Arlington, VA

Roads are closed near the Pentagon City mall due to a suspicious package investigation.

The investigation is taking place at the intersection of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street S., which is also close to the Metro station entrance and the headquarters of the Transportation Security Administration.

Portions of Hayes Street and 12th Street are closed while the bomb squad investigates the suspicious object, according to scanner traffic, though as of 9:55 a.m. the “all clear” had been given and the package deemed non-hazardous. Roads are expected to reopen shortly.

The investigation comes amid heightened security at Arlington National Cemetery and elsewhere in the wake of the U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian general.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Labor Rule Violations Alleged at Temporary HQ2 Projects — “A union is charging that employers at six construction projects that will house Amazon employees or operations in Northern Virginia have evaded federal and state taxes by misclassifying workers, failing to carry workers’ compensation coverage and avoiding overtime pay.” [Washington Post]

Beyer Voting Yes on Impeachment — “The facts allow for no other interpretation: President Trump violated his oath of office to faithfully execute the laws. In order to cover up his offenses, he engaged in unprecedented obstruction of Congress’s oversight power and role as an equal branch of government.” [Press Release]

Voting Precinct Changes Planned — “Voters in two Arlington precincts will see their polling locations changed in 2020. Those in Overlee Knolls (Precinct 017) will move from the Reed School at 1644 North McKinley Road… Those in Rosslyn (Precinct 019) will move from 1911 Fort Myer Drive to the new H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program building.” [InsideNova]

How Arlington’s Streets Got Renamed — “If you harbor gripes that our county government gets too ambitious, consider an episode from the 1930s. In what probably ranks as the most disruptive Arlington project ever, our entire street grid was renamed.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Road Closures for Wreaths Across America — “The annual Wreaths Across America escort of handmade, balsam wreaths destined for Arlington National Cemetery will begin arriving in Arlington County on Friday… On Saturday, December 14th, several thousand volunteers will descend upon the Cemetery and help lay wreaths on every gravesite throughout the property beginning at 8 AM. The public can anticipate large crowds and heavy pedestrian traffic related to the event.” [Arlington County, YouTube]

Holiday Arts and Crafts Show in Crystal City This Weekend — “GRUMP is back for its 9th year, returning to The Shops at Crystal City at 2100 Crystal Drive. GRUMP Crystal City is where you can shop local from 50 exciting artists and makers and stop for a photo op with one of our many Yetis.” [Event Calendar]

Nearby: Police Warn of Abduction Attempt — “City of Falls Church Police are seeking a suspect in an attempted abduction… The suspect is wanted for questioning after he approached a juvenile outside of a grocery store and told the juvenile to leave with him. The suspect left when the juvenile’s mother returned.” [City of Falls Church]

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(Updated at 11:50 a.m.) Arlington County firefighters are on scene of a vehicle fire in Pentagon City, near the TSA and DEA headquarters and the front entrance to the mall.

A truck caught fire and was fully engulfed in flames, sending a column of dark smoke rising into the air — visible from nearby office buildings and I-395 — around 11 a.m., near the intersection of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street S.

The fire has been extinguished but Hayes Street is closed between Army Navy Drive and 12th Street S. Police are helping to direct traffic and preparing to reopen the southbound lanes of Hayes.

A video of the fire, taken from a nearby building, shows a small explosion as someone can be heard describing the fire — apparently to a 911 dispatcher — in the background. (Note: there is NSFW language in the video.)

More via social media:

Photo (top) via Arlington County Police Department. Video courtesy Christopher Chung.

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Morning Notes

Parents Protest APS Proposal — “School officials tasked with the perpetual jigsaw puzzle of reassigning school zones have stirred new tensions… If you drive McKinley Rd., you can’t miss the printed signs ‘SAVE MCKINLEY: Our Neighborhood School Since 1951.’ The Madison Manor Civic Association has revved up with nearby PTAs and community groups to assemble contrary arguments.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Tafti Pushes Back on AG Comments — From Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney-elect Parisa Dehghani-Tafti: “We are neither righteous warriors nor avenging angels. We are public servants. So a little humility in how we do our job and how we accept public critique of our work would go a long way toward building a system that is both safe and just.” [Twitter]

