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Morning Notes

Amazon Hiring Local ‘Economic Development Manager’ — Amazon is hiring for a new position of economic development manager in the D.C. area, though the company says the position is not connected to its HQ2 search. Per the Business Journal: “Responsibilities would include working on site selection, ‘new corporate initiatives, site expansion plans and requirements,’ and working with ‘state and community economic development, workforce and labor, taxation, and other key government agency officials, as well as chambers of commerce, utilities, and other key public/private stakeholder groups.'” [Washington Business Journal, Amazon]

New Food Hall Coming to Rosslyn — The team behind Chasin’ Tails seafood restaurant in East Falls Church is planning a new 5,000-square-foot Asian food hall, dubbed “Happy Endings Eatery,” at Rosslyn’s Central Place complex. Among the expected offerings will be Vietnamese food like summer rolls, noodle bowls and banh mi sandwiches; bubble teas; and Vietnamese coffee. [Washington Business Journal]

GW Parkway Traffic Woes — The kickoff of a new construction project caused bumper-to-bumper traffic on the GW Parkway yesterday. The project to repair the bridge over Windy Run is taking away one lane in each direction. Work is expected to last through early fall. [WJLA]

Free Food in Rosslyn Today — To celebrate the opening of its new U.S. headquarters in Rosslyn, Nestlé is planning to give away free food, drinks and ice cream at Central Place Plaza from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. today. [Twitter]

Dying Dog Becomes Internet Star — “The saying goes: ‘Every dog has his day.’ That day has come for Smoke the hound, now featured in a viral video as he scratches off items on his bucket list. Smoke recently arrived at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington with terminal cancer. Now, the animal shelter is making every moment count.” [WJLA]

Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani

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Morning Notes

It’s Summer — Today is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year in terms of daylight. [Fortune]

Verizon 911 Outage Updated at 11:40 a.m. — From Arlington Alert: “Due to a regional Verizon outage, Verizon mobile phones may not be able to reach 9-1-1 or non-emergency numbers in the area at this time. Please use Text-to-9-1-1 or another phone carrier if the voice call does not go through.” Callers in Alexandria, Fairfax and Prince William are also affected by the outage. Service was restored around 11 a.m. [Twitter, WJLA]

Crash Leads to All-Time Terrible Commute — Yesterday’s evening commute was “atrocious” and the “worst I’ve ever seen” in Northern Virginia, per transportation reporter Adam Tuss. Traffic was especially slow on northbound I-395 and the northbound GW Parkway approaching D.C., after a deadly and fiery truck crash shut down a portion of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the Capital Beltway. [WTOP, Twitter, Twitter]

New Details in Police Shooting — There are new details in the police shooting of a man near Columbia Pike last month. According to court records, Steven Best and his passenger “were involved in a drug transaction with a man outside a hotel.” Police then boxed in his van to make an arrest, but Best allegedly tried to flee, driving “forwards and backwards, striking multiple police cars,” leading to the shooting. Best’s family, which has questioned the police account of what happened, says they have a video of the shooting. [WJLA]

Housing Costs Still Rising — The average per-square-foot cost of an existing home in Arlington is now $475, an increase of 1.3 percent compared to last year and the highest such figure among Northern Virginia localities. [InsideNova]

New ACPD Officers — Ten new Arlington police officers took the oath of honor to protect and serve the residents of Arlington County earlier this week after graduating from the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy. [Twitter]

Bishop Burbidge on World Refugee Day — Catholic Diocese of Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge released a statement in honor of World Refugee Day yesterday, saying in part: “may we… stand with refugees and commemorate their courage, resilience and perseverance. May we always remember to ‘treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and … love him as yourself, for [we] were strangers in the land of Egypt’ (Leviticus19:34).” [Arlington Catholic Herald, Twitter]

Food Truck Inspections — The Arlington County Fire Department has been performing inspections this week of food trucks that operate in Arlington. Officials have been specifically looking at fire suppression systems and the storage of cooking fuels. [Twitter]

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‘Wonder Woman’ Behind Heavy Rosslyn Traffic?

