The bridge, which has been under construction since 2012, was built to replace the previous structure. The old bridge was built in the 1940s as part of the original Pentagon Roadway Network and had been in “poor condition,” according to VDOT.
Construction on the project is still expected to wrap up at some point in 2015, according to VDOT’s project website.
Lane closures will continue on Columbia Pike into 2014 while the new bridge is finished and the old bridge is demolished. Demolition is expected to happen as soon as January.
The Arlington County Board is expected to approve easement acquisitions to the northwest and southwest corners of the intersection at its meeting Saturday, which will allow the county to widen sidewalks and install bus shelters at the intersection.
The easement acquisition is the first step of wide-scale improvements coming to the intersection. Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2014, but there is no timeline yet, according to county Department of Environment Services spokeswoman Jennifer Heilman.
Among the changes coming to the intersection will be the installation of left-turn lanes on N. Glebe Road, four new bus shelters, and a new commercial entrance into the Rite Aid shopping center between Glebe Road and N. Albemarle Street. There will also be new streetlights, crosswalk markings and traffic signals installed.
The project is 50 percent designed and funded in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Photo via Google Maps
The plan is to create a one mile long auxiliary lane by connecting the Washington Blvd on-ramp to the off-ramp at the Dulles Airport Access Road. Workers will also construct a new 12-foot wide shoulder with full-strength pavement capable of carrying traffic during emergencies. Today, VDOT awarded a $23 million contract for the project to The Lane Construction Corporation.
A similar project was completed in 2011, when the acceleration lane at the Fairfax Drive on-ramp was extended to the deceleration lane at the Sycamore Street off-ramp. That created a continuous lane that stretches for nearly two miles.
The improvements slated to begin next year are scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2015. A third, similar project is planned between Lee Highway and Glebe Road, but it is not yet fully funded.
VDOT will try to do most of the work overnight to minimize the impact on drivers. More details about lane closures and traffic impacts will be announced when the construction schedule is finalized.
Furloughed Workers Voting Absentee? — The pace of absentee voting in Arlington has nearly doubled since the federal government shutdown, perhaps the result of furloughed workers casting ballots in advance. The pace is now about 50 ballots a day, which is still far slower than the absentee voting pace during the last presidential election. [Sun Gazette]
County Celebrates Crystal Drive Project — Last week Arlington County celebrated the completion of its Crystal Drive two-way project and the installation of a HAWK (High-intensity Activated Crosswalk) traffic signal on Crystal Drive between 23rd & 26th Streets South. [Arlington County]
Paint-Splattered Play Requires Ponchos — Synetic Theater’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” which runs through Nov. 3 in Crystal City, features on-stage paint-slinging as a special effect. Though a plexiglas pen is set up between the actors and the audience, those in the first few rows are provided with Gallagher-esque ponchos on the off-chance that drops of paint make it past the plexiglass. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by J Sonder
The bridge was rebuilt as part of the $39 million Route 50/Courthouse Road/10th Street interchange project, which is expected to be complete by mid-2014. The old bridge was torn down in January, but crews made quick work of the new bridge, erecting steel beams for the span in July.
For now, the bridge is only carrying traffic from Courthouse Road to eastbound Route 50. Eventually, it will also carry traffic from eastbound Route 50 to Courthouse Road, with a traffic signal regulating traffic entering and exiting the highway.
VDOT currently anticipates opening the bridge to two-way traffic around Christmas of this year, according to spokeswoman Jeanene Harris.
Two-way traffic was originally slated to start this afternoon, following planned weekend lane striping and painting work. Instead, the conversion has been pushed back until Wednesday.
“The conversion has been delayed for 48 hours due to a scheduling conflict with our subcontractor,” Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Laura G. Smith confirmed to ARLnow.com this morning. “Work that is yet to be done includes the bicycle lane, sharrows and parking lane markings. The two-way traffic will begin at noon on Wednesday.”
The northbound HOV lanes will now close during the week at 10:00 a.m. rather than 11:00, VDOT announced, and the southbound lanes will open at noon instead of 1:00 p.m.
The change in schedule will be in effect until mid-October “to help ease southbound congestion during construction of the 95 Express Lanes, the 95 Shoulder Lane project in Prince William County, and BRAC related work in the I-395/Seminary Road area along with routine summer road maintenance,” VDOT announced in a press release.
Update on 8/5/13 — The two-way conversion has been delayed until Wednesday.