Free Holiday Grief Support Service — “For those who’ve suffered loss-whether recently, or even years prior-the holiday stress can make the season more difficult. To help those grieving in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia during the holidays, Capital Caring Health, a local non-profit, offers a wide range of free counseling and support services.” [Press Release, Arlington Public Library]

Special Burial at Arlington National — “Private Edwin Francis Benson was killed in action at Tarawa during World War II. In 2017, his remains were located. Earlier this year, his remains were identified and a couple weeks ago he was laid to rest in Section 60. We honor his service.” [Twitter]

APS Students Learn About the Census — “The U.S. Census Bureau kicked off its Statistics in Schools program, offering Arlington teachers and others a wide array of resources that teach students not only about data but also about the importance of being counted in the upcoming 2020 Census. Arlington Public Schools shared the free program with its teachers, who can integrate it into their lesson plans.” [Arlington County]

Road Closures for Race in Pentagon City — “The Jingle Bell Run/Walk 5K for Arthritis will take place on Saturday, December 7. Police will conduct road closures in the area of South Joyce Street and Army Navy Drive to accommodate this event.” [Arlington County, Twitter]

New Additions to Story Map — A number of properties have been added to the Arlington Historical Society’s Story Map, per organizer Charlie Clark, including: 817 N. Irving St. (Lyon Park), built circa 1904; Hendry House, 2411 N 24th St. (Woodmont), built circa 1900; 3405 N. Glebe Rd. (Country Club Hills), built circa 1907. [Arlington Historical Society]

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If fighting horrific traffic and crowds to see the National Christmas Tree Lighting tonight in D.C. isn’t your thing, there’s an Arlington alternative to consider.

The Village at Shirlington will be hosting its annual Light Up the Village event tonight, from 6-8:30 p.m. along Campbell Avenue.

The event will feature a tree lighting hosted by NBC 4’s Adam Tuss. Also on the agenda: “holiday musical performances by Signature Theatre and Bishop O’Connell High School, plus horse and carriage rides with a donation to Arlington Food Assistance Center, photos with Santa, merchant specials, and so much more.”

The schedule is as follows:

  • 6 p.m. — Musical performance by Signature Theatre’s cast of Motown Christmas
  • 6:30 p.m. — Tree lighting hosted by Adam Tuss
  • 6:40 p.m. — Horse and carriage rides
  • 7 p.m.    Photos with Santa (located inside Hardwood Artisans)

The event will also necessitate a number of road closures and parking restrictions. From Arlington County Police:

The annual Light Up the Village at Shirlington is being held on Thursday, December 5, 2019 from 6:00 PM until 8:30 PM.  Set up will begin at approximately 12:00 PM and cleanup should be completed by 9:00 PM.

The Arlington County Police Department will close the following roadways to all vehicular traffic to accommodate the event:

  • Campbell Avenue, from the Harris Teeter to S. Randolph Street — closed beginning at 12 PM
  • Campbell Avenue, from Arlington Mill Drive to S. Quincy Street — closed beginning at 4 PM
  • S. Randolph Street, from Arlington Mill Drive to the alley behind the businesses on the south side of Campbell Avenue — closed beginning at 4 PM

Additionally, vehicles will not be allowed to enter or exit the covered Harris Teeter parking structure onto Campbell Ave after 4 PM. Harris Teeter customers can access the parking garage via the alternate entrance behind the store.

Traffic is expected to be impacted in and around the immediate area. Motorists are advised to allot extra travel time and seek alternate routes to reduce road congestion. Attendees are encouraged to utilize multimodal and public transportation options to reduce vehicular congestion.

Street parking in the area will be restricted and motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.

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(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) A large tree has fallen and is completely blocking the intersection of Yorktown Blvd and N. George Mason Drive.

Police and firefighters are on the scene. The tree reportedly also brought down power lines at the intersection, which is just down the street from Yorktown High School.

Drivers should expect detours in the area while crews work to remove the tree from the roadway. Eastbound traffic on Yorktown Blvd is being diverted onto 28th Street N., near the high school, according to scanner traffic.

Pedestrian traffic from the high school may also be re-routed.

Separately, further down Yorktown Blvd from the fallen tree, Arlington County firefighters were on the scene of a possible gas leak at Nottingham Elementary as of 1:30 p.m. The school was evacuated while firefighters investigated a reported gas odor.

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The 14th annual Arlington Turkey Trot 5K returns tomorrow for the Thanksgiving holiday, prompting road closures.

