(Updated on 1/17/21) A number of bridges connecting Arlington to D.C. across the Potomac River are closing due to presidential inauguration security measures.
Virginia State Police is working with the United States Secret Service to close Roosevelt Bridge, the Arlington Memorial Bridge, the I-395 Bridge and the 14th Street Bridge starting Tuesday morning through Thursday at 6 a.m., according to a joint statement from Virginia lawmakers.
The Arlington Memorial Bridge closed Friday night but then reopened, according to news reports. The HOV span of the 14th Street Bridge was set to close Saturday morning until Thursday, according to the Secret Service, but was open as of noon on Saturday.
Those closures would leave the Key Bridge in Rosslyn and the Chain Bridge from N. Glebe Road as the main routes from Arlington into the District for two days.
“The 2021 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony will see the strongest Capital-area security response in history. We worked together to push for a response that balances protecting public safety in a manner commensurate with available intelligence about threats without going too far,” reads the lawmakers’ statement.
It was issued by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, and Jennifer Wexton.
“It is very important now that the U.S. Secret Service and its partner agencies communicate road and bridge closures swiftly and clearly in order to keep disruptions to a minimum,” the lawmakers added. “All of us want the transfer of power to be as peaceful as possible, and we thank all of the men and women in uniform helping to make this historic occasion safe.”
Additionally, Metro announced this afternoon that the Pentagon Metro station will be closed, and bus service there suspended, on Inauguration Day.
“Blue and Yellow Line trains will continue to operate but will pass through the station without stopping,” Metro said. “The Pentagon Transit Center, served by six Metrobus lines, will also be closed. Buses will be relocated instead to Pentagon City, on the east side of Hayes Street S. and 12th Street S. for the day.”
Arlington Cemetery station is also closing, along with a number of D.C. stations, starting today.
Virginia Railway Express trains, meanwhile, will not be running Monday through Wednesday, due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday and “enhanced security measures” related to the presidential inauguration.
While Arlington Acting Police Chief Andy Penn didn’t commit to any road closures in Arlington as of yet, he did say discussions are ongoing.
With former Vice President Joe Biden being named president-elect this morning by the Associated Press and others, celebrations in D.C. area leading to traffic on the 14th Street Bridge.
“Expect traffic delays around [northbound I-395] at the 14th Street Bridge due to street closures in DC around the White House,” said an Arlington Alert. The closures were prompted by impromptu celebrations around D.C., including large gatherings outside the White House.
Around Arlington — which voted for the Biden/Harris ticket over Trump/Pence by a margin of 81%-17% — horns honked and people cheered after the race was called.
— Total (@HannahFoll) November 7, 2020
A number of local officials have released statements about Biden’s presumptive electoral victory.
From Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.):
I extend my warmest congratulations to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on their massive victory in the presidential election. Though it is taking time to count, they are on track for major wins in every region of the country, with more votes than any candidate in history. When he is sworn as Commander in Chief in on January 20th, 2021, Joe Biden will have a strong governing mandate.
I recognize that this election has shown we are a divided nation, but we also have grave challenges that require immediate action. The time has come for President Trump to accept his defeat, pass the torch, and ensure an orderly transition of government for the Biden Administration. He has a unique power in this situation to promote national unity and to spare the country further dangerous civil strife by following the example of every American President, beginning with George Washington: the peaceful transfer of power.
We have been bitterly divided, but what unites us – including love of country, the Constitution, and our democratic ideals – must be stronger. Inflammatory rhetoric which undermines Americans’ faith in their national elections threatens lasting harm to our society, and it must stop. The country must come first.
“Our nation faces serious threats, including the pandemic and the stalling economic recovery. At this time of crisis, all leaders regardless of party must come together to support the President-Elect. He must be given the support he needs to take the helm of government, including swift consideration and confirmation of his team, so that he can take the country forward. We have no time to lose – there is serious work to be done.”
(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) A large group of demonstrators blocked the outbound 14th Street Bridge between D.C. and Arlington during the evening rush hour.
