Press Club
Pothole on Lorcom Lane in 2014 (file photo)

March: when it can be nearly 80 degrees one day and under 40 degrees the next. And in Arlington, the month marks the start of pothole filling and street repaving season.

There are 1,059 lane miles of roadway in Arlington County, and every March, the Arlington Department of Environmental Services launches its effort to fill in potholes caused by winter freezes and repave about 7-8% of roads.

The 2022 repaving season is kicking off with fewer pothole service requests while DES aims to repave 74 lane miles of road, spokesman Peter Golkin tells ARLnow.

This goal is about on-pace with the number of miles the department has repaved in recent years, according to data from DES.

But first, crews are attending to the potholes. Street repaving will begin later this month.

“March is generally the unofficial start of the pothole filling season as winter storm weather recedes and staff can focus on road conditions rather than storm response,” Golkin said.

So far, county crews have filled 462 potholes, of which 360 were filled in February, he says. Meanwhile, there have been about 254 pothole service requests filed by residents since Jan. 1, according to data from the county.

The number of potholes on local roads has generally declined over the last five years due in part to milder winters, compared to the colder, harsher winters in years past that caused thousands of potholes. The winter of 2019 broke that downward trend with more than 5,100 potholes, however.

“2019 stands out for a 10-inch snow event and about a dozen events total whereas the past couple of years have been much milder,” Golkin said.

This year also saw a few winter storms and extended bouts of freezing temperatures, which precipitated hundreds of water main breaks in Arlington. But the “historically snowy January” gave way to a mild February and — overall — a milder than normal winter for the sixth time in the past seven years, according to the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.

Total potholes filled annually from 2017 through 2021

But potholes are not just declining because of weather, says the county’s sewers and streets bureau spokesman. Another factor is the county’s stepped-up repaving schedule over the last eight years.

“As the County invests more in paving and the overall street Pavement Condition Index (PCI) increases, the overall number of pothole fill requests trend downward,” Golkin said.

The index increased from a low of 67 out of 100 in 2014 — the result of years of anemic repaving rates — to 80.2 in 2020. Arlington achieved this lift after tripling the number of annual road miles paved.

Now, the county aims to repave 72 to 75 lane miles every year in order to maintain a score between 75 and 80, per the adopted 2021-22 fiscal year budget.

Miles of streets planned for repaving versus repaved, since 2019

Road users can expect this work to start later this month and to continue through early fall.

“Paving season traditionally runs from the end of March to the end of September, but weather and contractor availability can push things back,” Golkin said. “A segment of planned paving may be shifted to another year for various reasons including nearby new utility work or a construction project nearby that’s fallen behind schedule.”

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Morning Notes

Runners at Washington-Liberty High School in the mist and fog (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

APS Test-to-Stay Date Set — “Arlington County Public Schools, in Virginia, is planning to launch its test-to-stay program Feb. 14, a school spokesman said. The coronavirus testing will initially be offered to students only, for free, at Syphax Education Center from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on school days.” [WTOP]

Police Probe Particularly Problematic Pothole — “Scanner: Police responding to intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Sycamore Street in East Falls Church for multiple reports of a large pothole damaging passing cars.” [Twitter]

Another Guy Arrested With Gun at DCA — “A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer stopped a West Virginia man from bringing a loaded handgun onto a flight leaving from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) early Tuesday morning, according to a TSA release. The TSA officer detected the .40 caliber gun while searching the Bunker Hill, West Virginia man’s carry-on items at a DCA checkpoint.” [Patch]

ART Performance Is Best in Region — From MetroHero: “Our January 2022 regional bus performance reports are now live! ART: B. DASH: B-. Fairfax Connector: B-. MTA Local Bus: C. Metrobus: C-. Ride On: D+.” [Twitter]

Marymount to Host National Event — “Marymount University has been selected by the Center for Excellence in Education to host the national finals of the 2022 USA Biolympiad, to be held on campus May 28 to June 9. The USA Biolympiad is the nation’s largest cost-free biology-education testing and training program for high-school students in the U.S.” [Sun Gazette]

