Arlington, VA

An “emergency utility repair” at Arlington’s sewage treatment plant led to a sewage release into Four Mile Run.

The sewage release happened this morning at the plant on S. Glebe Road. County officials are warning people to avoid the stream between S. Arlington Ridge Road and the Potomac.

“The public is advised to stay away from the affected water and to keep pets away until further notice,” Arlington County said in a press release. “Stream water can contain microorganisms that can make people sick, whether the stream is located in an urban area or in the middle of a forest. Even after the discharge is naturally flushed from the streams, the County’s normal precautions for safe use of streams apply.”

Crews are working to repair the unspecified issue at the plant. As a result of the work, a portion of S. Glebe Road is closed at S. Eads Street.

“An estimated completion time for the repair is unknown at this time,” the county said.

Separately, just before 9:15 a.m., a crash also blocked a lane of S. Glebe Road near S. Arlington Ridge Road, after an SUV reportedly careened into a utility pole.

Update at 1:30 p.m. — All lanes of S. Glebe Road have reopened, the county says.

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A new restaurant called Ballston Local is coming to the former location of Stageplate Bistro at 900 N. Glebe Road.

One of the co-owners confirmed with ARLnow that Ballston Local could open in late April or early May after some renovations to the space. The partners, who do not wish to be named yet, want to time the opening with springtime and more positive news about the coronavirus vaccine.

“It’s a new and exciting concept that is focused on crave-worthy food with a full bar,” said one of the co-owners, adding that he and his business partner live in Fairfax County and intend Ballston Local to be a “local, non-chain based environment.”

The partners, who together have decades of restaurant experience, are still hammering out menu details. Ballston Local will meet the demand for fast-casual, office worker-friendly lunches as well as a more traditional service with a full-service bar for happy hour, dinner and drinks.

Despite optimism from its owner, Mary Marchetti, Stageplate Bistro succumbed to the reputation haunting the western side of N. Glebe Road for being a difficult place for restaurants to survive. The bistro temporarily closed in February 2020 for hiring and staff training and internal reorganizing, with plans to reopen in March.

Then, the pandemic hit and by June, Stageplate Bistro had closed for good.

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A recent Morning Notes post on ARLnow has resulted in a fake road sign being removed in Arlington.

ARLnow published the photo above, taken along N. Glebe Road near Chain Bridge, on Nov. 5. Though the construction sign in the foreground gets top billing, eagle-eyed readers might have noticed the “Adopt-a-Highway” sign behind it, which says — in the space reserved for the adopting organization — “PLEASE JUST RAISE TAXES.”

Was that strictly a prank, or did a group by that name really sign up, using the name to send a snarky message about the concept of volunteer roadway trash collection.

A regular ARLnow commenter, known as Smiley456, emailed VDOT to ask about it.

“Can you verify if the group mentioned on the Adopt a Highway sign either exists or someone defaced the sign?” Smiley456 asked in an email sent to the agency’s Adopt-a-Highway inbox earlier this month.

The answer that came back, from a VDOT employee, was that it was indeed a prank.

“Upon investigation we found that this current road section is available for adoption via the Adopt-a-Highway program,” the employee said. “The previous permit holder’s sign was vandalized with a look-alike VDOT sticker reading ‘PLEASE JUST RAISE TAXES.’ Currently we have removed this portion of the signage and have an order to remove the former Adopt-a-Highway group’s signage in process.”

“I appreciate you bringing this to my attention and allowing me to investigate and resolve this situation,” the employee added, attaching a photo of the removed portion of the sign.

Those interested in adopting that stretch of Glebe Road can find out more about the Adopt-a-Highway program on VDOT’s website.

Photo (below) via VDOT

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A SWAT raid prompted a large police presence just north of Ballston this morning.

At least one lane of N. Glebe Road was blocked as Arlington County police executed a search warrant at a home near the corner of Glebe and 13th Street N., in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood. Numerous police vehicles and a fire department vehicle could be seen in the area.

The police activity has now largely cleared out.

ACPD spokeswoman Kirby Clark said the deployment was “part of an ongoing narcotics investigation.”

There were at least two other drug-related SWAT actions earlier this year in Arlington, although it’s unclear if either are related to today’s raid.

In February a man was arrested after a SWAT team swarmed a condo complex across from the Virginia Square Metro station. In March ACPD tactical teams took several people into custody after surrounding a vehicle in a parking lot near Columbia Pike, as part of a narcotics investigation.

Courtesy photo

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Morning Notes

AIM to Spotlight Arlington’s Black Community — “In 2018, Arlington native Wilma Jones published a book about the neighborhood she grew up in. My Halls Hill Family: More Than a Neighborhood details the evolution of a community of freed slaves, which was founded after the Civil War… Jones and Arlington Independent Media (AIM), a nonprofit organization, are launching a multi-part series called UNTOLD: Stories of Black Arlington.” [WDVM]

Interview with Interim Police Chief — “After 29 years with Arlington County, Virginia, Police, Deputy Chief Andy Penn knows a concerning trend when he sees one. Just weeks before moving into the role of interim chief, Penn said addressing an uptick in deadly overdoses was an immediate focus. As of Aug. 18, the county had lost 16 people to overdose deaths, according to Arlington County police data.” [WTOP]

