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The new GW Parkway traffic pattern during weekday morning rush hours, starting Jan. 6, 2024 (courtesy NPS)

The GW Parkway’s northern section is on the brink of a new phase in its rehabilitation process.

Starting tomorrow (Saturday), construction on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in McLean will shift from the southbound lanes to the northbound ones between the Capital Beltway (I-495) and Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road).

The traffic shift will be implemented over roughly three days, necessitating single-lane closures on the parkway’s northbound side starting at 8 p.m. today (Friday) until 2:45 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 8.

The new traffic pattern will require all drivers headed north toward Maryland to use a temporary, reversible lane that first opened in the parkway’s median last April, when construction began on the southbound lanes, the National Park Service announced.

“The left southbound lane (closest to the median) will serve as the reversible lane, which provides flexibility to change direction for morning and evening rush hours,” the NPS said. “The right southbound lane will always serve as a southbound lane.”

The new GW Parkway traffic pattern during weekday evening rush hours, starting Jan. 6, 2024 (courtesy NPS)

Here’s from the National Park Service on the new traffic pattern, which will be in effect for the remainder of construction through late 2025:

Weekday morning rush hour (5:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.)  

  • Two lanes southbound (toward Washington, DC).
  • Drivers who need to exit at Route 123 or CIA Headquarters must use the right lane.
  • One lane northbound (toward Maryland/Virginia).

Weekday evening rush hour (2:45 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.)  

  • Two lanes northbound (toward Maryland/Virginia).
  • Drivers who need to exit at Route 123 or CIA Headquarters must use the right lane.
  • Drivers heading toward Maryland must use the right lane.
  • Drivers heading toward Virginia via I-495 must use the left lane (the reversible lane).
  • One lane southbound (toward Washington, DC).

Weekdays (9:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.) and weekends/holidays 

  • One lane southbound (toward Washington, DC).
  • One lane northbound (toward Maryland/Virginia).

Drivers should observe traffic signs, respect the 40-mph speed limit, expect delays through narrow travel lanes and plan alternate routes. Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight over 10,000 lbs. are always prohibited from using the parkway.

This traffic pattern allows the project crews greater access to the roadway, which will reduce the time needed to complete the project. Temporary concrete barriers will be placed along the northbound lane throughout January to create a safer work zone for crews.

NPS notes that the timing of the traffic shift and the reversible lane schedule could change if there’s snow or other inclement weather — a strong possibility this weekend, current forecasts suggest.

The northern portion of the parkway will shut down four hours before any storm that’s expected to bring two or more inches of snow or any freezing rain or ice.

Announced in 2021, the North Parkway Rehabilitation Project will update the GW Parkway from the Beltway to Sprout Run in Alexandria with a redesigned Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) interchange, new asphalt paving, stormwater management system repairs, extended entrance and exit lanes and other improvements.


A vehicle fire has snarled rush-hour traffic on the Capital Beltway in Springfield.

A truck caught fire around Backlick Road just west of the Springfield Mixing Bowl, where I-495 meets I-395. The left and express southbound lanes on I-495 were closed for the fire, creating traffic backups that extended about two miles, as of 5:21 p.m., according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The Virginia State Police confirmed that the fire wasn’t related to a crash, and no injuries have been reported.

There was no indication of what caused the fire, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department spokesperson Ashley Hildebrandt told FFXnow.

As of 5:24 p.m., the fire had been extinguished, according to Hildebrandt.

Traffic camera photo via VDOT

The current Maple Avenue streetscape across from the Vienna Town Green (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Generally speaking, florals for spring may not be groundbreaking, but the Town of Vienna is still counting on new flowers and shrubs to give its commercial corridor some seasonal pizzazz.

Landscaping crews began work yesterday (Thursday) to update the landscaping along Maple Avenue and Church Street for the first time in 20 years. The project is intended to “boost curb appeal in the business district,” according to the town.

“The plan calls for 81 landscape planters on both sides of Maple Avenue and 46 planters on both sides of Church Street to be transformed into a welcoming, vibrant display of seasonal color from spring to fall,” Vienna Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Herman said in a press release.

The initial work is focused on Maple Avenue between Courthouse Road SW and East Street NE, requiring lane closures from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Monday (Sept. 25).

However, Herman says crews will typically remove plants and prepare the new planters between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. to “mitigate the impact of lane closures on residents and commuters.”

