Arlington, VA

Construction on the Washington Blvd (Route 27) bridge near the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery is now complete.

The newly reconstructed bridge was renamed Arlington Veterans Bridge in honor of the county’s veterans; it maintains the original design spanning over Route 110, recently renamed as Richmond Highway.

Arlington County shared a video this week spotlighting the completion of the bridge this past May. The span was originally built in the 1940s.

“The substructure includes granite, which is not a very common material that we use in our bridges these days,” said VDOT Project Development Engineer Nicholas Roper, who is also a retired Army colonel.

Roper explained that crews were able to widen the bridge and add granite cladding to the structure, adding that, “three of the original piers from the 1940s still remain.”

As part of the reconstruction, VDOT added a sidewalk on one side of the bridge and a 14-foot wide path, which opened in 2017, on the other side for pedestrians and cyclists.

“It’s a place where daily residents of Arlington County and thousands of individuals… traverse the bridge,” said retired Army Col. Joseph A. Simonelli Jr., who chairs the county’s Military and Veterans and Committee, which recommended the name.

“It honors the 13,000 current Arlington veterans,” said Simonelli. “And the millions of veterans in our nation. And as a veteran, it makes me proud.”

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After over a year of work, the new bus and slug lanes are finally open at the Pentagon’s south parking lot.

Yesterday (Tuesday), the new configuration opened with bus-only travel lanes, reconfigured commuter lanes and slug lanes — lanes designed for High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) carpooling.

The new, dedicated bus loop is designed to distance passenger vehicles and buses to make the lot safer and increase mobility.

“The changes to the South Parking Lot are going to have a positive impact on the thousands of commuters traveling to and from the Pentagon Reservation each day,” said Susan Shaw, megaprojects director for the Virginia Department of Transportation, in a press release. “This important feature of the 395 Express Lanes project reinforces VDOT‘s commitment to support travel choices and alternative travel modes throughout our roadway network in Northern Virginia.”

An average of 25,000 employees use the Pentagon lots, with more than 1,800 buses and 3,400 “sluggers” passing through the lot each day, according to the press release.

Other improvements include new pedestrian sidewalks, new signage, and new lighting.

Image via National Capital Planning Commission

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If you worked at the Pentagon, the man behind the clippers at Blades Like New, a new barber shop at 2461 S. Clark Street in Crystal City, might look familiar.

For 14 years of the 25 total he’s spent working as a barber, Delonta James was working at a barber shop inside the Pentagon. But now, James is striking out on his own.

On April 11, James opened up Blades Like New as his own barber shop inside a Crystal City office building, right in the center of a military contracting hotbed where military uniforms are as common as suits and sundresses in the hallway.

James said his goal is to bring some of his military hair-cutting experience into a civilian atmosphere. For years, James worked in the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) branch of the military, and both his father and sister were in the military. But now, James said he’s excited to do something new.

“It’s been awesome and it’s getting better,” James said. “We do all kinds of hair, but I’m focusing on military [haircuts].”

To that end, James said he’s planning to bring on another barber sometime soon to handle a broader range of haircuts.

Prices range from $18 to $22.

The barber shop is open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., with appointments available by email ([email protected]) on weekends.

James said his favorite thing about being a barber is the new stories and lessons people bring with them into the store.

“I love the communication,” James said. “You get different people in here all the time and you’re learning new things. People teach you new things. You find out about a lot of stuff barbering.”

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Members of Congress are seeking $25 million to help defray costs at the county’s 9/11 memorials, including the Pentagon Memorial.

Arlington’s Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), along with Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), are leading a request for $25 million they say is needed to fund the “9/11 Memorial Competitive Grants Program.”

“We made a promise in the days after 9/11 — to never forget,” Beyer told ARLnow through a spokesman. “These memorials represent that promise, to never forget the bravery, the sacrifice, and the honor we saw that day.”

The program is part of the 9/11 Memorial Act which the Senate unanimously approved last year. The bill allows the Department of Interior to award grants to 9/11 memorial sites helping cover costs like “continued operation, security, and maintenance.”

Recently, four Republicans and 15 Democratic representatives from New York and Virginia signed a letter requesting Congress allocate the $25 million needed to “fully fund” the program as part of the government’s annual budget cycle.

