Arlington, VA

(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) Planned climate change protests in D.C. may cause major disruptions during Monday morning’s commute.

Arlington County Police are warning those driving into the District to expect delays. Also expected: an increased police presence in Arlington.

“The National Capital Region may experience traffic disruptions during the morning commute on Monday, September 23, 2019, due to protests in Washington D.C.,” ACPD said in an advisory Friday afternoon. “Commuters are encouraged to follow local news reports and adjust travel as necessary. Police will monitor conditions and the public can expect to see an increased law enforcement presence throughout Arlington County.”

Protesters affiliated with the group Shut Down DC plan to block key roads and intersections to “bring traffic and business as usual to a standstill.” Their goal, according to Washingtonian, is “creating major havoc… to get people in power to pay attention and enact change” to address climate change.

“Shut Down says its blockades are being strategically placed to impact the most powerful in DC: the intersections chosen will all be near places of money or power; the group is staying out of the way of public transportation,” Washingtonian reported.

Monday’s planned action follows a worldwide climate change strike today. Millions took to the streets in some 150 countries around the globe, organizers said, while a youth-organized event in Arlington drew dozens to the Courthouse 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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Updated at 4:45 p.m. — Delays remain heavy on the northbound GW Parkway, from the crash scene to just past the Memorial Bridge. Delays also remain southbound, starting around Route 123.

Earlier: A crash on the GW Parkway in Arlington is snarling the start of the evening rush hour.

At least one person was reported injured in the wreck, which happened just south of the first scenic overlook. Drivers should expect heavy traffic in both the northbound and southbound lanes.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Incubator Leaving Crystal City — “Startup incubator 1776 plans to open its new D.C. location this year and will ultimately shut down its Crystal City location. 1776 spokesman Lucas McCanna said the company will relocate to ‘the general McPherson Square area,’ but declined to give a specific address.” [Washington Business Journal]

AAA: Worst Times for Independence Day Travel — “Holiday travelers hailing from the area will face absolute gridlock along key freeway segments starting [today], July 3. Topping the list of the worst corridors for those departing Wednesday, July 3, is Interstate 270 northbound.” [Press Release]

Arlington County Holiday Closures — All Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and facilities will be closed Thursday for the Independence Day holiday, though trash and recycling will still be collected. Also, “metered parking is not enforced but street parking near the US Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima), Long Bridge Park, and the Air Force Memorial will be restricted. Motorists should look for temporary ‘No Parking’ signs.” [Arlington County]

Memorial Bridge Closed to Pedestrians — In addition to other July 4 road closures around Arlington, Memorial Bridge will be closed to both vehicles and pedestrians throughout the day Thursday. [Twitter, National Park Service]

ART Bus Holiday Schedule — “ART will operate holiday service on Thursday, July 4, 2019, in observance of Independence Day. ART 41, 42, 45, 51, 55 and 87 will operate on Sunday schedules. All other ART routes will not operate and the ART customer call center will be closed.” [Arlington Transit]

Superintendent Search May Be Drawn Out — “Arlington’s new School Board chair, who will be focused in coming months on the selection of a new superintendent, asked for patience in the community as the process plays out. ‘Finding the right leader and the best fit for our community will take time,’ Tannia Talento said July 1 as she rotated in as chair of the School Board for the coming year.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

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The video (below) was jarring: cars driving through muddy flood waters that nearly reached the tops of tires.

Even more jarring: this was happening along busy Columbia Pike, a route not noted for being flood-prone, during the evening rush hour.

The scene yesterday evening was captured on video by a passerby, showing floodwaters inundating a low-lying section of the Pike near S. Greenbrier Street. As commenters pointed out this morning, driving through flooded roads is a bad idea, but despite repeated reminders to “turn around, don’t drown,” drivers continue willfully operating their vehicles as if they were hovercraft.

(A spokesman with Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services tells ARLnow the department is still investigating the flooding and “looking into whether there were any construction-related obstructions in the storm sewer inlets.”)

Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage this morning offered the following tips for driving during heavy rain and potential flooding situations.

Residents are reminded to:

  • Sign up for Arlington Alert to receive emergency notifications including severe weather alerts.
  • Whenever possible, limit travel during times of severe weather.
  • Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast.
  • It is never safe to drive or walk into flood waters. If you see a flooded roadway, seek an alternative route.
  • According to the National Weather Service, 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. Play it safe, Turn Around Don’t Drown.
  • If you see a hazard, report to the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Those tips may come in handy tonight. A Flash Flood Watch is set to take effect at 2 p.m. From the National Weather Service:

…FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 PM EDT THIS EVENING… * THUNDERSTORMS WITH HEAVY RAINFALL ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ACROSS THE WATCH AREA THIS AFTERNOON AND LINGER INTO THE EVENING. LOCALIZED RAINFALL TOTALS OF SEVERAL INCHES ARE POSSIBLE. THIS COULD LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING, ESPECIALLY IN THE URBAN AREAS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED. &&

The video from last night’s flooding is below.

Photo via Becky Haberacker/Twitter

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(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Police and firefighters are on scene of a major crash at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road.

