Arlington, VA

Detours start today along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail to allow for construction of a bridge over Lee Highway.

The trail will be closed between Little Falls Street and Lee Highway and is scheduled to remain closed until fall 2020, when the new bridge is scheduled to open, according to VDOT.

Pedestrians will be detoured north and turn right onto Fairfax Drive, while cyclists will be sent south to Jefferson Street, which does not have a sidewalk.

The new bridge over Lee Highway is planned to offer a safer crossing at a busy intersection for the over 2,000 people who use the trail in this area on peak days.

The W&OD isn’t the only trail facing closure soon. Starting May 6, the Custis Trail is scheduled to close at the I-66 underpass near Bon Air Park to allow for the construction of an additional I-66 East lane.

Trail users will be diverted to an existing pedestrian bridge to the east.

Like the W&OD closure, the Custis Trail closure is expected to last until fall 2020, at which point the trail will be shifted slightly south for visibility and safety improvements.

Both projects are part of VDOT’s Transform 66 project.

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Drivers heading northbound on I-395 should expect lane closures and periodic traffic stoppages tonight near Pentagon City.

The traffic impacts are due to a planned overhead sign installation.

By midnight, only one northbound lane is expected to remain open, causing delays for anyone heading in the direction of D.C.

More from a VDOT press release:

Motorists are advised that I-395 North will be reduced to one lane during overnight hours on Tuesday, April 16 near S. Washington Boulevard. Periodic traffic stoppages of up to 30 minutes will occur between Midnight and 4 a.m. These closures are needed for crews to install an overhead sign structure as part of the I-395 Express Lanes Northern Extension Project. Work is weather dependent.

Details are:

  • Beginning at 10 p.m. tonight, a single lane will close on I-395 North
  • Additional lanes will close at 11 p.m.
  • Intermittent traffic stoppages on the northbound lanes are scheduled to occur after Midnight
  • All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m.
  • As construction progresses this spring and summer, motorists should expect single lane closures on the I-395 HOV lanes weekdays between the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and closures on the general purpose lanes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The 395 Express Lanes, which involve extending the current express lanes eight miles north to the D.C. line, are scheduled to open this fall. Learn how Express Lanes work and how to get an E-ZPass at www.ExpressLanes.com.

The 395 Express Lanes are a public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Transurban. See more details on the project and related lane closures.

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(Updated at 11:40 p.m.) The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) says it intends to replace deteriorating sound walls along I-66 in Arlington.

The sound wall replacement is part of the larger project to expand the highway, a spokeswoman told ARLnow Thursday.

“If your community has a noise wall today, it will have one in the future,” VDOT’s website says. “Existing dilapidated noise walls within the project limits will be replaced with new noise walls.”

A January study on estimated noise impact noted that at least three of segments of “the existing metal noise barriers are in a state of ‘disrepair.'”

Communities affected by widening of I-66 eastbound between Exist 67 and 71 were mailed ballots in February to vote on the sound walls, according to VDOT’s website on the project.

Spokeswoman Michelle Holland told ARLnow that the ballots were sent to neighbors who would receive a new wall, not a replacement. Holland said that voting process  is still “underway.”

More than 50 percent of the respondents were needed to approve the sound walls.

Construction of the noise walls is expected to start this summer and continue until next fall, according to a presentation for neighborhoods.

The County Board approved the sound walls in February, including a plan to build a connection from Custis Trail onto the N. Harrison Street bridge in Bluemont after officials acknowledged sound walls would block off the trail.

Photo via VDOT

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Update at 12:30 p.m. — The National Weather Service reports 3.3 inches of snow accumulation in Ballston as of about 12:20 p.m.

Earlier: It’s a winter wonderland out there, but most roads remain passable.

Traffic is light around Arlington, with schools, the federal government and all county facilities like community centers closed. But with 2 inches of snow on the ground as of 8:30 a.m., no major crashes or problems have been reported on the county’s mostly snow-covered roads.

