The Inner Scoop

New Silver Line ads promise viewers 'good times are ahead' (Video)

Posted on: Wednesday 6/25/2014 1:55pm

Sophie Ho, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- What could serve as a place to meet dates, a tool to expand a college graduate's career options and encouragement for a car-less family to leave the house?

According to three new 15-second ads, the Silver Line. The much-anticipated Metro line, which is slated to open July 26, is featured in recently released ads that promise viewers "good times are ahead."

In one video, a man named John -- his only apparent companion a cat -- is told that the Silver Line will broaden his dating prospects. In another ad, college grad Donna is told her job opportunities will expand, thanks to the Silver Line's access into the District.

The first phase of the line includes an 11-mile extension of the Metro system with five new stations, and will eventually extend to Dulles International Airport.

"Now that opening day is in sight, it's time to get a little excited," said Lynn Bowersox, Metro assistant general manager, in a release.

Check out the new spots:

Ad 1:

Ad 2:

Ad 3:

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High waters converge for traffic headaches

Posted on: Thursday 6/12/2014 6:57pm

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Eastbound RT 7 remains closed at W. Market St. in Leesburg. (Courtesy Loudoun County Sheriff's office.)

WASHINGTON -- When heavy rains and rush hours coincide, delays are inevitable. Today, the worst of the region's traffic woes have correlated with the flash flood warnings issued for Loudoun County in Virginia and Montgomery and Frederick counties in Maryland.

High water led to the closure of eastbound Route 7 at the Leesburg Bypass, sending drivers onto West Market Street and other small, congested streets downtown.

Gridlock spread, slowing ramps leading off the westbound lanes of the bypass. The pace was further slowed by weather. The traffic jam spilled back onto the Dulles Greenway which was backed up for several miles into Leesburg. Delays spread onto Route 15 toward Point of Rocks. In Frederick, the wet weather led to numerous accidents. I-70 west ground to a halt when two collisions blocked westbound lanes near Route 340 and in Myersville.

I-70 and U.S. Route 40 were closed west of Hagerstown, Maryland near the Big Pool exits due to significant flash flooding. The National Weather Service estimated that over four inches of rain had fallen since noon.

On I-270 a truck jackknifed south of Montrose Road, snarling traffic from Gaithersburg. The rubbernecking caused extensive delays to spread onto the Beltway and into the I-495 interchanges as far south as McLean and Tysons Corner, Virginia. Nearby, a series of wrecks occurred on Route 267 and Route 7.

On the Dulles Toll Road, a crash blocked lanes west of Wolf Trap causing a five-mile-long backup. Above the Dulles Toll Road, a wreck occurred on the Route 7 overpass causing delays throughout Tysons. On the Dulles Access Road a crash was reported in the eastbound lanes near the Beltway.

When a road is near capacity, any brief slowdown can ripple backwards and disrupt the flow of traffic for hours. When rain begins to fall, accidents, road spray and flooding are just a few of the factors that can lead to extreme delays.

All the more reason to tune to WTOP Traffic, or better yet, just stay home.

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Eight vehicle accident on Baltimore-Washington Parkway

Posted on: Saturday 4/26/2014 6:55am

WASHINGTON -- WTOP is following a serious accident on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway occurring around 3:40 a.m. Saturday morning.

U.S. Park Police say that eight vehicles were involved. Prince George's County Fire Department says that one person was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Two people were also arrested for drug possession.

Update:

All parkway lanes are open again.

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Osprey returns! Nest and bird seen on live traffic cam

Posted on: Sunday 4/20/2014 8:27am

WASHINGTON -- The osprey nest that was previously removed from a traffic cam near the Bay Bridge has returned.

Watch the live camera feed HERE.

Related stories:

Ospreys return to the Potomac River

Osprey nest removed from traffic cam location near Bay Bridge

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Bus crashes beg question: How safe are they?

Posted on: Wednesday 4/2/2014 3:51pm

WASHINGTON -- Travel season means tour buses crisscrossing the country. They're already parked on the Mall bringing tourists to see Washington's world-famous cherry blossoms. But after a number of high-profile bus crashes, more and more riders have asked: How safe are they?