Protesters were sitting down across the main southbound bridge span, according to D.C. police, but then started marching towards Arlington. The group — said to number in the hundreds — previously marched from the area around the Jefferson Memorial, according to scanner traffic.
Arlington County fire department medics were dispatched to the bridge at the request of Virginia State Police for a report of a protester who is dehydrated.
Drivers should expect delays in the area, though the outbound HOV lanes remained open. Police are on scene monitoring the demonstration.
Public safety watchdog Dave Statter broadcast live video of the protest, which as of 4:35 p.m. appeared to be winding down. Demonstrators, holding signs and flags, could be seen marching back toward D.C. Lanes reopened at 4:50 p.m.
Group Sit-Down in progress on Outbound 14th St Bridge [Main Span] towards Arlington, VA
— DC Police Traffic (@DCPoliceTraffic) July 6, 2020
#Alert: Crews have been dispatched to the 14th Street Bridge (I-395 SB) for a medical emergency related to ongoing protest activity on the bridge. Expect significant traffic delays.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) July 6, 2020
Advocates Pushing for Less Parking at HQ2 — “Amazon wants employees at its new Northern Virginia headquarters to commute car-free to work… So why does the development’s current design include an underground parking garage with nearly 2,000 spaces — guaranteeing that a significant chunk of Amazon’s workforce will drive to work?” [Greater Greater Washington]
Express Lanes Causing 14th Street Bridge Slowdown? — Some commuters have been taking to social media to gripe about what they say is heavier traffic caused by the I-395 Express Lanes: “This morning the express lanes made 395N regular lanes undriveable. The problem is they closed off the 14th street bridge hov to regular traffic, which is creating a tremendous clog point. Its now taking 30 mins just to cross the 14th street bridge.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Northam in Arlington Today — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is scheduled to attend the Governor’s Transportation Conference this morning at a hotel in Crystal City. [Cvent]
‘Feuerwehrmann’ Joins ACFD for Three Weeks — “Two Arlington County Fire Department crews had a unique opportunity recently when they welcomed a fellow firefighter from the Aachen Fire Department in Germany. Lieutenant Sebastian Ganser, a firefighter, paramedic, and fire instructor in Arlington’s sister city of Aachen, Germany, spent three weeks with Station 5C in Crystal City and Station 2B in Ballston — living and working alongside Arlington’s firefighters and paramedics.” [Arlington County]
Long-Distance Runners Arriving in Arlington Soon — “Josh and Brian will be running roughly 500 miles from Massachusetts National Cemetery to Arlington National Cemetery in VA for your donations. This journey will take between 10-14 days averaging 40-50 miles per day. They will start on November 11th, 2019 (Veterans Day) and will only stop to eat and sleep until they make it to Arlington, VA.” [Mission 22]
Road Closures for Annual 5K — “The 5th annual Jennifer Bush-Lawson Memorial 5K Race will take place on Saturday, November 23, 2019. The Arlington County Police Department will implement several road closures from approximately 8:00 AM until 11:00 AM to accommodate this event.” [Arlington County]
Planetarium Boosters to Stay Active During Closure — “The Arlington school system’s lone planetarium will be closed for about a year and a half starting later this month, as construction takes place turning the nearby Arlington Education Center building into classroom space. But leaders with the Friends of Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium say they will fill the gap with programming elsewhere during the closure.” [InsideNova]
Seven Corners Suspicious Death — Updated at 10:25 a.m. — Fairfax County Police are investigating a “suspicious death” on the 6100 block of Arlington Blvd in Seven Corners, near the Arlington border. That block is home to the Willston Centre shopping center, a McDonald’s, a hotel and a number of commercial offices. [Twitter, Twitter]
What’s Up With the ‘Psychedelic Tower?’ — “You’ve probably seen the tower if you’ve ever driven across the 14th Street Bridge… It’s a hexagonal, granite structure that sits about a third of the way down the bridge, closer to the Virginia side. By day, it doesn’t look like much. But by night, its windows light up like a gigantic kaleidoscope.” [WAMU]
New Pike Library Remains a Goal — “Arlington government leaders haven’t given up their quest to add a new library branch on the western end of Columbia Pike. But unless an unbeatable opportunity presents itself, a new facility is not going to happen immediately.” [InsideNova]
Arts Cuts Highlighted in TV Report — Proposed budget cuts to the county’s scene shop, costume shop and technical services provided to local theater companies “would really destroy the arts community,” advocates told NBC 4 in a segment that aired last night. [NBC Washington]
Nearby: Seven Corners Office Buildings Purchased — “BoundTrain Real Estate has purchased the two commercial office towers located at 6400 and 6402 Arlington Boulevard in Falls Church for more than $38 million. The two 13-story buildings in the Seven Corners commercial district include more than 410,000 square feet of commercial space.” [Falls Church News-Press]
(Updated at 11:35 a.m.) All lanes of the HOV span of the 14th Street Bridge are blocked by a serious crash.