Flu Vaccines Now Available at Giant — “Giant Food announced Monday flu shots are available at in-store pharmacies, including locations in the Arlington area. The flu vaccines are administered by Giant pharmacists and do not require an appointment. A copayment is usually not required through most insurance plans.” [Patch]

Here’s Why Glebe Road Was Closed — “For those wondering, Glebe was blocked just north of Ballston [Sunday] night due to a vehicle that rammed a house’s gas meter, causing a leak. No injuries were reported, some nearby homes were briefly evacuated, per ACFD spokesman.” [Twitter]

Storms Possible This Evening — “[Monday was] the beginning of a several-day stretch of storm threats. [Today] the Storm Prediction Center has the region under an ‘enhanced risk,’ or Level 3 out of 5. On Wednesday, it’s a slight risk at Level 2. As with tomorrow, damaging winds will be the main threat.” [Capital Weather Gang]

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Update at 4 p.m. — Firefighters have largely cleared the scene but at least one northbound lane is now expected to remain closed while crews repair the line.

Earlier: Several blocks of S. Glebe Road are blocked due to a reported gas line rupture.

Initial reports suggest that a construction vehicle struck a gas line along the 3100 block of S. Glebe Road shortly after 3 p.m., causing a leak. Police and firefighters are on scene, awaiting repair crews from the gas company.

All lanes of Glebe are blocked between S. Fern Street and Arlington Ridge Road. The southbound lanes are expected to reopen momentarily.

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N. Glebe Road is expected to close for nine straight days next year for a bridge rehabilitation project.

In a recently-posed video presentation, VDOT provided an update on its planned Pimmit Run bridge project. The presentation details the plan to replace the deteriorating bridge deck and steel supporting beams with large, prefabricated components.

Sections of the bridge deck and support beams will be constructed off-site and trucked in, then placed with a crane. That will allow crews to replace the entire top of the bridge much faster than with conventional construction techniques, which would require a sequential series of lane closures.

The downside is that the bridge — and thus N. Glebe Road, just up from Chain Bridge — will need to be closed to traffic entirely for an estimated nine days next year.

The project is set to kick off next spring and wrap up in the fall of 2021. Its projected cost of $9.5 million will come from state and federal funds.

The bridge was built in 1973, serves 13,000 vehicles per day, and is suffering from corroding concrete and steel supports. The project will replace the entire bridge deck and support beams, while also repairing the concrete bridge piers in and around Pimmit Run, near where it flows into the Potomac.

The rehabilitated bridge will have new rails and barriers, as well as a widened pedestrian path.

During the project, traffic heading to and from Chain Bridge will be detoured via McLean and N. Chain Bridge Road. A closure of N. Glebe Road just up from the bridge last week, due to water main work, resulted only in minor traffic impacts — albeit during a pandemic during which many people are working from home.

VDOT is asking for anyone with feedback on the project to email [email protected] by Aug. 7.

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(Updated at 11:25 a.m.) Those who commute over the Chain Bridge will need to find a different route this week, starting tomorrow.

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services says N. Glebe Road and Chain Bridge Road will be closed just before the entrance to Chain Bridge for much of the week, due to water main repair work.

The closures are set to be in effect from 6 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday to Friday.

“No water service impacts are anticipated,” DES said in a tweet. “A traffic detour will be in place.”

That section of roadway was the scene of a major water main break in November, which disrupted water service to a large section of Arlington County.

“There is a confirmed leak at the same location where the November 8… water main break occurred,” DES spokeswoman Kathryn O’Brien tells ARLnow. “This leak is a low volume leak. Crews have isolated the water main and will begin repairs tomorrow.”

Separately, work is currently underway on a $4.5 million water main rehabilitation project on a nearby section of N. Glebe Road.

File photo

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(Updated at 1:25 p.m.) The person behind the wheel of a car that careened down a hill and onto N. Glebe Road is now facing a criminal charge.

The crash happened this past Wednesday night near the Old Glebe Road overpass. It left the vehicle’s two passengers trapped and seriously injured, including one with life-threatening injuries. Firefighters used hydraulic tools to remove them from the heavily-damaged vehicle.

As of today both were still in the hospital, with one listed in stable condition and the other in critical condition, according to Arlington County Police.

Police say the driver — who walked away from the crash and suffered only minor injuries — has been charged with driving under the age of 21 after illegally consuming alcohol, a misdemeanor. The driver’s identity “is not releasable… in accordance to Virginia law,” according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage, implying that he or she is under the age of 18.

“This remains an active criminal investigation,” Savage said. “Anyone with information related to this incident and/or personal surveillance that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Detective J. Cox of the Critical Accident Team at 703-228-0491 or [email protected]

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(Updated at 10:30 p.m.) N. Glebe Road is blocked between Walker Chapel and Chain Bridge by a serious crash.

The single-vehicle crash happened shortly after 7:30 p.m. and drew a large rescue response. Firefighters extricated at two injured people from a heavily-damaged car, near the Military Road/Old Glebe Road overpass.

There were a total of three vehicle occupants and all three were injured, according to an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman. The driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries, a passenger suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, and another passenger is fighting for his life with critical injuries, said Capt. Justin Tirelli.

All three were transported to local hospitals. A crowd gathered on the bridge as police interviewed witnesses.

After the crash, debris could be seen on the hillside leading down to Glebe from Old Glebe. Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage later confirmed to ARLnow that the car had rolled down the embankment.

The road remains closed as a result of the cleanup and investigation. Drivers are being encouraged to avoid the area.

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