Residential trash and recycling collection has been cancelled for the day and will resume Thursday, delayed by a day for the rest of the week.

Metro is operating under its severe snow service plan for buses, and as is Arlington Transit. Metro trains are running every 12 minutes.

VDOT is still urging drivers to stay inside today, with snow changing to sleet, freezing rain and then just rain this afternoon.

“Drivers are asked to avoid travel for safety today as a winter storm moves through the region with a range of precipitation,” VDOT said. “Pockets of heavier snow may limit visibility and stick to the pavement, and a mix of freezing rain may quickly make roads slick.”

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Update at 10 p.m. — Snow is falling across Arlington. The federal government is opening on a two hour delay, OPM announced. Arlington County government is currently planning to open on time.

Update at 6:50 p.m. — Arlington Public Schools is planning to open on a two hour delay Monday due to “possible icing conditions.”

Earlier: A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect Sunday night and Monday morning, with a combination of snow, sleet and rain expected to fall overnight in Arlington.

The Virginia Dept. of Transportation cautions that Monday morning’s commute may be challenging.

“VDOT asks that drivers be alert to a potential mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain to impact roads,” the agency said Sunday afternoon. “Crews have brined roads which will assist at the onset of the storm, but drivers are asked to prepare now for impacts to the morning rush hour. Crews will stage along roads beginning this afternoon.”

More on the advisory, from the National Weather Service:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST MONDAY… * WHAT…SNOW, SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO ONE INCH AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF LESS THAN A TENTH OF AN INCH EXPECTED. * WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALONG WITH PORTIONS OF CENTRAL MARYLAND, CENTRAL, NORTHERN AND WESTERN VIRGINIA AND EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA. * WHEN…FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST MONDAY. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS WILL IMPACT THE MONDAY MORNING COMMUTE. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW, SLEET OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. EXPECT SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES, AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING. WHEN VENTURING OUTSIDE, WATCH YOUR FIRST FEW STEPS TAKEN ON STEPS, SIDEWALKS, AND DRIVEWAYS, WHICH COULD BE ICY AND SLIPPERY, INCREASING YOUR RISK OF A FALL. THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1. &&

File photo

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(Updated at 8:15 a.m.) Arlington public schools are opening on a two-hour delay Wednesday, due to expected icy conditions.

APS announced the delay Tuesday night “based on the current weather forecast and conditions,” leaving open the possibility that worse-than-expected road conditions Wednesday could prompt a cancellation. Fairfax County Public Schools announced earlier that its schools would be closed tomorrow.

Wednesday morning, APS affirmed the two-hour delay decision.

The federal government, meanwhile, will open on a three-hour delay.

Authorities are asking anyone driving overnight and in the morning to take extra precautions due to the likelihood of dropping temperatures turning wet roads into icy hazards. Around Arlington Wednesday, there were some reports of black ice, particularly on local roads.

“VDOT asks that drivers be aware of weather and road conditions prior to making decisions to travel tonight and Wednesday morning,” said VDOT’s Northern Virginia office, in a press release. “Plan for the potential need to delay commutes Wednesday morning, as low temperatures overnight will freeze precipitation and create potential hazardous conditions.”

At least one significant crash was reported Tuesday night — a multi-vehicle wreck on I-395 near the Pentagon — but it’s unclear if weather was a factor.

As if the deep freeze wasn’t bad enough, the National Weather Service issued a Wind Advisory Tuesday night.

…WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM TO 6 PM EST WEDNESDAY…

The National Weather Service in Baltimore MD/Washington has issued a Wind Advisory, which is in effect from 9 AM to 6 PM EST Wednesday.

* TIMING…Mid-morning through late afternoon Wednesday.

* WINDS…West 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.

* IMPACTS…Strong winds may blow down limbs, trees, and power lines. Scattered power outages are expected.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Wind Advisory means that winds of 45 to 55 mph are expected. Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.