The race will kick off at 8 a.m. at Christ Church of Arlington (3020 N. Pershing Drive) in Lyon Park. The church first organized the race in 2006.

This year, over 4,000 runners registered, selling out the race before online registration was scheduled to close.

All proceeds from the event benefit local charities like the Arlington Food Assistance Center and the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network.

“Over the course of 13 years, the Trot has generated nearly $800,000 to help Arlington County residents in need,” according to the race’s website.

The following roads will be closed from 6:30 a.m. until approximately 10 a.m., per a county press release:

  • Pershing Drive from Washington Blvd. to N. Glebe Road
  • N. Oxford Street from Pershing Drive to 5th Street N.
  • 5th Street N. from N. Nelson St. to N. Oxford Street
  • N. Nelson Street from Pershing Drive to 5th Street N.
  • N. Highland Street from Pershing Drive. to 9th Street N.
  • Washington Blvd. from 9th Street N. to Arlington Blvd. (eastbound lanes only)
  • N. Fillmore Street from Washington Blvd. to 3rd Street N.
  • 3rd Street N. from N. Fillmore Street to Washington Blvd.
  • N. Bedford Street from Arlington Blvd. to Brookside Dr.
  • N. Brookside Drive from N. Bedford Street to Washington Blvd.

Street parking will be restricted and temporary “no parking” signs will be placed along the route. All vehicles parked in violation of the signs will be ticketed and towed, according to Arlington County Police.

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Morning Notes

Advocates Pushing for Less Parking at HQ2 — “Amazon wants employees at its new Northern Virginia headquarters to commute car-free to work… So why does the development’s current design include an underground parking garage with nearly 2,000 spaces — guaranteeing that a significant chunk of Amazon’s workforce will drive to work?” [Greater Greater Washington]

Express Lanes Causing 14th Street Bridge Slowdown? — Some commuters have been taking to social media to gripe about what they say is heavier traffic caused by the I-395 Express Lanes: “This morning the express lanes made 395N regular lanes undriveable. The problem is they closed off the 14th street bridge hov to regular traffic, which is creating a tremendous clog point. Its now taking 30 mins just to cross the 14th street bridge.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Northam in Arlington Today — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is scheduled to attend the Governor’s Transportation Conference this morning at a hotel in Crystal City. [Cvent]

‘Feuerwehrmann’ Joins ACFD for Three Weeks — “Two Arlington County Fire Department crews had a unique opportunity recently when they welcomed a fellow firefighter from the Aachen Fire Department in Germany.  Lieutenant Sebastian Ganser, a firefighter, paramedic, and fire instructor in Arlington’s sister city of Aachen, Germany, spent three weeks with Station 5C in Crystal City and Station 2B in Ballston — living and working alongside Arlington’s firefighters and paramedics.” [Arlington County]

Long-Distance Runners Arriving in Arlington Soon — “Josh and Brian will be running roughly 500 miles from Massachusetts National Cemetery to Arlington National Cemetery in VA for your donations. This journey will take between 10-14 days averaging 40-50 miles per day. They will start on November 11th, 2019 (Veterans Day) and will only stop to eat and sleep until they make it to Arlington, VA.” [Mission 22]

Road Closures for Annual 5K — “The 5th annual Jennifer Bush-Lawson Memorial 5K Race will take place on Saturday, November 23, 2019. The Arlington County Police Department will implement several road closures from approximately 8:00 AM until 11:00 AM to accommodate this event.” [Arlington County]

Planetarium Boosters to Stay Active During Closure — “The Arlington school system’s lone planetarium will be closed for about a year and a half starting later this month, as construction takes place turning the nearby Arlington Education Center building into classroom space. But leaders with the Friends of Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium say they will fill the gap with programming elsewhere during the closure.” [InsideNova]

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A portion of Lee Highway in Rosslyn will be closed during the day this week for paving.

The southbound section of Lee Highway, adjacent to the Custis Trail between N. Lynn Street and Fort Myer Drive, is expected to be closed from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.

The work is part of the Lynn Street Esplanade and Custis Trail widening project.

More from a Virginia Dept. of Transportation press release:

Southbound Route 29 (Lee Highway) between North Lynn Street and Fort Myer Drive will be closed Wednesday, Nov. 20 and Thursday, Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day for paving as part of the Lynn Street Esplanade and Custis Trail Improvements project, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Traffic will be detoured via North Lynn Street and Fort Myer Drive back to southbound Route 29.