The westbound lanes of Columbia Pike and at least one northbound lane of Glebe are blocked by the crash and the emergency activity. Drivers should expect significant evening rush hour traffic impacts in the area.

Initial reports suggest three vehicles were involved and at least two people were injured, one of whom suffered serious injuries and was rushed to a local trauma center.

Photos (1, 2) courtesy @LAGATAF1NA/Twitter

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Update at 5 p.m. — All lanes of the Beltway have reopened, though residual delays remain.

Earlier: A crash has closed most lanes of the Beltway near S. Van Dorn Street in Fairfax County, creating yet another traffic mess in Northern Virginia.

A truck crash and subsequent fire led to the complete closure of the Beltway just before 2 p.m. today. Since then, a single lane of traffic has reopened on the Inner Loop and two lanes have reopened on the Outer Loop.

Virginia State Police say they’re investigating the crash, which involved a truck carrying insulation:

At 1:38 p.m. Thursday (April 4, 2019), Virginia State Police responded to an overturned tractor-trailer in the westbound lanes of I-495 at the 172 mile marker in Fairfax County. The impact of the crash caused the vehicle to catch fire. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured in the crash. The tractor-trailer’s load is insulation, which is not deemed as a hazardous material. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Motorists are advised to plan ahead and avoid travel through this particular area. State police, VDOT and Fairfax Fire and EMS are on scene.

The crash could have major traffic implications into the evening rush hour. WMATA has already announced that it will run additional Blue Line trains to help.

The situation is reminiscent of last week’s Beltway crash that shut down the Inner Loop just before the American Legion Bridge, sending tens of thousands of commuters trying to get to Maryland and D.C. into Arlington.

Thus far, traffic impacts in Arlington do not appear to be nearly as severe, although as of 3:45 p.m. delays on northbound I-395 heading into D.C. were starting to extend past Pentagon City.

More via social media:

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(Updated at 9:45 p.m.) Traffic throughout Arlington has reached apocalyptic levels as the closure of the Beltway’s Inner Loop continues well into the night.

Shortly before 2 p.m., a tanker truck overturned as part of a multi-vehicle crash just prior the American Legion Bridge. The cleanup from the crash and the hazmat response from a fuel spill prompted the complete closure of I-495 northbound before the bridge, sending tens of thousands of drivers bound for Maryland and D.C. into Arlington to try to make it across the remaining Potomac bridges.

In Fairfax County, that has meant gridlock on main eastbound arteries like Chain Bridge Road and Georgetown Pike. In Arlington, it has resulted in the following almost unthinkable traffic scenarios as of 9 p.m. on an otherwise clear and calm day:

  • Both directions of I-66 are jammed between Glebe Road and the Roosevelt Bridge.
  • Northbound N. Glebe Road is a virtual parking lot for more than two miles from just past Washington Golf and Country Club to Chain Bridge. The backups have been getting longer as the night goes on.
  • Northbound Military Road is a solid line of traffic from Zachary Taylor Park to the Glebe Road on-ramp. Police have shut down access to the road at Nelly Custis Drive, according to a tipster.
  • Side streets in the Old Glebe neighborhood are filled with cars attempting to find shortcuts.
  • Eastbound Route 50 is “in gridlock from Pershing Drive.”
  • Numerous highway on-ramps throughout Arlington have been closed by police to try to control traffic.
  • Eastbound Lee Highway is backed up to the MOM’s Organic Market.
  • Multiple intersections in Rosslyn are reported to be near-gridlock near Key Bridge, with police on scene directing traffic.
  • Northbound I-395 is crawling past Pentagon City.

The Inner Loop remains completely closed and is expected to remain closed until midnight or later.

The nightmare traffic has led to hours in the car for commuters and some frayed nerves. Police have responded to numerous reports of road rage incidents, as well as crashes on traffic-clogged streets.

More from social media:

Maps via Google Maps

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Drivers should expect police activity along I-395 and the GW Parkway following a reported multi-vehicle crash and police foot chase.

A suspect ran from the five-vehicle crash along northbound I-395 near the 14th Street Bridge, according to scanner traffic. He was reportedly apprehended by police along the GW Parkway.

Traffic is heavy and building approaching the crash scene. Two northbound lanes are blocked. Police are also planning a rolling closure on southbound I-395 to assist with the investigation.

At least one injury was reported in the crash.

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After a day of nervous anticipation that saw most schools and government facilities close early today, the snow is now here — and so is the traffic.

Very heavy traffic has been reported on I-395, Washington Blvd and parts of the GW Parkway, as long as in the Rosslyn area, as commuters try to get home early before the streets turn slippery.

As of 4 p.m., large flakes were falling outside of ARLnow’s office in Ballston, while grassy areas in the neighborhood were starting to turn white. Roadways, however, are mostly wet — but falling temperatures threaten to turn wet roads icy tonight.

Arlington County crews have started treating roads with salt and expect to continue a “full storm” response through at least Wednesday night.

“Prepare for a slow Wednesday morning” commute, said Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services.

Map (top) via Google Maps

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