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(Updated at 3:35 p.m) After a controversial on-time start that led to a treacherous morning on local roads and sidewalks, Arlington Public Schools is not taking any chances tonight.

Both parents and school bus drivers had trouble getting to school this morning on the roads. According to an APS spokesman, 12 out of around 160 school buses became stuck due to slippery road conditions, and one bus was involved in a “very minor” crash. The spokesman did not have an exact tally of how many buses were late arriving to school

“Our drivers are instructed to drive slow and take all precautions when driving,” said Frank Bellavia.

Following the morning mess, APS canceled all after school and evening activities. The school system announced the cancellations in a tweet just after 1:30 p.m.

 

Marymount University, meanwhile, is also closing early because of the weather.

While most of the frozen precipitation is over for Arlington, there are still a number of concerns for this evening, including remaining snow on local roads and a possible re-freeze overnight.

More from VDOT:

A mixed bag of precipitation is affecting much of the Commonwealth Thursday, and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are responding to adverse road conditions where needed. Snow, sleet, and heavy rain are expected across Virginia through the afternoon and overnight hours.

Some portions of Virginia are experiencing the first taste of winter in the 2018-2019 season. In affected regions, VDOT crews are deployed to treat roads to melt icy areas. Icy conditions could cause downed trees and debris in roadways. Travelers should exercise caution during the afternoon rush hour and overnight, as road conditions may be wet and slushy.

Portions of the state are experiencing heavy rain. Crews are monitoring road conditions and responding to reports of high water and debris in roadways.

Motorists are encouraged to closely monitor travel conditions in local areas and adjust travel as needed. In wet and icy conditions, allow extra time to reach destinations, lower speed and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

Another concern: the potential for flooding as a result of melting snow and heavy rain. Arlington and much of the rest of the region is currently under a Flood Watch.

From the National Weather Service:

…FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING… THE FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES FOR * PORTIONS OF MARYLAND, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND VIRGINIA, INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS, IN MARYLAND, ANNE ARUNDEL, CALVERT, CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST HOWARD, CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST MONTGOMERY, CHARLES, PRINCE GEORGES, SOUTHEAST HARFORD, SOUTHERN BALTIMORE, AND ST. MARYS. THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IN VIRGINIA, ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA, FAIRFAX, KING GEORGE, PRINCE WILLIAM/MANASSAS/MANASSAS PARK, SPOTSYLVANIA, AND STAFFORD. * THROUGH THIS EVENING * A PERIOD OF MODERATELY HEAVY RAIN IS EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. ONE AND A HALF TO TWO INCHES OF RAIN IS EXPECTED WITH ISOLATED HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. THIS MAY LEAD TO FLOODING OF AREA CREEKS AND STREAMS AS WELL AS IN URBAN AND POOR DRAINAGE AREAS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP. &&

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State transportation officials have firmed up their plans for a new bike and pedestrian bridge over Lee Highway in East Falls Church, putting the project on track for construction to kick off next spring.

VDOT unveiled final designs for the planned Washington & Old Dominion Trail bridge at a community meeting last Thursday (Oct. 11), sketching out more details on the bridge that is designed to offer a safer alternative to the trail’s current crossing at the highway’s intersection with Fairfax Drive.

The bridge’s design is largely unchanged from plans that VDOT showed off last summer. Some of the biggest changes include the removal of a barrier with streetlights running down the middle of the bridge and a change to the “piers” holding up the bridge — they now include open space in the middle of their “v” shape.

Officials initially proposed a design for the bridge that featured a trussed roof and red paint, yet some neighbors objected to those features, as well as the bridge’s potential to disrupt long-range plans for the area’s transportation networks.

Planners ultimately changed the bridge’s color and removed the roof, and even agreed to tweak the lighting features on the bridge too. Instead of a barrier lined by street lights, the bridge will now include lighting underneath the v-shaped posts running along its sides.

