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(Updated at 11 a.m.) There was yet another crash this morning involving an overturned vehicle in the “usual spot” on the GW Parkway.

Today’s wreck was reported around 8 a.m. on the northbound lanes of the GW Parkway, in a bend in the road near the Key Bridge. No one in the overturned SUV was trapped and only minor injuries were reported, according to scanner traffic.

The crash resulted in lane closures and backed up traffic on the Parkway for part of the morning rush hour.

This particular portion of the Parkway, as evidenced by the pockmarked stone wall and ripped-up grass, has seen numerous crash, particular when the roadway is wet.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has been in touch with the National Park Service about safety on the GW Parkway, a spokesman told ARLnow this morning.

“Congressman Beyer’s office is in regular communication with NPS to improve safety including in that section of the parkway,” said Deputy Chief of Staff Aaron Fritschner. “The [Park Service] has indicated it is working to adjust signage to slow speeds in that specific area, which Rep. Beyer fully supports. The topography in that area makes any major structural road changes extremely difficult.”

ARLnow reported on recent crashes there on Oct. 2, Oct. 4, Oct. 5 (with overturned vehicle), and Oct. 31 (also with overturned vehicle). Other notable crashes nearby on the GW Parkway but not in that exact spot have been reported in February (with overturned vehicle and critical injury), November, and yesterday afternoon (with overturned vehicle).

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The National Park Service is starting to work on plans to improve safety along the portion of the Mount Vernon Trail that winds through Arlington County.

South of the City of Alexandria, in Fairfax County, it will make similar improvements to the trail and reconstruct that portion of the GW Parkway.

The 18-mile Mount Vernon Trail runs from Mount Vernon in Fairfax County to Roosevelt Island near Rosslyn, passing by Crystal City as it parallels the GW Parkway. NPS says it is time to address deferred maintenance needs and safety along the entirety of the 18-mile Mount Vernon Trail and the southern portion of the 15.2-mile GW Parkway.

“The road and trail improvements being considered would enhance the visitor experience for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists,” the NPS project webpage says. “Potential improvements to the road include the implementation of a road, crosswalks and intersection changes. Potential safety enhancements for the trail would include potential trail widening and intersection improvements.”

Plans to widen the trail come two years after a report was released recommending this change due to heavy use and crash risks.

“The MVT is beginning to show its age, from deteriorating pavement and bridges, to limited accessibility features, and outdated signage and striping,” the report says. “These attributes, combined with increasing usage and user behavior, contribute to risk exposure and considerable crash history.”

For instance, from 2006-10, there were 225 reported bike and pedestrian crashes on the trail.

Crash locations along the Mount Vernon Trail in Arlington (via National Park Service)

The report also found the trail has “meandering curves, timber bridges, and in some areas, dense vegetation.”

While controlled by the National Park Service, over time local volunteers have stepped up in an attempt to keep it clean and safe for users amid sparse maintenance from the park service.

NPS says it aims to provide solutions that maintain the parkway’s “scenic and historic character,” and an assessment will determine the potential environmental impact of the changes.

“The Plan is needed to help preserve the historic parkway for future generations, improve the visitor experience, reduce annual park operations and maintenance costs, and improve visitor safety,” writes GW Parkway Superintendent Charles Cuvelier in a public notice of an upcoming meeting about the project.

A virtual public meeting presenting initial plan alternatives will be held on Dec. 6 from 7-8:30 pm. There is no need to pre-register.

“Engaging with you is a critical part of our preliminary engineering and planning process,” the press release said. “Your feedback will be used to refine project designs and to support the analysis of any environmental impacts.”

The website has more information on how to join the meeting:

At the time of the meeting, click the link to join on your computer or mobile device and enter the Webinar ID (Webinar ID: 314-024-315) and your email. If you do not have Go-To-Webinar, you will be prompted to install a small file to your computer or download the app on your mobile device.

You can call into the meeting (no video) using the toll-free phone number and conference ID:

Call in number: (877) 309-2074

Phone Conference ID: 278-447-448

After the meeting, comments will be accepted from Dec. 6 through Jan. 4, 2023.

NPS last made changes to this stretch of the parkway and trail in 2012 to improve safety near the Memorial Circle and at several crossings. Changes included replacing signs, installing rumble strips, painting directional symbols and moving a crosswalk.

Although the plan’s scope only addresses the stretch of the Mount Vernon Trail through Arlington, the GW Parkway through Arlington sees its fair share of crashes.

