Arlington, VA

Arlington National Cemetery is preparing to welcome thousands of volunteers tomorrow (Saturday) for its annual wreath removal event, and officials are urging participants to prepare for the big crowds.

Starting at 8 a.m., cemetery officials are expecting “traffic congestion and delays on nearby streets and at the cemetery’s entrances” for the “Wreaths Out” event, according to a news release.

Volunteers will be charged with disposing of the more than 245,000 wreaths distributed at headstones for the “Wreaths Across America” event last month.

“This is a special day where the wreaths placed at these hallowed grounds during the holiday season in remembrance and honor of our nation’s fallen service members and their families will be respectfully removed by volunteers,” Arlington National Cemetery Operations Director Micheal Migliara wrote in a statement. “We encourage volunteers to use all four entrances to access the cemetery which include Memorial Avenue, Ord and Weitzel gate, South gate and for DoD cardholders, the Old Post Chapel gate.”

Much like the wreath-laying event, the cemetery will block off all vehicle access to the grounds until 3 p.m. Saturday.

Family pass holders and volunteers with handicapped passes will be allowed to park in the ANC’s parking garage starting at 7 a.m., on a first-come, first-served basis. Anyone arriving by car should stay in their vehicle until the cemetery opens at 8 a.m.

People arriving via rideshare or taxi should plan on exiting somewhere adjacent to the Arlington Cemetery Metro stop. Officials also highly encourage people taking Metro to reach the event.

The cemetery also issued the following tips for volunteers:

  • Give vehicles and heavy equipment the right of way and let them pass in roadways.
  • Remove only WAA wreaths. Leave all other wreaths or decorations in place.
  • Place wreaths in dumpsters positioned throughout the cemetery and pack them tightly.
  • When dumpsters are filled, do not pile wreaths next to them. Carry wreaths to unfilled dumpsters.
  • Refrain from jumping or climbing on wreaths in dumpsters to compress them.

Flickr photos via Arlington National Cemetery

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(Updated at 11:35 a.m.) All lanes of the HOV span of the 14th Street Bridge are blocked by a serious crash.

Four vehicles are involved, one person is trapped in their vehicle and four people are injured, D.C. Fire and EMS said via Twitter. Of the four injuries, one is considered serious while the other three are considered minor.

Firefighters are currently working to free the person trapped in a vehicle.

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The eastbound lanes of Columbia Pike are currently blocked by a crash near the intersection with S. Four Mile Run Drive.

Airbags were deployed in the crash and medics are responding for report of non-life-threatening injuries.

Eastbound traffic is being diverted and is backing up before the crash scene. Drivers should avoid the area.

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A reported four-vehicle crash has completely blocked the HOV lanes of I-395 near Shirlington.

Police and firefighters are on scene, evaluating four people for possible injuries, according to scanner traffic.

Traffic cameras show northbound HOV traffic at a standstill past King Street.

Update at 12:20 p.m. — All lanes have reopened.

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The Arlington Memorial Bridge is now set for a second full shutdown next weekend, as the lengthy rehab work on the aging structure inches forward.

The National Park Service announced today (Tuesday) that the bridge will be completely closed to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians starting at 9 p.m. next Friday (Dec. 7) through 5 a.m. the following Monday (Dec. 10). The NPS commissioned a similar shutdown in late September, and says another could be on the way in January.

Workers recently reduced the bridge down to three traffic lanes from its original six to allow for construction work as part of a $227 million effort to shore up the Potomac River crossing. Planners believe the work is necessary to avoid a complete shutdown of the Memorial Bridge in the coming years, and they expect work to continue through 2021.

“We’re closing the bridge to keep everyone safe,” Acting NPS Superintendent Blanca Alvarez Stransky wrote in a statement. “We need your cooperation in observing these closures. If anyone enters the work area during the closure, it will increase the amount of time we need to complete the work.”

The NPS is advising anyone who normally relies on the bridge to seek alternate routes next weekend, and even suggesting that boaters “approach the bridge with caution and avoid the area near its center span.” According to a release, workers plan to use the shutdown as a chance to “install a temporary support structure under the middle arch of the bridge” and “begin to remove steel from the center span of the bridge.”

Once the closure is over, the NPS says the bridge will return to its current, three-lane traffic pattern, with one eastbound lane, one westbound lane and a reversible third lane to match the direction of rush hour traffic.

