Arlington, VA

(Updated at 4:40 p.m.) A dump truck overturned on N. Glebe Road, right before Chain Bridge, completely blocking the road to and from the bridge.

The driver was reported to be “severely trapped” in the truck’s cab, prompting a large fire department rescue response, according to scanner traffic. Multiple ambulances were dispatched to the scene, though it’s unclear if anyone else was injured.

The crash also spilled the truck’s load of cinder blocks and construction debris over the roadway. A heavy wrecker was requested to respond to the scene to assist with the cleanup.

The truck crashed after a steep and winding section of Glebe Road, which leads to a traffic signal at the intersection with Chain Bridge Road, just prior to the bridge.

Chain Bridge was expected to remain closed between D.C. and Virginia, and northbound Glebe Road is expected to remain blocked at N. Military Road, for an extended period of time — likely for “several hours.” Heavy traffic was reported on Chain Bridge Road approaching the crash scene this afternoon, with backups starting to extend into Fairfax County.

“Expect major delays as rescue work continues,” advised the Arlington County Fire Department. “Seek an alternate route.”

“Disruptions are anticipated into the evening commute,” Arlington County said via Twitter.

After an extended rescue operation, the trapped driver was removed from the truck just prior to 1 p.m. Glebe reopened to traffic between Chain Bridge Road and Military Road around 2 p.m. Chain Bridge reopened around 4:30 p.m., according to scanner traffic, though for now traffic heading from D.C. must turn on to Chain Bridge Road.

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(Updated at 9:05 a.m.) A crash along S. Glebe Road is snarling late morning rush hour traffic near the I-395 interchange.

The crash between a pickup truck and a rental van happened at the intersection of S. Glebe Road and 26th Road S.

The pickup suffered heavy front-end damage and, as of 9 a.m., was still in the middle of the intersection, blocking at least one lane of each road. The force of the collision appears to have pushed the van partially onto the sidewalk.

No serious injuries have been reported. Drivers should expect delays in the area.

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A crash involving at least two vehicles, including one with heavy front-end damage, is causing significant backups in the Crystal City area.

The crash happened around 3:30 p.m. at the busy intersection of Richmond Highway (Route 1) and S. Glebe Road. Multiple lanes of southbound Route 1 and eastbound Glebe are blocked and early rush hour traffic on Route 1 is backed up to the airport ramp.

A flatbed tow truck is on scene, working to clear the wreck, while police direct traffic. No word yet on injuries.

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(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) Numerous traffic lights are reported to be dark in Arlington` amid severe storms in the area.

Traffic signals along N. Glebe Road, from just north of Ballston to the Old Dominion Drive intersection, were dark as of 5:45 p.m. In addition to the busy intersection of Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road, the signal at Lee Highway and N. George Mason Drive was also dark, prompting backups on westbound Lee (Route 29) from Cherrydale to the the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.

Around the time of the lights going dark, firefighters were dispatched to the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Dinwiddie Street — near the KFC and Taco Bell — for a report of a blown electrical transformer.

As of 6:15 p.m., Dominion’s website reported 2,429 customers in Arlington without power, with the outages centered along Lee Highway

The National Weather Service has let the previous Severe Thunderstorm Warnings for Arlington expire as of 6 p.m., though thunderstorms and rain are still affecting the area.

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For some diners, Ballston ends at Glebe Road, and a handful of restaurant owners at the western end of the neighborhood are feeling left out.

As numerous businesses have sprung up in the central part of Ballston, the western edge has suffered a series of high-profile closures.

The epicenter of the new restaurant openings is the newly-redeveloped Ballston Quarter mall and the ground floor of Ballston Exchange, just across Wilson Blvd from the mall — both in the central portion of the neighborhood, where several new residential and office buildings are also under construction.

“The gathering place is on the other side of Glebe Road,” said Brian McBride, one of the owners of Mussel Bar and Grille (800 N. Glebe Road). He listed off a number of places near his restaurant that have closed.

Cheesetique, which closed in June, is the most recent example. The storefront is still vacant, with lingering signs advertising long-gone desserts. Applebee’s and Il Forno along the same stretch of Glebe Road have both also closed over the last few years.

Manny Tangle, owner of Filipino restaurant Bistro 1521 (900 N. Glebe Road), said the improvements and changes taking place across Glebe Road have had no discernible effect on his businesses — for better or worse.

Restaurateurs along the west side of Glebe Road almost unanimously agreed that the biggest challenges for local businesses all stem from traffic issues. McBride and Tangle both agreed it can be difficult for visitors to find the right places to park. The parking for Mussel Bar and Grille, for instance, is only available by making a somewhat complex set of turns behind the building.

