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Traffic Alert: Wilson Blvd. Shut in Arlington

Updated at 3:44 p.m.

A two-block stretch of Wilson Boulevard in Arlington will remain closed until 6 p.m. after a car accident Wednesday that knocked over an electric pole, police and power company officials said.

The accident, at 10:14 a.m., shut down Wilson between Greenbrier and Emerson streets and knocked out power to almost 3,400 residents of the surrounding area of North Arlington, said Le-Ha Anderson, a spokeswoman for Dominion Virginia Power. She said that section of the busy interchange will be closed until 6 p.m., when a least one lane will reopen. Each of the two lanes in both directions are expected to reopen by 7:30 p.m., she said.

The two-car accident sent one person to a hospital with minor injuries. One of the cars knocked over the pole, which was broken in two places. "Wires were pulled from it,'' Anderson said. "Everything that was on the pole was pulled from it, and that's why we have the outages.''

Dominion crews were repairing the pole, and Anderson said there was no danger to residents. Power had been restored to all but about 500 customers by 3 p.m. All customers were expected to have power by 7:30 p.m., Anderson said.

-- Jerry Markon

Road Essentials:  Incident Map  |  Traffic Cams   |   Key Routes

By Mike McPhate  |  August 19, 2009; 11:52 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Driving  
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Next: Part of Eisenhower Connector to Reopen Early

Comments

I appreciate the early heads up. But to say that an accident is going to close a major artery for EIGHT HOURS, and then provide no details whatsoever about the nature of the accident, is to raise some pretty huge unanswered questions in the readers mind.

I don't necessarily blame the good Doctor for this, but rather our "public safety" officials who are increasingly taking the Soviet approach to their jobs: "here is what we want you to know. Comply. Any further information might be harmful to State Security."

Posted by: DupontJay | August 19, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Ballston Mall is completely without power as well (as of Noon).

Posted by: OldTimeRider | August 19, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Ballston Mall -- got everything but nothing good; kind of like tapas.

Posted by: bs2004 | August 19, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

More details on the accident is now posted at http://www.news8.net/news/stories/0809/651121.html

Posted by: OldTimeRider | August 19, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

One has to go to the TV stations to find out what the sensational news is.....which is why I mostly avoid them and stick to print!

ARLINGTON, Va. - Wilson Boulevard was closed between N. Greenbrier and N. Emerson streets Wednesday after a car struck a utility pole, which was snapped in half, knocking down wires.
Power is out in some surrounding neighborhoods. Crews are working on restoring it.

The accident happened at Wilson Avenue and N Florida Street.

Officials expect Wilson Boulevard to be closed for several hours in both directions.

ABC 7


Drivers are advised to use Arlington Boulevard and Lee Highway as alternates.

Drivers are asked to treat any intersections without traffic signals as four-way stops.

Some injuries were reported, but information about the type and extent of the injuries was not immediately available.

Posted by: infoseive | August 19, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

sounds like this accident must have wiped out some power poles which would take some time to replace/repair

Posted by: fedssocr | August 19, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

To the first poster, seems like its pretty clear that there are live electrical wires in the road. They can't just sweep those to the side and let traffic flow through -- its a pretty complicated project.

Posted by: CNY-DC | August 19, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

yeah, to the first poster, what else do you want? the hospital room numbers of the accident victims? the model, color and plate numbers of the cars?

the road is closed. stay away from the area and get the details on tonight's 11 o'clock news.

Posted by: xrvax | August 19, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Yeah that first poster is unreasonable. If the county actually did give a specific detour route she'd complain about Big Brother telling her what to do. It's a grid for God's sake. Couple of left and rights on side streets and your through.

Posted by: Alsatian1 | August 19, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Too funny. When this alert was first posted all it said was that there was an accident on Wilson Blvd and the road would be closed until 7 PM.

The first poster's message made a lot more sense then than it does now.

Posted by: ghokee | August 19, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I live right there. Check out this pic taken just after it happened.

http://img36.imageshack.us/img36/5141/accidentw.jpg

Posted by: voightn | August 19, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Someone who does not have all the streets memorized will be very poorly served by this article.

Posted by: sbaker1 | August 19, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"Someone who does not have all the streets memorized will be very poorly served by this article."

People who have Internet access (enabling them to read this) but who aren't intelligent enough to go to an online map service if they don't know where the affected streets are probably aren't intelligent enough to be given driver's licenses.

Posted by: 1995hoo | August 19, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"People who have Internet access (enabling them to read this) but who aren't intelligent enough to go to an online map service if they don't know where the affected streets are probably aren't intelligent enough to be given driver's licenses."

Why so angry? Wilson is a long street - how hard would it have been to add a sentence stating that this is directly West of Ballston?

Posted by: ArlingtonVA3 | August 19, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the constructive feedback, xrvax and CNY-DC. Please note that prior to the 1:25 pm update, this article just said that the road would be closed for 8 hours, and that some traffic lights were out. There was no word on the reason for such an extraordinary closure.

And again, I don't necessarily blame the Post -- they undoubtedly just reported what the Arlington PD told them. But hey, if the cops knew that the road would be closed for 8 hours, the *least* they could do is explain why; a simple "due to a downed power pole" would have done the trick.

But these days, it seems like every public safety agency operates under a doctrine of "minimize and strictly control the information released to the public." We saw this in WMATA's response to the 22 June crash, where it sometimes took hours for Metro riders to find out there was a serious problem. We see this same kind of doctrine at play quite often in downtown DC, where roads are closed due to unspecified "police activity". So it was profoundly frustrating to start seeing the same attitude infect the Arlington cops in this incident.