Designed by contractor LSG Landscape with plants from Merrifield Garden Center, the project will replace all understory plantings on Maple Avenue with new shrubs, ornamental grasses and both perennial and annual plants, according to the town.

Most of the existing understory on Church Street will remain, but it will be supplemented by new plants with “similar colors and textures to create a more consistent appearance,” the town said.

While the project mostly deals with the underlying plants, it will also remove trees deemed to be in poor health, per the press release:

As part of this project, some trees that are in poor or declining condition will be removed. This will not only improve the health of the remaining street trees but also increase sunlight exposure and reduce root competition. To maintain the tree population, an equal number of new trees will be planted, enhancing both consistency and biodiversity.

A recent inventory determined that most of Vienna’s remaining trees are healthy, but the overall canopy has declined, prompting the town to consider new conservation measures. A proposal that would require developers to preserve more trees will go to the planning commission for a public hearing on Wednesday (Sept. 27).

The planting work on Maple and Church is expected to continue through Nov. 8.

“If all goes as planned, residents and visitors will start seeing the colorful results in spring 2024,” the town said.


(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) A crash involving three vehicles, including a Virginia State Police vehicle, has partially shut down the northbound Capital Beltway (I-495) near Merrifield, including all express lanes.

According to state police, the crash appears to have occurred around 12:36 p.m. when a trooper responded to a disabled vehicle in the northbound express lanes just south of Route 50.

“A multi-vehicle crash occurred several minutes later involving a box truck that overturned partially onto a state police patrol vehicle,” a VSP spokesperson said. “There is one reported injury in the box truck. The trooper was not injured.”

The trooper reported that he “got hit” and requested additional units, including a medic, at 12:50 p.m., according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.

Four people have been transported to the hospital, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says.

“One patient was extricated,” the fire department said in a 1:49 p.m. tweet. “Four patients were transferred. 3 with non life-threatening injuries and 1 with serious injuries.”

State police and FCFRD units remain at the scene to investigate.

Traffic from the blocked I-495 toll lanes is being diverted into the regular travel lanes. The north left and left center lanes are also closed, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic cameras.

As of 1:36 p.m., traffic backups extended approximately 1.4 miles.

The I-495 North Express Lanes are blocked by a four-vehicle crash near the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons (via VDOT)

Updated at 6:30 p.m. — All lanes on I-495 have reopened.

Earlier: The northbound express lanes of the Capital Beltway (I-495) are partially closed at the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons after a crash involving four vehicles.

Virginia State Police responded to the “chain reaction crash” near the Dulles Toll Road at 4:33 p.m., a VSP spokesperson said.

No injuries have been reported, according to police.

The crash initially blocked all of the northbound I-495 Express Lanes, but traffic is now being allowed through on the left shoulder, per the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic cameras.

A Fairfax County police car (file photo)

An apparently speeding driver crashed into a Fairfax County police officer and another driver who had been pulled over on Fairfax County Parkway.

One lane of the roadway in each direction has been closed at Braddock Road so police can clear the crash.

“An officer was on a traffic stop when a car traveling at a high rate of speed from the opposite direction, crossed over the media & struck the stopped car head on,” the Fairfax County Police Department said in a tweet at 12:30 p.m. “The officer & driver of the stopped car were taken to the hospital w/injuries not considered life threatening.”

The driver who crashed remained at the scene, according to police, who advise travelers to avoid the area until the scene is cleared.


The reconstruction of the Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) intersection at Baron Cameron Avenue begins this week in Reston.

Part of a massive project to expand Route 7, the construction will usher in new traffic patterns on the nights of April 10-14 and April 16-20 between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The triple left-turn lanes from westbound Route 7 to Baron Cameron Avenue will be reduced to a single-left turn lane from 8-10 p.m. only. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is in the process of widening a nearly 7-mile stretch of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.

“Please use caution and be alert to vehicles and equipment entering and exiting the work area. All work is weather-dependent and subject to change,” VDOT cautioned in a recent traffic alert.

Between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., drivers on Springvale Road to Baron Cameron Avenue will turn right onto westbound Route 7 and follow a detour route to Reston Parkway and Wiehle Avenue in order to get to Baron Cameron Avenue.

Drivers on Baron Cameron Avenue, Hunter Gate Way and Hunter Mill Road who are trying to reach westbound Route 7 will follow Baron Cameron Avenue westbound to a detour route along Wiehle Avenue and Reston Parkway.

Additionally, all Route 7 eastbound traffic will be reduced to a single-through lane.