Photos: Church’s Lunar New Year Celebration — “Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated Mass in honor of the Vietnamese New Year at Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Church in Arlington Jan. 30. Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, is celebrated Feb. 1 this year. Following Mass, Bishop Burbidge blessed a shrine to Our Lady of La Vang in a courtyard outside Holy Martyrs.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]

It’s Groundhog Day — Patchy fog today before 8 a.m. Otherwise, Groundhog Day will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 46. Sunrise at 7:12 a.m. and sunset at 5:31 p.m. Rain likely Thursday, mainly before 1 p.m. Otherwise cloudy, with a high near 56. [Weather.gov]

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Over the course of a typical winter, Arlington County crews fill thousands of potholes on local roads.

The winter of 2019-2020 is not typical, however. Crews have thus far only filled 455 potholes around the county’s 26 square miles, as the unusually mild winter has resulted and far less of the thawing and refreezing that’s responsible for pothole formation.

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services, which is responsible for road paving and maintenance, tweeted about the lack of potholes yesterday.

“Needless to say, Arlington roads are in better-than-usual shape for March because of the minimal effects of this winter,” DES spokesman Peter Golkin tells ARLnow. “We still have more than two weeks to go until official spring so perhaps we’re jinxing things. Snow is obviously possible in March and storms have happened even in April.”

“To keep things in perspective, we generally mobilize for 18 to 20 snow events per season,” Golkin continued. “So far we’ve prepared for four. Definitely beats a blizzard if you have to choose. When crews don’t need to fill potholes, they can take care of other road issues ahead of long-term paving.”

Paving season in Arlington is expected to start at the end of March and run into November.

“Weather-permitting, many streets will have that new surface smell soon,” said Golkin.

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Morning Notes

Extra Brush Pickups in Arlington — “Because of recent weather events, the County has added extra brush pickups this week. Schedule a collection online.” [Twitter]

Clement Endorses Stamos — “Arlington County Board candidate Audrey Clement won’t be on the ballot until November, but she has weighed in with a ringing endorsement of incumbent Theo Stamos in the June 11 Democratic primary for commonwealth’s attorney.” [InsideNova]

Deep Pothole in Ballston — Beware of “a small — but deep — pothole at the intersection of Wilson and Randolph in Ballston.” [Twitter]

Arlington Man Wins Big Lottery Prize — “An Arlington man is now $100,000 richer after buying a Virginia Lottery ticket at a local convenience store. Robert Hilleary, a produce clerk, purchased two 10X The Money tickets at Glebe Market located at 300 N. Glebe Road.” [Patch]

Best Business Award Winners — Last week the Arlington Chamber of Commerce recognized the 2019 winners of its Arlington Best Business Awards: Dalton Digital, Pentagon Mixed Martial Arts, Bayou Bakery, Hungry Marketplace, Signature Theatre and Arlington Community Federal Credit Union. [Arlington Chamber]

Ode to Arlington’s Environmental Assessment Process — “Regulation 4.4 establishes an admirable ideal — a careful and highly-public process to ensure that civic projects are designed to identify and mitigate potential adverse environmental effects.  Though under-resourced, unevenly applied, and frequently honored only in the breach, the Regulation does reinforce and flesh out Arlington’s long commitment to both environmental sustainability and project planning.” [Blue Virginia]

Starr Hill Comes to DCA — Virginia’s Starr Hill Brewery has opened a new bar at Reagan National Airport, replacing the former Sam & Harry’s. The bar is located “near the Terminal C checkpoint pre-security.” [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Morning Notes

Memorial Bridge Potholes — Large potholes made for dangerous driving on the under-construction Memorial Bridge over the weekend, but crews started repairing the bridge’s pockmarked surface Tuesday. [Twitter, Twitter]

