Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Police Nab Sex Assault Suspect — “Following a tip from a member of the public, the suspect has been identified as Wondimagegn Azemach, 19, of Riverdale, Maryland. He has been charged with Abduction with Intent to Defile and Sexual Battery.” [Arlington County]

Fire at Ambar in Clarendon — A small fire temporarily closed Ambar restaurant in Clarendon during prime brunching time on Saturday. [Twitter, Twitter]

Board Approves Va. Square Development — “The Arlington County Board today approved a plan to replace aging commercial buildings on the northwest corner of Washington Boulevard and Kirkwood Road, in the Ballston-Virginia Square neighborhood, with a seven-story apartment building that will include 16 affordable units and achieve LEED Silver energy efficiency.” [Arlington County]

GW Parkway Sinkhole Work Continues — “The repairs to a crumbling section of the George Washington Parkway between Turkey Run Park and the Capital Beltway are now expected to continue through most of the summer. The long-term repairs to a failed drainage inlet will keep at least one right lane on the parkway closed for 10 weeks once the contractor is ready for work, the National Park Service said Friday. Engineers have determined that a 60 year old brick drainage structure buried deep under the parkway needs to be replaced.” [WTOP, Press Release]

Fire Victim Identified — The person killed in an apartment fire in the Ashton Heights neighborhood last week “has been identified as Brian Green, 50, of Arlington. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.” [Arlington County]

Football Team Joins Arlington Chamber — “Welcome new member @Redskins! We are thrilled to have you as part of our membership at the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.” [Twitter]

County Kicks Off Census Effort — Arlington County and its Complete Count Committee (CCC) are gearing up for the 2020 Census – working toward the goal of counting every Arlingtonian… It’s not too early to get acquainted with the Census and what to expect next year.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Post-Amazon Real Estate Boom in N. Va. — “After an anemic first quarter, Northern Virginia’s home-sales market blossomed last month, with prices on the rise and sales at their highest April mark since the pre-recession boom of more than a decade ago.” [InsideNova]

Northbound GW Parkway Partially Reopens — “One of two northbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway reopened Tuesday after a 10-foot-deep sinkhole appeared in the road Friday. But officials warned that future lane closures are planned on both sides of the parkway as long-term repairs continue.” [Washington Post]

More Endorsements for Stamos, Tafti — In the heated race for Commonwealth’s Attorney, incumbent Theo Stamos and Democratic primary challenger Parisa Dehghani-Tafti have picked up some new endorsements. Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur and former county treasurer Frank O’Leary have endorsed Stamos. School Board member Nancy Van Doren, meanwhile, has endorsed Tafti.

New Exhibit for Arlington Art Truck — Arlington County’s art truck is debuting a new work today with planned stops in Rosslyn and Clarendon. “In What’s Your Sign?, participants can select free, humorous signs about daily life, consumption and the environment by artist Paul Shortt, or make their own signs that re-think the spaces we encounter every day,” says a description of the project. [East City Art, Facebook]

Nearby: Bikeshare in Falls Church, Fairfax Co. — Capital Bikeshare has launched in the City of Falls Church with 10 new stations. Bikeshare is also planning new stations around the Tysons area in Fairfax County. [City of Falls Church, Tysons Reporter]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Update at 11:50 a.m. on 5/13/19 — Per the National Park Service: “Due to continued rain, the National Park Service now hopes to reopen one lane in time for the evening rush hour on Tuesday, May 14. If this schedule changes, we will share an update.”

Earlier: The northbound lanes of the GW Parkway are closed just north of Arlington due to a large sinkhole.

Sinkholes have been a recurring problem on the Parkway, with the most recent sinkhole-related closure happening in March.

The Parkway’s northbound lanes are currently closed from Route 123 in McLean to the Beltway, with traffic backing up prior to the detour onto 123. The National Park Service issued the following press release about the closure Friday night.

The U.S. Park Police and National Park Service have closed the northbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway from Virginia Route 123, Chain Bridge Road to I-495 the Capital Beltway. The closure began around 6:45 p.m. when a U.S. Park Police officer observed a sinkhole. The northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway will remain closed in that area as engineers and work crews fully assess and repair the road.  Southbound travel lanes remain open.

The National Park Service took this action to ensure public safety, and no accidents have been reported.  Staff have continued to monitor the parkway since March when a sinkhole developed in the same area next to Dead Run.

The George Washington Memorial Parkway is a critical link in the national capital region’s transportation network, and closing it is never a decision that is made lightly. Drivers should follow local news or visit www.nps.gov/GWMP for the latest information.

Map via Google Maps

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The left-hand lane of westbound Wilson Blvd is blocked at N. Nelson Street in Virginia Square due to a sinkhole in the roadway.

The sinkhole is relatively shallow, but large enough to cause concern of it deepening. Crews were on scene as of 10:30 a.m., investigating the cause of the roadway indentation.

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services encourages residents to report potholes and other road issues on its website.

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A small sinkhole seems to have opened in the parking lot of a Shirlington condo complex, snarling traffic in the neighborhood.

The hole, now several feet wide, is centered in a parking space near the 2900 block of S. Woodstock Street, where the Courtbridge I condominiums are located.

Elizabeth Hallman, who lives nearby, told ARLnow she first saw the sinkhole appear yesterday (Thursday), while a car was still parked in the space.

“At first, one of its back wheels started to dip down a little,” she said. “But just a little while later, it was really low, to the point where the front wheels were noticeably higher.”

She added that a “very skillful” tow truck driver was able to remove the car from the space a short time later.

As of this morning (Friday), crews were hard at work to patch up the hole. They’ve closed a section of S. Woodstock Street while those repairs continue.