Traffic on N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn is backed up to the Marine Corps War Memorial as of 10 a.m. this morning.

The unusually-heavy, post-rush-hour traffic may be due in part to road closures across the Key Bridge in Georgetown, where Wonder Woman 2 is currently filming. (See tweets, below.)

Police are posted at the busy intersection of N. Lynn Street and Wilson Blvd to help control traffic.

Adding to the driving woes, a crash between a bus and another vehicle was reported on Lynn Street around 9:30 a.m.

Update at 10:30 a.m. — The backups have largely cleared up.

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Downed Tree on Power Lines Closes Both Lanes of Chain Bridge Road

Both lanes of Chain Bridge Road at N. Glebe Road are currently closed.

Arlington Police say a tree fell on power lines in the area, and they’re warning drivers near the D.C. limits to find another route.

There’s no word yet on when the road may reopen, and Arlington’s traffic management systems already show heavy backups in the area.

Photo and map via Google Maps

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Southbound I-395 Delays Extend to Pentagon City

Delays due to the closure of southbound I-395 following a fatal crash extend all the way from Springfield to just after Pentagon City.

One person died in the crash on the southbound lanes of I-395, just north of I-495, according to Virginia State Police. The crash happened just before 2:30 p.m.

Most lanes have since reopened, but all traffic was halted for a period of time. VSP is on scene investigating the crash.

Image via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

PenPlace Plan Revived with Apartments — JBG Smith plans to revive its stalled PenPlace project in Pentagon City by building apartment buildings rather than office buildings in the first phase of the project. The updated plans will be open to community input during a new site plan review process. The original plans were approved in 2013 over the objections of some nearby residents. [Washington Business Journal]

Traffic at DCA to Get Heavier During Construction — “Drivers heading to Reagan National Airport might soon begin to feel the impact of a major project to transform the facility. Construction crews will begin overnight work in the lower-level roadway in the next couple of weeks, and that work will spill into daytime hours come spring.” [WTOP]

More Dirt Coming to DCA — Another portion of the expansion project at Reagan National Airport will bring a big mound of dirt to the airport grounds. The dirt is needed to support the weight of a new regional jet concourse. DCA was built on land reclaimed from the Potomac River. [InsideNova]

Photo by Anna Merod

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So Far, No Reports of Major Icing Problems in Arlington

The threat of freezing rain has prompted early dismissals for students, government employees and private sector employees alike, but so far few if any problems have been reported in Arlington.

The early dismissals did create an early rush hour on local highways, as workers and students headed home, but here in Arlington roads and sidewalks remained passable and largely free of slick spots, despite a wave a sleet earlier this afternoon.

The precipitation is over for now, but more is possible this evening. A re-freeze is also threatening to make tomorrow’s morning commute treacherous.

The following tweets show activity during the two-hour-or-so span from the start of the sleet to the heaviest of the traffic.

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Police Urge Driver Caution, Patience During Thanksgiving Getaways

As thousands of drivers around Arlington prepare to hit the roads for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Arlington County Police Department is reminding everyone to always wear a seatbelt.

The department is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to share the reminder: “Buckle Up — Every Trip. Every Time.”

More from ACPD:

Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes. As we approach the winter holiday season, we want to make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash, buckling up. As part of the national seat belt enforcement campaign, law enforcement agencies around the country will be stepping up enforcement from November 20 to December 1, 2017.

According to NHTSA, during the 2015 Thanksgiving weekend, 301 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide, and 53 percent were not their wearing seat belts at the time of the fatal crash. Nighttime proved even more deadly, with 57 percent of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring at night. That’s why one focus of the campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.

To learn more about the campaign, visit the NHTSA website.

In a similar effort, Virginia State Police will be be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., the Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and not wearing seatbelts.

State police will have increased enforcement from tomorrow (Wednesday) through Sunday.