“The Pentagon Memorial is open 24 hours a day, and, to meet the volume and demand of visitors, the Pentagon Memorial Fund develops a wide variety of educational materials and programs,” the letter says

Pentagon Memorial spokesman Jerry Mullins said that over a million people visit the memorial each year, and staff creates resources like teacher guides and lesson plans for grades 9-12 as well as take-away materials available at the site.

He said funds are needed to develop the Visitor Education Center and expand the educational programming in general.

“It’s really for the school-age kids who really have no memory of the attacks,” he said. “It’s an opportunity once again that this country will never forget what happened that day.”

Renderings for the visitor’s center from 2016 featured a glass wall showing where Flight 77 struck the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

Officials said at the time they expected the building to be open by 2020.

The memorial’s website is also asking for donations for the Center which is says will instruct generations to learn about the attacks “and the unprecedented response in the minutes, hours, weeks, and now years later.”

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Construction work around some of the Pentagon’s parking lots is prompting a new round of traffic changes and detours in the area.

Work focused on the new I-395 express lanes previously prompted the closure of the west side of S. Eads Street from Army Navy Drive to where it nears the Pentagon’s south parking lot at S. Rotary Road. Starting yesterday (Tuesday), workers are now moving to the east side of S. Eads instead, allowing traffic to use both sides of the street once more in the area.

Drivers will now be able to access the 395 HOV lanes as normal once more, but there are still some detours planned for the area, according to a press release.

During the morning rush hour, from 6-9 a.m., drivers will be able to use S. Rotary Road to access I-395’s southbound HOV lanes, but won’t be able to access a section of the western side of S. Eads Street. Anyone on 395 will be able to turn left to reach the Pentagon’s south parking lot, or turn right onto S. Eads.

During the afternoon rush hour, from 3-8 p.m., both sides of S. Eads Street will be fully accessible.

Signs will be posted to guide drivers about all these changes, and construction is expected to continue through the spring.

A full 395 HOV shutdown is also scheduled for this weekend, starting at Friday (Jan. 25) at 11 p.m and concluding Monday (Jan. 28) at 4 a.m.

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Metro is shutting down three Arlington stations on the Blue and Yellow lines this weekend, in order to allow for some major lighting improvements set to make each station substantially brighter.

The Pentagon, Pentagon City and Crystal City stops will all be closed both Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 12-13), WMATA announced last week, work that is sure to create substantial disruptions on both lines.

Metro plans to run Blue Line trains on its regular weekend schedule between the Franconia-Springfield and Reagan National Airport stations and between Arlington Cemetery and Largo Town Center each day, with free shuttle buses providing a bridge between the closed stations. After the cemetery closes at 7 p.m. each day, Blue Line service will end at the Rosslyn station.

As for the Yellow Line, Metro expects it will only run trains between the Huntington and National Airport stations, with free shuttle buses on that line too.

The exact details for the shuttle buses are as follows, per a WMATA press release:

  • Blue Line Shuttle (No stop at National Airport) – every 5-10 minutes between Braddock Rd, Crystal City, Pentagon City, Pentagon, Rosslyn
  • DC-Airport Express Shuttle – every 5-10 minutes between Reagan National Airport and L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station in Downtown DC
  • Pentagon-Airport Shuttle – every 15 minutes between Reagan National Airport, Crystal City, Pentagon City, Pentagon only

Metro is warning anyone hoping to use the rail service and shuttle buses to allow an extra 30 minutes of travel time to reach their destinations this weekend.

Officials chose to kick off work this weekend because they’re counting on “lighter post-holiday travel” patterns, easing demand for service reaching DCA. Metro made a similar assumption back on Veteran’s Day in closing the National Airport station, only to see huge traffic snarls as frustrated commuters turned to the roads instead.

This latest construction project is aimed at installing new LED lights in all three stations, part of a $50 million project that involves lighting upgrades at all of Metro’s 48 underground stations. WMATA says that stations generally become about six times brighter after the new lights are installed.

The station closures will also let Metro “perform additional track work, including concrete grout pad replacement, installation of radio communication cables and tunnel leak mitigation” at all three locations.

