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Repairs are in progress on the bridge that takes traffic from southbound I-395 to Route 1 in the Crystal City area.

The $4 million Virginia Dept. of Transportation project will “improve safety and extend the overall life of the bridge,” which was originally built in 1976.

More from a VDOT press release:

Repairs are underway on the weight-restricted (20 tons) southbound I-395/Route 1 Exit 8C bridge, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. The project will improve safety and extend the overall life of the bridge, which carries southbound Route 1 over the 395 Express Lanes, the northbound I-395 general purpose lanes and northbound Route 110.

The project includes retrofitting and spot painting structural steel, and replacing the catcher beam system and strip seal at the joint.

During the project, some day and overnight single-lane closures may be scheduled, along with occasional overnight full closures of the bridge with detours.

The bridge, which was originally built in 1976 and rehabilitated in 1999, is about a fifth of a mile long and averages 20,000 vehicles a day.

The $4 million project is financed with federal and state funding and is scheduled for completion in late 2023. […]

Drivers are reminded to use caution when traveling in active work zones. Be alert to new traffic patterns and limit distractions.

The entrance to the bridge has been the scene of numerous crashes caused by drivers trying to exit across multiple lanes at the last second, as documented by public safety watcher Dave Statter.

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(Updated at 10:30 p.m.) All but one lane of northbound I-395 was blocked just before the 14th Street Bridge after a police chase ended in a big crash.

The crash happened around 3 p.m., and followed scanner reports that Virginia State Police were pursuing a vehicle northbound on I-395. According to initial reports, the suspect vehicle rear-ended another driver just before the bridge.

Debris and police activity had most of the highway blocked.

Four people from the suspect vehicle were taken into custody. Medics responded to evaluate them, the driver who was rear-ended, and a state trooper for possible injuries.

It was not immediately clear what led to the chase. Virginia State Police will often give chase when a driver tries to flee, even if only for traffic charges, while local police departments including Arlington’s typically require more serious charges in order to authorize a pursuit.

A number of chases originating in Fairfax County have sped through Arlington on I-395 in recent weeks.

The end of the chase was captured on video by Pentagon City-based public safety watchdog Dave Statter.

Later Monday, a Virginia State Police spokesperson released the following statement on the chase and the arrests.

At 2:54 p.m. this afternoon on northbound I-395 near the Duke St. exit, Virginia State Police initiated a traffic stop for reckless driving on a 2020 Dodge Charger.

After the Trooper initiated the traffic stop, the Charger accelerated at a high rate of speed and a pursuit ensued. After reaching speeds in excess of 110 miles-per-hour, the pursuit ended near the exit for Boundary Channel Dr. where the Charger collided with another vehicle and then struck the guardrail.

Virginia State Police detained four individuals and recovered three firearms, including a “ghost gun,” as well as suspected narcotics. All firearms were loaded and had ammunition in the chamber.

The driver of the second vehicle was treated at the scene for minor injuries suffered in the crash.

Charges are pending… The pursuit and crash remain under investigation.

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Scene from a Fairfax County police chase through Arlington County (via Dave Statter/Twitter)

A number of police chases initiated outside the county have careened through Arlington this month.

An armed robbery last Tuesday at the Home Depot in Seven Corners resulted in a police chase up I-395 before the driver got stuck in traffic approaching the 14th Street Bridge and tried to escape on foot at the exit for the GW Parkway.

In another chase last week, Fairfax County police initiated a chase after a cruiser was struck in Lincolnia.

Two weeks ago, the Alexandria police department followed a car into Arlington and Virginia State Police joined the pursuit — until the driver escaped across the river into D.C. and the chase was called off.

Public safety watchdog Dave Statter keeps records of most these chases from his perch in Pentagon City. While there has been a recent mini-rash of Fairfax County-initiated pursuits, he tells ARLnow this is a less common phenomenon compared to VSP chases.

“From my experience, those two recent chases by Fairfax County Police into Arlington are more of the exception that the rule,” said Statter. “In fact, they are so infrequent I had to put in a new folder in my police video file for FCPD.”

The same night as the Lincolnia chase, Statter said state police troopers were pursuing someone, too.

“Just a few minutes earlier, VSP chased and stopped someone on I-395 N near Washington Blvd,” Statter wrote. “VSP was still working that one when the FCPD chase went by. They had a little warning from the dispatcher and a couple of troopers joined in.”

Other VSP chases through Arlington happened on Saturday and in the early hours this morning. In the early Wednesday morning chase, VSP was following a car in connection to catalytic converter thefts in Fairfax County. On Saturday, VSP was chasing a possibly stolen car.