For Bistro 1521, the big frustration is being stuck between the “No U-Turn” signs at Fairfax Drive and Wilson Blvd, so if someone misses their turn to get to the restaurant, it’s several more blocks before they can turn around and make another pass.

Even at Good Company Doughnuts and Cafe (672 N. Glebe Road), which had a stronger than expected first few months, co-owner Kate Murphy said most of their customers came from the residential areas west of Glebe Road. The sparse number of crosswalks and perpetual construction meant the eatery didn’t see as much foot traffic from people visiting the Ballston Quarter area across the street, according to Murphy.

But it’s not all gloom and doom for these restaurants. Mary Marchetti, owner of Stageplate Bistro (900 N. Glebe Road), said the challenges of the west side of Glebe Road also come with some unique opportunities.

“Our side of Glebe Road tends to be more affordable to the independent restaurateur,” Marchetti said. “SER, us, Mussel, Bistro… would any of us have been able to afford Ballston Quarter? No, the rents are too high and we don’t have that kind of clout. So here we are, on our little independent strip of restaurants.”

If anything, Marchetti said the biggest challenge for the archipelago of independent restaurants is overcoming the reputation that west-of-Glebe is where eateries go to die.

“Ending that stigma will help drive businesses here,” Marchetti said. “The dining scene in Ballston has so much to offer. Ballston should be a dining mecca.”

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(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) The N. Glebe Road bridge over Pimmit Run has been serving drivers, cyclists and pedestrians since 1973 but is due for some major maintenance.

At a public meeting tonight (Tuesday) at Williamsburg Middle School (3600 N. Harrison Street), the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is scheduled to unveil new plans for the bridge. The improvements are aimed at improving safety and extending the overall life of the bridge.

According to a press release, improvements will include:

  • Repairing and resurfacing the bridge deck
  • Repairing, waterproofing and providing corrosion protection to abutments and piers
  •  Repairing, cleaning and painting beams
  •  Replacing railings along bicycle and pedestrian connection to trails
  • Upgrading guardrails and drainage

The bridge feeds into nearby Chain Bridge and sees an average of 12,000 vehicles each day.

The press release says the event will be an open house running from 6:30-8:30 p.m., with displays and information about the project’s design. A presentation will be made at 7 p.m.

The project is estimated to cost $7.5 million and will be financed by the State of Good Repair fund, a state and federal program used to address repairs on bridges considered structurally deficient on the National Bridge Inventory, according to the press release.

Construction is expected to start in fall 2020.

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An under-construction home caught fire this morning, prompting an emergency response that closed part of N. Glebe Road during the morning rush hour.

Video from the scene shows smoke coming from the top of the home, at the intersection of Glebe and 33rd Street N., just north of Washington Golf and Country Club.

The fire, which was first reported just before 7 a.m., has since been extinguished. No visible signs of fire damage can be seen on the front of the home.

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A cement truck flipped on its side on the ramp from northbound I-395 to S. Glebe Road.

No injuries have been reported and the occupants of the truck were able to get out before emergency responders arrived on scene, according to scanner traffic. The circumstances surrounding the crash, which happened shortly before 1:30 p.m., are unclear.

The ramp is blocked as the crash cleanup gets underway.

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Morning Notes

‘Mabel’s Restaurant’ Coming to Arlington Heights — The restaurant coming to the grounds of the Dominion Apartments, at the former Sherwin Williams paint store (3411 5th Street S.), is called “Mabel’s Restaurant.” An outdoor seating area is planned for the restaurant, according to permit filings. [Arlington Economic Development]

Northam Visits Amazon — “In June, we were excited to open our first temporary office space for our Arlington headquarters in Crystal City. Today, we welcomed @GovernorVA to tour our new work space and meet with Amazonians from the Commonwealth.” [Twitter]

Crystal City Conducting Survey — “The area encompassing Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard – Arlington is a dynamic mixed-use urban center and Virginia’s largest walkable downtown… we are embarking on a place branding effort to uncover our neighborhood story and create a striking visual identity.” [Crystal City BID]

History of Heidelberg Bakery — “Heidelberg Bakery is a local landmark in Arlington… In this oral history clip, Carla and Wolfgang Buchler, owners of the Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe, discuss the lack of diversity in breads that Wolfgang found in America when he first came to the U.S. in the 1970’s–and how tastes have changed, partly due to Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe’s delicious treats.” [Arlington Public Library]

Glebe Road Bridge Project — “The Virginia Department of Transportation on Tuesday, Aug. 13 will hold a community forum on its plans to rehabilitate the Route 120 (North Glebe Road) bridge over Pimmit Run to improve safety and extend the bridge’s overall lifespan. The event will be held on from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Williamsburg Middle School, 3600 North Harrison St. in Arlington.” [InsideNova]