There's a quick and easy way to check the safety record of bus companies, says Anne Ferro, administrator with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It's called the Safer Bus app, and it's free.

"It's a quick and easy look-up for the authority of that company that you may be choosing to book," says Ferro.

The app has been around for a couple of years, but Ferro uses the start of the spring and summer travel season to remind riders they should check the records of any bus company they may travel with.

Ferro also announced that Union Station would now be used as a site for on-the-spot bus inspections. The FMCSA and the District of Columbia's Metropolitan Police Department are teaming up to carry out the inspections, which include checking the vehicle and the driver's information.

"We want to be sure the driver is rested and obeying the law," Ferro says.

Ferro encourages potential riders to use the Safer Bus app and says her administration is working hard to ferret out fly-by-night companies.

"We shut down 100 motor coach companies in the last year," she says. "The key for us is to make it more difficult than ever before to operate unsafe equipment."

Here's a link for information on the Safer Bus app.

WTOP's Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on the WTOP Facebook page.

Freezing roadways a danger to Wednesday morning commuters

Posted on: Wednesday 3/26/2014 6:56am

WASHINGTON -- We've all seen the signs: "Bridges freeze before roadway." Well, WTOP traffic reporter Bob Marbourg says that's especially true for Wednesday morning.

Marbourg says Tuesday night's strong winds helped temperatures plummet after a day of snowfall. The result is wet roads and frigid temperatures for Wednesday morning, which may mean dicey roads for morning commuters.

That means the roads are freezing before the winds can dry them off, Marbourg says, and some bridge decks, particularly in Montgomery County and areas to the north and west, are already freezing.

A man died after an ice-related single-vehicle crash in Prince George's County Wednesday morning.

At least six crashes were reported in Montgomery County as of 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, including ones on Viers Mill Road and University Boulevard, and at Georgia Avenue and Laytonsville Road.

Bridges get cold air from above and below, so they freeze before surface roads.

"That's what the signs say," Marbourg says, "and this is why it happens."

Most of the pre-treating of area roads in preparation for the snow was washed away in the course of Tuesday snow and wind, Marbourg says.

"There are crews out on the roads doing some salting [Tuesday night], but not nearly a full-scale mobilization."

His advice?

"Everybody take in a breath, back off on the speed, and consider that the next overpass you find may be slippery."

Some schools are delayed Wednesday morning because of the road conditions. See the full list on WTOP.com.

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Rock 'n' Roll Marathon creates weekend closures in D.C.

Posted on: Friday 3/14/2014 8:16am

WASHINGTON -- It's that time of year again: The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is coming to town.

The cross-city trek, the first of many annual road races in Washington, usually takes drivers by surprise.

The 2014 Rock 'n' Roll USA Marathon and the CareFirst Rock 'n' Roll USA Half Marathon begins at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 15. Many streets throughout the D.C. will close for the race course from early morning through early afternoon.

This year's course starts on Constitution Avenue and routes runners along the National Mall, back-and-forth across the Memorial Bridge, on Rock Creek Parkway into Woodley Park, and along streets through Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Capital Hill, the Navy Yard, Anacostia and River Terrace. The Half-Marathon and Marathon end at Lot 7 at RFK Stadium.

The first portion of the race will affect drivers in Northwest Washington. As the last runners pass across the Memorial Bridge and Rock Creek Parkway, police will likely reopen the roads.

The routes near the end of the marathon course between the Frederick Douglass Bridge and RFK Stadium will remain closed the longest.


The map above illustrates the 2014 race course and offers estimated duration of closures and a few alternate routes.

On Saturday, Metrorail opens its doors two hours early, at 5 a.m., to accommodate runners and spectators. Participants traveling by train should use the Federal Triangle, Smithsonian or Archives stations to access the start line.

Metro says the Orange, Blue, Yellow and Green lines will operate on their regular weekend schedules, except for the Greenbelt Station on the Green Line and Franconia-Springfield station on the Blue Line

Trains on the Red Line will run every 16 minutes between Shady Grove and Glenmont. Metro says additional trains will provide service from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. between Farragut North and Silver Spring.