Recent chases involving or started by VSP that went through Arlington — including those this month — concluded with the cars escaping across the Potomac River and into D.C. Often, state police abandons pursuit once the person being chased reaches the jurisdictional line.

The reason for this is that VSP has relatively loose restrictions for starting a chase, but they tighten when troopers reach state lines.

“Sworn employees may initiate a pursuit when a driver fails to stop after the sworn employee has given a lawful order to stop by activating emergency lights and/or siren,” according to Virginia State Police policy.

Anyone under pursuit for a possible misdemeanor or traffic violation is almost always in the clear if they can cross the 14th Street Bridge.

Meanwhile, Fairfax’s back-to-back chases come 13 months after the police department rolled out new, more restrictive guidance for when officers can chase suspects.

Effective September 2021, Fairfax County eliminated pursuits for misdemeanors, traffic violations and nonviolent felonies. Now, police conduct chases within Fairfax County and within Virginia for violent felonies, serious crimes with the threat or use of a firearm or explosive device, and at the authorization of a commander.

Fairfax officers join chases when they meet the department’s criteria, and officers can only pursue a car into D.C. or Maryland if the driver or passenger has attempted or is wanted for a felony crime.

Prior to the decision, Fairfax had one of the most liberal chase policies in the D.C. area, according to a police presentation from spring 2021. At the time, officials said the updated guidelines would bring the county in line with chase policies throughout the region.

“FCPD updated several pertinent policies in 2021 to further align the department with national best practices; improve officer and community safety and ensure our commitment to transparency,” according to the department’s annual crime summary for 2021. “The most significant revision included a modification to the traffic pursuit policy, which now focuses on apprehending offenders who pose the greatest risk to our community and doing so with an eye on safety.”

A comparison of police chase policies in the D.C. region (via Fairfax County)

Arlington has similar police chase policies: those wanted for relatively minor crimes are usually allowed to flee an attempted traffic stop without a chase, while violent criminals may be pursued, as happened earlier this month after an armed suspect firing shots at police was chased from Arlington to Fairfax County. Arlington’s policy follows a lawsuit nearly 40 years ago by a man who lost his legs when struck in D.C. by bank robbery suspects being chased at high speed by an ACPD officer.

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Suspect in alleged carjacking attempts seen in the roadway along I-395 after being struck by a car (courtesy Dave Statter/Twitter)

The family of a missing man thinks he may be the one who allegedly tried to carjack two drivers along I-395.

The Byrne family is going public with its concern for Sean, 27, who was last seen Sunday night leaving Reagan National Airport, where he was set to fly home to the Chicago area. They believe he had a psychiatric episode that led him to run off, but they don’t know where he is headed.

Meghan Byrne, the man’s sister, said Sean was in town visiting her for her birthday. She says he is in crisis and is urging anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact local authorities.

“I’m hoping to get as many people and resources as possible to help look for and locate my brother,” Byrne told ARLnow. “We just want to make sure that he’s okay.”

“We want to get the word out so that if anyone sees him or might have information that they’ve they’ve seen him in recent days that they can contact local authorities,” she continued.

Missing person poster (courtesy Meghan Byrne, via Dave Statter)

Sean is described as a 27-year-old white male who’s 6’2″ with a “very athletic” build, a short brown buzzcut, and a bit of facial hair. He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, gray athletic shorts, black tennis shoes, and black socks, and may also have a black backpack and a white face mask.

Meghan saw a video of one of the alleged carjacking attempts along I-395 early Monday morning, posted by Pentagon City resident and public safety watchdog Dave Statter, and believes it shows Sean.

“We are convinced that that was my brother,” said Meghan. “The video that Dave Statter posted matches my brother’s general description and matches his behavior.”

Arlington County police said Monday morning that a younger white male suspect with a buzzcut tried to carjack two people around the Boundary Channel Drive interchange along I-395. One male victim struck the suspect with his car and drove off, while a female victim got out and gave up her car — only for the suspect to be foiled by the vehicle’s stick shift.

Statter’s video shows the apparent suspect being struck by the one victim’s car, before getting up and running across the highway.

“The suspect was last seen running across I-395 towards the exit for the George Washington Memorial Parkway,” Arlington County police said in a crime report Monday. “A perimeter was established and a lookout was broadcast for the suspect. Police helicopters assisted with a search of the area which yielded negative results.”

Meghan said a missing person report was filed with airport police and the family is also in contact with Arlington County police.

An ACPD spokeswoman today released a brief statement in response to an inquiry from ARLnow, not directly addressing whether police believe the missing man is the person seen on video.

From ACPD:

Mr. Byrne was reported missing to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department and they are the primary agency investigating the missing person’s report.

