Newsletter
I-495 South just after the American Legion Bridge (via Google Maps)

A Fairfax County police officer’s attempt to stop a reportedly stolen vehicle on I-495 this morning (Wednesday) prompted a high-speed pursuit that extended from McLean to Woodbridge.

The journey began shortly before 5 a.m., when the Fairfax County Police Department notified Virginia State Police that a 2012 Ford Fiesta had been spotted traveling south on I-495 across the American Legion Bridge.

The vehicle had been reported stolen out of New York, according to a VSP news release.

The Virginia State Police says a Fairfax County officer moved to initiate a traffic stop, but the Ford “sped off” at more than 100 miles per hour, leading to a pursuit by state police:

As the stolen vehicle approached Exit 158 on I-95 in Prince William County, the troopers attempted to slow the vehicle and contain it by positioning their vehicles around it. The Ford rammed one of the trooper’s vehicles twice, which caused the police vehicle to spin out and spark a chain reaction crash among a total of three troopers’ vehicles. The Ford kept going.

State police began searching the immediate area for the stolen vehicle and located it a short time later abandoned in a restaurant parking lot in the 2400 block of Prince William Parkway. State police and Prince William County Police K9 teams responded to this location. Shortly after 8 a.m., a 19-year-old female and a 28-year-old male were taken into custody without further incident. Charges are pending.

According to the VSP, five troopers were treated for minor injuries from the crash at the I-95 exit at a nearby hospital, but there were no other vehicles involved or damaged.

No Fairfax County police units were involved in the actual pursuit, an FCPD spokesperson told Tysons Reporter.

State police are still searching for two men who fled the Ford Fiesta, and they’re working with Prince William County police to determine if there’s any connection to the theft of a Honda Civic reported in Woodbridge around 7:25 a.m. today.

“Anyone with information related to this ongoing incident are encouraged to contact the Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026 or #77 on a cell phone, or by email to [email protected],” the VSP said.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

FCPS Can Keep Enforcing Mask Mandate — An Arlington County judge ruled yesterday (Tuesday) that Fairfax County Public Schools and the six other districts engaged in a lawsuit against Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order can enforce their requirements until the legal challenge is resolved. The ruling came as the state Senate, led by Sen. Chap Petersen, approved a measure to let parents opt out of school mask mandates. [The Washington Post]

I-495 Pedestrian Bridge Under Construction — “Check out the progress on this bicycle and pedestrian bridge over I-495 and the connecting shared-use path in Tysons! This link from Tysons One Pl/Fashion Blvd to Old Meadow Rd and Provincial Dr is scheduled for completion this summer.” [VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter]

Keam’s Roundabout Funding Bill Dies — A House of Delegates subcommittee voted to table legislation proposed by Del. Mark Keam, who represents Vienna and much of Tysons, that would’ve given more funding to sidewalk and roundabout projects. Virginia currently requires regional transportation funds to be prioritized based on congestion relief. [Sun Gazette]

Valentine’s Day Market Coming to Tysons — “Need a gift for your Valentine? @CelebrateFFX has you covered! Stop by the Loving Shop Local Market, this Saturday, Feb. 12 from 12-5 PM at The PARC for all of your Valentine’s Day essentials!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

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Northbound I-495 has been closed near Georgetown Pike in McLean after a tractor-trailer crash (via VDOT)

(Updated at 6 p.m. on 2/4/2022) The collision of two vehicles on I-495 in McLean on Tuesday (Feb. 1) sent two people to the hospital and shut down the interstate’s northbound lanes for hours.

According to the Virginia State Police, troopers responded to the crash involving a tractor-trailer and a box truck near Georgetown Pike at 4:03 p.m.

A 2016 Kenworth T680 tractor-trailer was traveling north on I-495 when it came to a stop due to heavy traffic. A 2016 International 4000 box truck was traveling in the same lane and struck the tractor-trailer in the rear.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, William Alcin, 40, of Hiram, Ga., was transported to Fairfax INOVA Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. He was wearing a seatbelt.

