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I-395 between Duke Street and Edsall Road (image via Google Maps)

After road work on I-395 was rescheduled from this weekend, the highway will see closures starting tonight.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said several lanes of I-395 between Edsall Road and Duke Street are rescheduled to close between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. tonight through Thursday night.

Tonight and tomorrow night, it’s two northbound lanes and three southbound lanes.

“The two right northbound I-395 general purpose lanes between Edsall Road and Duke Street and the three left southbound I-395 general purpose lanes between Seminary Road and Duke Street will be closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night,” VDOT said in a release, “with full stoppages of up to 20 minutes each in both directions occurring between midnight and 4 a.m. each night.”

On Wednesday it will be three lanes on alternating sides of the northbound side of the road, then the same for the southbound side on Thursday.

“The work is part of the project to rehabilitate the Duke Street bridge over I-395,” VDOT said in the release. “The improvements will extend the overall life of the bridge and improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, and include replacing the concrete bridge deck and beams, upgrading the westbound sidewalk to a shared-use path, and widening the eastbound sidewalk. The project is scheduled for completion in winter 2023/24.”

Image via Google Maps

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Duke Street bridge of I-395, photo via VDOT

Drivers along Duke Street in the West End should expect lane closures starting tonight and continuing intermittently through Friday, June 24.

The closures are connected to work on the Duke Street bridge over I-395 near Lincolnia. Planned improvements for the bridge include replacing the concrete bridge deck and beams, upgrading the westbound sidewalk to a shared-use path and widening the eastbound sidewalk.

The project is expected to be completed in Winter 2023 or early 2024.

According to VDOT, there will be closures on:

  • Friday night, June 10: Two lanes of the southbound 395 Express Lanes between Seminary Road and Duke Street will be closed from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., with two full stoppages of up to 20 minutes each occurring between midnight and 2 a.m. Backup dates are Saturday night, June 11 and Sunday night, June 12 in case inclement weather occurs.
  • Sunday night, June 12 and Monday night, June 13: The two left southbound I-395 general purpose lanes between Seminary Road and Duke Street will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.
  • Tuesday night, June 14 through Thursday night, June 16: The three left southbound I-395 general purpose lanes between Seminary Road and Duke Street will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.
  • Friday night, June 17: The three left southbound I-395 general purpose lanes between Seminary Road and Duke Street will be closed from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Sunday night, June 19 through Wednesday night, June 22: The three left southbound I-395 general purpose lanes between Seminary Road and Duke Street will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Thursday night, June 23 and Friday night, June 24: The two right southbound I-395 general purpose lanes between Seminary Road and Duke Street will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

VDOT warned that drivers should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

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Cars travel westbound I-495 on the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge (via Google Maps)

Work to expand the I-495 Express Lanes to the north is only just warming up, but the Virginia Department of Transportation is now turning its attention to the southern end of the Capital Beltway.

The I-495 Southside Express Lanes environmental study is evaluating possible express lane additions on an 11-mile stretch of the corridor east of the I-395 interchange in Springfield to Maryland Route 210 in Prince George’s County.

Crossing over the Potomac River, the corridor currently has two to five lanes typically, though a divided highway splits local and pass-thru routes. There is also a portion with six lanes, but the corridor overall has no express lanes presently.

VDOT presented its proposal at a virtual meeting yesterday (Wednesday), kicking off a series of meetings during a public comment period that’s slated to end June 6.

In-person meetings will take place tonight in Maryland, Monday (May 23) at John R. Lewis High School in Springfield, and the Nannie J. Lee Memorial Recreation Center in Alexandria on May 25.

The study is seeking to reduce congestion, address safety concerns and provide other improvements.

“In the morning, there is significant congestion going in the westbound direction, or from Maryland towards Virginia,” Abi Lerner, a VDOT engineer for megaprojects, said during the virtual meeting.

495 express lanes extension, image via VDOT

According to VDOT’s weekday data for the interstate, there’s approximately two hours of congestion in the morning from around 6:30 to 9, Lerner said. In 2019, average travel speeds could be as low as 30 mph during peak commuting times.