The investigation into the attempted carjackings on September 19 are ongoing and no arrests have been made at this time. Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Hat tip to Dave Statter

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Police car speeding to a call at night (staff photo)

(Updated at 12:50 p.m.) A carjacker was reportedly foiled by a manual transmission early this morning.

The attempted carjacking happened around 12:20 a.m. at the Boundary Channel Drive and I-395 interchange, between Long Bridge Park and the Pentagon. Arlington police radio traffic suggests that the would-be carjacker might have been flummoxed by the stick shift of the car he was trying to take, though that has not yet been confirmed by police.

Arlington police were assisted by Virginia State Police, Pentagon police, U.S. Park Police and the Fairfax County Police Department helicopter in searching for the suspect, who fled the scene on foot.

No injuries were reported.

Additional information on the carjacking was released by police this afternoon, seemingly confirming the stick shift report.

The ACPD crime report, below, also notes that the suspect allegedly tried to carjack a second victim, who then struck the suspect with his vehicle and drove off before calling police. Despite an extensive search, the suspect was not located and no arrests were made.

More from ACPD:

ATTEMPTED CARJACKING, 2022-09190006, Boundary Channel Drive at I-395. At approximately 12:18 a.m. on September 19, police were dispatched to the report of an attempted carjacking. Upon arrival, it was determined the female victim was driving on the ramp for northbound I-395 from Boundary Channel Drive when the unknown male suspect approached on foot from the median. The male suspect allegedly began banging on the victim’s windshield and demanded she exit her vehicle while holding an unknown object. The victim exited her vehicle and ran down the ramp. The suspect then entered the victim’s vehicle but was unable to operate it. While officers were on scene, an additional victim contacted the Emergency Communications Center to report an attempted carjacking. The male victim stated he had been travelling on the ramp for northbound I-395 from Boundary Channel Drive when a suspect matching the description given by the first victim jumped in front of his vehicle, banged on the hood and demanded he exit the vehicle. The victim accelerated his vehicle, making contact with the suspect and left the area before contacting police. The suspect was last seen running across I-395 towards the exit for the George Washington Memorial Parkway. A perimeter was established and a lookout was broadcast for the suspect. Police helicopters assisted with a search of the area which yielded negative results. The victims were not injured. The suspect is described as a White male with a slim build, approximately 30 years old, 6’0″, with dark buzzcut hair, wearing a white short-sleeved shirt and dark pants. The investigation is ongoing.

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Changes coming to Boundary Channel Drive and I-395 interchange (image via VDOT)

Construction is starting next week to make Boundary Channel Drive and the I-395 interchange near Crystal City and the Pentagon safer.

The impact on locals should be “minimal,” Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Mike Murphy told ARLnow. While there could be lane closures, access to surrounding facilities will be kept open.

“Some day and overnight lane closures may be scheduled along I-395, Boundary Channel Drive, and Long Bridge Drive in the project area,” Murphy said. “Access to I-395 via Boundary Channel Drive, as well as access to Pentagon facilities and the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center will be maintained during construction.”

The long-planned $20 million project is set to reduce traffic lanes on Boundary Channel Drive to make room for paths and sidewalks, install roundabouts, reconfigure ramps, and add crosswalks.

The purpose of the renovations is to simplify traffic patterns and to make it safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

“We’ve long sought these improvements,” then-County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said at a Board meeting last year when voting to approve the project. “They will reconfigure the interchange that you see to make it work a lot better and safer for everyone.”

The VDOT-led project is expected to be completed about a year from now, in fall 2023.

Crews will begin with work on Boundary Channel Drive, where both directions will be reduced to one lane to allow for the construction of the new roundabouts, utility work, and pedestrian improvements.

Those improvements include a path along the south side of Boundary Channel Drive, complete with crosswalks, landscaping, and street lighting.

The new shared-use path, varying in width between ten and twelve feet, will start at the Long Bridge Aquatic Center parking lot entrance. It will then follow Long Bridge Drive northbound before connecting with westbound Boundary Channel Drive, per Murphy. The half-mile-long path will pass under I-395 and turn north at the soon-to-be-built western Boundary Channel Drive interchange roundabout.

The new path will ultimately connect with the existing one that parallels the southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway ramp to I-395 southbound.

This project has been in the works since at least 2014 and is estimated to cost $19.6 million. It’s being paid for by a combination of state, federal, regional, and county money.

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Delays on northbound I-395 extend to Duke Street after a vehicle overturned near Shirlington Circle.

Traffic camera images show several people helping to clean up items that spilled from the vehicle in the left two lanes of the highway, as traffic slowly gets by. The overturned vehicle — possibly a pickup truck — is in the leftmost lane.

