Arlington, VA

The Arlington County Board this weekend is set to consider a $4.5 million contract to rehabilitate an out-of-service water main in the middle of N. Glebe Road.

The 36-inch transmission main — the same size as the large pipe that burst and shut down N. Glebe Road near Chain Bridge in November — was placed out of service in 2013 due to concerns about a catastrophic failure. A transmission line was built parallel to it after a major water main break on N. Old Glebe Road in 2009 and is currently providing service to the area.

County officials say rehabbing the old main, which was built in 1972, will help provide redundancy in the county’s water system. Arlington’s water comes from the Washington Aqueduct in D.C., by way of pipes that cross the Potomac River at Chain Bridge then branch out to various parts of the county.

The project will run along N. Glebe Road from Old Glebe Road to Little Falls Road — a distance of about 0.8 miles. Residents should expect lane closures and daytime water service interruptions during the course of the project, the county staffers said in a report to the County Board.

The Board is expected to vote on the contract at its meeting this Saturday.

More from the staff report:

This contract is for the rehabilitation of a transmission main built in 1972 in the right-of-way of North Glebe Road between Old North Glebe Road and Little Falls Road. The transmission main was placed out of service due to a catastrophic failure in 2009. The proposed rehabilitation work will prevent the likely future failure of this transmission main and bring it back to service which will provide redundancy for the water main network.

The proposed transmission main rehabilitation is part of the Water Main Rehabilitation / Replacement program outlined in the Capital Improvement Plan. Inspection and evaluation of the existing transmission main subsequent to the November 2009 break revealed that the transmission main was subject to failure. Therefore, a 36″ transmission main was installed in parallel and the existing failing transmission main was placed out of service in 2013. The proposed rehabilitation work consists of lining the existing transmission main that was placed out of service and replacing some portions of it. The overall goal for the proposed rehabilitation is to reinstate the transmission main which is currently out of service and provide the required redundancy to meet water demand in the area. […]

The scope of this project involves the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure along the same corridor and the construction will cause some water services disruptions throughout the duration of the project. These disruptions will not be for an extended period. Traffic flow will be maintained throughout the project duration by keeping at least one lane open each direction during working hours throughout the project duration. The traffic impacts of the project have been communicated via the project website and through Civic Association presidents. Progress updates regarding the construction of the project will continue to be regularly provided to the communities via the two channels noted above.

Upon contract award and before the start of construction, a detailed letter about the project and construction schedule will be sent to the presidents of both Civic Associations and then be distributed to residents who will be directly impacted by the project. Additionally, water service disruptions will be coordinated with the affected residents in advance of any shutdowns. All shutdowns will be limited to construction hours during the work day.

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A crash involving some 3-4 vehicles is currently blocking lanes on S. Glebe Road.

The multi-vehicle wreck was reported around 9:45 on S. Glebe Road near the Maserati dealership and the I-395 ramps. At least one lefthand lane is blocked in both directions at 26th Road S.

Police are on scene directing traffic, while medics evaluate at least one person for possible injuries.

Update at 11 a.m. — All lanes have reportedly reopened.

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Police and firefighters are on scene of a crash along Route 50 that left two people trapped in an overturned van.

The crash happened shortly before 8 a.m. on the ramp from Glebe Road to westbound Route 50.

The ramp and two lanes of westbound Route 50 are closed due to the emergency response. Morning rush hour commuters should expect slow traffic on both directions on Route 50.

The trapped occupants of the vans were quickly freed by rescuers. They’re injured but expected to be okay.

Earlier this morning a portion of eastbound I-66 was closed at Washington Blvd in Arlington for a reported multi-vehicle crash.

More on the Route 50 crash via social media:

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(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) Big changes are finally coming to the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Lee Highway.

The Arlington County Board will consider a project to add left turn lanes to Glebe approaching the busy intersection. Also part of the project: undergrounding utilities, upgrading bus stops and streetlights, and replacing an old water main.

Currently, northbound and southbound traffic on Glebe each gets its own green light, allowing unobstructed left turns. The new turn lanes will allow simultaneous green lights, thus improving traffic flow and giving pedestrians more time to cross the street, according to a county staff report.

The construction will come with a steep price tag: between $3.4 and 3.9 million. The Board is set to vote on a contract with the low bidder, Rustler Construction, Inc., at its meeting this Saturday.

The first phase of the project, including utility undergrounding, kicked off in 2017. The county has spent years obtaining easements from property owners along Glebe, allowing the roadway expansion, which has general support from local residents.