“Tragically, traffic fatalities are on the rise in Virginia,” Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent, said in a statement. “We’ve seen an 11 percent increase over this time last year. With so many people estimated to travel over the Thanksgiving weekend, we need everyone to help prevent crashes by driving smart, buckling up and never driving drunk or drugged. We want everyone to arrive alive and enjoy the holiday.”

And while traffic may be busy along the I-95 corridor, as it has been historically at this time of year, the Virginia Department of Transportation is trying to make life a little easier.

During the Thanksgiving travel period, VDOT will suspend most major highway work zones and lift lane closures on Virginia interstates and major streets from Wednesday through noon on Monday, November 27.

VDOT’s Thanksgiving traffic trends map shows that Tuesday evening and midday Wednesday are among the busiest times on Virginia highways for heading out of the D.C. area.

Similarly, Metro has no scheduled track work on Thanksgiving Day, with trains and buses operating on a Sunday schedule. The system opens at 8 a.m., and will close at 11 p.m. On Friday, November 24, the system will be open on a normal weekday schedule.

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Letter: Complete Streets Is a Complete Failure For Aurora Hills Residents

The following letter was written by Aurora Hills resident Ashli Douglas about the county’s Complete Streets Program and traffic congestion in her neighborhood that she said was exacerbated by changes to S. Eads Steet.

To the Editor:

Arlington has embarked on a transportation vision of providing a safe environment for all travel modes, also known as the Complete Streets Program.  Today I’m sharing a story of how this transportation vision for complete streets has played out in one Arlington County neighborhood, Aurora Hills.

As I reread the Arlington transportation presentation for our project on S. Eads St. from 2014, it occurred to me how benign and utopian the project seemed. That should have been the first clue.  Arlington was going to move more people without more traffic and they were going to protect our single-family neighborhood.  All good, what’s not to like?

And then came the medians, protected bike lanes, bike rental rack and central to all of this, the complete removal of two lanes of a four-lane street – S. Eads Street.  What could possibly go wrong?

So now we have the same (but probably more) number of cars on the same road with less lanes.  This is where the fairytale turns to a nightmare…enter aggressive driving and cut-through traffic.

I live on what Arlington refers to as a Minor Neighborhood Street, in which the distinctive feature of these streets is the nearly exclusive orientation to providing access to residences.  It also happens to be a one lane yield street!

One block away is S. Eads Street, an Arterial Street, by definition, the street primarily provides through travel rather that solely for access to adjacent properties.  According to Arlington’s street elements policies that are part of the county wide master transportation plan, streets should “…improve the efficiency of vehicular operation on arterial streets to minimize diversion of traffic onto neighborhood streets.”

So you see where this is going.  Since our arterial street has reduced capacity, the cars all cut-through our neighborhood street.  And just to be clear, we are not talking about a few cars.  We are talking over 1,300 commuters a day.

How do we know?  Since the county refused to share data or provide any form of relief to our neighborhood, we hired a certified traffic data collection firm to conduct traffic counts on November 1 and 2, a Wednesday and Thursday.  The counts were 1,347 and 1,369 respectively.

Our one lane section of S. Fern St. simply cannot handle this traffic.  According to Arlington County historical traffic counts, last performed in 2011 on our street, they measured 500 cars on a daily average. What a difference a “Complete Street” makes.  We now have approximately 600 cars who rip down the same street in a three-hour period  our school bus is dropping off children.

It is no longer safe for our children to play even near the street due to the cut-through traffic. We have experienced over 160 percent increase in vehicles, the majority with DC and MD tags that simply cut through our neighborhood to avoid the congestion morass on S. Eads Street.

As frustrated parents, neighbors and Arlington county citizens, we, individually as neighbors in an eight-block area, and collectively through our civic association have been engaged with the county for over a year to no avail.  We have requested that the county protect our neighborhood, and specifically, mitigate the cut-through traffic that originates on S. Eads Street and cuts through our neighborhood on S. Fern Street between 26th Street S. and 23rd Street S.