Poke Restaurant Coming to Ballston — Local restaurant Poke It Up is expanding with a second location. The restaurant, which first opened in the Pentagon City mall food court, is now planning to open this summer at 4401 N. Fairfax Drive in Ballston, next to a new soup shop, Zoup. [Eater]

Shutdown Costing Local Economy Big Bucks — “About $119.2 million per day is removed from the gross regional product each day the shutdown drags on, according to local economist Stephen Fuller, thanks to lost pay of federal workers, contractors and suppliers and the multiplied economic effects of their lost spending. That daily hit… drops to $46.4 million per day once federal workers are ultimately repaid their lost wages.” [Washington Business Journal]

Overturned Vehicle in Crystal City — A driver managed to flip his or her vehicle in a crash last night on 18th Street S., near the Crystal City Metro station. [Twitter]

Board Set to Endorse VRE Funding — “Arlington County Board members on Jan. 26 are expected to endorse a request by Virginia Railway Express (VRE) for state funding to support construction of a new Crystal City station. The transit agency will seek grant funding from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, which if approved could cover up to 70 percent of the cost of construction. VRE will fund the rest.” [InsideNova]

Changes to State Inspection Stickers — “The stickers are smaller, in response to complaints that the new sticker placement on the bottom left of the windshield, which started in 2018, resulted in reduced visibility for drivers.” [Tysons Reporter]

Nearby: Alexandria Warns About Opioids — “The City of Alexandria has responded to four suspected opioid overdoses in the last 72 hours, including two fatalities. While recreational use of opioids is always dangerous and illegal, City officials are urging residents to be aware of the medical safety of the drugs, including heroin, that could be extremely concentrated or mixed with something unusual that is resulting in life-threatening situations.” [City of Alexandria]

Flickr pool photo by Eschweik

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Morning Notes

ATS Parents Peeved About Overcrowding — Arlington Traditional School parents are protesting the addition of classes and relocatable classrooms to the already-overcrowded school. [Arlington Connection]

Alliterative Pothole Patching Update — Via Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “Punctilious, present pothole people have plugged 500-plus problems post-2017 but prefer a plethora for practice. Please provide. http://topics.arlingtonva.us/reportproblem or call 703-228-6570.” [Twitter]

AIM Petition Nearing 1,000 Signatures — More than 900 people have signed a petition calling on the County Board to nix the proposed 20 percent cut in funding for Arlington Independent Media. “The proposed Arlington County FY ’19 budget would be catastrophic for AIM,” the petition says. [Change.org]

Arlington Ranks No. 2 in Virginia ‘Healthiest’ List — Arlington is second only to Loudoun on a list of the healthiest counties in Virginia, compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. [WTOP]

Capitol City Files for Bankruptcy — Shortly after closing its Shirlington brewpub, Capitol City Brewing Co. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Owner David von Storch says he intends to keep Cap City’s downtown D.C. location open, serving its four core in-house beers, which will now be brewed by a contract brewery, as well as local craft brews. [Washington Business Journal]

Kaine to Talk Guns at Wakefield HS — Via press release: “On Friday, March 16, Senator Tim Kaine will hold a classroom conversation on gun violence and school safety with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington. Kaine will hear students’ perspectives on how policymakers should address this issue and which solutions they would like to see implemented to keep schools safer.”

Photo courtesy @thelastfc

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(Updated at 10:30 a.m.) It is pothole season in Arlington and crews have been busy repairing road issues around the county.

One way the county knows which potholes to repair is via residents submitting pothole reports on the county’s website. Between Feb. 13-20, 66 potholes were reported online, according to a list on the site.

As of the closing business day Tuesday, 19 potholes have been fixed or cleared by crews and another 47 are awaiting review and repair.

The cold but relatively snowless winter has not produced a bumper crop of potholes thus far, especially compared to 2015 when Arlington crews repaired a record-breaking 12,100 potholes across the county’s 26 square miles.

VDOT, it should be noted, is responsible for some of the major roads in Arlington.