The troubled transit system remains beset by questions of how to best complete needed track work while improving service and luring riders back to its trains. Metro leaders are proposing some key rush hour service increases in WMATA’s new budget, but it remains an open question whether Arlington and other Virginia localities will be able to help pay for those changes.

Photo via WMATA

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Commuters to, and through, Arlington from Northern Virginia’s western suburbs will soon have a new bus option.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, commonly known as PRTC, is starting up a new bus route to connect Haymarket to stops along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. Starting Dec. 17, buses will stop at four locations in Haymarket, including a soon-to-be-completed commuter parking lot, and five stops in Arlington.

The new “OmniRide” route, approved by PRTC’s governing board earlier this month, will provide the first direct link between western Prince William County and Arlington’s urban core. PRTC currently runs buses connecting Woodbridge to Rosslyn, Ballston and Crystal City (and one route linking Gainesville to the Pentagon), but commuters along I-66 previously had to hop on Metro or another bus to reach the area.

“New routes always start with four trips in the mornings and four trips in the afternoons/evenings, and this route will follow that pattern,” PRTC spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo wrote in an email. “As ridership grows, additional morning and afternoon/evening trips can be added.”

Stops in Arlington will include:

  • The intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Taylor Street, near the Ballston Metro station
  • The intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Kansas Street, near George Mason University’s campus
  • The intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Herndon Street, near the Clarendon Metro station
  • The intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Veitch Street, near the Courthouse Metro station
  • The intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Kent Street, near the Rosslyn Metro station

Del. Danica Roem (D-13th District) expects that the new bus route will be incredibly meaningful for her constituents in her western Prince William district — so much so that she says she was “over-the-moon ecstatic” when she heard the news that the route was becoming a reality.

Not only does she expect it will help Haymarket residents commuting to the Pentagon or other jobs around Arlington, but she sees plenty of local benefits too. The PRTC bus will provide yet another option for people traveling between Rosslyn and Ballston, and could ease some of the relentless traffic pressure on I-66 around Arlington.

“Arlington and Prince William County don’t exist in a vacuum without each other,” Roem told ARLnow. “We are connected. My constituents routinely work in and commute through Arlington. And Arlington relies on our highly skilled workers, just as they rely on Arlington to provide them with high-paying jobs to make those long commutes worth it… so I’m hoping this linking bus will enhance our connectivity, not just in terms of mass transit, but also in encouraging stronger working relationships between eastern Northern Virginia and western Northern Virginia. We need to realize we really are in this together.”

With no small degree of pride, Roem notes that the new bus route wouldn’t be possible had the General Assembly not acted to set a floor on the region’s gas tax this year, providing a stable source of funding for PRTC for the first time in years. Without that provision, included in the sweeping deal to provide dedicated funding for Metro, Roem expects PRTC wouldn’t have been able to afford the Haymarket-Arlington connection until next September.

However, she notes that new money will only get the new route “off the ground,” not fund it in perpetuity. Money from the I-66 tolls will eventually help keep the service running, but PRTC will still need to scrounge up additional funds until the toll money arrives, according to the transit service’s documents.

Even still, Roem has every confidence that PRTC will find a way to make the math work, especially because she fully expects to be popular among riders. She notes that many commuter lots in western Prince William are already thoroughly overcrowded, so there should be a constituency for the new route right away.

Additionally, Roem notes that Arlington Transit plans to honor PRTC’s tickets, allowing riders to easily connect from Rosslyn and Ballston to the Pentagon, or even Crystal City.

“Now, you’ve got yourself a commute connecting Haymarket all the way to the Pentagon,” Roem said. “And with Amazon coming in, we’re going to need a lot more mass transit going out to Crystal City. This is a small step in that direction.”

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The Marine Corps Marathon returns to Arlington next Sunday (Oct. 28), likely bringing over 30,000 runners to Arlington and a resulting tangle of road closures and transportation changes.

The opening ceremonies for the marathon will be held at 6 a.m., followed by the wheelchair and handcycle race starting at 7:40 a.m. Races will continue throughout the day until 3:10 p.m. Award celebrations are scheduled to continue until 9:30 p.m.