But hey, if you're OK with the government establishing information blackouts about serious incidents in your community, fine. Personally, I don't want to live in the kind of country where that kind of thing goes unchallenged.

Posted by: DupontJay | August 19, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

DupontJay makes a good point, one that I've argued before myself. While this is a minor incident, it does speak to a larger concern, which is what I think DupontJay is getting at.

There's an increasing attitude by many of the authorities in the area that the public just needs to be told there's a problem, and that's it. As though we're incapable of understanding, or that we'll panic or sue or something. In any event, I find it patronizing and a little worrying.

And while I recognize there are times when for public safety, etc. info can't be released, more info from authorities most of time would actually benefit them in that they'd control the story more vs. having the media sensationalize it later when they dig it up.

In this case, as the story was updated, the Dominion rep's information was just what was needed...nothing super-detailed, but enough so you can understand, via plain English, what happened, why and for how long.

Posted by: JackTrade | August 19, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Piggybacking on DupontJay and JackTrade (great points!), authorities seem to be more intent on minimzing concern that informing us of what's actually happening. Suppose this had happened on a larger road, such as Arlington Blvd. The story would eventually leak via cell phone cameras and social networking. Official sources are no longer the only sources.

That's the problem authorities face. They want to control the message, but it's no longer only theirs. Each time a reporter's or citizen's question carries more than authorities are willing to acknowledge, confidence in them erodes.

We're grown-ups. We know that roads will be closed unexpectedly once in a great while. We accept that. Personally, I don't mind getting vague info early on (e.g. a car crash on Wilson Blvd has resulted in the road closure for the next several hours) so long as conveys the gravity of the situation so I can make contingency plans.

Posted by: yo_tamon | August 19, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

DupontJay... regarding your initial post:
"I appreciate the early heads up. But to say that an accident is going to close a major artery for EIGHT HOURS, and then provide no details whatsoever about the nature of the accident, is to raise some pretty huge unanswered questions in the readers mind."

All that you NEED to know is that there was an accident and that the road was/is closed and that power is out in the surrounding area. Any other info is superfluous and distracts from the primary goal of getting word out on the status of traffic and power. The "nature" of the accident is irrelevant to what I need to know as commuter (though admittedly interesting).

Posted by: jrmyl | August 19, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Let me take you back a few years. If all you heard was, "an airplane crashed in New York", then "another airplane crashed in New York", then you hear "an airplane has crashed in Alexandria", well wouldn't you have been a little interested in knowing what's going on.

Just by history, we know that traffic accidents can take about an hour to clear. But eight hours is out of the ordinary. Whenever something is out of the ordinary, you get more and give more details about it.

Wow, it's amazing how small I made 9/11 seem. I do apologize to those families that were affected during that time. Personally, I was affected in both NY and the Pentagon, but seriously people, you need to start asking questions and asking questions of those who hold the information, demanding to know what you SHOULD know, not what they think you need to know.

Posted by: dj1123 | August 19, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

On 9/11, in the case of both NY and VA we got all the we NEEDED... planes have crashed, we are under attack, the city is shutting down, get out of town.

In this case, I was given the information I NEEDED and could find out more later very easily through the news and police reports.

If the car crash on Wilson was akin to 9/11 you would know... either through the good Doctor or a million other news sources. Don't make bogus comparisons.

Posted by: jrmyl | August 19, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the need to bash the ominous "authorities" in the case of car accidents like this. They are not trying to "control" information regarding the accident. Rather, they are regular local government bureaucrats and media outreach folks just trying to disseminate the information that commuters need.

In other instances and situations you are all dead on... too much control of the message and the information and it will only backfire in the modern world of information flow and technology.

But in the case of a car accident and a resulting power outage, give me the info I need to make contingency plans if necessary and that's it.

Posted by: jrmyl | August 19, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

OMG! Do you people realize you are arguing over a traffic report?! Do you have nothing else to do?!

Posted by: Arlme | August 19, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I work for an insurance agent with an office affected by this crash. The weird thing is, one of our other offices lost power for several hours Monday when a landscaping truck flipped over and pulled down a power cable. That was Fairfax and today it's Arlington. All I'm saying is, if you live near Lorton Station, we've got an office there too. Drive carefully Friday, in case our alternate day jinx kicks in again.

Posted by: greyK | August 19, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

To defend DupontJay:

When this was originally posted, and a few hours after, there was little information on this post from the Dr (via the county).

All that was there was basically "Wilson Blvd will be closed until after the evening rush between Greenbrier and Emerson. This is due to an investigation"

Even if it just said due to an accident involving a power poll, that would have been sufficient. But to Jays point about the lack of information given at the time (noonish), he was spot on.

Posted by: jpl1019 | August 19, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

excuse me, *power pole

Posted by: jpl1019 | August 19, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

DupontJay, shadup.

Posted by: Axel2 | August 19, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

"'People who have Internet access (enabling them to read this) but who aren't intelligent enough to go to an online map service if they don't know where the affected streets are probably aren't intelligent enough to be given driver's licenses.'

"Why so angry? Wilson is a long street - how hard would it have been to add a sentence stating that this is directly West of Ballston?"

I'm not "angry" at all. I was simply responding to the post before mine, which was rather harshly written in that it called the main entry "useless" to people who don't have "all the streets memorized." "Useless"? I think not. Anyone intelligent enough to find Dr. Gridlock's blog is probably intelligent enough to go to Google Maps or Mapquest or a similar service if more specific location info is needed.

Posted by: 1995hoo | August 20, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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