Arlington, VA

(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) Drivers have been routinely cutting across northbound I-395 to access the HOV bridge into the District, causing traffic hazards on the normally busy highway.

During a pandemic and nationwide protests, it might not seem like a big deal, but it has been happening with surprising regularity.

Public safety watchdog Dave Statter has caught numerous drivers on video, risking life and limb to shave a few minutes from their drive. It happened over and over again on Saturday, when a crash backed up traffic in the main lanes.

Many drivers try to make the move while coming from the Crystal City area and southbound Route 110.

Earlier this month, Statter posted a video of an SUV driver blocking traffic and taking almost a minute to cross the three lanes of the highway to get to the slightly less backed up bridge. VDOT took note of the video on Twitter.

A Metrobus driver was spotted doing the same in February. Statter tells ARLnow that Metro told him they “immediately handled it” after seeing the video.

This afternoon, meanwhile, Statter posted about yet another driver attempting the “daredevil dash.”

Photo (top) via Google Maps

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A vehicle is on fire on northbound I-395 near Shirlington.

A portion of the highway is expected to be shut down temporarily while firefighters battle the blaze.

The car is on the righthand shoulder, fully engulfed in flames.

Update at 3:35 p.m. — The fire is out and lanes are being reopened.

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Update at 3:15 p.m. — The road has reopened, Arlington County says.

Earlier: Washington Blvd is closed at N. Quantico Street due to a reported gas leak.

Firefighters and police are on scene of the leak, which was large enough to prompt first responders to block traffic in both directions. The location of the closure is east of East Falls Church and west of Westover.

Drivers are being detoured onto local streets, though traffic volume remains relatively light in Arlington due to the pandemic.

A Washington Gas crew is said to be en route. No word yet on when the road will reopen.

Map via Google Maps

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Amid a nationwide epidemic of speeding on highways emptied of traffic by the coronavirus pandemic, Virginia State Police are urging drivers to slow down.

Two incidents on I-395 in Arlington last week illustrate the need for less speed.

First, state police say speeding was the main factor in a crash involving a 23-year-old driver last Wednesday. Despite a photo that shows the car heavily damaged — after striking a construction trailer sign, a crash impact attenuator, and an SUV — police say the driver only suffered minor injuries.

Over the weekend, VSP posted a photo of a speeding ticket issued to a driver accused of going 115 mph along I-395, where the speed limit it 55 mph. A trooper issued the ticket Saturday morning.

“Would this make your mother proud?” state police asked, ahead of the Mother’s Day holiday.

https://twitter.com/VSPPIO/status/1259214444275605504

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Old Dominion Drive is closed in both directions because of a crash at a particularly dangerous intersection in the Rock Spring neighborhood.

The North Arlington arterial street is closed between Williamsburg Blvd and Rock Spring Road, following a crash that happened around 1:30 p.m. Police are on scene directing traffic.

A Mercedes SUV collided with a Honda SUV at Old Dominion and Little Falls Road, a crash-prone intersection that recently added rush hour turn restrictions in an attempt to cut down on wrecks. The force of the crash sent the Mercedes careening into the front yard of a home, knocking down a county light pole in the process.

No serious injuries were reported. There’s no word on how soon Old Dominion Drive might reopen.

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A moving truck has tipped onto its side while rounding a corner on a ramp to I-66.

The crash happened just after 4 p.m., reportedly on the ramp from northbound Route 110 to westbound I-66, near Rosslyn and the Roosevelt Bridge. Initial reports suggest that the driver, who was the only occupant of the vehicle at the time, suffered only minor injuries.

As of 4:15 p.m. traffic on the ramp was still flowing past the overturned truck and there were otherwise no traffic impacts. Normally busy outbound rush hour traffic on I-66 has been reduced to a trickle as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

A temporary closure of the ramp might be necessary to drag the truck back onto its wheels, however.

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(Updated at 12:25 p.m.) Five arterial streets in Arlington are being considered as candidates for a Complete Streets overhaul.

The county’s Complete Streets program adds safety features to roadways that improve the experience of road users other than drivers, including pedestrians and cyclists. The changes are usually made in conjunction with repaving projects.

The streets that are up for a makeover later this year are:

  • Wilson Boulevard — N. Larrimore Street to McKinley Road (Dominion Hills/Boulevard Manor)
  • Potomac Avenue — S. Crystal Drive to Alexandria City Line (Potomac Yard)
  • Clarendon Boulevard — N. Nash Street to N. Oak Street (Clarendon-Courthouse/Radnor/Fort Myer Heights)
  • N. Lorcom Lane — Old Dominion Drive to N. Taylor Street
  • Military Road — Lorcom Lane to Old Dominion Drive

At an online open house scheduled for Monday, April 6, Arlington County staff members will reveal more details about the project and how community members can share their experiences.

The virtual public meeting is scheduled to run from 6:30-7:30 p.m. via Microsoft Teams Live Event. No account is needed to join.

Complete Streets upgrades may include “sidewalk expansion or obstruction elimination,” “curb ramp reconstruction,” “crosswalk and signal enhancements,” “pedestrian-scale lighting,” “improved access to transit stops” and bike lanes, per the county’s website.

Such changes have been implemented in other parts of Arlington, though they’ve also faced some public pushback from local residents concerned about traffic impacts. One Complete Streets project in neighboring Alexandria has become a legendarily contentious issue.

Photos via Google Maps

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(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) Columbia Pike was blocked by a crash at S. Scott Street, near the Wellington Apartments, Thursday afternoon.

The crash happened around 2:45 p.m. Initial reports suggest that a vehicle flipped on its roof and one person was removed from it by firefighters.

A traffic light was felled by the crash. So far there’s no word on injuries nor on what caused the crash.

As of 3:45 p.m., one lane in each direction had reopened, but there was still debris in the center of the roadway, including the fallen traffic signal.

Arlington County turned off three traffic cameras in the area, thus deliberately hindering ability of ARLnow and other news outlets to report on the crash. The cameras remained off, even after the patient was extricated.

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Update at 3:15 p.m. — All lanes are back open.

Earlier: The northbound lanes of S. Glebe Road are closed at S. Lang Street after a reported crash.

Police are working to reopen at least one of the lanes. For the time being, drivers are being detoured around the closure.

There was no immediate word as to the nature of the crash.

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The main lanes of I-395 may be a bit busier on weekends for the next couple of months.

VDOT is planning to shut down the I-395 Express Lanes from Edsall Road to the D.C. line, starting this weekend, for a construction project. The shutdown will start around 11 p.m. on Fridays until early Monday morning, and is set to take place over the course of at least 10 consecutive weekends.

The closures will help with road work at Shirlington Circle, in Arlington, and the ramps to and from Seminary Road in Alexandria.

More from a VDOT press release:

The I-395 Express Lanes from near Edsall Road to the D.C. line are scheduled to close for at least ten consecutive weekends, beginning this weekend, March 6-8. These weekend closures are planned to begin at 11 p.m. Friday nights until 4 a.m. Monday mornings, and are needed for crews to complete hydro-demolition and bridge deck overlay placement at Express Lanes entrances and exits at Shirlington Circle and Seminary Road, as well as drainage, utility work and other construction activities. Closures will not occur over Easter weekend, April 10-12.

Travelers should plan ahead and allow extra travel time or take alternate routes. Work is weather dependent and may be rescheduled in the event of inclement weather.

File photo

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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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