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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 02/ 7/2011

Fire snarls traffic around the Mall

By Mark Berman
Mark Berman

Have a photo of the scene? Send it it to us: tellus@washingtonpost.com.

10:23 A.M. UPDATE:

Constitution Avenue has reopened but Madison Drive remains closed.

The District Department of Transportation reports that North Capitol Street between K and L streets is closed due to a gas leak.

9:10 A.M. UPDATE:

Traffic has slowed again on eastbound Constitution Avenue. There's also considerable congestion on southbound 7th Street, while southbound 9th Street looks pretty clear. If you need to head east, Independence Avenue still looks like your best shot.

8:50 A.M. UPDATE:

Road remain closed around the Museum of Natural History due to the fire earlier this morning in one of the cooling tower areas. However, some of the fire trucks appear to have left, and delays have eased a bit on 7th and 9th streets and eastbound Constitution Avenue heading towards this spot.

An accident on Pennsylvania Avenue at Barney Circle in Southeast Washington could really slow traffic heading towards downtown Washington. Expect delays in this area.

8:35 A.M. UPDATE:

A fire broke out this morning in one of the cooling tower areas at the Museum of Natural History, said deputy D.C. fire chief Kenny Crosswhite. The fire was reported shortly before 7:45 a.m. and occurred at 1000 Constitution Avenue in Northwest Washington, he said. The fire is currently under control and there are no reported injuries, Crosswhite said.

Officials are on the scene investigating the fire as well as checking to make sure it didn't get any further, he said. There's no exact timetable yet on when roads might reopen, but the roads will likely remain closed through the rest of the morning rush, according to Crosswhite.

NaturalHistoryfire.jpg
Smoke rises over the scene of the fire. (Ed O'Keefe/Post)


8:30 A.M. UPDATE:

Traffic is heavily backed up on eastbound Constitution Avenue as far west as 17th Street. Again, avoid this area if possible. Head south on 23rd Street and take Independence Avenue east if you can manage it. There are also considerable backups on 7th and 9th streets heading south.

8:23 A.M. UPDATE:

In addition to the 9th Street Tunnel (which is closed at Constitution Avenue), the following roads and lanes are also blocked due to the fire: Madison Drive at 12th Street; southbound 7th Street (one lane is blocked); eastbound Constitution Avenue from 8th to 10th streets.

8:15 A.M. UPDATE:

Due to a fire at the the Museum of Natural History, the 9th Street Tunnel is closed, according to the District Department of Transportation. Three eastbound lanes of Constitution Avenue are also blocked.

8 A.M. UPDATE:

The 1000 block of Constitution Avenue is blocked off in Northwest Washington due to the reported fire, according to the District Department of Transportation.

7:55 A.M. UPDATE:

There's a reported fire at one of the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall, and fire trucks are massing along Constitution Avenue near 7th and 9th streets in Northwest Washington. Watch for big backups and traffic headaches near that spot and avoid it if you can.

7:37 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on westbound U.S. 50 at Crain Highway/U.S. 301 has been cleared.

7:30 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on I-66 West at the Beltway is still blocking the right lane and right shoulder.

7:20 A.M. UPDATE:

An accident on westbound U.S. 50 at Crain Highway/U.S. 301 is blocking one lane and the right merge lane.

7:10 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on the outer loop before Colesville Road has been cleared and the lanes reopen.

There's a vehicle fire on westbound U.S. 50/John Hanson Highway is blocking two lanes at Collington Road.

6:50 A.M. UPDATE:

An accident on the outer loop of the Beltway before the exit for Colesville Road is blocking three of four lanes and one of the shoulders.

An accident on I-66 West at the Beltway is blocking the right lane and right shoulder.

6:40 A.M. UPDATE:

The disabled vehicle on the outer loop after New Hampshire Avenue is now just blocking one of the shoulders, but there could still be delays in the vicinity.

The disabled vehicle on I-370 East has been cleared.

6:25 A.M. UPDATE:

A disabled vehicle on the outer loop of the Beltway after New Hampshire Avenue is blocking one lane and one of the shoulders.

There's also a disabled vehicle on I-370 East at I-270, though no lane closures have been reported yet.

The accident on Leesburg Pike at Lyons Street has been cleared and the westbound right center lane and right lane reopened.

ORIGINAL POST:

Good morning, commuters. Another week begins with warmer conditions than much of last week: temperatures are going to climb into the mid-to-high 40s today. We'll be keeping an eye on traffic and transit issues this morning, so be sure to check back in throughout the morning rush. Let us know anything you see or hear about by talking to us in the comments below or on Twitter (tweet @DrGridlock).

An accident on Leesburg Pike at Lyons Street is blocking the westbound right center lane and right lane. There could be delays for traffic in the area of Wolf Trap.

By Mark Berman  | February 7, 2011; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion  
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Next: Orange Line delays cleared

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