During the closures, traffic coming from the Key Bridge will still be able to proceed through the Fort Myer Drive/southbound Route 29 intersection. The Custis Trail will also remain open to bicyclists and pedestrians during the work.

A quarter-mile of a wider Custis Trail from North Lynn Street to North Oak Street opened to bicyclists and pedestrians in August. The overall Lynn Street Esplanade and Custis Trail Improvements project is scheduled for completion in spring 2020.

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Last week’s major water main break near Chain Bridge is not done disrupting traffic.

Arlington County crews are planning to close N. Glebe Road again tonight, between Military Road and Chain Bridge Road, for more repairs. The work is intended to “restore full water system capacity and redundancy following the large water main emergency of last Friday,” according to a press release.

The closure is expected to start “no earlier than 7 p.m.” tonight (Wednesday). The road is expected to reopen by Thursday night’s rush hour “barring complications.”

More from the county:

Throughout the work, northbound traffic on Route 123 will only be able to turn left onto Chain Bridge. Traffic crossing Chain Bridge from the District will have to turn right onto Route 123.

Within a few hours of the Friday break, crews were able to isolate and stabilize the break and restore pressure to the County’s drinking water system. This week’s work is required to repair the 36-inch transmission main segment, which was installed in 1944.

The repairs are not expected to have any impact on customers’ water service.

Permanent roadway infrastructure repairs including guard rail replacement and drainage improvements will be conducted in the coming weeks. These repairs will be scheduled to minimize traffic impacts.

Glebe Road is a state route but Arlington County’s Department of Environmental Services has taken the lead in repairs in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Meanwhile, the cold and changing temperatures have raised the specter of additional water main breaks. Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services is encouraging locals to call them if they suspect a water main break somewhere in the county.

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Update at 12:15 p.m. — N. Glebe Road has reopened but crews will need to return for follow up work “in a few days,” the county says. Photos posted earlier today show the sinkhole fixed and the roadway re-paved.

Update at 10:15 a.m. — The boil water advisory that much of Arlington has been under over the past couple of days is now lifted. Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services made the announcement Sunday morning.

Arlington County issued the following press release Sunday morning:

Arlington County has lifted the Boil Water Advisory.

Following the large water transmission main break on Nov. 8 at Glebe Road and Chain Bridge Road, residents and businesses in Arlington can resume using tap water for all purposes.

Water customers are advised to run their taps for a few minutes to release any air and sediment that may have accumulated following the break. Emptying and cleaning automatic ice makers and water chillers is also encouraged.

A series of rigorous tests have determined that the system is safe following the significant water main break early Friday, Nov. 8, that caused pressure drops in several locations across the County. Because of significant pressure loss before the 36-inch transmission line was bypassed, Arlington issued a Boil Water Advisory for affected areas of the County as a safety measure.

Tests identified no potentially threatening bacteria in the system as a result of the break, and samples met Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. The County consulted with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to ensure the water system is safe for public use.

Arlington County appreciates the patience and understanding of its residents, businesses and their customers as staff followed procedures that place public health and safety as the highest priority.

The incident also affected portions of the Arlington-linked DC Water system, which has also been deemed safe following tests.

The section of North Glebe Road damaged by the break near Chain Bridge is expected to reopen to traffic Sunday afternoon. Because of the complexity of the break, permanent repairs and restoration will continue later this week, depending on the weather.

Earlier: A large portion of Arlington County remains under a boil water advisory, as crews make progress with repairs following a large water main break near Chain Bridge.

The boil water advisory is in effect until at least Sunday, Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said Saturday morning.

N. Glebe Road, meanwhile, is still closed, but expected to open by Sunday evening — a shorter closure than the initial worst case scenario of extending into next week.

Among other neighborhoods, the boil water advisory is in effect along the Orange Line corridor from Rosslyn to Ballston. That has prompted changes at local stores and restaurants, from soda machines shut off to bottled water used to wash hands in bathrooms.

The CVS in Courthouse, meanwhile, ran out of most packs of bottled water on Saturday, the Washington Post reported, and Starbucks stores up and down Wilson Blvd are not serving hot coffee — leading some customers to get “a little nasty,” a manager told the Post.

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