Firefighters just arrived on the scene and are reportedly evaluating two people for possible injuries. Three lanes are currently blocked.

The crash happened around 8 a.m. It’s not immediately clear whether it involved more than one vehicle.

Update at 9:10 a.m. — The crash scene has been cleared but residual delays remain.

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Morning Notes

Mostly empty fields at Long Bridge Park during a heat advisory (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Virtual Learning Program Audit — “An audit of Arlington Public Schools’ calamitous start to its virtual-learning program during the 2021-22 school year was about as damning as expected, with school-system leadership responding to it by accepting some blame but also suggesting they did the best they could under trying circumstances.” [Sun Gazette]

Road Rage Drink Toss — “Lorcom Lane and Langston Boulevard. At approximately 7:33 p.m. on August 2, police were dispatched to the report of an aggressive driver. The investigation determined the victim was driving in the area when the suspect vehicle pulled in front of her abruptly. The unknown male suspect then pulled next to the victim’s vehicle and allegedly threw a beverage at her vehicle before fleeing the scene.” [ACPD]

Hit-and-Run Fundraiser Update — The GoFundMe campaign for the family of a woman killed by a hit-and-run driver is now approaching $30,000 after exceeding its $25,000 goal in just over a day. [Twitter, Twitter]

APS HR Mystery — “Mike Krulfeld recently returned to his job as director of student activities at Yorktown High School, having been put on administrative leave in early June for reasons that were not made clear to the 24-year employee of Arlington Public Schools or the public that rallied to his cause… there was no further explanation given of what the school system had been investigating, according to sources.” [Sun Gazette]

I-395 Rush Hour Drama — From public safety watcher Dave Statter: “#caughtoncamera: Rush hour drama on I-395N when a car won’t stop for [Virginia State Police] & takes off. It hit another vehicle before coming to a stop on GW Parkway where arrests occurred.” [Twitter]

Boeing Comms Chief Based Here — “The Boeing Company today named Brian Besanceney as the company’s senior vice president and chief communications officer effective September 6… He will be based at the company’s global headquarters in Arlington, Va.” [PR Newswire]

Police Shooting in Seven Corners — “A Fairfax County detective shot a man last night (Tuesday) during what police say was a narcotics investigation in the Seven Corners area. The shooting occurred near the intersection of Arlington Blvd and Patrick Henry Drive, the Fairfax County Police Department tweeted at 11:27 p.m.” [FFXnow]

It’s Thursday — Humid throughout the day with storms and heavy rain possible later. A Heat Advisory goes into effect at 11 a.m. High of 95 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:14 am and sunset at 8:18 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Clarendon Metro station (photo courtesy George Brazier)

Billionaire Contributes to Board Candidate — “Who is Arthur Rock and why did he contribute $15,000 – a large amount by local standards – to the re-election campaign of Democratic County Board candidate Matt de Ferranti? The first question is perhaps the easier of the two to answer. Rock is a 95-year-old (to be 96 in August) billionaire who made his money over the decades in the venture-capital field and related endeavors.” [Sun Gazette]

RIP Sidney Dewberry — “Sidney Oliver ‘Sid’ Dewberry passed away peacefully in Arlington, Virginia, on July 16, 2022, surrounded by his loving family. He had a unique and purposeful life — filled with service to his community, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation, while being wholly dedicated to his family.” [Legacy, Dewberry, Sun Gazette]

One Arrested After Robbery — “The juvenile male victim and the three juvenile male suspects met for a prearranged sale during which the suspects assaulted the victim and stole his backpack containing a laptop. A lookout was broadcast and responding officers located Suspect One, who was carrying stolen property, and attempted to stop him. Suspect One fled on foot and following a foot pursuit, was taken into custody.” [Arlington County]

Spa Day for Rescued Beagles — “A group of rescued beagles got a special ‘spa day’ treatment after they arrived at a shelter in Arlington, Virginia. Virginia-based Homeward Trails, an organization facilitating rehabilitation and adoption for dogs and cats, is one of several groups working with the Humane Society of the United States to move about 4,000 beagles out of the Envigo facility in Cumberland County. When they arrived at Homeward Trails, the staff and volunteers there made sure the rescued pups got the full spa treatment.” [WTOP]

Yet Another I-395 Crash — From Dave Statter: “#caughtoncamera: Another 8C crash. Cars & barrels all over the place but no injuries & relatively minor damage. Plus, the driver crossing over eventually got to the exit ramp, thanks to police.” [Twitter]