Several Metrobus routes are affected by the race closures. Buses won't proceed beyond most race closures until they're lifted.

In addition to the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, the Four Courts Four Miler Race will block roads in northern Arlington, Va. Arlington County Police report Va. 110 North and portions of Wilson Boulevard will be blocked from mid-morning until 11 a.m.

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High-speed chase involving young adults ends in crash

Posted on: Tuesday 3/11/2014 11:27am

WASHINGTON -- A police pursuit of a minivan filled with young adults ended with a serious crash that closed the Virginia I-95 ramp to Dale Boulevard for several hours Tuesday morning.

Ft. Belvoir police attempted to pull over a 2009 Toyota Sienna minivan for a possible DUI on the Fort Belvoir base at about 2 a.m., but the car with seven passengers in their teens and 20s fled from police, according to Sgt. C.W. Davis with Virginia State Police.

Police say the minivan was speeding at 100 mph on southbound I-95 when the driver attempted to take the exit ramp, but lost control. The minivan skidded off the left side of the ramp, struck a guardrail and overturned onto the left shoulder.

Four of the minivan's passengers were ejected. One passenger was in the middle of the road and another was in the woods, Davis says.

Emergency crews flew all of the seven occupants of the vehicle to nearby hospitals -- Inova Fairfax and MedStar Washington.

A 15-year-old passenger flown to Inova Fairfax is being treated for life- threatening injuries.

The other six are being treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Police closed the ramp following the crash and reopened it to traffic at about 7 a.m.

The female driver is believed to be in her early 20s, the passengers include a 23- year-old man, 21-year-old man, 17-year-old male and three 15-year-old females.

WTOP's Jamie Forzato contributed to this report. Follow @JamieForzato and @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

Southbound I-270 reopens after crash

Posted on: Monday 3/10/2014 8:07am

WASHINGTON -- All lanes of southbound Interstate 270 in Montgomery County have reopened after a crash caused delays for commuters Monday morning.

All lanes on southbound I-270 were blocked after Shady Grove Road, but before Md. 28 because of a crash that happened at about 5:50 a.m. All lanes reopened by 8:30 a.m.

Officials say that at least one person is injured.

Officials have not yet said what caused the crash.

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New flyover ramp connects 11th Street Bridge and SE-SW Freeway

Posted on: Thursday 3/6/2014 2:27pm

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DDOT says crews will open a high-capacity flyover ramp that connects the 11th Street Bridge to the westbound Southeast-Southwest Freeway early Friday. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

WASHINGTON -- After enduring years of painful morning delays along D.C. 295 and Interstate 295, a new connection for inbound drivers is expected to open at the 11th Street Bridge.

The District Department of Transportation says that construction crews will open a high-capacity flyover ramp that will connect the 11th Street Bridge to the westbound Southeast-Southwest Freeway early Friday.

On Thursday night, all access to the inbound main span of the 11th Street Bridge will be blocked to tie the new ramp into the westbound Southeast-Southwest Freeway. All lanes are expected to be open in their final configuration in time for the Friday morning rush hours.

The new ramp is expected to greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the recurring rush-hour delays that are the result of a temporary traffic pattern put into place to accommodate work on the $390 million bridge improvement project. The traffic pattern reduced from four to two the number of lanes able to cross over M Street SE, crimping the traffic flow.

Drivers had been using an old, structurally deficient flyover bridge to access to freeway. The old bridge connection will be closed permanently and scheduled for demolition after the new bridge opens to traffic.

Drivers destine for Capitol Hill and downtown areas will be able to use three of the four travel lanes on the 11th Street Bridge to access the Southeast-Southwest Freeway (I-695/I-395).

The new connection will further reduce delays resulting from vehicles weaving from lane to lane by splitting the right-center lane, allowing those drivers to either continue onto the freeway or take the ramp to M Street SE. A fourth lane will bear directly onto M Street SE.

In February, crews set the eastbound freeway into its final alignment by opening a brand new connection to outbound drivers.

Along with the inbound connection, both of these ramps will mark the first time all of the freeways linked by this pair of ramps will be able to travel at their full capacity.

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