Less than a week ago, a car drove off the GW Parkway and into the Potomac River near Columbia Island Marina and the Humpback Bridge. One occupant died and the other occupant was hospitalized.

One hotspot on the GW Parkway, near Key Bridge, frequently sees overturned vehicles during rainy weather.

The park service is currently in the midst of a major rehabilitation of the northern section of the GW Parkway that passes through Arlington and Fairfax County.

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(Updated at 11:25 p.m.) At least two people have been pulled from the water on an icy cold night after a car drove into the Potomac along the GW Parkway.

The crash was first reported around 9:30 p.m., near Columbia Island Marina and the Humpback Bridge. It was not immediately clear how the car ended up in the water.

Initial reports suggest that one person was quickly able to get out of the water, possibly with the assistance of U.S. Park Police. They were taken to a local hospital via ambulance.

Another person was reported to be trapped and was taken to a hospital in critical condition after a rescue operation and CPR being performed on shore. NBC 4 reported tonight that that person has died.

Arlington County firefighters and D.C. fireboats assisted with the rescue operation alongside Park Police. Rescuers also searched the water for a possible third victim, according to scanner traffic.

“The two occupants were located and removed from the vehicle in the water,” ACFD said via social media. “Both were transported to area hospitals, one with life-threatening injuries.”

The northbound lanes of the Parkway are expected to remain closed until after midnight, according to Arlington Alert, likely as a result of the crash investigation. As of publication fire department personnel were in the process of clearing from the scene.

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Location of crash on the GW Parkway (via Google Maps)

A crash involving three vehicles, one of which ran into the woods, has been reported in the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway.

The crash happened around 3 p.m., south of Key Bridge. So far, no serious injuries have been reported, but at one car was said to have gone well off the road and into a wooded area.

Southbound traffic on the Parkway is currently backed up past Spout Run

This afternoon’s wreck did not happen in the “usual spot” for rainy day crashes, on the northbound GW Parkway north of Key Bridge, but it did happen at a bend in the road amid rainy weather.

Map via Google Maps

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A well-known spot for rainy day crashes has claimed more vehicular victims.

The crash happened around 11 a.m. on the northbound GW Parkway near Key Bridge, and involves one vehicle — which appears to be a pickup truck — on its side near the stone wall. The bend in the two-lane stretch of parkway has been the scene of repeated crashes, particularly when it rains.

This is at least the sixth such crash in this spot since June, and that only counts those that have been reported by ARLnow. Four of the six crashes involved overturned vehicles.

Initial reports suggested that the latest crash involved two vehicles, though the exact circumstances are unclear. All occupants of the overturned vehicle were able to get out before firefighters arrived on scene, according to scanner traffic.

No serious injuries were reported. Northbound traffic on the GW Parkway is currently backed up past the Roosevelt Bridge.

Map via Google Maps. Jo DeVoe contributed to this report.

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Map showing crash on GW Parkway (via Google Maps)

It happened again.

Amid rainy weather, a vehicle crashed and overturned on the northbound GW Parkway near Key Bridge, at a bend in the road that — as we reported yesterday — has been the scene of numerous crashes. This is at least the third crash at that location in the past three days.

The crash occurred shortly before 8:45 a.m. The driver was able to get out of the overturned vehicle and no serious injuries have been reported, according to scanner traffic.

Drivers should expect significant backups on the northbound GW Parkway south of the bridge as a result of the crash.

Many commuter routes in Arlington are currently experiencing heavy traffic due to the rain, crashes, and — in the case of inbound traffic heading over the Key Bridge — a demonstration in D.C.

Map via Google Maps

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The proposed bridge between Crystal City and DCA at its starting point in the planned Virginia Railway Express station (courtesy of Arlington County)

It’s a little less park-like than New York City’s High Line, but Arlington County has come up with a concept for new pedestrian bridge from Crystal City to National Airport.

Now, it is asking people to share their feedback.

Over the past year, the county, the Virginia Department of Transportation and a Boston-based civil engineering firm have evaluated 16 possible bridge and tunnel connections across active train tracks, the GW Parkway and National Park Service land.

After concluding the site could not accommodate tunnel entrances, VDOT and the county were left to consider two bridges. Today (Tuesday), Arlington launched a public engagement period for a preferred alternative, moving the needle forward on what’s being called the Crystal City to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Multimodal Connection project — or CC2DCA.

The county proposes starting the bridge at the planned Virginia Railway Express Crystal City station at 2011 Crystal Drive  and ending in the second level of DCA’s Terminal 2 parking garage.

If built, it would take about five minutes to walk the 1,300 feet from the station to the airport, per a press release from the National Landing Business Improvement District.