The park service expects that traffic pattern will last until construction is over, and is also warning of an additional “limited number of full bridge closures on weekends and occasional, short full closures of the bridge at night.”

Photo via @NPSjennyas

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A crash at the intersection of N. Pershing Drive and Route 50 is causing significant backups.

The crash was reported around 5:45 p.m. As of 6 p.m., all westbound lanes of Route 50 (Arlington Blvd) were blocked and traffic was backing up past Courthouse.

So far there have been no reports of serious injuries.

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Metro is planning a full Yellow Line shutdown starting next week, and is warning riders of hefty delays along the Blue Line the two-week-long construction work.

The rail service hoping to complete major renovation work on the Yellow Line bridge over the Potomac River, prompting the closure. In all, the work will run from Nov. 26 through Dec. 9.

“During rush hour, trains will run about half as frequently as usual, due to capacity limits at the Rosslyn tunnel,” Metro wrote in a release. “Customers may experience crowding.”

Blue Line trains will run every 16 minutes on weekdays through 8 p.m., then switch to 20-minute headways. Riders can also expect 16-20 minute headways on weekends.

The transit agency will offer free shuttle bus service to compensate for the shutdown, including:

  • Between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon and between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza from opening until 8 p.m.
  • Between Franconia-Springfield and L’Enfant Plaza and between Crystal City and L’Enfant Plaza, rush hour only.

Metro is urging riders to consider Virginia Railway Express service between Franconia-Springfield, Crystal City or King Street to L’Enfant Plaza or Union Station, or local bus options instead.

The shutdown will also coincide with a weekend shutdown of five Green Line stations from Dec. 1-2, when the Navy Yard, Waterfront and Archives stations will be closed, along with the Yellow and Green Line platforms only at Gallery Place-Chinatown and L’Enfant Plaza.

This construction is Metro’s last planned major construction work of the year, and comes on the heels of a Veteran’s Day shutdown on the Blue and Yellow lines that prompted huge traffic woes for travelers hoping to reach Reagan National Airport.

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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The westbound lanes of Lee Highway near N. Oak Street in Rosslyn are now closed, after a traffic light collapsed and fell on the roadway.

County police have now set up a detour in the area and are advising drivers to follow posted signs around the section of the road.

The road was first closed around 10:30 a.m.

Photo via @ArlingtonVAPD

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Heads up if you’re heading home to Arlington via the Key Bridge tonight — a vehicle fire has closed both lanes heading out of D.C.

D.C. police say some traffic is still flowing into the city, but are otherwise warning of big back-ups heading toward Rosslyn.

Police added that the fire has been put out. No word yet on when the lanes will reopen.

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Expect some major traffic backups on I-395 starting this weekend, due to construction work set to run from Springfield through the D.C. line.

Starting tonight, two general purpose lanes will close on the highway from Friday nights through Monday mornings every weekend through Aug. 26.

The construction will mainly include the rehabilitation of bridges on the highway, including the bridge over Four Mile Run, as workers build an eight-mile extension of the I-395 toll lanes from Edsall Road near Springfield to S. Eads Street near the Pentagon.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says closures will alternate between the highway’s northbound and southbound lanes as work progresses, and two general purpose lanes will remain open in each direction during “peak-travel daytime hours.”

VDOT also plans to make the highway’s HOV lanes available to all travelers starting at the entrance just north of Edsall Road to the D.C. line, running in the same direction as construction occurring at the time. Officials are advising drivers heading past the Pentagon to D.C. or south of Springfield to use those lanes, while local drivers should use the general purpose lanes.

The 395 work is also causing some traffic headaches on local roads near the Pentagon’s south parking lots. VDOT is aiming to have the extended express lanes open by the fall of 2019, and the whole project wrapped up by 2020.

Photo via VDOT

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Watch out for some delays along the S. Washington Blvd bridge near the Pentagon tonight (Thursday).

The Virginia Department of Transportation says workers will be shifting the two westbound lanes to left, closer to the middle of the road, from about 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. They’re advising drivers to avoid the area, near the Pentagon’s north parking lots, or prepare to encounter some backups.

VDOT adds that the shift is to “allow for railing and pedestrian fence installation along the west side of the bridge deck,” as work on the renovation project nears its end. Construction has been ongoing since 2015, and VDOT hopes to have it wrapped up by sometime this fall.

The County Board recently asked state officials for permission to name the newly renovated bridge “Arlington Veterans Bridge.”

Photo via VDOT

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