The list of potholes submitted within the last week, after the jump.

Read More

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Arlington paved 89.4 lane miles of roadway in 2016, keeping up a pace that’s triple the rate seven years ago.

The county has been playing catch-up since anemic paving rates caused roads to deteriorate to an average Pavement Condition Index grade of 68.9 out of 100 in 2012.

In a 2016 year-in-review video, above, Arlington Water, Sewer and Streets Bureau Chief Harry Wang says his crews paved 9.2 percent of Arlington’s 974 lane miles of county-maintained roadway. Also last year, crews fixed some 7,300 potholes.

Despite relatively mild weather so far, pothole season is here and Wang said the county is “getting ready to stay on top of what’s being damaged by this winter.”

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A VDOT pothole crew blocks traffic on the ramp from Washington Blvd to Route 50 for about 10 minutes on 3/8/16

We’re in the midst of the pothole season — that bumpy time on local roads as the spring thaw starts and asphalt pockmarks form.

Arlington County says its crews have filled 2,440 potholes this season, a relatively low number compared to last year’s record-setting 12,100 potholes following a rough winter.

In a press release (below), the county is encouraging residents to report potholes to county crews or to VDOT (if on a state route like Washington Blvd or Route 50).

They’re not here to save the world but the County’s Pothole Busters are out to prevent some haunting damage to tires, rims and maybe even your car’s pricey suspension.

If there’s a growing rut in your neighborhood, pick up the phone and call the Department of Environmental Services’ (DES) customer care center at 703-228-6570 (after hours, use 703-228-6555) to report the offender. Or complete the County’s online “Report a Problem” form.

Issues related to state routes such as Washington Boulevard are forwarded to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

With the arrival of warm weather, DES Pothole Buster crews have ramped up repairs along Arlington’s 974 lane miles of roads. Some 2,440 potholes have been filled so far this season. Last year the County patched a record-setting 12,100 dips and depressions.

In the words of Pothole Buster deputy director of operations Mike Moon, the goal is for all our streets to be “safe, smooth and durable” after a blizzard’s worth of harm.

Motorists can help by staying cautious and alert as additional trucks and crews are out repairing what at times may look like a supernatural asphalt assault.

For updates on Pothole Busters progress, follow @ArlingtonDES on Facebook and Twitter and look for the hashtag #PotholeBusters.

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Cars stopped along northbound Route 110 with flat tires caused by a large potholeA really big pothole caused big trouble for drivers along Route 110 near Rosslyn tonight.

The left lane of northbound Route 110 approaching Marshall Drive was shut down by Arlington County Police during the evening rush hour after nearly a dozen vehicles became disabled, blocking traffic with flat tires caused by what officers described as a “crater” in the road.

As of 7 p.m. the lane was still blocked and traffic was backed up almost to the Pentagon. VDOT crews were on scene making emergency repairs.

A local TV station was also on scene, interviewing the stranded motorists as they changed tires or awaited roadside service.

Update at 8:30 p.m. — The pothole has been repaired, at least temporarily, and the lane has reopened.

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Morning Notes

Puddle runner (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Shirlington Tree Lighting Rescheduled — Due to rain, the Shirlington tree lighting event scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled. The holiday event is now set for Monday, Dec. 7 from 6-8:30 p.m. [Facebook]

Yona Now Open in Ballston — New ramen restaurant Yona opened for lunch yesterday in Ballston, attracting a “packed house” for $15 bowls of ramen. The restaurant, at 4000 Wilson Blvd, plans to start serving dinner on Friday. [Yona, Twitter]

Pothole Attracts Attention of Pentagon Police — A pothole on a stretch of roadway near the Pentagon attracted the attention of security forces after at least three cars became disabled due to running over it. Pentagon police are sent to investigate any time a vehicle stops on the site of the highway in view of the building. In 2010 a man fired shots at the Pentagon from his car on the side of I-395. [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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