Street parking near the race will be restricted and motorists should keep an eye out for temporary “No Parking” signs. Use of rideshare and public transportation is encouraged.

Metrorail will open at 6 a.m. for the race, two hours early, and run extra Blue and Yellow line trains. The closest stop to the race will be the Pentagon station, which will be exit-only until 8:30 a.m.

According to an Arlington County press release, the following roads will be closed for the race.

3:00 AM-5:30 PM      Marshall Drive from N. Meade Street to Route 110

3:00 AM-5:30 PM      N. Meade Street from Marshall Drive to Lynn Street

3:00 AM-6:00 PM      Route 110 from I-66 to Jefferson Davis Highway

3:00 AM-6:00 PM      Wilson Boulevard from N. Nash Street to Route 110

3:00 AM-6:00 PM      Lynn Street from N. Meade Street to Lee Highway

3:00 AM-6:00 PM      Fort Myer Drive from N. Meade Street to Lee Highway

3:00 AM-6:00 PM      N. Moore Street from Wilson Boulevard to Lee Highway

3:00 AM-6:00 PM      19th Street N. from Lynn Street to N. Nash Street

3:00 AM-4:00 PM      Route 110 ramp from Washington Blvd. to Pentagon North parking

6:00 AM-12:00 PM    Lee Highway (eastbound) from Lynn Street to Kirkwood Road

6:00 AM-12:00 PM    Spout Run Parkway from southbound George Washington

Memorial Parkway (GWMP) to Lee Highway

6:00 AM-12:00 PM    GWMP from Spout Run to Memorial Circle Drive

6:00 AM-12:00 PM    Francis Scott Key Bridge (all lanes)

6:00 AM-2:00 PM      HOV lanes from 14th Street SW to HOV ramp at S. Eads Street

5:00 AM-4:30 PM      S. Eads Street from S. Rotary Road to Army Navy Drive

5:00 AM-4:30 PM      Army Navy Drive from S. Fern Street to 12th Street S.

6:00 AM-10:00 AM   15th Street S. from Crystal Drive to S. Eads Street

6:00 AM-4:00 PM      12th Street S. from Army Navy Drive to Crystal Drive

6:00 AM-4:00 PM      Crystal Drive from 12th Street S. to 23rd Street S.

6:00 AM-4:00 PM      Longbridge Drive from 12th Street S. to I-395

3:00 AM-5:00 PM      Boundary Channel Drive from I-395 to Pentagon North Parking

3:00 AM-5:00 PM      Washington Blvd. from Columbia Pike to Memorial Circle

(southbound lanes will reopen at approximately 9:30 AM)

A map of the course, as well as additional race information, can be found at the Marine Corps Marathon website.

File photo

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Tens of thousands of runners will flock to the streets of Arlington and D.C. Sunday for the Army Ten-Miler race, with a changed-up course that will prompt a slew of road closures.

The 10-mile race starts and ends at the Pentagon. The course will guide participants along Washington Blvd into Rosslyn, then across the Key Bridge into the District, before they return to Arlington via I-395.

This marks the first year the course won’t include the Arlington Memorial Bridge, due to substantial renovations, in the race’s 34-year history.

County police are warning drivers of an extensive list of road closures, which include the following:

  • Route 110 between Rosslyn and Crystal City will close in both directions beginning at 5:00 a.m. and will remain closed until approximately 2:00 p.m. Motorists can use the George Washington Memorial Parkway as an alternative route. There will be no access to southbound Route 110 from N. Marshall Drive. The public may access Arlington National Cemetery from N. Marshall Drive.
  • I-66 westbound from Washington D.C. to N. Nash Street will close from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Motorists can use the George Washington Memorial Parkway or Route 50 as an alternative route.
  • Lee Highway westbound at N. Lynn Street and Lee Highway eastbound at N. Lynn Street will close from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
  • The Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge will close in both direction with no vehicular access from approximately 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
  • I-395 HOV northbound from Crystal City to the 14th Street Bridge will close at 6:00 a.m.
  • S. Eads Street from Army Navy Drive into the Pentagon/northbound I-395 HOV lanes will close at 5:00 a.m.
  • I-395 southbound HOV exit to S. Eads Street/Pentagon south parking lot will close at 5:00 a.m.
  • Route 27 in both directions from George Washington Memorial Parkway to I-395 will close from 7:00 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Army Navy Drive from S. Eads Street to S. 12th Street will close from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • 12th Street from S. Eads Street to Long Bridge Drive will close from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Long Bridge Drive will close from S. 12th Street to Boundary Channel Drive from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Police hope to re-open all of these roads, except Washington Blvd, by 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Pentagon’s north parking lot will be restricted to authorized vehicles only between 4:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Pentagon employees and memorial visitors will be able to use the south parking lot.

