Arlington, VA

The eastbound lanes of I-66 are blocked near the N. Ohio Street overpass due to the aftermath of a high-speed police chase.

Initial reports suggest that Virginia State Police troopers were chasing a vehicle involved in a felony hit-and-run, with speeds in excess of 100 mph.

The driver crashed near Ohio Street and was briefly trapped in the vehicle. State police, Arlington police and firefighters are currently on scene. The Fairfax County Police helicopter is also overhead.

All eastbound lanes are blocked and police are working to divert eastbound traffic onto N. Sycamore Street in the East Falls Church area. Drivers stuck behind the crash are being directed around it, through a work zone.

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A 24-year-old man was struck and killed while walking on I-66 over the weekend.

The fatal crash happened early Saturday morning, around 12:30 a.m., near the Lee Highway exit (Exit 73) in Arlington.

Virginia State Police say Justin Angel of Stephen City, Virginia, “was walking in the eastbound lane of I-66 when he was struck by a 2017 Dodge Journey.” Angel died at the scene.

“The driver of the Dodge was not injured in the crash,” VSP said. “The crash remains under investigation.”

It’s unclear why the victim was walking in the highway.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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A Maryland man was kicked out of a rideshare vehicle and later arrested after inappropriate sexual conduct, according to Arlington County Police.

The incident happened Saturday afternoon, around 2:30 p.m. Police were dispatched to westbound I-66 near the Rosslyn tunnel, after getting a call about a man that had exposed himself.

“Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was operating as a rideshare driver when the suspect, a passenger, allegedly began making inappropriate comments and grabbed her arm,” according to an ACPD crime report. “The victim pulled over and forced him out of the vehicle, while he continued to touch himself inappropriately. The suspect fled on foot prior to police arrival.”

A suspect was later arrested along Lee Highway, just west of Glebe Road.

“Officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident in the 4900 block of Lee Highway,” the crime report continued. “Demetrius Dent, 27, of Forestville, Md., was arrested and charged with Indecent Exposure and Assault and Battery.”

File photo

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Morning Notes

Social Distancing Decline in Arlington? — “On April 20 in Arlington County, Va., nearly half of cellphones that SafeGraph provided data for were staying at home. Over the next couple days in that suburb of Washington, D.C., the number declined to one-third — as low as it was during the middle of March. It has since increased but is still down from its peak.” [NPR]

Masks Now Required at Costco — “Costco has announced new guidelines for its stores and is requiring all customers — age 3 and older — to wear masks before entering stores beginning Monday, May 4.” [MSN]

MU Launches Program for New Economy — “Marymount has launched ‘Upskilling for the What’s Next Economy,’ a unique and comprehensive range of modular graduate certificates and degree qualifications that will provide students with technical, management, entrepreneurial and leadership skills and get them back to work.” [Marymount University]

Most of Foundation’s COVID Funds Exhausted — “Sixty-five Arlington nonprofits have received a total of nearly $800,000 in emergency response support from the Arlington Community Foundation COVID-19 Prompt Response Fund. On Giving Tuesday Now and throughout the week of May 4, the Community Foundation hopes Arlington residents and businesses will help replenish the fund to meet continuing urgent, crisis-related needs.” [Press Release]

Progress on I-66 Sound Walls — “Glad to see @VaDOT making progress on the installation of new noise barrier walls along I-66E in Arlington and Falls Church.” [@HopeforVirginia/Twitter]

School Board Candidates Worry About Accessibility — “Arlington Public Schools needs to do a better job of designing facilities that provide improved accessibility, candidates for School Board say, and should go well beyond consideration of physical disabilities in its design process.” [InsideNova]

Sims Scores Second Sitting Senator’s Support — “U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Cory Booker have announced their official endorsements for Arlington Virginia School Board candidate Terron Sims II.” [Press Release]

Campbell Elementary Teacher Featured on TV — “An Arlington County teacher is coming up with creative ways to keep her students engaged during distance learning. News4’s Leon Harris introduces Nicole Croce.” [NBC 4]

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Morning Notes

Governor Extends Business Closures — “Governor Ralph Northam today announced that he will extend Executive Order Fifty-Three for two weeks, through Friday, May 8, 2020. Executive Order Fifty-Three originally signed on March 24, bans crowds of more than 10 people; closes recreation, entertainment, and personal care businesses; and limits restaurants to offering takeout and delivery services only.” [Gov. Ralph Northam]

Wi-Fi Available in Two Library Parking Lots — “Arlington residents who lack reliable internet service at home during the COVID-19 pandemic can now benefit from two new free County Wi-Fi hotspots. Access to the ArlingtonWireless network is now available at the Central Library and Columbia Pike Library parking lots.” [Arlington County]

Lane Closures on I-66 This Weekend — “Extended lane closures will occur this weekend beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 17, on I-66 East between the Dulles Connector Road and Sycamore Street for bridge work and other construction for the I-66 Eastbound Widening Project.” [Press Release]

Buses to Toot Horns in Unison — “[Today] at 3 p.m., ART buses will join transit agencies around the country in honking their horns to honor transportation and other essential workers. Thank you to the ART bus drivers and staff, and all essential workers, for your work!” [Twitter]

Police Warn of Coronavirus Scams — “FRAUD ALERT: Be aware of COVID-related scams and know how to protect yourself. ACPD reminds you that the IRS will not call, text, email you or contact you via social media to request money or personal information related to economic impact payments.” [Twitter]

Disastrous Debut for Fairfax Distance Learning — While Arlington Public Schools catches flak for deciding not to teach new material until the fall, Fairfax County public schools have cancelled online classes for the rest of the week after the school system’s distance learning technology suffered a series of major failures. [Fairfax County Public Schools, Washington Post]

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A moving truck has tipped onto its side while rounding a corner on a ramp to I-66.