Our eight-block area has become a virtual highway of dangerous cut through traffic with constant stop sign running, speeding and hit and run accidents, and fearful and angry parents at Arlington county elementary school bus stops.

The S. Eads Complete Street project has been a complete disaster for the residents in our neighborhood and despite our continual pleas for help for nearly a year to protect our single family neighborhood; we have had no relief.

We will not give up our neighborhood and we demand the county remedy the problem they created.  And for anyone else that may be facing a complete street project – consider yourself forewarned.

Ashli Douglas has lived in Aurora Hills for 16 years and is the mom to two elementary school-aged children.

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes letters about issues of local interest. To submit your thoughts for consideration, please email [email protected]. Letters may be edited for content and brevity.

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Morning Notes

Today Is ‘Terrible Traffic Tuesday’ — Today is the Tuesday after Labor Day, when students in Arlington and around the region go back to school. As a result of the extra school buses, parents and students on the roads, and the end of summer vacations, it is also dubbed “Terrible Traffic Tuesday” by AAA Mid-Atlantic. In reality, however, the day after — which now has a name: “Woeful Wednesday” — is worse in terms of commuting times, and next week should be even more woeful. [Washington Post, WTOP]

Chili’s Dying Out in D.C. Area — The Chili’s in Bailey’s Crossroads has closed. The restaurant chain closed its Crystal City location last year and its Reston location the year before that. The nearest Chili’s to Arlington is now along Route 1, outside the Beltway, in Fairfax County. [Twitter]

Roosevelt Profiled by Conservative Media — GOP candidate Adam Roosevelt is getting some attention from conservative media outlets. Roosevelt “is a moderate Republican running for the Virginia House of Delegates against current Democratic Delegate Alfonso Lopez, who has never before faced a GOP opponent during his six years in office,” writes the Daily Caller, calling the district he’s running in, which includes part of Arlington, “far left.” The lead sentence in Newsmax’s article about Roosevelt has a different focus: “A conservative Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, who happens to be black, has recently emerged as one of the most spirited advocates of keeping Confederate statues up in the Old Dominion State.” [Daily Caller, Newsmax]

Webb Removed from Civ Fed Debate — School Board candidate Mike Webb has had his invitation to tonight’s Arlington County Civic Federation debate — the unofficial kickoff to campaign season in Arlington — rescinded because he reportedly “failed to return required paperwork in time to allow participation.” Allison Dough, the other candidate to challenge Democratic endorsee Monique O’Grady, has said she has other commitments and will be unable to attend the debate. [InsideNova]

Arlington Man Evicted From ‘Big Brother’ House — Arlington resident Matt Clines, 33, has been evicted from the Big Brother house. Clines had advanced about half-way through the CBS reality show before being voted off. [Reality TV World, Parade, Hollywood Reporter]

DeVos to Make Big Announcement in Arlington — Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is reportedly planning to make a “major announcement on Title IX, the campus gender equality law,” from George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington on Thursday. [BuzzFeed]

Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster

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UPDATED: Major Delays on I-395 Due to Fatal Crash

Update at 3:25 p.m. — One person has died as a result of the crash, which involved two construction vehicles, according to an updated statement from Virginia State Police.

At 2:21 a.m., Tuesday (Aug. 22), Virginia State Police Trooper A.J. Santiago responded to a fatal crash in the southbound Express Lanes of I-395 near Exit 10C in Arlington County.

At the time of the crash, the Express Lanes were closed to the public because of an active highway work zone for pavement repairs. A dump truck had just entered the work zone and was traveling south to deliver its load of paving material. Another work zone vehicle, a pickup truck, was traveling north in the closed southbound Express Lanes and as it came through a bend in the highway collided head-on with the southbound dump truck.

The driver of the pickup truck, Brian S. Kilburne, 55, of Fredericksburg, Va., was transported to George Washington University Hospital, where he died later Monday morning. His two passengers were transported to George Washington University Hospital for treatment of serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

The driver of the dump truck was not injured in the crash.