“There is broad public support for this project because it is significantly improving multimodal mobility and access without any trade-offs aside from construction disruptions and right-of-way impacts,” says the staff report.

“During the lengthy easement acquisition process, the design was revised many times to accommodate surrounding property owners’ requests for considerations such as minimizing the amount of offstreet parking lost, maintaining existing driveway accesses, adding landscaping, and shifting bus shelter locations to not hinder the visibility of commercial monument signs.”

One slightly controversial aspect of the project is the LED streetlights Dominion plans to install.

“Several community members and stakeholder groups have expressed concern with the aesthetics and character of the streetlights selected for the project area – Dominion Energy maintained cobra LED style lights,” the staff report says.

“These lights were selected for the project area by the County’s Streetlight Management Plan (SMP)… Cobra LEDs are preferred for both the Lee Highway (Route 29) and Glebe Road (Route 120) project corridors because they more efficiently illuminate higher speed, wider arterial roadways than post-top lights, thus resulting in needing approximately 30% fewer light poles (and sidewalk pole obstructions) in the project area.”

More on the project from county staff:

The project will widen North Glebe Road (Route 120) to add northbound and southbound full-width left turn lanes. The widening of the street necessitated undergrounding the overhead utilities present throughout the project area. Crews began the utility undergrounding work in January 2017 and are nearing completion of this phase.

The subject intersection improvements will improve safety and mobility for motorists, pedestrians, and transit riders at the intersection, as well as reduce cut-thru traffic along adjacent residential neighborhood streets. Following construction of the new left turn lanes and replacement of the traffic signal equipment, the implementation of a new signal phasing and timing plan will significantly decrease vehicle, transit, and pedestrian travel times through the intersection.

The project is also replacing and upsizing over 1,750 LF of old cast iron water mains in the project area and is upgrading the five (5) existing bus stops with new amenities, pads, and shelters (installed by separate project), as well as installing empty underground conduits giving the shelters the capability to be equipped with real-time transit arrival boards if warranted in the future.

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N. Glebe Road reopened to drivers within days of the major Nov. 8 water main break near Chain Bridge, but those looking to hike the rugged Potomac Heritage Trail are not as lucky.

Erosion from the torrent of water unleashed by the break in the 36-inch distribution line washed away a portion of the trail that connects the southern section that’s accessible from the Roosevelt Island parking lot with the section north of Chain Bridge.

“The Potomac Heritage Trail is currently closed south of the Arlington County parking lot at the intersection of Glebe Road and Chain Bridge Road,” says an alert the National Park Service’s GW Parkway website. “The NPS is working with Arlington County and the PATC to identify a temporary re-route and a plan to reopen.”

NPS spokesman Aaron LaRocca confirmed to ARLnow that the closure was “due to trail damage as a result of the water main break on Glebe Road.”

So far there’s no word about when the trail might reopen.

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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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Update at 12:15 p.m. — N. Glebe Road has reopened but crews will need to return for follow up work “in a few days,” the county says. Photos posted earlier today show the sinkhole fixed and the roadway re-paved.

Update at 10:15 a.m. — The boil water advisory that much of Arlington has been under over the past couple of days is now lifted. Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services made the announcement Sunday morning.

Arlington County issued the following press release Sunday morning:

Arlington County has lifted the Boil Water Advisory.

Following the large water transmission main break on Nov. 8 at Glebe Road and Chain Bridge Road, residents and businesses in Arlington can resume using tap water for all purposes.

Water customers are advised to run their taps for a few minutes to release any air and sediment that may have accumulated following the break. Emptying and cleaning automatic ice makers and water chillers is also encouraged.

A series of rigorous tests have determined that the system is safe following the significant water main break early Friday, Nov. 8, that caused pressure drops in several locations across the County. Because of significant pressure loss before the 36-inch transmission line was bypassed, Arlington issued a Boil Water Advisory for affected areas of the County as a safety measure.

Tests identified no potentially threatening bacteria in the system as a result of the break, and samples met Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. The County consulted with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to ensure the water system is safe for public use.

Arlington County appreciates the patience and understanding of its residents, businesses and their customers as staff followed procedures that place public health and safety as the highest priority.

The incident also affected portions of the Arlington-linked DC Water system, which has also been deemed safe following tests.

The section of North Glebe Road damaged by the break near Chain Bridge is expected to reopen to traffic Sunday afternoon. Because of the complexity of the break, permanent repairs and restoration will continue later this week, depending on the weather.

Earlier: A large portion of Arlington County remains under a boil water advisory, as crews make progress with repairs following a large water main break near Chain Bridge.

The boil water advisory is in effect until at least Sunday, Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said Saturday morning.