The crash happened just after 4 p.m., reportedly on the ramp from northbound Route 110 to westbound I-66, near Rosslyn and the Roosevelt Bridge. Initial reports suggest that the driver, who was the only occupant of the vehicle at the time, suffered only minor injuries.

As of 4:15 p.m. traffic on the ramp was still flowing past the overturned truck and there were otherwise no traffic impacts. Normally busy outbound rush hour traffic on I-66 has been reduced to a trickle as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

A temporary closure of the ramp might be necessary to drag the truck back onto its wheels, however.

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Morning Notes

Pentagon Mandates Face Masks — “All on the Pentagon reservation must wear cloth face coverings in open spaces/work spaces where it is difficult to maintain at least 6 ft social distance. You may remove cloth face coverings in a private office/workspace where at least 6 ft of social distance is maintained.” [Twitter]

County May Host Online ‘Open Door’ Sessions — “Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey announced today that the Board will pilot a virtual format for Open Door Mondays, the informal weekly sessions where individuals or small groups can meet one-on-one with a Board Member to raise any issue, on Monday, April 13, 2020.” [Arlington County]

I-66 Lane Closures This Weekend — “Single- and double-lane closures will be needed for bridge joint reconstruction work over Williamsburg Boulevard and Westmoreland Street. At least one travel lane along I-66 Eastbound will be maintained at all times during this work.” [Press Release]

County Accelerates Columbia Pike Work — “Starting Monday, April 13, we will no longer open an additional eastbound lane during weekday morning rush hours. As a result, the work done between S. Jefferson Street and S. Dinwiddie/Columbus Street will only have one lane open in each direction on weekdays from 7 a.m.-9 p.m.” [Twitter]

South Block Adapts to Delivery and Takeout — “Mostafavi founded South Block in 2011 and he’s slowly grown the business since then, with nine locations and two more in the pipeline. Since the pandemic forced closures of dining rooms, Mostafavi has leaned hard into the delivery and takeout side of his business. ‘I feel fortunate to be in a business that’s still considered essential and that we already had an app, were already doing deliveries and the product is desired right now because it’s healthy,’ Mostafavi said.” [Washington Business Journal]

CPRO Providing Free Banners for Businesses — “The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization is launching several new initiatives to support our business community… Are you operating an essential business on Columbia Pike? Need help letting the public know you’re open? Contact us today to receive a FREE banner.” [CPRO, Instagram]

Arlington Pension Investment Chief Retiring — “Daniel E. Zito, executive director and chief investment officer of the $2.5 billion Arlington County (Va.) Employees’ Retirement System, plans to retire in the next year.” [Pensions & Investments]

Community Foundation Distributes $500k — “More than 40 Arlington nonprofits have received a total of over $500,000 in emergency response support from the Arlington Community Foundation COVID-19 Prompt Response Fund, with more funds being disbursed daily.” [Press Release]

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Morning Notes

It’s Primary Day — Today is Super Tuesday, the presidential primary day in Virginia and 13 other states across the U.S. In Arlington, polls are open from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Arlington public schools are closed to students today. [Arlington County, Twitter]

Beyer, Lopez Endorse Biden — Following his decisive victory in the South Carolina primary, former Vice President Joe Biden has picked up endorsements locally from Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Del. Alfonso Lopez (D). Lopez and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe were stuck in an elevator in Richmond for a half hour yesterday while heading to a Biden event. [Press Release, Twitter]

County OKs Five Scooter Companies — “The lone applicant seeking to provide electric-bicycle service in Arlington has been rejected by county officials, but five operators of electric-scooter devices did make the grade, County Manager Mark Schwartz told County Board members on Feb. 25. The five e-scooter firms – Bird, Jump, Lime, Razor and Skip – were among eight that had sought permission to operate in the county. The other three were rejected for various reasons, including having no speedometers on their devices.” [InsideNova]

Cristol Encourages Volunteering for Erik — “As you may have seen in the news, our colleague and friend, Erik, is facing a tough health challenge…  here’s what we can do for him: Go to a civic association or commission meeting. Volunteer. Embody Erik’s example & make this place better by showing up. And take a picture, and tag it #HereForErik so we can share.” [Twitter]