The Virginia State Police Fairfax Division Crash Reconstruction Team responded to the scene and is assisting with the ongoing crash investigation.

Earlier: The inbound HOV lanes of I-395 have been closed during the morning rush hour due to a crash investigation.

The investigation is taking place just before the 14th Street Bridge, following an early morning crash involving a pickup truck and a dump truck. Three vehicle occupants were transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital.

Police typically conduct accident investigations when a victim of a crash has life-threatening injuries.

The closure of the HOV lanes is causing major backups on the entire stretch of northbound I-395, particularly in Arlington. One driver, on Twitter, reported a 1 hour, 45 minute commute from Woodbridge.

Photo (top) via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Tens of Thousands of Bees Found in Nauck Building — An elaborate series of bee hives were found in a now-county owned building set for demolition in Nauck, prompting the county to call a husband-and-wife beekeeping team that lives in the area. The couple helped “rescue” the hive — estimated to contain 70,000 bees and 100 pounds of inedible honey — and transport it to the community park at 10th Street and N. Barton Street near Courthouse. [Arlington County, Washington Post]

‘Oz’ Owners Splitting Up — “Real Housewives of Potomac” cast members and Oz restaurant owners Ashley Darby and her husband, Michael Darby, have reportedly split. Ashley Darby said she moved out of the luxury Courthouse condo she shares with Michael, but also “dangled the possibility of reconciliation” on a “reunion” show for the series. Despite the drama, the pair were all smiles when they jointly hosted a tasting dinner at Oz in Clarendon on June 27. [Washington Post]

County Wants CSX to Consider Fewer Train Horn Blasts — Arlington County has been working with CSX to try to encourage the railroad to cut down on trains blowing their horn while traveling through densely populated Crystal City. CSX has rules in place that require a horn blast on certain sections of track at certain times for safety reasons. [InsideNova]

Crashes on GW Parkway — Multiple crashes on the GW Parkway north of the Key Bridge are causing significant delays during this morning’s rush hour. [Washington Post, Twitter]

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County ‘Testing’ Lane Reduction at Shirlington Intersection

County officials say the reduction of a westbound turn lane on Arlington Mill Drive near Shirlington is a pilot program and the backups it’s causing will be resolved by traffic signal adjustments.

Arlington Mill Drive was recently re-striped at the “T” intersection with S. Walter Reed Drive. One of the two left turn lanes from Arlington Mill to Walter Reed was removed and blocked off with bollards, a move intended to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

There is heavy bike and pedestrian traffic at the intersection, which connects two sections of the Four Mile Run Trail.

But the lane removal has caused traffic to back up during peak times, according to several accounts. Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey wrote about the backups last month, proclaiming the lane reduction to be part of the county’s “semi-official ‘drivers must suffer’ policy.”

Last week a Twitter user also reported significant evening rush hour delays.

(The backups seem to be short-lived; a brief evening rush hour visit by a reporter last week did not reveal any long lines.)

In a statement released to ARLnow.com, officials with Arlington County’s Dept. of Environmental Services said that the lane re-striping is a “test” that is being evaluated ahead of a larger intersection improvement project, slated for next year.

The test will help traffic engineers determine adjustments to the traffic signal timing, which should alleviate any delays, officials say. Potentially complicating the plan, however: there is already heavy traffic on Walter Reed Drive during the evening rush hour, which could be exacerbated by changes to the traffic light cycle.

The full statement from DES, after the jump.

The changes at Arlington Mill Drive and Walter Reed Drive are the first steps in the South Walter Reed Drive Improvements project. This intersection experiences a high volume of pedestrians, bicyclists and both heavy and light vehicles. The project, currently in the design phase, will improve safety and transportation facilities for all modes of traffic on Walter Reed Drive between Arlington Mill Drive and Four Mile Run Drive. We are currently testing the lane realignment on Arlington Mill Drive.