The driver of the box truck, Timothy R. Steele, 39, of Norcross, Ga., was transported to Fairfax INOVA Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. He was wearing a seatbelt.

All lanes on I-495 North, also known as the Capital Beltway Inner Loop, were closed during the crash response, resulting in backups that, at one point, extended as far as the I-66 interchange in Tysons.

Drivers were diverted onto Georgetown Pike until all lanes reopened shortly after 7 p.m.

The box truck driver was charged with reckless driving, and the crash remains under investigation, state police told Tysons Reporter.

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Morning Notes

Winter Storm Warning in Effect — Fairfax County has its first snow of the year. The D.C. area will remain under a Winter Storm Warning until 4 p.m. today (Monday), with the National Weather Service forecasting 3-7 inches of snow and wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour, making travel difficult. [NWS]

FCPS Closed for Day Due to Snow — Instead of returning to classrooms as anticipated, Fairfax County Public School students will have an extra day of winter break. In expectation of snow, schools have been closed today with no virtual learning, and all activities on school grounds have been canceled, including extracurricular programs and adult classes. [FCPS]

Snow Closes Tysons Mass Vaccine Site — The Virginia Department of Health is closing all of its mass COVID-19 vaccination sites, including the one at Tysons Corner Center, today “out of an abundance of caution for patients and staff.” Those with appointments will be notified and can visit vase.vdh.virginia.gov to reschedule. [VDH]

Vienna Authorizes COVID-19 Testing Site Extension — The Personic Health Care drive-through COVID-19 testing site on Maple Avenue will be allowed to continue operating through the end of January. The facility was supposed to vacate the Emmaus United Church of Christ parking lot on Dec. 31, but with cases still high, Town Manager Mercury Payton granted it a “wind-down period” in response to a request from the church. [Town of Vienna]

Dangerous Driving Filmed on Beltway — A Reddit user posted a dashcam video last week that showed a near-collision where a pickup truck tries to drive a sedan out of its lane on the Capitol Beltway inner loop near Tysons. While there was no crash, the Virginia Department of Transportation shared the video as an example of the dangers of road rage. [NBC4]

Woman Arrested After Police Pursuit Near Scotts Run — Around 4:53 p.m. on Dec. 26, Fairfax County police officers recognized a vehicle that was reported stolen in a neighboring jurisdiction and attempted to stop the driver at Chain Bridge Road at Colshire Drive. The driver, an 18-year-old woman from D.C., hit two occupied police vehicles and fled, striking four other vehicles before she was stopped and arrested. [FCPD]

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A Virginia State Police trooper and occupants of a vehicle that had been pulled over for speeding narrowly escaped injury last night (Wednesday) from a collision with a drunk driver, police say.

The incident occurred around 11:45 p.m. on I-495 near the exit to Gallows Road south of Merrifield.

According to the VSP report, a trooper identified as J. Weitzman had stopped a Toyota sedan that was traveling north on the interstate at 90 miles per hour:

While the trooper was standing next to the stopped Toyota, a Nissan Versa traveling north on I-495 ran off the right side of the interstate and slammed into the trooper’s marked patrol car. (The state police vehicle had its emergency lights activated at the time.) The impact of that crash forced the state police car into the Toyota. Trooper Weitzman had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck.

Meanwhile, the Nissan came to rest in the northbound lanes of I-495.

After making certain the Toyota’s driver and passenger were not injured, Trooper Weitzman ran over to the Nissan and called for rescue. The driver was trapped inside the Nissan, as the crash jammed the driver’s door shut. The trooper was able to help the driver of the Nissan out of the vehicle through the passenger side.

No injuries resulted from the crash to Weitzman, the Nissan driver, or the occupants of the Toyota.

The Nissan driver, a 65-year-old D.C. resident, was taken into custody and now faces multiple charges, including driving under the influence. Police say this is the driver’s second DUI offense within the past 10 years.