‘Drunkard’ Ruling Won’t Be Appealed — “Virginia’s attorney general on Friday said he will not appeal a ruling that struck down a state law allowing police to arrest and jail people designated as ‘habitual drunkards.'” [Associated Press]

Oil in Sink Causes ‘Fatbergs’ — “If you pour used cooking grease down the kitchen sink, you’re not alone — according to a new survey, 44 percent of respondents in the D.C. region pour cooking oil, fat, or grease down the sink at least occasionally. In doing so — rather than dumping it in the trash–you may be contributing to the creation of something truly horrifying — a fatberg.” [DCist]

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(Updated 11:20 a.m.) Bad traffic on Glebe Road is partially to blame for the success of a new donut shop.

The veteran-owned Good Company Doughnuts & Cafe (672 N. Glebe Road) is celebrating a better-than-expected first few months after opening in April.

“We beat our expectations for the first 90 days,” said Kate Murphy, one of the owners of Good Company. “We’re at about 20 percent higher sales than we’d expected.”

“We sell about 400 doughnuts a day and 600 on weekends,” Murphy elaborated. “So that’s about 3,000-4,000 per week, not including orders.”

Murphy said the eatery has also seen higher levels of catering and wholesale accounts than they had anticipated. Plus, Good Company is getting good reviews: ranking 4.5 stars out of 5 on Yelp with 66 reviews.

It all adds up to a promising start for the business, despite being across the street from a big food-centric mall on the less-trodden side of N. Glebe Road, where other restaurants have struggled.

Many of the store customers are neighbors. Restaurants that rely heavily on workers as the customer base can tend to see declines on weekends, but Murphy said having neighbors as a reliable source of customers has given them boosted weekend sales.

Murphy once ran a donut shop in New Hampshire before she moved to Arlington. She said Sunday was the store’s least busy day, but at Good Company it’s the busiest.

The embrace from the nearby residential communities is partially because Good Company is one of the few new, independent restaurants in the area on the western side of Glebe Road.

“The neighborhood is really anxious to have something on this side of Glebe Road so they don’t have to play frogger with traffic,” Murphy said.

There are other Ballston-area donut and pastry shops like Dunkin Donuts and the new Sidekick and District Doughnuts in Ballston Quarter. Murphy said her store has had to adapt and incorporate some unique flavors and offerings, but for the most part the shop is the kind of classic donut-and-coffee shop the clientele grew up visiting.

“We’re more traditional,” Murphy said. “People still come for the classics… We roll the dough out and hand-cut each of them.”

Honey Dip — fancy talk for “glazed” — is the restaurant’s most popular item, followed by chocolate frosted with sprinkles. The latter is a particular hit with children.

But Murphy isn’t a donut-luddite. Maple bacon donuts are now a staple of the store, and while Murphy said her old shop had maple donuts, they wouldn’t have thought to add bacon.

One of the biggest challenges the restaurant faced early on was building a quality staff, which Murphy attributed to the low unemployment rate in the area. But now, Murphy said she has assembled a team that lives up to the store’s name and is more comfortable handing the reins over to catch a break during the day — critical given that the baking starts at midnight or earlier for the following day.

The company is currently getting ready for some of its first community events, with plans to set up coffee and donut stands at the Arlington County Fair, the Marine Corp Marathon, and the Arlington Turkey Trot 5K.

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Morning Notes

Developer May Build Second Metro Entrance — “A plan submitted by developer JBG Smith to Arlington County could see the company put in charge of building the second Crystal City Metro station entrance, a long-sought-after project that would increase access to the station. If approved, the new entrance would be built along Crystal Drive near 18th Street.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Glebe Road Crash Yesterday Morning — “Police say the crash was caused by a driver attempting to merge onto southbound Glebe from 16th Street S. striking another vehicle heading southbound. No significant injuries were reported.” [Twitter]

Company Opens New HQ in Ballston — “Armor Express, a leading manufacturer and distributor of high-performance protective solutions for the Domestic and Federal Law Enforcement markets, Department of Defense and First Responders, today announced the grand opening of its new corporate headquarters in Arlington, VA.” [Globe Newswire]

Video: Olli on Fort Myer — New videos show the Olli autonomous shuttle driving around Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. [Twitter]

New Funding for 9/11 Victim Fund — “U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today applauded the passage of a bill to continue providing financial support to those who suffered physical harm or families of those who were killed as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks or ensuing debris removal efforts.” [Press Release, NBC News]

Nearby: Boy Dies at McLean Construction Site — A boy died after a ditch collapsed at a large excavation site in McLean, near the Arlington border and Jamestown Elementary. The boy was reportedly working to build a sewage line at a new residential development. [Tysons Reporter, NBC 4]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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