In Virginia, there’s significant congestion for an even longer time frame from approximately 3 to 7 p.m. for traffic going eastbound to the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge.

Expressing several concerns, resident Poul Hertel asked for the public comment deadline to be extended to June 18. VDOT said that would be considered and updated, if possible, on its project page.

The study is also evaluating whether express lane exit and entry connections could be added, an idea that drew mixed reactions.

“It’s very distressing to see that you have exit points into Old Town Alexandria,” Hertel said. “I would strongly urge you to remove that from your list.”

Meanwhile, multiple Maryland residents weighed in, with Prince George’s County Councilmember Jolene Ivey noting the area’s opposition to toll lanes there.

Lerner responded that whatever VDOT ultimately recommends “is going to require buy-in…from the Maryland side” of the Beltway.

Oxon Hill resident Howard Herrnstadt said it seems that a small number of affluent and time-stressed motorists use existing express lanes, questioning how the infrastructure expense would be justified.

Lerner said VDOT has seen significant usage of the express lanes for carpooling, which enables drivers to use them for free, but he was unable to provide data. Herrnstadt challenged that narrative.

According to VDOT, the proposed changes wouldn’t interfere with the possibility of light rail in the future, which the Woodrow Wilson bridge was designed to accommodate.

The study will inform any recommendations, including no changes, or potential projects in the future. VDOT plans to present options this fall or winter and finish its review in the fall of 2023 or winter of 2024.

Photo via Google Maps

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Planned Duke Street lane closure, image via Google Maps

Drivers headed east on Duke Street in the West End tomorrow (Wednesday) be warned: lane closures could slow traffic on the major arterial road.

The right lane of eastbound Duke Street will be closed, followed by the left lane, to install temporary striping for a planned traffic shift to accommodate the Duke Street bridge rehabilitation project. The closures will run from Oasis Drive in Lincolnia to South Walker Street outside of the development-formerly-known-as-Landmark.

If all goes according to plan, the lane closures should be sandwiched between the day’s rush hours. Lane closures are expected to start at 9:30 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m., when traffic is shifted along the bridge over I-395 until work is completed this fall.

“The work is part of the project to rehabilitate the Duke Street bridge over I-395,” the Virginia Department of Transportation said in a release. “The improvements will extend the overall life of the bridge and improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, and include replacing the concrete bridge deck and beams, upgrading the westbound sidewalk to a shared-use path, and widening the eastbound sidewalk.”

The project is expected to be completed late this year or in early 2024.

Photo via Google Maps

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Drivers along Duke Street could encounter some lane closures tomorrow (Wednesday) in the West End as the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) works on repairs to the bridge over Interstate 395.

In a press release, VDOT said that starting at 9:30 a.m. the right lane westbound on Duke Street will be closed, followed by the left lane for temporary striping. At 3 p.m., westbound traffic along the bridge will be shifted to the right — which will stay in place until this fall.

The planned repairs to the bridge will also add a shared-use path and a wider sidewalk. Bridge work is expected to continue until the end of 2023 or early 2024.

“The work is part of the project to rehabilitate the Duke Street bridge over I-395,” VDOT said. “The improvements will extend the overall life of the bridge and improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, and include replacing the concrete bridge deck and beams, upgrading the westbound sidewalk to a shared-use path, and widening the eastbound sidewalk. The project is scheduled for completion in winter 2023/24.”

Image via Google Maps

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South-facing ramp in the I-395/Seminary Road interchange, image via VDOT

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is hosting a meeting next week to discuss plans to add the option of non-HOV vehicles to access the Seminary Road ramp to I-395, but with a toll.

The ramp would still provide free access to the express lanes for vehicles with three or more occupants but would open up access to vehicles with fewer than three occupants who pay a toll.

