Alexandria, VA

A car has crashed and overturned on W. Braddock Road at the intersection with N. Quaker Lane, near the Bradlee Shopping Center and Episcopal High School.

The crash happened around 12:30 p.m. on the west side of the busy intersection. Eastbound Braddock was briefly shut down to traffic, but two lanes have since reopened.

It was not immediately clear how the crash happened. It left heaps of shattered glass and orange juice splattered across the street, and also reportedly damaged a guide wire for a nearby utility pole.

No serious injuries were reported, according to police on the scene.

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After the launch of the I-395 Express Lanes, Transurban is turning its attention to a ramp connecting I-395 to Seminary Road near the Mark Center.

The south-facing ramp, which opened in 2016, is currently restricted to HOV traffic and buses traveling north in the morning and south in the evenings. Transurban hopes to change that, opening the ramp up to toll-paying traffic — allowing another point of access to Seminary Road for drivers on I-395 and another incentive to use the Express Lanes.

Transurban is scheduled to pitch its plans at a meeting scheduled for next Monday, Dec. 9, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Minnie Howard Campus (3801 W. Braddock Road). The presentation is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

According to a press release:

The meeting is an opportunity for the public to find out about an operations analysis assessing the traffic and safety impacts and benefits of converting the I-395 and Seminary Road Ramp in the City of Alexandria from a High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)-only ramp to a High Occupancy Toll (HOT) ramp. The ramp would continue to provide access to the 395 Express Lanes but would be available to vehicles with fewer than three occupants who pay a toll, and for free to vehicles with three or more occupants.

The north-facing ramp is currently open to toll traffic. The City of Alexandria’s webpage for the ramp said Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES) is coordinating with Transurban and the Virginia Department of Transportation on an analysis of the potential change and looking at how the changes could impact local traffic.

Revenue from the tolls on I-395, and from the ramp, would go towards transit services and multimodal solutions — projects aimed at getting people out of their cars and onto mass-transit.

Photo via Google Maps

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Due to an emergency gas repair, Alexandria Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES) announced on Twitter than a portion of the 1000 block of westbound King Street.

The block is between Patrick and Henry Streets, the north and southbound directions of Route 1 through Alexandria.

T&ES warned that drivers in Old Town near the closure should expect backups and seek alternate routes if possible.

Photo via Google Maps

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It’s all hands on deck at the Transurban offices as the company prepares for the launch of the new I-395 Express Lanes this weekend.

The 395 Express Lanes — which run from Edsall Road in Fairfax County up eight miles to the 14th Street Bridge, passing through Alexandria’s West End — are scheduled to switch over to High Occupancy Toll lanes this Sunday, Nov. 17.

In a command center at 6440 General Green Way, just west of Alexandria city limits, Transurban staff sit in front of a sprawling wall of televisions flickering between views of Northern Virginia’s highways. In the camera feeds, construction crews can be seen working to finish up some of the final touches as they convert the two reversible HOV lanes into three Express Lanes.

The new Express Lanes are similar to ones installed earlier on I-495 and I-95. They require an E-ZPass to drive in, with options to drive toll-free if there are three or more passengers, or to pay a dynamic toll based on demand.

Mike McGurk, a spokesman for Transurban, said tolls — for those who want a quicker trip — are expected to average $8 but could range from a few dollars up to “high or mid $20s.”

McGurk said his main concern, going into the change, is safety. If a driver accidentally pulls into an express lane without intending to, McGurk said to keep driving and get to your destination — then when you get mail about the bill, contact Transurban and explain the situation.

The new Express Lanes should also relieve some of the traffic on the non-toll lanes as well, McGurk said, and estimated that non-Express traffic would see a 7-15% decrease in travel time based on experience with other Express Lanes. McGurk also said that the new lanes were unlikely to push more traffic onto Alexandria side streets.

A south-facing ramp at Seminary Road in Alexandria is currently planned to remain HOV-only, but McGurk said Transurban is currently in discussions with Alexandria to open the ramp to tolled, non-HOV traffic.

Map via Transurban

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The controversial redesign of Seminary Road is set to be put into action starting Monday (Oct. 14).

From Monday through Friday of next week, the Public Works Services Division is scheduled to start resurfacing Seminary Road from N. Howard Street to Library Lane. The work, through the heart of the primarily residential Seminary Hill neighborhood, will take place between 8 p.m.-5 a.m.

“The City recognizes that night paving will be an inconvenience to residents living along this section of Seminary Road,” the city said in a press release. “However, night paving of Seminary west of N. Howard Street will enable the work to be completed more quickly and safely, due to that section’s proximity to I-395. The City contractor will be working under a noise variance permit and will take steps to mitigate noise as much as possible.”

The second segment of the resurfacing, between N. Howard Street and N. Quaker Lane, is scheduled to take place between 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. from the following Monday, Oct. 21, to Monday, Oct. 28.

The press release noted that drivers should expect short-term lane closures and parking restrictions on side streets, but roads will fully reopen to traffic at the end of each work day. The planned work will not be taking place over weekends.

After the street is repaved, crews will restripe it in alignment with the city’s Complete Streets plan.

“The changes will take the road from four travel lanes to two travel lanes, a center turn lane, and buffered bike lanes,” the press release said. “Additional pedestrian improvements, including crosswalks, islands and a temporary sidewalk will also be added. Seminary Road was identified in the City’s Transportation Master Plan for potential improvements to ensure safety, mobility and accessibility for all roadway users.”

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(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Traffic is slow from Seminary Road to Duke Street after a crash and reported medical emergency in the southbound lanes of I-395.

The incident was reported shortly before 11 a.m., underneath the Duke Street overpass. Initial reports suggest that a driver suffered a medical emergency and crashed. It was not immediately clear whether how many other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Virginia State Police, along with Alexandria and Arlington firefighters and medics, rushed to the scene. First responders arriving on scene reported that they were performing CPR on the driver.

As of 11:15 a.m. two lefthand lanes of I-395 were blocked by the emergency activity.

A second crash along I-395 in the same area, involving a sedan and a dump truck, was reported just prior to 11:30 a.m.

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Traffic on either side of the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge is expected to come to a standstill shortly before midnight tonight (Tuesday) due to a passing ship.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) tweeted earlier this afternoon that the span would be opened around 11:30 p.m. to allow a 247.5-foot “superyacht” to pass through. The closure is likely to cause traffic backups on the Beltway.

“Expect delays and consider alternate routes,” the transit agency warned commuters.

The ship causing all the fuss is the Bella Vita, a six-deck vessel for up to 12 guests and 22 crew.

According to its website, the Bella Vita costs $708,872 a week to charter and comes with a movie theatre, salon and gym — and is described by owner Moran Yacht & Ship as a “rugged luxury yacht.”

Formerly known as the Northern Star, the luxury yacht was built in 2009 and was at one point valued at $181 million, before being remodeled.

The Wilson bridge rarely opens, but makes exceptions for large ships, like the historic tall ships on their annual pilgrimage to Alexandria.

Image via Flickr/Geoff Livingston

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