The 1-395 overpass above S. Glebe Road will now be known as the Trooper Jacqueline Vernon Memorial Bridge.
Vernon was the first female and black Virginia State Trooper to be killed in the line of duty. She was hit by a commuter bus on I-395 as she stopped a car for an HOV lane violation in 1988. She was 32 years old.
“She was a great person,” said Charles King, III, one of Vernon’s former classmates and coworkers. “I was privileged, and I thank God I got to meet her and she passed through my life.”
The dedication of the overpass, which is near where Vernon was killed, comes almost 30 years after her death.
The bill to dedicate the bridge was brought by Del. Robert Krupicka, who represents the 45th District in the House of Delegates and by Sen. Barbara Favola, who represents the 31st District in the state Senate.
‘This naming of the bridge is also a way to say thank you to our troopers,” Krupicka said.
Vernon was a good trooper and known as someone who had her coworkers’ backs, said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, who was her supervisor.
“I remember them saying after boxing class, ‘we don’t want to get in the ring with [Vernon], so she certainly held her own there,” Flaherty said.
The bridge’s dedication was “personal” to him as someone who knew Vernon. He considers all of the officers under him to be his kids, he said, and Vernon was one of them.
“Now as people pass up and down on 395, they’ll come to know her as well,” he said.
It is one way that people recognize and thank the troopers for their service, Flaherty said.
Virginia State Troopers were joined by Vernon’s family during the dedication. The naming of the bridge was something that both the family and troopers asked to see happen.
“Now when I look around I can say the day is done,” said Vernon’s brother Ronald Vernon. “The struggle is done. It is time to rest. Sleep well, my sister.”
If you were commuting from Arlington to D.C. today, or vice versa, chances seem pretty good that your commute was awful.
Major delays were reported on Metro’s Orange, Blue and Silver lines, after service was suspended through much of downtown D.C. due to a derailed non-passenger train.
As if the Metro chaos wasn’t bad enough, a couple of crashes and perhaps an influx of would-be Metrorail riders has turned the length of I-395 into a virtual parking lot, with slow-moving traffic from the District to Springfield.
Also, Route 50 is reported to be backed up to Pershing Drive.
So, if you commute to or from D.C., just how bad was it this morning?
The motorcyclist was riding southbound on I-395 near the Pentagon when someone in front of him threw a wine bottle out of a Lincoln Town Car.
The bottle shattered on the pavement and a piece of shattered glass flew up and struck the motorcyclist’s left arm, slicing an artery, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
“It was bleeding profusely,” Sternbeck said of the freak injury.
The motorcyclist continued down I-395 until he spotted an Arlington police officer on a traffic stop. He stopped and the officer applied a tourniquet to control the bleeding.
The man, a 41-year-old Woodbridge resident, was rushed to Virginia Hospital Center, where he underwent emergency surgery. He is expected to be okay.
“He was happy to see police lights,” said Sternbeck.
So far, police, have not been able to track down the Town Car from which the bottle was thrown.
The chase started around 5:30 p.m. near S. Joyce Street in the Pentagon City area. The suspect led officers on a foot pursuit towards Washington Blvd and then along a southbound I-395 ramp, according to scanner traffic.
The man started running during a traffic stop, and may have had warrants out for his arrest, according to initial reports.
No injuries have been reported, though paramedics have been dispatched to the scene as a precaution.
Fire Station Relocation May Go to Voters — A controversial plan to relocate Fire Station 8 from Lee Highway and the Hall’s Hill neighborhood to a locale further north, in order to improve response times, could be put to voters. Opponents may push for a stand-alone bond issue for construction of the new fire station, which would put it on the ballot. The idea was floated during a well-attended community meeting on the fire station relocation plan last night. [InsideNova]
North vs. South Swimming Pool Divide? — Swimming has always been a significant part of life in Arlington, but current pool options are tilted toward north Arlington, says Our Man in Arlington columnist Charlie Clark. Building the stalled Long Bridge Park aquatics center could help alleviate the divide, Clark reasons. [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington Family Kicked off Flight — An Arlington family was kicked off a JetBlue flight from Boston to Baltimore on Monday, reportedly because of a squirming two year old and FAA regulations. [WUSA 9]
DCA Screeners Find Two Guns in Two Days — Screeners at Reagan National Airport found two guns in carry-on baggage over the course of two days this week. The two men who had the guns in their bags are now facing weapons charges. [WJLA]
I-395 Exit to Close Temporarily — The exit from northbound I-395 to Washington Blvd will close overnight Sunday and Monday for paving and lane striping, VDOT says. [Patch]
Arlington residents will have a chance to ask questions and weigh in on upcoming repairs to the interchange of I-395 and Glebe Road.