ADA Celebration This Morning — “The public and media are invited to join Arlington County officials and key stakeholders… as we celebrate 32 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act [at 10 a.m. Monday] at Quincy Park (1021 N. Quincy St.). The Arlington County Board will also issue a proclamation to mark this important civil rights law.” [Arlington County]

It’s Monday — Rain and potentially strong storms in the afternoon and evening. High of 88 and low of 77. Sunrise at 6:05 am and sunset at 8:27 pm. [Weather.gov]

Photo courtesy George Brazier

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Morning Notes

A turtle, seen in Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

New Rail Bridge Design Revealed — “The new rail bridge will be built with many of the features in the existing span, including its structure, material and form, with steel girders and similar pier spacing, according to preliminary site plans approved this month by the National Capital Planning Commission. The plans also call for the use of Ashlar stone cladding for the bridge piers, and abutments and walls near the George Washington Memorial Parkway.” [Washington Post]

County Board Approves ‘Heights’ Parking — From School Board member Barbara Kanninen: “‘APS did us a solid.’ Thx @kcristol for that comment regarding our hosting the County’s temp fire station for several years! Glad to see the use permit for Phase 2 [of The Heights building in Rosslyn] approved this morning, providing important universal access improvements for all students, esp @APS_Shriver.” [Twitter]

APS Hiring Hundreds of Teachers — “Officials in Arlington Public Schools will also spend the summer working to fill an atypically large number of empty positions. Arlington, which enrolls 27,045 students, according to state data, saw 284 teachers resign between August 2021 and mid-May 2022. The district usually employs about 3,000 teachers, per spokesman Frank Bellavia. That is 96 percent higher than the average number of resignations between 2018-2019 and 2020-2021: 145.” [Washington Post]

Free Chicken Today — “July 18th is Nelson Mandela’s birthday. His birthday is recognized and celebrated world wide as Mandela day; a day for us all to inspire change and make a difference in our communities. At Nando’s we are proud of our South African heritage. We will join in celebrating his birthday on July 18th by following his example and giving back to our communities.” [Nando’s Peri Peri]

Cyclist Struck on Busy Ramp — “Police, fire on scene of cyclist struck by driver on the WB Route 50 / Washington Blvd ramp. Cyclist was thrown from bike and is being treated by medics, per scanner.” [Twitter]

Treasurer Honored, Again — “Arlington County Treasurer Carla de la Pava received the President’s Award for her service and leadership to the Treasurers’ Association of Virginia (TAV). The award was presented during the association’s annual conference in June. It is the second time de la Pava has be recognized with the President’s Award.” [Arlington County]

More Bad Driving on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “You’ll want to see this one. Driver goes bowling with the barrels & almost takes one along for the ride. @VaDOTNOVA time for clean-up again on aisle 8C.” [Twitter]

It’s Monday — Mostly cloudy, with rain and possible storms in the evening. High of 88 and low of 74. Sunrise at 5:59 am and sunset at 8:33 pm. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

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Morning Notes

Ballston at twilight (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

It’s Officially Summer — “The 2022 summer solstice arrives at 5:14 a.m. Eastern time. At this precise moment the sun appears directly over the Tropic of Cancer — as far north as it appears in the sky all year. Around the solstice, the sun’s northward movement in the sky appears to pause briefly before reversing direction for the next six months.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Gulf Branch Project Meeting TomorrowUpdated at 9:00 a.m. — “Gulf Branch project engagement resumes with a June 2022 community meeting. The design phase for the Gulf Branch Stream Project began in 2019. It was put on hold in March 2020 due to budgetary uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is moving forward again. We have some project updates to share and will hold a virtual community meeting on Wednesday, June 22 at 6:30 PM.” [Arlington County]

I-395 Drivers Still Not Taking the Hint — From Dave Statter: “The 8C barrels are much like Rodney Dangerfield — just not as funny. [Video taken] today just after 9:30 a.m.” [Twitter]

Local Swim League Update — “With a lopsided 270-150 victory over the visiting Langley Wildthings, the Overlee Flying Fish of Division 1 were the lone winning team from Arlington in the opening week of the Northern Virginia Swimming League’s 2022 outdoor summer season in June 18 action.” [Sun Gazette]

Amazon HQ2 Leader Retires — “Ardine Williams, the Amazon.com Inc. executive overseeing hiring for the company’s HQ2 operations, has retired. According to Virginia Business, Williams retired sometime in the past few weeks and a replacement has not been named.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Leader for Local Homeless Org — ‘Fraser Murdoch, who brings extensive social-safety-net and non-profit experience with him, has been tapped as new CEO of Arlington-based Bridges to Independence.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 82 and low of 68. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]

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