N. Glebe Road, meanwhile, is still closed, but expected to open by Sunday evening — a shorter closure than the initial worst case scenario of extending into next week.

Among other neighborhoods, the boil water advisory is in effect along the Orange Line corridor from Rosslyn to Ballston. That has prompted changes at local stores and restaurants, from soda machines shut off to bottled water used to wash hands in bathrooms.

The CVS in Courthouse, meanwhile, ran out of most packs of bottled water on Saturday, the Washington Post reported, and Starbucks stores up and down Wilson Blvd are not serving hot coffee — leading some customers to get “a little nasty,” a manager told the Post.

More via social media:

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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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(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) A large water transmission main serving Arlington ruptured early this morning amid falling temperatures, prompting major closures.

The water main break was first reported around 4:30 a.m. on the Arlington side of Chain Bridge. The northern end of N. Glebe Road, a portion of Chain Bridge Road and Chain Bridge itself were all expected to remain closed throughout the morning rush hour as a result.

(Chain Bridge and Chain Bridge Road has partially reopened as of 9:45 a.m. for drivers heading to and from D.C. and Fairfax County, VDOT said via Twitter.)

The rupture caused a portion of N. Glebe Road, on the hill leading to Chain Bridge, to collapse.

Large water transmission pipes run under the Chain Bridge, bringing water from the Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant in D.C. into Arlington. The pipe that burst was a 36-inch transmission main, significantly larger than the typical 12-inch residential water main, WTOP reported.

Though as of 6:35 a.m. Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) reported that “crews have stabilized the transmission main break and pressure is being restored to County water lines,” much of the Arlington’s water service was impacted and nearly half of the county remains under a precautionary boil water advisory.

The boil water advisory is “expected to last until at least Sunday, after a series of testing,” according to Arlington Alert.

The closure of Glebe Road, meanwhile, is currently expected to last at least into the weekend.

The repair of the water main is expected to stretch into late Saturday or even into Sunday, DES Chief Operating Officer Mike Moon tells ARLnow. The road could remain closed until Tuesday, though there’s also a possibility it reopens this weekend, Moon said.

More permanent repairs to the road may be necessary even after it reopens, according to Moon. DES officials are still assessing the situation and expect to provide more information to the public on Saturday.

“It’s a major repair,” said DES spokeswoman Jessica Baxter. “Crews are working as fast as possible… but we don’t have a [solid] timeline for the repair and the restoration of the roadway.”

Moon noted that water service has been restored to most of Arlington thanks to redundancy in the system. There are three large transmission pipes that run from D.C. to Arlington — two hanging under the bridge, one under the river — that supply the county’s water, and there are multiple paths that the water takes into Arlington once its reached the Virginia side of the Potomac.

Arlington Public Schools, meanwhile, have closed today (Friday) due to the lack of water service, though football games will be played tonight

Two community centers are also closed, in addition to all APS facilities. Libraries are open but patrons are encouraged to bring bottled water.

Local restaurants, meanwhile, are using bottled water and disposable plates amid the boil water advisory, according to Washingtonian.

More on the boil water advisory, from a county press release:

As a precaution, Arlington County has issued a Boil Water Advisory for customers in the eastern area of the County (excluding Crystal City) who may be impacted by a large water transmission main break at Glebe Road and Chain Bridge Road. (See area… on the map.) The break caused pressure drops in several locations across the County. The advisory is a safety measure because of the depressurization.

If you live in the affected area, you should bring your water to a rolling boil for three minutes then cool before:

  • Drinking
  • Brushing teeth
  • Washing fruits and vegetables
  • Preparing baby food and formula
  • Making ice
  • Giving to pets

Information will be shared when the advisory has been lifted. Check the County website for updates.

Map via Google Maps. Some photos via Arlington DES/Twitter.

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(Updated at 6:50 p.m.) A woman was struck by a vehicle on N. Glebe Road in Ballston during the Wednesday evening rush hour.

The crash happened around 5 p.m., at the intersection of Glebe and 11th Street N.

Witnesses told ARLnow that the woman was struck by the driver of a pickup truck, who may have run a red light, though that account and other details could not be immediately confirmed.

The woman was conscious and breathing but bleeding from the head, according to scanner traffic. A Fairfax County ambulance crew that happened to be driving by was the first on scene to start rendering aid.

“The pedestrian, an adult female, was transported to an area hospital with injuries that are considered non-life threatening,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Police tell ARLnow that the driver remained on scene and the investigation into the crash is continuing. So far there’s no word of any charges being filed.

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(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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