Virginia Department of Transportation will hold an open house tonight (Tuesday) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Gunston Middle School (2700 S. Lang Street). Attendees will hear from VDOT staff and have an opportunity to ask questions about the anticipated construction.
The roadwork on the three bridges at the interchange is anticipated to begin in April or May 2016, said Brian Morrison, a senior structural engineer with VDOT.
Construction is anticipated to last about four to six months, so the project is predicted to be finished in October or November of next year, Morrison said.
Roadwork on the bridges is expected to include repaving the bridge decks, guardrail improvements, reconstruction of bridge joints, painting bridge beams and fixing the sidewalks and curbs on Glebe Road. The total cost for the project is projected to be $4.7 million, according to VDOT.
The project is currently in its design phase. Once construction begins, there will likely be single-lane and shoulder closures during the night and day, according to VDOT’s website for the project.
The crash appears to involve 2-3 vehicles, including a D.C. taxicab. Initial reports suggest the driver of one car is hurt and may have needed assistance to get out of the vehicle.
Drivers should expect delays in both the HOV lanes and the northbound mainline.
The crash involved a box truck, a van and a car. Three people were brought to the hospital, two with serious injuries and one with minor injuries, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.
Numerous emergency vehicle were on the scene as crews worked to clear the wreck. Traffic on I-395 backed up past Landmark.
Changes to the Boundary Channel Drive interchange with Interstate 395 and a new bike trail near Long Bridge Park are on the way.
Arlington residents will have a chance to offer feedback on new designs for the Boundary Channel Drive interchange project on Tuesday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Aurora Hills Community Center (735 18th Street S.).
The project is primarily intended to improve safety at the interchange, which is located on I-395 between Crystal City and the Pentagon, said David Kirschner, an Arlington County project manager.
“In this area, Interstate 395 is the most congested roadway in our region,” Kirschner said in an email. “The goals of this project are to improve the operations of the interchange at Boundary Channel Drive and improve safety for all road users.”
The project is also seeking to expand pedestrian and cycling access to and from Washington, D.C., Crystal City, the Pentagon and Long Bridge Park through a new bike trail.
The trail is planned to connect Humpback Bridge to Long Bridge Park but has not been designed yet, Kirschner said. The proposed trail will go from the existing Mount Vernon Trail that connects to the underpass under Humpback Bridge and would extend to Boundary Channel Drive through the interchange that already exists.
“We’re definitely always trying to be more friendly to cyclists and pedestrians,” he said.
The new connection will make it easier to get to and from D.C. and the Pentagon, Kirschner said, adding that pedestrians currently have to do a lot of backtracking — via Crystal City or the LBJ Memorial Grove — to get into D.C.
As the project is still in its planning stages, the new trail has not yet been designed and which department will oversee the maintenance has not been determined. The trail’s planned path falls under multiple jurisdictions, as the National Park Service oversees the Mount Vernon Trail and Long Bridge Park is run by Arlington County.
“The need to keep the trail clean and safe will be an ongoing concern as we move forward in the design and construction of the Boundary Channel Drive interchange,” Kirschner said in an email.
In addition to the proposed bike trail, the project will look at a complete revamp of the interchange between I-395 and Boundary Channel Drive.
“Based on our analysis so far, the current four-lane roadway is overbuilt for current traffic. The traffic analysis we are performing will determine what lanes and ramps are needed for the final interchange in the future analysis year of 2036,” Kirschner said in the email.
Ramps to the 14th Bridge and on and off GW Parkway are also affected by the construction.
Single-lane closures will occur in both directions between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Two-lane closures are expected between 7 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. The lane closures are expected to cause delays.
NPS will work to minimize disruptions to travelers using Reagan National Airport.
Construction is anticipated to be finished by mid-December 2015, barring any inclement weather delays.
“Every effort will be made to minimize traffic delays and accomplish the work in a timely manner. The NPS regrets any inconvenience and appreciates all motorists’ understanding and patience,” NPS said.