The proposed Crystal City to DCA bridge starting point at the planned Virginia Railway Express station (courtesy of Arlington County)

The bridge would be an enclosed girder bridge running perpendicular to the rail tracks.

Then, the CC2DCA would run at an angle over the GW Parkway.

Initially, the county considered an arch bridge, but a bridge supported with girders would allow the county to link the connector with the Mount Vernon Trail without re-aligning it, per a staff presentation.

The bridge segment over the GW Parkway (courtesy of Arlington County)

Once it links up with DCA’s Terminal 2 parking garage, pedestrians would have a dedicated walkway through the garage to the terminal. This path would eliminate 40 parking spaces, according to the presentation.

The bridge segment over the GW Parkway and linking to DCA’s Terminal 2 parking garage (courtesy of Arlington County)

Ballpark estimates put the project at $43 million, the presentation said. So far, CC2DCA already has over $38 million in committed funds.

Now through Nov. 6, people can share their feedback in English, Spanish and Chinese, attend a public meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 25, or submit comments via email, according to the project webpage.

“The team is sharing concepts to make sure needs and priorities are aligned,” Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Claudia Pors tells ARLnow. “This is the preferred recommended alternative to date, but it hasn’t been approved by any agencies as of now.”

After collecting public feedback, the county plans to present its recommendation to federal agencies in December, Pors said.

The preferred alternative could be confirmed by next spring and the design phase could start by the end of 2023, per the National Landing BID press release.

The second-place contender would have started at 2231 Crystal Drive and ended at the third level of the Terminal 2 parking garage. Staff ultimately decided against it because it was projected to cost $64.5 million, would eliminate 130 parking spaces at the airport and it would not be as centrally located for rail users, per the staff presentation.

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Vehicle crash on the northbound GW Parkway near Key Bridge on Sunday (photo courtesy Alan Henney)

It’s almost as automatic as Steph Curry draining free throws at this point.

Whenever there’s a soaking rainfall, it seems that some drivers cannot help but slide off the road at a certain bend in the northbound GW Parkway near Key Bridge, sometimes flipping their cars in the process.

One such overturned vehicle crash happened during last night’s commute, shutting down the northbound lanes for nearly an hour.

And that was just the most recent crash during our current rainy stretch.

Over the weekend, police responded to at least one single-vehicle crash in the same spot.

Past crashes reported in the same spot include:

The crashes have, over time, pockmarked the stone wall along that stretch of the Parkway. The wrecks also inspired a Mike Mount cartoon earlier this year.

While this particular bend is arguably the most crash-prone section of the Parkway in Arlington, other sections have seen recent crashes, including the southbound lanes near Memorial Bridge earlier this morning.

The National Park Service, which is responsible for maintaining the Parkway, recently kicked off a major rehabilitation project for the busy commuter route. However, that work is taking place north of both sections referenced above — from Spout Run Parkway to I-495.

Short of potential future safety improvements, the best way for drivers to avoid crashes may be to simply slow down, particularly in rainy weather.

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Major backup after GW Parkway blocked by crash (via Google Maps)

The northbound lanes of the GW Parkway were Friday afternoon blocked after reports of a “major” crash near the second scenic overlook.

The Arlington County Fire Department is among those that responded to the crash, south of Chain Bridge in Arlington. So far there’s no word on injuries nor the exact nature of the crash.

Northbound traffic was diverted onto Spout Run Parkway, but a significant number of drivers may have gotten stuck in the backup after Spout Run.

Drivers on the southbound GW Parkway were also seeing delays near the crash scene due to the emergency response.

Update at 1:50 p.m. — All lanes have reopened, according to U.S. Park Police.

Photo via Google Maps

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GW Parkway between Spout Run and Chain Bridge (photo via Google Maps)

Rolling single-lane closures are coming to a busy portion of George Washington Memorial Parkway starting today (August 1) and continuing through Friday (August 5).

Impacted will be the seven-mile segment of the GW Parkway between Spout Run Parkway in Arlington and the I-495 interchange in McLean.

The closures are needed to complete survey work for the road’s first major rehab project in six decades, the National Park Service announced in a press release late last week.

Northbound lane closures will take place between 7 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. while the southbound closures will run from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

These will be rolling, single-lane closures, meaning the road won’t be shut down completely. However, NPS is still asking drivers to “proceed with caution in these areas and consider using alternate routes” over the next five days.

Concurrent closures maximize the number of survey crews and minimize the duration of closures.