I-66 Tolling Deemed a Success — “About 700 more people each day total are commuting along the Interstate 66 corridor inside the Capital Beltway now compared to before tolls for solo drivers and an expanded rush-hour period began, and there are also fewer car trips each morning… Virginia state officials have said the goal of the tolls has been to move more people in the corridor, and see the higher count of commuters as a sign the system is working.” [WTOP]

Coworking Space Coming to Courthouse — “Flexible workspace provider Venture X is making its first foray into the Washington, D.C., market, after reaching a deal to take the top floor of the Navy League Building in Arlington, Virginia.” [CoStar]

Cupid the Cat Now Up for Adoption — “Two weeks after undergoing emergency surgery to remove an arrow from his head, Cupid is ready to find a new home. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s veterinary director cleared Cupid on Monday, March 2, for adoption.” [Patch]

ACFD Assists With McLean FireUpdated at 8:25 a.m. — Arlington County firefighters helped Fairfax County’s fire department battle a massive house fire in McLean last night. [Twitter]

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A proposal to add new “reverse tolling” on to I-66, put forward by a delegate who suggested that Arlington should be returned to D.C., has been struck down in the House of Delegates.

The goal of HB 677, the bill proposed by Del. Dave LaRock (R), was to toll rush hour traffic heading both eastbound and westbound on I-66, instead of just tolling those heading in the peak direction.

LaRock, whose district encompases parts of Frederick, Loudoun and Clark counties, proposed implementing the new reverse tolling upon completion of the under-construction eastbound I-66 widening project. Revenue collected would be directed to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

More from the bill:

The Department of Transportation shall, upon completion of the Interstate 66 widening project from the Dulles Connector Road to Fairfax Drive, activate tolling on Interstate 66 east of mile marker 67 for vehicles using (i) the westbound lanes during the morning hours in which the eastbound lanes are tolled or (ii) the eastbound lanes during the evening hours in which the westbound lanes are tolled.

The bill was “passed by indefinitely” in the Transportation Systems Subcommittee and state Senate staff confirmed that there was no similar bill on the Senate side, meaning the proposal is dead for the time being.

It isn’t the first time LaRock has put forward a reverse tolling bill. Two years ago LaRock tried to simultaneously refund some toll revenue to commuters and implement a reverse toll.

LaRock made headlines recently for proposing that deep-blue swaths of Northern Virginia — namely Arlington and Alexandria — be given over to D.C., claiming that the progressive values of Northern Virginia were not in keeping with the rest of the state.

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It won’t be nearly as disruptive as the year-long, round-the-clock lane closures on Columbia Pike, but VDOT is planning temporary closures on I-66 next week.

One lane of eastbound I-66 will be closed nightly — from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. — in the East Falls Church area on Monday and Tuesday, the state transportation agency said. There will also be multiple, brief closures of Sycamore Street and eastbound I-66 during that time.

The closure will allow the installation of bridge girders as part of the project to add a lane to eastbound I-66 between the Dulles Connector Road and Ballston.

More from a VDOT press release:

Bridge girder installation to widen I-66 East will require multiple brief closures of Sycamore Street in Arlington during overnight hours on January 6 and 7. Additionally, the left lane of I-66 East will be closed while crews install six bridge girders as part of the I-66 Eastbound Widening Project.

Details:

  • The left lane of I-66 East will be closed from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. on the nights of Monday, Jan. 6, and Tuesday, Jan. 7.
  • There will be a full 20-minute closure of I-66 East shortly after midnight the night of Monday, Jan. 6, so that girders can be delivered to the work area.
  • Vehicle and pedestrian traffic on Sycamore Street under I-66 will be stopped for up to 20 minutes at a time between midnight and 4 a.m. multiple times each night. Stoppages are planned for northbound traffic on the first night, then southbound traffic the second night.
  • Pedestrians will be directed to the opposite sidewalk to proceed through the work zone.

All work is weather dependent.

Drivers and pedestrians are urged to use caution and expect possible delays. Real-time traffic conditions and information is available at www.511virginia.org or through the 511 Virginia mobile app.

The I-66 Eastbound Widening Project will add a travel lane along four miles of eastbound I-66 and install approximately 12,000 linear feet of new and replacement noise barriers. The project also includes building a new bridge over Lee Highway (Route 29) for the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail, and constructing a new direct access ramp from eastbound I-66 to the West Falls Church Metrorail Station at the Route 7 Interchange.

The additional eastbound lane is scheduled to open to traffic in fall 2020, and the overall project is expected to be complete in fall 2021. Learn more about the I-66 Eastbound Widening Project and sign up for project updates and lane closure alerts at Transform66.org.

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Expect heavy traffic on westbound I-66 in Arlington due to a two-vehicle crash near the Washington Blvd exit.

The crash felled a light pole, which then fell across the right-hand lane of the highway. Police are on scene, awaiting a highway crew to move the pole and tow trucks to remove the crashed vehicles.

As of 1 p.m., one lane was getting by the crash scene, with temporary full closures to help facilitate the cleanup. Westbound traffic was backed up more than a mile, to the Rosslyn area, as a result.

Update at 2 p.m. — It appears that the pole has been moved out of the roadway and the blocked lane will reopen soon.

Photo (1) courtesy David Johnson

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