VDOT also detailed potential traffic disruptions prompted by the bridge’s construction at the meeting. Officials expect that there will be temporary closures on Lee Highway as the bridge’s beams and girders are put in place, and they expect that the fire lane on Fairfax Drive will be closed as construction continues. The W&OD Trail will also be realigned temporarily to allow for the construction, and could also see some temporary closures.

Planners are tentatively hoping to begin work on the bridge early next year, then wrap it up by the fall of 2020. The work will also move in tandem with the I-66 eastbound widening project, which VDOT also hopes to complete in late 2020.

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Transportation planners will soon unveil the final design of a new bike and pedestrian bridge stretching over Lee Highway in East Falls Church.

VDOT plans to show off the finalized schematics for the Washington & Old Dominion Trail bridge at a community meeting next month, capping off a design process that drew plenty of flak from neighbors last year. The new bridge, which is being built as part of widening work on I-66 eastbound in the area, is designed to replace the trail’s current crossing at the highway’s intersection with Fairfax Drive and offer a safer environment for walkers and cyclists.

Officials had initially proposed a design for the bridge that featured a trussed roof and red paint, yet neighbors objected to those features, as well as the bridge’s potential to disrupt long-range plans for the area’s transportation networks.

But VDOT has since tweaked its design to address the most controversial features, proposing a bridge that’s gray in color without a trussed roof, in a bid to address some of those concerns. Even still, some questions about noise walls and public art lingered during a meeting on the project last year.

Planners will look to address those worries and more at an Oct. 11 meeting at Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Blvd) from 6:30-8:30 p.m., where they’ll deliver a presentation on “final design plans and aesthetic details.”

If all goes as planned, construction is set to start on the bridge by spring 2019 and run through fall 2020.

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The Virginia Department of Transportation is looking to “developers, planners, futurists, big data lovers and problem solvers” to help address the state’s biggest transportation questions.

Today (July 17) and tomorrow, participants in VDOT’s second SmarterRoads Hackathon and Idea Jam Series will gather at startup incubator 1776’s Crystal City campus. They will use VDOT’s open data sets and SmarterRoads portal to develop projects.

Last year’s event, held in Virginia Beach, produced a mobile app capable of providing real-time traffic signal information and a system to optimize road pavement schedules, among other concepts.

Winners receive cash prizes up to $1,000 and some successful entrants will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas at a future workshop.

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine will deliver a speech tomorrow afternoon, before the event wraps up with an awards ceremony at 4 p.m.

File photo

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Construction around one of the Pentagon’s parking lots kicking off this week could produce some big headaches for drivers and bus riders alike.

Starting this morning (Monday), work will shut down 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.

That will shift both northbound and southbound traffic to the east side of the street. In the mornings, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., that will cut off access to I-395’s northbound HOV lanes and Army Navy Drive from S. Rotary Road. Crews will post a detour and drivers should follow signs. In the same time period, access to northbound S. Eads Street from the right lane of S. Rotary Road will be reserved for anyone heading for I-395’s southbound HOV lanes.

Construction will include “median reconfiguration, road widening, pavement and drainage work,” according to VDOT, prompting some major traffic snarls.

“As current traffic volume along Eads Street is near capacity during peak periods, we expect significant traffic congestion and delays along Eads Street,” VDOT wrote in an advisory. “Periodic nighttime/weekend closures may also take place to complete the construction activities.”

VDOT is recommending that drivers looking to reach the I-395 HOV lanes during the construction to use the ramps near the Pentagon’s north parking lots at Boundary Channel Drive instead.

Arlington Transit is also warning bus riders looking to reach the Pentagon to expect “significant delays for ART buses entering and exiting” the facility’s lots. ART plans to issue service advisories as needed.

VDOT says work will shift to the east side of S. Eads Street sometime this fall, then last for an additional two months. The construction is included as part of the broader project focused on the I-395 express lanes.

Photo via VDOT

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