The meeting will be virtual and is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 6, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

“This south-facing reversible ramp at I-395 and Seminary Road falls within the limits of and provides access to the 395 Express Lanes,” VDOT said on its website. “Currently, this ramp operates as an HOV-only ramp, providing access to the 395 Express Lanes at all times for carpools and buses. VDOT’s private operator of the 395 Express Lanes, Transurban, is proposing to convert this ramp from an HOV-only ramp to an express lanes ramp.”

The plan has been in the works for a while, with meetings in 2019 before the project was delayed by the pandemic. The city website said in November, VDOT informed the city that they were planning to move forward with the project once again.

“The south-facing ramp, opened in early 2016, was planned to remain restricted high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) and transit traffic traveling north in the morning and south in the evening, even after completion of the I-395 Express Lanes,” the city said.

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(Updated at 5 p.m. on Nov. 30) Virginia State Police have released the identity of the driver in Sunday’s fatal single-vehicle crash at the Duke Street overpass of Interstate 395 on Sunday.

Alexandria resident Eric G. Jones, 46, was killed after his SUV crashed and became wedged under the overpass.

“A 2019 Honda HR-V was traveling north when the left front tire (a spare tire) blew out,” VSP said in a release. “This caused it to run off the right side of the road where it struck the overpass support.”

The crash was reported around 4:23 p.m on the northbound side of I-395 at Exit 3B.

The crash remains under investigation, VSP said.

Morning Notes

Missing man found safe in West End — “Mr. Robert Johnson has been found. Thank you for helping get the word out.” [Twitter]

New Census data shows surge of Latino residents — “The last 10 years have marked a dramatic shift in the demographic makeup of the United States, with a marked shrinkage of the white population and the rapid growth of the Hispanic/Latino community, according to 2020 Census data. These changes were reflected in the City of Alexandria, where the share of the white population decreased by 3,001 people (-3.5 percent) since 2010, while the Hispanic/Latino population grew by 6,848 people (30.4 percent). The Asian population grew by 2,922 people (34.7 percent), and Black/African American population grew by 1,412 (4.6 percent).” [Patch]

VDOT reminds residents to turn on headlights while it’s raining — “The message is simple. If your wipers are on, turn your headlights on! It’s the bright thing to do!” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Scattered thunderstorms in the morning. Cloudy skies late. High 87F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%… Considerable cloudiness. Occasional rain showers later at night. Low 73F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Temporary bilingual COVID-19 vaccine promotor — “The Vaccine Promotor(a)/[Certified Vaccine Navigator (CVN); training provided for certification] will assist with Neighborhood Health’s efforts to increase access to COVID-19 vaccine distribution in its service area (Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax County) for Latinx communities most affected by the pandemic. The Vaccine Promotor(a)/CVN will engage with residents of underserved communities to provide education about COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination. The Promotor(a) will work with Neighborhood Health’s COVID-19 Outreach team to plan an overall outreach strategy and provide support to other vaccine-related activities.” [Indeed]

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The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is looking at making some improvements to Little River Turnpike, one of the main arterial roads between Alexandria and Fairfax County.

Little River Turnpike (Route 236) runs through the Lincolnia neighborhood of Fairfax County, turning into Duke Street when it crosses into the West End. A study of crashes on the street from 2015-2019 showed that many of the crashes were clustered around the border between Fairfax County and Alexandria, where Little River Turnpike crosses I-395.

A similar study of congestion on the street found that most of the congestion was centered on the western end of the study area, around the Annandale neighborhood.

Part of the project could involve pedestrian and cyclist improvements to the street and improve overall safety.

A survey to gather public input is available online until next Wednesday, July 28. A second outreach and survey is planned for this fall once solutions are outlined for the road.

Photo via Google Maps

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Late night motorists are going to have to take the long way around if they want to get from Alexandria to Maryland tonight.

No fun story behind the opening this time — VDOT announced that a series of ongoing tests and maintenance work will leave the Woodrow Wilson Bridge inaccessible starting at 11:30 p.m.

Bridge openings aren’t unusual but can be an unexpected hassle for drivers. VDOT said drivers should expect delays and consider alternate routes.

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