“Single lane closures are needed to create a safe work zone for surveyors conducting surveys,” the press release reads. “These surveys are needed to inform the design for the northern parkway rehabilitation project.”

For the first time since it was built in 1962, the northern section of the GW Parkway is getting a major overhaul. This is the busiest section of the parkway, according to NPS, serving 26 million drivers annually.

“The project will retain and revive the historic beauty and significance of the parkway – including opening scenic views to Washington, D.C – while updating aspects of it to improve the driving experience, safety and water drainage,” notes the agency’s website.

The work will include replacing asphalt, redesigning interchanges, reconstructing stone walls and barriers, replacing the drainage system, lengthening some entrance and exit lanes, and rehabbing the parkway’s historic overlooks.

In recent years, the road has had to close at least several times due to sinkholes.

The $161 million infrastructure project is being funded by the Great American Outdoors Act. Earlier this month, a number of federal officials and local lawmakers participated in a ground-breaking ceremony that kicked off the work.

The project’s first step is the design phase, which starts this week with surveying. Construction is expected to start next year and be completed in 2025.

The full press release from the National Park Service about this week’s lane closures is below.

On Monday, August 1 through Friday, August 5 there will be single lane, rolling closures in the northbound and southbound right lanes between Spout Run Parkway and the 495 interchange. Drivers should proceed with caution in these areas and consider using alternate routes.

  • All northbound closures will take place from 7 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
  • All southbound closures will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

All work is weather dependent, and closures are subject to change. Concurrent northbound and southbound closures and maximizing survey crews minimizes the duration of lane closures.

Single lane closures are needed to create a safe work zone for surveyors conducting surveys. These surveys are needed to inform the design for the northern parkway rehabilitation project.

The NPS has closed parking lot C-2 and part of parking lot B at Turkey Run Park as part of the project to rehabilitate the north section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. These parking areas will be closed for the duration of the project.

The rehabilitation of the northern section of the parkway was announced by the Department of the Interior on December 7, 2021. In partnership with the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration awarded a $161 million contract to rehabilitate this section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The project will improve the driving experience, safety and water drainage while retaining and reviving the historic beauty and significance of the parkway – including opening scenic views to Washington, D.C.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Walking along Columbia Pike at twilight (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Local Man Sentenced for Philly Fire — “The first protester to face sentencing for setting police cars ablaze during the 2020 racial injustice protests in Philadelphia received a 364-day federal prison term on Monday — nearly nine months less than the time he’s already spent behind bars since his 2020 arrest. Ayoub Tabri, 25, of Arlington, Va., has been incarcerated since he confessed to FBI investigators that he threw a lit road flare into a Pennsylvania State Police car during the demonstrations that erupted in Center City.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]

No Change in HQ2 Construction Plan — “Amazon.com Inc. has confirmed it is pausing construction on office towers as part of planned expansions in its two main Seattle-area and Nashville hubs, but it is not halting its hiring at either location, nor does it plan changes to its HQ2 campus thus far… ‘We remain committed to bringing 25,000 jobs to HQ2 and are looking forward to celebrating the opening of Met Park next spring and breaking ground at Pen Place early next year,’ Amazon spokeswoman Rachael Lighty said.” [Washington Business Journal]

Homebuyer Demand Still High Here — “Fears of an autumn of disquiet and a winter of discontent in the real-estate market may be growing, but in Arlington, summertime buyer interest remains strong, according to new data. The county led all D.C.-region localities in the monthly T3 Home Demand Index, created by the Mid-Atlantic multiple-listing service Bright MLS.” [Sun Gazette]

GW Parkway Work Starting Soon — “For the first time since the George Washington Parkway was completed 60 years ago, the scenic past-its-prime commuter route — combined-with-a-national park and trail system — is getting a major rehabilitation. And it will begin soon. ‘We anticipate by late summer to be involved in transition lanes,” said Charles Cuvelier, superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.'” [WTOP]

RIP @UnsuckDCMetro — Matt, the creator of the Twitter account @unsuckdcmetro and a indefatigable critic of WMATA, reportedly passed away over the weekend. Here’s a podcast episode we recorded with him in 2018. [ARLnow, Apple Podcasts]

Arlington Donut Shops Make Local List — “Whether it’s breakfast or dessert, anyone with a sweet tooth will surely agree that doughnuts are an irresistible choice. This American staple will always be a crowd pleaser, and these NoVA spots will show you exactly why.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

It’s Tuesday — Humid and mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 88 and low of 74. Sunrise at 6:00 am and sunset at 8:32 pm. [Weather.gov]

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