Starting Monday afternoon, another section of Crystal Drive in Crystal City will be open for two-way traffic.
This weekend, crews with the Department of Environmental Services are expected to finish the final painting and striping on Crystal Drive between 12th and 15th Street S.
The striping is the second-to-last step of the project to make the Crystal Drive corridor open to two-way traffic. The last step is waiting for Dominion Power to energize the traffic signal at S. Clark and 12th Streets. Until that happens, S. Clark and 14th Streets will remain southbound only, DES spokeswoman Laura G. Smith said.
Striping work was underway Friday afternoon and will continue through Saturday and from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday. After 4:00 p.m. Monday, DES expects the stretch of road to open for two-way traffic. Parking is prohibited on Crystal Drive and 12th Street S. while crews are painting.
The road will be closed between S. Quinn Street and S. Orme Street from 9:00 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2 to 4:00 a.m. Monday, Aug. 5, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced today. The closure is part of the ongoing Washington Blvd interchange project.
VDOT is building a new bridge for Washington Blvd over Columbia Pike, a $51.5 million project that’s expected to be completed by summer 2015. This latest closure will allow crews to place steel beams for the new bridge over the Pike. Subsequent closures will be needed during the demolition of the old bridge.
Columbia Pike traffic will be able to get around the closure by following the on-ramps to Washington Blvd to a temporary traffic signal. More detailed detour information, from VDOT:
- Columbia Pike traffic, including pedestrians and bicyclists, will be detoured around the work area to a temporary signal at Washington Boulevard.
- Northbound Washington Boulevard to westbound Columbia Pike will be detoured to Second Street South interchange and back to Columbia Pike via South Courthouse Road.
- Southbound Washington Boulevard to eastbound Columbia Pike will turn left at the temporary signal on Washington Boulevard and follow the detour back to Route 244.
- South Queen Street will be closed at its intersection with Columbia Pike.
Driving through Clarendon has become messier and is taking longer due to construction on several of the major roads in the neighborhood. It’s the latest area to be worked on as part of the annual paving program.
The affected area in Clarendon covers about five blocks — two along Wilson Blvd, two on N. Highland Street and one on N. Fillmore Street. Crews have been milling — removing the top layer of streets — and adjusting utilities as needed. Paving with two to three inches of hot-mix asphalt follows soon after, as well as line painting.
Because of the busy nature of the Clarendon neighborhood, contractors plan to do the paving portion on Sunday and Monday nights, weather permitting. Crews have been able to do the milling and utility adjustments during the day because those tasks are more flexible in terms of working around vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Clarendon isn’t the only area getting repaved; an online map highlights in red the active paving projects throughout the county. Residents in the affected areas receive letters announcing the road work four to six week before it begins. Temporary “no parking” signs are posted along the roads and cars parked in the work areas during the restricted times will be towed.
The county’s annual paving program typically takes place between March and October because the hot-mix asphalt can only be applied in warm, dry weather. Currently, this year’s paving stands at about 87 percent complete.
The Virginia Department of Transportation announced that a detour will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 27 and 28. Drivers will exit onto 14th Street, which becomes 15th Street, turn right at Courthouse Road, left at Wilson Boulevard, left at N. Barton Street, left at 10th Street back to westbound Route 50.
The road closure will allow VDOT crews to erect steel beams for the new Courthouse Road bridge. The old bridge was torn down in January as part of the $39 million Route 50/Courthouse Road/10th Street interchange project.
The project is expected to be completed in mid-2014, VDOT said.
Hot Car Mom Released from Jail – Zoraida Magali Conde Hernandez, who’s accused of fatally locking her 8-month-old son in a hot car earlier this month, was released from jail yesterday afternoon after being granted a $25,000 bond. Police say Conde Hernandez accidentally left the baby in her car for 6 hours while she went to work. NBC4 reports that she works at the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. [NBC Washington]
More Money for Paving in Virginia — More money is available for VDOT’s summer paving effort this year thanks to new transportation taxes. The planned repaving includes 90 lane miles of interstate highways and 79 miles of primary roads. Arlington is one of two Virginia counties that doesn’t rely on VDOT for maintenance of secondary roads. [Sun Gazette]
Library Group to Hold ‘Great Gatsby’ Ball — The group Friends of the Arlington Public Library will be holding a 1920s-themed “Great Gatsby” ball at Artisphere on Sept. 28. The event will raise money for the library’s early literacy initiatives. [Arlington Public Library]
Photo by Katie Pyzyk. Hat tip to Peter Golkin.