Notifications about the realignment test installation were sent to residents and stakeholders last month. The test striping has been installed to allow residents the opportunity to try out changes and crossing improvements early and allow staff time to monitor signal operations prior to project construction.

The Arlington Mill lane realignment is a critical piece of the design plan — it enables a significantly larger pedestrian refuge and safer crossing experience for the 600+ pedestrians and bicyclists utilizing the intersection daily. County engineers studied the use and accidents for all traffic at the intersection during the conceptual development phase. They determined the westbound left turn lanes from Arlington Mill onto Walter Reed could be reduced to one lane to create the larger pedestrian refuge and that operations could be effectively managed with signal adjustments and signage. The County is currently working out signal timings to support the new configuration.

Signal operations are an iterative process that require implementation, observation and adjustments until the best timing plans are developed. The County is implementing the lane realignment now in order to test and determine the most appropriate timing plans before project construction. Our engineers are monitoring and making adjustments based on frequent observations. Residents will have the opportunity to share their experiences with the realignment and intersection during a feedback period in August. Additional monitoring and signal adjustments will occur after the feedback period and in the fall once school is back in session.

The temporary installation will remain in place and be monitored for approximately six to nine months — or until the start of construction for the improvements project, anticipated to begin in spring 2018.

We cannot remove or relocate existing intersection features such as concrete islands, curb ramps and crosswalks during the pilot period, so crews have striped, signed and marked around these features. Drivers are typically more cautious when approaching areas with heavy striping and bollards. Therefore, the test installation will offer a conservative estimate of operations. Staff expects the final intersection improvements to operate more smoothly than the pilot.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Construction Accident in Rosslyn — An accident on the parking garage level of the construction site at the corner of Key Blvd and N. Nash Street in Rosslyn prompted a large fire department and police response this morning. A worker suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the accident, which occurred around 8 a.m., and needed to be carried via rescue basket to a waiting ambulance. The response closed lanes of Key Blvd and exacerbated traffic delays caused by construction nearby on Lee Highway.

Sex Assault Suspect May Have Tried Other Buildings — The suspect in a violent sexual assault in Rosslyn may have unsuccessfully tried to get into other Arlington apartment buildings before somehow entering The Atrium building, where the assault occurred, through the front entrance, NBC 4’s Jackie Bensen reports. The suspect then knocked on doors, claiming to be a maintenance worker, before the victim opened her door and a struggle and the sexual assault ensued. [NBC Washington]

Wakefield Senior Named Top Entrepreneur — “Wakefield High School senior Tasnim Alam was named one of the top six entrepreneurs in the country at the the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Saunders Scholarship Competition in Rochester, N.Y. Tasnim is the founder and CEO of Heatless Hotness, a business that sells heat-free hair curlers that are convenient to use and create salon-like results, which she launched while participating in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s YEA! program.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

When Do Pools Open in Arlington? — Patch has an answer to the question, “When Do Arlington Swimming Pools Open in 2017?” — and that answer is: Memorial Day weekend. More specifically: Saturday, May 27. Unless it’s an indoor pool, in which case it’s open year-round. [Patch]

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Expect Delays During Columbia Pike Construction

Expect additional traffic headaches through the fall on Columbia Pike, now that a project to relocate an underground gas main is underway there.

Crews with Washington Gas started the construction Monday between the Fairfax County line and Four Mile Run, ahead of several streetscape improvements the county has planned for the future.

At least one lane of Columbia Pike in each direction will remain open at all times during construction, and work could be possible on nights and weekends.

Washington Gas crews will store equipment and other materials at four locations along the Pike during construction. Although nearby properties still can be accessed, adjacent bus stops could be temporarily moved or closed.

This is the latest phase of a project approved in 2014 by the County Board that included new bike boulevards on 9th and 12th Streets S., as an alternative route to Columbia Pike, which runs parallel. Once the gas main work is complete, county workers will install wider sidewalks, new street lights, upgraded traffic signals, trees and bus shelters. A piece of public art will also be added at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Jefferson Street.

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