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Following days of relentless rain, a series of sinkholes have opened up in front of a condo complex in Rosslyn.

The front driveway and lawn of the Atrium Condominiums, located at 1530 Key Blvd, are now marked by the large pits. Two holes several feet deep have opened up around some of the complex’s front lawn, and another has caused cobblestones to buckle leading up to its driveway in front of the main entrance.

Traffic cones currently block off the complex’s driveway, including parts of it unaffected by the pits.

A tipster told ARLnow that the sinkholes first appeared “many weeks ago” and have “gradually grown as more rain has come” over the last few days.

The complex’s management company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the severity of the sinkholes, or when they might be fixed.

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Emergency repairs to a 6-foot-deep sinkhole near the under-construction Ballston Quarter mall could cause traffic headaches today (Thursday).

The sinkhole opened suddenly yesterday near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, but was quickly covered ahead of repairs to allow cars to keep driving over it.

A contractor at the scene said the hole is about 3 feet wide and 6 feet deep.

To accommodate contractors’ vehicles and tools, the westbound right lane of Wilson Blvd and the parking lane are closed, while the eastbound left-turn lane at the intersection will be used as a westbound lane. With renovations to the former Ballston Common Mall on the other side of the street also closing lanes, it means Wilson Blvd will be down to one lane in each direction.

Originally, there had been plans to close one lane in each direction on N. Randolph Street too, but the contractor said that would no longer be the case.

Complicating matters in that area of Ballston will be the construction crew’s removal of a stoplight just outside the mall. The contractor on the sinkhole repairs warned that the two projects could combine to make traffic a little “hectic” in that section of Wilson Blvd.

Work on repairing the sinkhole is expected to be complete around 4 p.m.

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N. George Mason Drive (photo via Google Maps)The southbound lanes of a portion of N. George Mason Drive will be closed to traffic during the evening rush hour.

Southbound traffic is being detoured between Patrick Henry Drive and 20th Street, just south of Lee Highway, according to the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services. The closure is due to emergency water main repairs, said an Arlington Alert email.

“Seek alternate routes,” DES said via Twitter.

Separately, Marshall Drive remains closed tonight near the Iwo Jima Memorial due to a sinkhole reported this morning. Repairs to the roadway are still underway, according to scanner traffic.

Photo (top) via Google Maps

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Arlington County plans to make permanent repairs to a sinkhole on Williamsburg Blvd in the coming weeks.

The sinkhole first appeared in February due to a water main break which created a small geyser near the corner of Williamsburg Blvd and Sycamore Street.

The temporary repairs, now several months old, allowed the road to reopen but are not a permanent solution. A large indentation in the road is “still there and getting worse,” with some cars having to swerve onto the median to avoid the hazard, according to resident Joe Keeley.

Permanent patching is scheduled for the “trouble spot” sometime within the next two weeks, according to Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter.

Baxter said that the repairs in February were indeed temporary, and that final repairs had not taken place yet partially because hot mix asphalt — the material needed for permanent repairs — is not typically available in the winter months.

Instead, Baxter said that road crews used cold mix asphalt to perform temporary repairs and planned to return for final repairs when the weather warmed up.

In this case, Baxter said the road requires a full-depth repair, which involves installing a new sub-base layer of gravel and replacing both the base and top base layers of the road. Repairs are expected to cost approximately $3,500.

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A dog fell into a sinkhole that opened up right under its tiny feet in Rockwell Park on Wednesday, according to a witness.

The park, which sits at the intersection of N. Cleveland, Edgewood and 1st Streets, is popular for dog walking in the Lyon Park neighborhood. Resident Elsie Frasier told ARLnow.com that two days ago she and her husband “heard someone screaming” at the park from their adjacent house. Someone walking their dog said it had fallen into the hole.

“We initially thought she was talking about the storm sewer openings, and only later, when we went out to the park, did we find out that a sinkhole had opened up right under her dog while they were out for a walk,” Frasier told ARLnow.com in an email. “The dog was on a leash so she was able to haul it out herself.”

The dog was unhurt from the fall, Frasier said.

The sinkhole is right next to the Washington Blvd bike trail, and was caused by a sewer line break, according to Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. County water and sewer crews cordoned off the area Wednesday night and have been pumping water away from the line since then.

Repairs to the line have been delayed due to weather, Kalish said, but the pumping has prevented the line from leaking into the surrounding area. As of Friday afternoon, Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter said crews are now working on repairs.

“We have crews there actively repairing it,” Baxter said. “The area is secure and the leak is not causing backups. We do not have an estimated time of repair just yet.”

Another winter with persistent sub-freezing temperatures has led to breaking water and sewer lines all over the county. Along with those line breaks have come rapidly forming sinkholes: a large hole created a substantial hazard on Williamsburg Blvd early last month and a sinkhole formed and caused water and mud to flood nearby properties in north Arlington ten days ago.

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Sinkhole on Williamsburg Blvd (photo via ACPD)

(Updated at 11:00 a.m.) A sizable sinkhole has formed on Williamsburg Blvd due to a water main break.

The sinkhole is located in a crosswalk, in a southbound lane of Williamsburg Blvd just off of Sycamore Street and the Williamsburg Circle.

A photo tweeted by Arlington County Police shows a small geyser of water inside a deep crater in the roadway.

“We usually recommend using a crosswalk…but maybe not this one at Williamsburg & Sycamore Street,” the police department said via Twitter.

Drivers should expect limited access to Williamsburg Blvd near the sinkhole and a lengthy repair process, according to Arlington County. A second possible sinkhole was also reported this morning, near road work at Washington Blvd and N. Ohio Street.

Photo via ACPD

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