Police are encouraging race participants and attendees to use Metro to reach the race, as the rail service will open an hour early, at 7 a.m. The race has also designated a drop-off point for rideshare drivers at the intersection of S. 12th Street and S. Hayes Street.

Participants in wheelchairs and “Wounded Warriors” will start the race at 7:50 a.m., with subsequent waves of runners following soon afterward.

Organizers expect to attract as many as 35,000 participants and 900 teams. Full details on the new course and other logistics are available on the race’s website.

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Morning Notes

Pentagon Ricin Case Update — “Letters sent to the White House and the Pentagon did not contain a finished form of ricin, law enforcement officials said Wednesday, but did contain a primitive form or precursor… A man was arrested in Logan, Utah, on Wednesday in connection with [the] suspicious letters.” [NBC News, NBC News]

Candidates Call for Speedier Lee Highway Planning — “Indications are pointing to redevelopment of significant portions of the Lee Highway corridor through Arlington beginning to gather steam. But is the Arlington County government going to be left behind as the process grinds on? The two candidates for County Board say the local government needs to get moving on its efforts to lead a comprehensive effort in helping plan the corridor’s future.” [InsideNova]

GMU ‘No Scooter Zone’ Nixed — George Mason University “recognizes the popularity of the scooters, so it is softening the message, [spokesman Buzz] McClain said. ‘I think the ‘no scooter zone’ sign got the attention of a lot of people, a little exclamatory. So we’re gonna tone down the messaging and say, ‘park the scooters over by the bikes,’ and that’s it.'” [NBC Washington]

Bistro 1521 Reviewed — Washington Post food critic Tim Carman gave a mostly positive review to Bistro 1521, the Filipino restaurant on N. Glebe Road in Ballston. [Washington Post]

Tonight: Family Film Showing in Clarendon — “Join Market Common Clarendon each Thursday in October starting at 6:30 p.m. for a FREE family-friendly movie on The Loop! Pre-movie fun begins at 4:30 with face painting and balloon twisting and free popcorn and candy from 6-8 p.m.” [ARLnow Events]

Teachers Endorse Kanninen, de Ferranti — The Arlington Education Association PAC has endorsed Democratic candidate Matt de Ferranti for Arlington County Board and incumbent Barbara Kanninen for School Board. The PAC represents Arlington teachers. [Twitter, Twitter, Arlington Education Association]

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Kickoff — “Project PEACE is hosting Kate Ranta, a local domestic and gun violence survivor… for a community conversation about sex, violence and the Arlington community. The event takes place [on] Thursday, October 4 [at] 6:30 p.m., at the Walter Reed Community Center.” [Press Release]

Arlington’s Pros and Cons Compared to Tysons — “‘Arlington has old office spaces with bad floor plans,’ said [GMU Professor Stephen] Fuller. ‘That’s sending people out to Tysons, which has newer office space… [But] when Amazon was looking at Northern Virginia, they were looking at Crystal City, not Tysons. Tysons just doesn’t offer lifestyle that they’re looking for.'” [Tysons Reporter]

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(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) At least two packages in a mail processing center at the Pentagon could contain the deadly poison ricin, according to news reports.

Department of Defense officials have told local and national news outlets that the packages were addressed to Defense Secretary James Mattis and Admiral John Richarson, but never made it inside the Pentagon itself. The mail center is located on the building’s campus, but not inside the Pentagon.

The FBI will take the lead in the investigation, officials told reporters. No word yet on how much of the poison was discovered, or if anyone came in contact with it.

File photo

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