Photo via Google Maps
The accident happened at the exit 8A ramp off of northbound I-395, near Pentagon City. Two travel lanes and the ramp are blocked approaching the scene.
Initial reports suggest that it’s a single-vehicle accident involving an overturned SUV. The driver was able to get out of the overturned vehicle on his or her own power, according to scanner traffic.
The driver’s injuries are said to be minor.
World Trade Center Pieces Transported — An Arlington resident snapped a photo of the convoy on I-395 that way carrying pieces of the World Trade Center to the Marine Corps Museum in Triangle, Va. [Twitter]
Women in Business Conference — The Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women will be holding its third annual Women in Business Conference this week. The conference, to be held Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the NRECA conference center in Ballston, will highlight women in non-traditional fields. ABC 7’s Maureen Bunyan will host. [Arlington County]
Football and Open House Attendance — Do Washington Redskins games impact attendance at Sunday open houses? The Sun Gazette posed that question to 18 realtors — most said “yes” or “sometimes.” [InsideNova]
The I-beam, accompanied by a motorcade that will include a New York City fire engine, is expected to transported down the HOV lanes of I-395 Saturday afternoon. It will travel through the District, then Arlington, en route to the Marine Corps Museum in Triangle, Va.
From the Virginia Dept. of Transportation:
Motorists on I-95 can expect delays on Saturday, Oct. 4 due to a massive motorcade transporting an I-beam from the World Trade Center to the Marine Corps Museum.
The I-beam will be escorted by a New York City fire truck, with an estimated 500 to 1,500 motorcycles and support vehicles accompanying the truck. The convoy will enter Virginia from Washington, D.C. via the I-395 HOV lanes at approximately 3:30 p.m. Saturday. It will follow the southbound HOV lanes to a stretch of the new I-95 Express Lanes near Dumfries and use a new flyover ramp to merge onto the southbound I-95 regular lanes and exit at Joplin Road (Exit 150). VDOT will close the right regular lane of I-95 South near the merge and close the Joplin Road exit ramps in both directions.
Motorists will have two regular lanes in the area of Joplin Road and can expect traffic delays from approximately 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Motorists should also expect delays on Route 1 when the motorcade is traveling from Joplin Road to the museum.
The I-395/95 HOV lanes were already scheduled to be closed for 95 Express Lanes construction, beginning at 11 p.m. Friday, October 3 through 8 a.m. Sunday, October 5. The contractor, Fluor-Lane, will clear construction in the lanes Saturday afternoon to accommodate the motorcade. The HOV lanes will reopen in the northbound direction by 8 a.m. Sunday.
Fluor-Lane accelerated the opening of the flyover ramp to accommodate the motorcade and avoid the complete closure of I-95 that otherwise would have been required.
As seen above, the Arlington County Fire Department was presented with a steel beam from the World Trade Center in 2010.
(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) A car crash closed all lanes of traffic on southbound I-395 this morning.
The accident occurred at just after 11:00 a.m. Virginia State Police closed off all lanes of the highway next to the Shirlington Circle to clear the scene for Arlington firefighters and paramedics.
Police diverted traffic onto the exit ramp, where cars are able to pass through and continue on I-395 past the crash.
Backups on SB I-395 stretched to the exit for Washington Blvd. The roadway has since reopened.
The Arlington County Board passed a resolution asking the General Assembly to rename the bridge in Vernon’s honor. Vernon was killed Aug. 4, 1988, after pulling over an HOV violator on a nearby stretch of I-395 when, while speaking to the driver, a Metrobus struck and killed her.
Vernon, who was born in West Virginia during segregation in 1955, was the first woman and first African American Virginia state trooper to be killed in the line of duty.
The resolution erroneously calls for “the Glebe Road bridge over I-395″ to renamed, but there is no such bridge. According to the county’s legislative liaison to the General Assembly, Pat Carroll, there was a mistake in the resolution, and the I-395 bridge over Glebe Road is what’s actually expected to be renamed.
Vernon’s family was in attendance during the resolution on Tuesday afternoon, and County Board Chair Jay Fisette read a letter written by Vernon’s brother, Ron, transcribed after the jump.
Vernon’s family had been trying for years to get a bridge or stretch of road named after her, and their efforts appear likely to pay off. Fisette said he “can’t imagine” the General Assembly wouldn’t approve of naming the bridge after her during their 2015 session.
After the jump is Ron Vernon’s letter, “Sacrifice.”