The second phase of the Crystal Drive Two-Way Conversion project was completed over the weekend.
As of Saturday, Crystal Drive between 23rd Street and 26th Street was open to two way traffic. Formerly, the road only allowed one-way northbound traffic.
A county spokeswoman said the conversion is just the beginning of a larger effort to reconfigure Crystal City’s street grid.
“The roadway now includes a northbound sharrow (a marking in the center of a travel lane that indicates bicyclists may use the full lane), a southbound bicycle lane, a north and southbound vehicular lane, up-to-date ADA compliant crosswalks, and upgraded traffic and pedestrian signals,” said Arlington County spokeswoman Laura G. Smith. ” This project marks the beginning of the major street network upgrades in Crystal City that better support the Crystal City Transitway, bicycle network, and general navigability of Crystal City.”
A third phase of the project is expected to establish two-way traffic on Crystal Drive from 26th to 27th Street.
It’s been open since this spring, but today county and federal officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the South Joyce Street Shared-Use Sidewalk Project,
The $1.8 million Federal Highway Administration project built new, wider sidewalks on the 1/5 mile stretch between Army Navy Drive and Columbia Pike. The 10-foot-wide sidewalks can be used by pedestrians and bicyclists. The sidewalks “improve safety and access at one of the few places in Arlington where bicycles and pedestrians can cross I-395,” according to a county fact sheet.
“As a result of the FHWA project, which was funded with a Congressional allocation… the once highway-style passage has been transformed into an easy-to-navigate bicycle and pedestrian route that connects the east end of Columbia Pike, the Pentagon reservation and Pentagon City,” the county wrote. “Arlington supported the the project, which aligns with the goals of Arlington County’s ‘Complete Streets’ program, with design guidance and funding for some additional elements.”
County Board Chairman Walter Tejada lauded the project, saying that it’s especially useful for those who commute via bicycle from Columbia Pike. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) joked that the new sidewalk “is not the kind of project you’d see on a postcard,” but said it’s important nonetheless.
“This is basic infrastructure,” he said. “If you don’t invest in it, if you don’t do the right thing, you negatively impact a lot of other infrastructure.”
In addition to wider sidewalks, pedestrian-scale lighting was added to the street and automatic bicycle/pedestrian counters were installed. Meanwhile, highway-style guard rails were removed and fire department standpipes were relocated out of the pedestrian route.
Fiscal Year 2014 — which starts on July 1 and ends on June 30, 2014 – will be busy for the county’s procurement office. While residents are still debating the merits of the Crystal City and Columbia Pike streetcar systems, and while county officials regroup after being initially denied federal funding for the Pike streetcar, Arlington is moving forward with the projects by soliciting bids for engineering and construction.
Among the anticipated procurements in FY 2014, according to a presentation given to transportation industry representatives earlier this month:
- Construction of Columbia Pike multimodal project segment from S. Jefferson Street to Four Mile Run
- Program management for the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar systems
- Engineering services for the Columbia Pike streetcar
- Construction of phase 3 of the Crystal Drive two-way project, from 26th Street to 27th Street
- Construction of 15th Street extension in Crystal City
- Construction of reconfigured Clark/Bell Street in Crystal City
- General contractor for construction of the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway
- Construction of a Crystal City Multimodal Transit Center (“Improved and expanded bus bays at Crystal City Metrorail Station; Facilities for longer distance commuter buses, local shuttles, and kiss-and-ride”)
- Design/build contract for a second elevator at the Pentagon City Metro Station
One longer-range project mentioned during the briefing but not included in the procurement list was a second entrance to the Crystal City Metro station. The entrance would be located near the intersection of Crystal Drive and 18th Street, and would, among other benefits, offer easier access to the Crystal City VRE station.
County procurement and transportation officials told industry reps that they would seek to keep the procurement process as transparent as possible, while avoiding conflicts of interest.
“We aim to be transparent,” said Arlington County Transportation Director Dennis Leach. “We want to [stimulate] competition and we want good bids for these projects.”
In response to a question from the audience, Leach noted that the county still has not settled on which type of streetcar vehicle it will use – a key decision that could impact how the streetcar system is designed and built. He said there was no time frame for making that decision.