “reduce congestion, crashes, and boost the interchange’s overall performance,” according to a press release.

The agency plans to wrap up the public comment period for the Shirlington improvements on May 31, then study a few alternatives in more detail starting this summer. VDOT plans to issue a report on a “preferred alternative” by this fall.

Anyone looking to comment on the project can do so at the meeting, send comments by e-mail, or even mail them to Olivia Daniszewski, Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030, by May 31.

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