Between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., the triple left-turn lanes from westbound Route 7 to Baron Cameron Avenue will be completely closed. Drivers on eastbound Route 7 to Baron Cameron Avenue will use a service road at a nearby car wash to access Baron Cameron Avenue.

The right-turn lane from Baron Cameron Avenue to eastbound Route 7 will remain open at all times.

According to VDOT documentation from a recent meeting, the project is expected to cost roughly $314 million and should wrap up by the end of July next year. Construction began in May 2019.

Key milestones so far include the addition of a left-turn lane from westbound Route 7 to Baron Cameron Avenue, temporary intersection improvements at Towlston Road, and a third through-lane from Riva Ridge Drive to Reston Avenue.

The new Lewinsville Road intersection with a displaced left-run lane from eastbound Route 7 to Lewinsville is expected to open in late May, according to VDOT.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue truck in Merrifield with lights on (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

One person has been taken to the hospital with injuries from a three-vehicle crash on Route 50 in the Merrifield area, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says.

Units are currently on the scene at the Williams Drive intersection just west of the Gatehouse Plaza shopping center.

Westbound Route 50 (Arlington Blvd) has been closed at Gallows Road, and two right lanes are blocked, according to the fire department, which advises drivers to seek alternate routes.

The FCFRD says the injuries of the person taken to the hospital aren’t considered life-threatening.


Work has begun on repairs to the George Washington Memorial Parkway’s bridge over Pimmit Run in McLean.

Construction crews are repairing façades of the structures that support the Pimmit Run Bridge as part of the ongoing project to rehabilitate the parkway’s northern section from the Capital Beltway (I-495) to Sprout Run Parkway in Arlington, according to the National Park Service.

Started around the beginning of the month, the bridge repairs are expected to continue “throughout the next couple of months,” the agency said in an update on Friday (Feb. 3).

The bridge’s lanes have been narrowed to provide more staging room for construction equipment, which is separated from the main road by a recently erected temporary barrier.

“Crews may not be visible to the traveling public as most of the work is under the bridge,” the NPS said.

Crews are also still working to install a temporary lane widening the parkway between I-495 and Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road). The added 10-f0ot-wide lane is necessary to give crews space to work and stage equipment, according to NPS.

The GW Parkway is being temporarily widened for a project to rehabilitate its northern section (courtesy NPS)

Here’s more on what to expect during this stage of construction from NPS:

Activities include removing select trees in the median and at the outfalls, installing temporary drainage, and activities related to installing temporary pavement. Motorists may see crews remove select trees at the outfalls over the next couple of months. Additionally, once crews begin select tree removal at the outfalls near Route 123, activities may be visible from the surrounding neighborhoods. The rehabilitation project includes tree replacement, which will occur at the completion of the project.

Weekday lane closures

  • Northbound lane closures from 6:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
  • Southbound lane closures from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday lane closures

  • Northbound left lane from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Southbound left lane from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Nighttime work is possible depending on weather temperatures.

Nighttime lane closure hours

  • Northbound lane closures from 7:15 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
  • Southbound lane closures from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

“These lane closures are necessary to stage equipment and keep crews safe,” the park service said. “Lane closures may occur in the left or right lane with varying lengths; however, at least one lane of traffic in each direction will always remain open.”

Announced in December 2021, the $161 million project is the first major upgrade for the GW Parkway’s 7.6-mile northern stretch since it opened in 1962. Work is projected to finish in late 2025.

A tractor-trailer overturned on a I-395 South ramp in Springfield, spilling sewage (via VDOT)

A tractor-trailer carrying sewage flipped over on I-395 in Springfield earlier today (Thursday), resulting in a tough morning commute for drivers headed away from D.C.

The Virginia Department of Transportation reported at 7:35 a.m. that the vehicle had overturned and spilled its contents on the southbound I-395 ramp to southbound I-95. All lanes were blocked.

Drivers already on the highway were directed to detour to the Capital Beltway (I-495) or Old Keene Mill Road, while VDOT advised those not yet caught up in the jam to seek alternate routes.

By 8 a.m., vehicles were able to get by on the left shoulder, and VDOT said that there had been no injuries. However, the department revealed that the truck’s contents turned out to be sewage.

“Pls check 511Virginia before you go bc things can get backed up,” the department tweeted.

Per 511Virginia, VDOT’s live traffic camera site, the southbound right shoulder remains closed, and traffic backups extend approximately 1.5 miles, as of 9:38 a.m.


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