The driver has also been charged with refusing to take an alcohol breath test, driving without a valid license, and failing to move over.

“The crash remains under investigation,” the Virginia State Police said.

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The groundwork is being laid for construction to begin next year on the Capital Beltway Express Lanes’ expansion into McLean.

A surveyor told Tysons Reporter yesterday (Tuesday) that a site boring crew has started collecting soil samples for the I-495 Extension (495 NEXT) project, which will add toll lanes on the interstate from the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons to just south of the American Legion Bridge.

The Virginia Department of Transportation confirmed that some preliminary activities have commenced, though the project’s design and construction contract are still in the process of being finalized.

“Early works are approved to proceed and are currently underway along the 495 NEXT project corridor,” VDOT spokesperson Michelle Holland said by email. “These activities include survey work, conducting a tree inventory (which involves marking trees), identifying utility locations, and doing geotechnical borings.”

GW Parkway Rehabilitation Announced

VDOT says it does not expect 495 NEXT to be affected by the National Park Service’s recently unveiled plans to revamp the George Washington Memorial Parkway, even though the projects literally intersect.

The U.S. Department of the Interior, which includes the park service, announced on Dec. 7 that it has awarded a $161 million contract to rehabilitate the parkway’s northern section from Sprout Run in Arlington to the I-495 interchange in McLean.

While the GW Parkway’s southern section has been upgraded in parts over the past three decades, this will be the first major rehabilitation of the eight-mile north section since it opened in 1962. It has been in the works since 1999, per an environmental assessment from March 2008.

After putting the project on hold “due to public and agency concerns,” the NPS restarted the planning process in 2016 and got a revised environmental assessment approved in September 2018, according to project documents. Read More

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The upcoming pedestrian bridge over I-495 in Tysons has seen its estimated costs rise to $13.4 million as landowners lock in easements and right of ways needed for the connector.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says it has been working with private parties to secure deals, one of which involved a $698,920 payment agreement to the condominium Encore of McLean.

Until the bicycle/pedestrian bridge is created, residents east of the Capital Beltway have to use an interstate underpass at Route 123 or Route 7 overpass to get to Tysons Corner Center, essentially requiring vehicular trips to the mall.

When construction activities began in August, the project cost was estimated at $12.3 million. The $1.1 million increase is due to right-of-way costs, VDOT said.

Crews are developing a staging area where a drilling machine will be used to create the foundation for the pedestrians.

“Over the next several months, crews will continue installing a retaining wall off of Old Meadow Road behind the Dolley Madison Apartments and will begin installing the bicycle and pedestrian bridge foundations and piers on both sides of I-495 and in the median of the 495 Express Lanes,” VDOT spokesperson Mike Murphy said in an email.

Focused on building the bridge and part of a shared-use path on Old Meadow Road, the first phase of project is scheduled for completion in summer 2022.

“Construction of the second phase of the project, the section of the shared-use path along Old Meadow Road from Provincial Drive to Route 123, will begin once additional funding is identified,” Murphy also wrote.

According to VDOT, the rapid growth of the Tysons area has resulted in a significantly higher cost for acquiring the easements.

Among a handful of other right-of-way or easements transactions secured, Tysons Corner Property Holdings, the limited-liability company used by Southern California-based Tysons Corner Center owner Macerich, received no financial award.

The condominium Regency at McLean obtained a $35,500 agreement, and Dolley Madison finalized a settlement on Nov. 9, details of which could be released in early January, according to VDOT.

VDOT said the increased costs were part of the scope of the contract.