Four vehicles are involved, one person is trapped in their vehicle and four people are injured, D.C. Fire and EMS said via Twitter. Of the four injuries, one is considered serious while the other three are considered minor.
Firefighters are currently working to free the person trapped in a vehicle.
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) January 15, 2019
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) January 15, 2019
Accident: NB 395 HOV/14th Street Bridge All N/B lanes BLOCKED. MPD/DCFEMS on scene
— DC Police Traffic (@DCPoliceTraffic) January 15, 2019
The U.S. Coast Guard vessels will be on the Potomac River near Arlington this afternoon for a tactics training session.
The exercise will take place from approximately 3:30-7:30 p.m. today (Wednesday) between Memorial Bridge and the 14th Street Bridge. During the exercise, crews will simulate a secure zone around a valuable asset.
No live fire or blanks will be used, though anyone on the water at that time should be extra vigilant.
More from the U.S. Coast Guard:
On Wednesday, 06 DEC 2017, Coast Guard Station Washington will be conducting boat tactics training from approximately 1530 to 1930. Location for this training will be the Upper Potomac River between Arlington Memorial Bridge and 14th St. Bridge. We will be using orange Coast Guard boats, with flashing blue lights, simulating a security zone around a high value asset. There will be no live fire or blanks used during this training; this is only a tactics and maneuvering drill. There will be a broadcast to notify mariners to exercise caution in the area for the duration of the exercise.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
All but one inbound lane is closed on the bridge due to the wreck, which occurred just before 4:00 p.m.
D.C. police are handling the incident. The department’s Twitter account said there’s no estimated time for when all lanes will reopen.
Boat Capsizes Under 14th Street Bridge — A boat capsized under the 14th Street Bridge just before Saturday afternoon’s storms. D.C. police rescued 19 people from the water. No injuries were reported. [Associated Press]
Work on Memorial Bridge Begins — The National Park Service is beginning a project to repair the concrete deck, curbs and sidewalks of the Memorial Bridge today. Drivers can expect lane closures on the bridge between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on weekdays, and throughout the weekend. [WJLA]
Yorktown Routs Wakefield — The Yorktown High School Patriots defeated the Wakefield Warriors 59-6 on Friday night. Arlington’s other high school, Washington-Lee, defeated Fairfax by a score of 13-7. [Sun Gazette, MaxPreps]
Upgrades Planned for Reagan National — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is planning to spend $45 million to upgrade the aging Terminal A at Reagan National Airport. Planned upgrades include wider security checkpoints, more baggage handling areas, updated ticket counters and better bathrooms. The MWAA is also studying the possibility of adding more parking spaces at the airport. [Washington Examiner]
A man who had parked mid-span and was sitting on the ledge was taken into police custody just before 4:00 this afternoon. D.C. and Arlington police, along with a police boat, were all said to be on the scene.
D.C. police have jurisdiction over the incident and are reportedly in the process of clearing the scene.