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Potential new Blue Line route (photo via WMATA)

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is eyeing a new Blue Line route that could be realigned to run from the Huntington Metro station in Fairfax across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge over to National Harbor.

The project was cited as one of the higher performing projects in a list of options aimed at boosting ridership. A cost-benefits analysis put the new Blue Line route, which would also go up to Georgetown, above alternatives like a Silver Line Express tunnel.

The revised Blue Line would cost $20-25 billion to build and $175-200 million to operate, the most expensive of the options presented, but it is also estimated bring in significantly higher revenue — $154.2 million — than any of the other options. The new National Harbor Blue Line route would bring in an estimated 180,000 new weekday trips.

It’s¬† unclear how the proposed Blue Line crossing at the Woodrow Wilson bridge would work — as a reallocation of space on the existing bridge, as part of an expansion, or as a separate crossing.

While Metro Board members expressed cautious enthusiasm for the project at a meeting last week, Metro leadership has been quick to point out that no plans for a new Blue Line have been finalized or approved.

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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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Morning Notes

Fairfax Police Injured in Chase on Woodrow Wilson Bridge — “Three Fairfax County police officers were injured during a car chase involving a homicide suspect that ended with the person’s capture on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.” [Washington Post]

Power Outage in Carlyle — “We have about 2K @DominionEnergy¬†customers experiencing outages in the vicinity of Carlyle.¬†If you are out please report the outage online or by phone at 866-366-4357.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Man Sentenced in Kidnapping and Witness Tampering Case — “U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel today sentenced Henry Lee Kenner II, age 43, of Alexandria, Virginia, to 150 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for kidnapping and witness tampering.” [Shore News Network]

Winter Village at Cameron Run Makes Coronavirus Adjustments¬†— “The Winter Village will be open on weekends, holidays, and prime visitation nights from Nov. 20 to Jan. 3, and ice skating only will be offered on select days from Jan. 9 to Feb. 28.” [Patch]

Alexandria Law Enforcement Honored for Heroism — “Deputy Jason Bebow and Deputy Julio Ocasio were honored for their rescue of an inmate who had attempted suicide at the Alexandria City Jail. Deputy Devon Neckles and Officer Shakita Warren were honored for their successful intervention with a suicidal resident.” [Zebra]

Staff photo by James Cullum

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A planned Woodrow Wilson Bridge opening tonight could disrupt travel plans for late-night drivers on I-495.

According to an alert, the bridge could be impassable from 11 p.m. tonight (Tuesday) until sometime Wednesday morning (Nov. 18). VDOT warned that travellers should expect delays and consider other routes.

The closure is planned for testing systems on the bridge, sadly — no interesting ship activity on the docket.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Hundreds of boaters supporting President Trump sailed up the Potomac River on Sunday (September 6), as they took to the waves as part of the¬†“Trumptilla” boating parades around the country.

The event saw both protestors and supporters along the waterfront as the boats sailed under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and up to the Memorial Bridge.

“For me at the end of the day it’s about freedom versus socialism,” said Matthew Truong, a former Republican Congressional candidate for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, who organized a small rally for the boaters at Jones Point Park. “What I see right now, it’s eerily similar to what happened in Vietnam before the fall of Saigon when the communists took over. All the violence, chaos, protests, a lot of crazy things — what that does is effect the minds of people.”

Virginia Delegate Mark Levine (D-45) was among the protestors who chanted, “Trump lies! People die!”

“Folks who think that Joe Biden is a socialist need to stop watching Fox News,” Levine said. “We need to take our country back. We have a president in the thrall of a Russian dictator, and doing everything he can to serve himself, and 200,000 unnecessarily dead Americans from coronavirus is not a price I’m willing to pay for anything. Every other country on the planet has handled this better than we have.”

A Nice view of the Boat Rally for Trump and Asian Pacific Americans rally support Trump on Sunday 6th September at Jones Point Park Alexrandria Virginia.

Posted by Phillips Nguyen on Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Photos via courtesy Eli Wilson Photography

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Alexandria firefighters and the city’s fire boat, along with vessels from the D.C. fire department and the U.S. Coast Guard, conducted searches below the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Tuesday afternoon after reports of a person in the water.

Initial reports suggested that a woman had jumped off the bridge, on the southern end of the Beltway, into the water below. Rescuers, however, did not find anyone in the river.

Later, a woman matching description given to rescuers was found alive and well on Maryland side of bridge, but it was determined that no further assistance was necessary, according to Petty Officer Andy Kendrick, a Coast Guard spokesman.

Police in Prince George’s County also conducted a welfare check on the woman, we’re told.

An Alexandria Fire Department spokeswoman said it was the department’s understanding that the woman had been in the water. It’s unclear whether she jumped.

Though incredibly dangerous, it wouldn’t be the first time someone has jumped from the Wilson bridge and survived. Famously, in 1998, an Alexandria man stood on the bridge for five hours, blocking traffic on the Beltway, before leaping off; he survived with “no obvious injuries.” In 2017, a man and a woman jumped off the bridge in separate incidents, and both survived.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911. If you’re having thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline¬†at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or¬†text CONNECT to 85511.

A new bike campus is all painted and ready to go under the Alexandria side of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

The smooth pavement between the bridge pylons has long been a popular spot for bicyclists on the Mount Vernon Trail or visiting Jones Point Park, but the new signs and lanes on the ground can help new cyclists learn the rules of the road and practice in a safe environment.

At a grand opening ceremony, scheduled for Saturday (Dec. 7) at 10:30 a.m., instructors from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) will be available to help teach cyclists of all ages about rules on the street and bicycling techniques. A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 11 a.m.

According to the Facebook page:

WABA is excited to announce the completion of the Alexandria Bike Campus at Jones Point Park! The bike campus will serve as a dedicated space for people of all ages to learn how to ride a bicycle safely, comfortably, and confidently. WABA will be celebrating the completion of the Alexandria Bike Campus with a ribbon cutting on Saturday, December 7 at 11:00 a.m. at Jones Point Park in Alexandria, VA.

We invite you to bring your family and your bicycles to the ribbon cutting and to participate in a demonstration of the bicycle campus. WABA instructors will show how the campus can be used to teach new cyclists of all ages and how even experienced cyclists can learn and practice new skills. Our instructors will be at Jones Point Park at 10:30 AM – we hope to see you then!

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The Woodrow Wilson Bridge is scheduled to open tonight to allow Nao Santa Mar√≠a — a replica of one of Christopher Columbus’ ships¬†— to pass through.

Historically, welcoming the Santa María with open arms has turned out poorly, but the ship is nonetheless scheduled to dock at The Wharf in D.C. The ship will be open for tours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Friday, Nov. 7, to Wednesday, Nov. 13, then again from Friday, Nov. 15 to Sunday, Nov. 17.

The ship will be open for self-guided tours through four decks, with informative panels about the history of the ship and chances to talk with the crew about what life was like for Spanish sailors 500 years ago.

Tours are $10 for adults or $5 for children under 10 years old. Families are $25.

The bridge is scheduled to open at 1 a.m. The Virginia Department of Transportation said via social media that drivers should expect delays and consider alternate routes during that time.

Photo via Nao Santa María/Facebook

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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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