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Morning Notes

Joint Statement Released on Settlement of FCPS Disability Lawsuit — As first reported by The Washington Post in late November, Fairfax County Public Schools has settled a lawsuit over its use of restraint and seclusion on students with disabilities. The students and disability advocacy organizations that filed the case say they hope “this resolution will ensure that no other student will ever have to experience such trauma.” [FCPS]

Thousands Donate Child Face Masks to County — “Thank you to the community for coming together to donate child face masks! We have collected 12,065 masks! Thank you to @FairfaxCountyPD for hosting the donations bin and @VolunteerFFX for all your help putting together donations!” [Ready Fairfax/Twitter]

Metro to Testify on Safety Issues in Congress — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th) says he will call on Metro’s top leaders to testify at a congressional hearing about the safety issues spotlighted by October’s train derailment, which have kept more than half the transit agency’s fleet out of commission for almost two months now. Connolly, who represents Fairfax County, calls Metro’s failure to report the issues when they were discovered years ago “a mortal sin.” [NBC4]

Fairfax Stands Alone With Court Records Paywall — “While all other Northern Virginia jurisdictions provide free, remote public access to basic docket information for individual criminal and civil cases in circuit court, Fairfax County’s CPAN system costs $150 per quarter, or $600 per year.” [WTOP]

I-495 Lane Closures in Tysons Continue — “Lane closures and ramp closures on I-495 North and I-66 East will be implemented during the overnight hours again this week, December 13-17, as bridge beam installation for a new flyover ramp from I-495 North to I-66 West continues at the I-66/I-495 Interchange as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.” [VDOT]

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Morning Notes

I-495 South Lane Closures Tonight — “Weather permitting, the three left lanes of the southbound I-495 (Capital Beltway Outer Loop) general purpose lanes will be closed over the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267) for bridge work…The three left lanes of the southbound I-495 general purpose lanes are scheduled to be closed between 11 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20.” [VDOT]

Falls Church Civil Rights Icon Gets Historical Marker — “An unveiling ceremony will convene this Saturday, Nov. 20, at 1 p.m. for a state historical marker that highlights the career of Dr. Edwin Bancroft Henderson, known as the ‘Father of Black Basketball’…The dedication will be held at the marker’s location alongside Henderson’s former residence at 307 South Maple Ave, Falls Church.” [Virginia Department of Historic Resources]

Fatal Drug Overdoses to Surpass Last Year — “Preliminary numbers show the number of overdose deaths in Fairfax County in 2021 are on pace to exceed 2020 numbers, according to data from the Office of the Medical Examiner. Data provided to Patch shows there were 56 overdose deaths reported to the county in the first two quarters of 2021. Of these, 52 (93 percent) were related to fentanyl.” [Patch]

D.C. Area Gets $19.3 Billion from Federal Infrastructure Bill — “So far, no jurisdiction has highlighted which major road projects they’d like to tackle, but bets could be on the replacement of the American Legion Bridge, the Maryland toll lane project if it gets approved, and improvements to I-81 in western Virginia.” [DCist]

Virginia Tribes Get Say in Development Projects — “Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Thursday signed an order requiring state agencies to consult with Virginia Indian tribes before making decisions that impact land, waterways and other natural sites important to Indigenous peoples.” [The Washington Post]

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Debris from a two-vehicle crash on the I-495 ramp to the George Washington Memorial Parkway in McLean (courtesy Virginia State Police)

Three people, including one child, ended up in the hospital this morning (Wednesday) after two vehicles crashed on the northbound I-495 exit ramp for the George Washington Memorial Parkway in McLean.

According to Virginia State Police, which responded to the crash at 10:37 a.m., the crash involved a box truck and a Toyota sedan that had stopped on the interstate between the right, northbound travel lane and the shoulder:

At this stage of the crash investigation, it appears a Toyota sedan was stopped partially in the right, northbound travel lane and partially on the right shoulder. A box truck came upon the stopped vehicle and tried to change lanes to avoid the Toyota, but the Toyota suddenly pulled into the truck’s travel lane. The two vehicles collided.

The Toyota was occupied by two adult women and a 6-year-old boy, all of whom were hospitalized. A female passenger is undergoing treatment for injuries considered life-threatening, while the female driver and the boy sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the box truck, an adult man, was not injured.

“The crash remains under investigation at this time,” state police said in a news release. “The Virginia State Police Crash Reconstruction Team is assisting with the ongoing investigation.”

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