VDOT will close the lane as soon as tomorrow as part of the ongoing Washington Boulevard bridge and interchange project. Drivers should expect new traffic patterns on eastbound Columbia Pike as a result.
“Motorists in the right lane must take the exit ramp to Washington Boulevard,” VDOT said in a press release. “Motorists on eastbound Columbia Pike can use the left lane to continue east or to access the ramp to Washington Boulevard.”
The closure is expected to be in place through 2014. The overall project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015.
Photo via Google Maps
Daytime lane closures will begin this week for the Washington Boulevard bridge project.
The three year, $51.5 million project will ultimately result in the construction of a new, wider Washington Boulevard bridge over Columbia Pike, complete with a reconfigured ramps, additional bridge clearance and a new shared use path along Columbia Pike. To help facilitate the construction, daily lane closures on Washington Boulevard will start this week.
“Drivers can expect single lane closures daily on Washington Boulevard in both directions from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.,” VDOT said in a press release. “Drivers can also expect periodic traffic shifts, the first this summer to new temporary pavement crews will construct over the next few months.”
VDOT also announced additional closures Tuesday night.
“On Tuesday, May 15, crews will close a lane in each direction from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. between I-395 and the entrance to Fort Myer,” the press release said. “Beginning at midnight, crews will also stop traffic for up to 30 minutes at a time on southbound Washington Boulevard just prior to the ramp to Columbia Pike to remove an overhead sign structure. Drivers should use an alternate route on this night if possible.”
The Washington Boulevard bridge carries more than 80,000 vehicles over Columbia Pike every day, according to VDOT.
In addition to the closures on Washington Boulevard, Columbia Pike will be completely closed up to five weekends per year to allow for bridge demolition and other work.
“These closures will begin after rush hour Friday evening and reopen by rush hour on Monday morning,” VDOT said. “Traffic will be rerouted between S. Quinn Street and S. Orme Street around the north side of the intersection. Message signs will notify motorists of these closures in advance.”
Construction crews are on site as a large scale construction project on Washington Boulevard and Columbia Pike begins. The Washington Boulevard bridge will be replaced, and the interchange with Columbia Pike will be revamped.
The project has been about two decades in the making, and VDOT spokeswoman Joan Morris says it finally got underway this week. Right now, it’s still in the very preliminary stages while workers set up a field office and work out logistics.
The revamp is supposed to have eight stages, and is slated to run through August 2015. Once the first stage gains steam, a detour will be constructed for use on certain weekends. VDOT says traffic may need to be re-routed during off-peak hours, but efforts will be made to keep lanes clear during the morning and evening rush hours on weekdays.
The project is budgeted to cost $51.5 million, with federal and state funds paying for most of it.
Get ready for major construction on a new Washington Boulevard/Columbia Pike interchange and bridge.
Starting this spring — as soon as final regulatory approvals are issued — crews will begin work on the first of eight construction phases that will stretch through August 2015. During that first phase, a detour will be constructed, using the north interchange ramps to provide a signalized, at-grade intersection on Washington Boulevard.
That detour is expected to be used for 3 to 5 weekends per year, starting this summer, when crews need to shut down Columbia Pike for demolition of the existing Washington Boulevard bridge and construction of a pair of new spans, just east of the existing bridge. The detour will also include facilities for pedestrians.
During the week and on weekends when the detour is not in place, the project contractor has promised to keep existing travel lanes and pedestrian access open during construction, with the possible exception of one eastbound lane of the Pike.
By next fall one of the new Washington Boulevard bridge spans should be in place. We’re told that bridge will be able to carry all four lanes of Washington Boulevard in a temporary configuration while the existing bridge is torn down and the second span is built in its place.
The VDOT-led construction project is budgeted at $51.5 million, which will be paid for primarily with federal and state funds.
At a community meeting on Tuesday, VDOT project manager Christiana Briganti-Dunn said land acquisition and construction is expected to begin this spring and will be complete by Aug. 2015. The $51.5 million project is being paid for primarily with federal and state funds, although Arlington is expected to contribute about $1 million for utility relocation and upgrades.
The project will replace the crumbling Washington Boulevard bridge, which dates back to the 1940s, and replace it with a new, wider span that will be dubbed the Freedman’s Village Bridge, in honor of the enclave of freed slaves that was established nearby in 1863 and remained until the 1890s.
The new, wider bridge will allow a turn lane to be placed in between the four existing lanes of Columbia Pike. It will also allow for a 10-foot mixed-use path next to the westbound lanes, and the possible future addition of dedicated bicycle lanes. The design of the bridge was elevated by couple of inches to accommodate the planned Columbia Pike streetcar, Briganti-Dunn added.
Another planned change is the addition of two traffic lights on Columbia Pike, at the intersection with two sets of reconfigured Washington Boulevard ramps. The intersection of S. Quinn Street and Columbia Pike will be reconfigured as a one-way only entrance into the Arlington View neighborhood, and the traffic light there will be moved to the intersection of Columbia Pike and N. Queen Street, where reconfigured ramps onto and off of eastbound Washington Boulevard will converge.
The good news is that both thoroughfares will remain open during construction of the new Washington Boulevard bridge, a three-year process that’s expected to begin next fall. Plus, all original travel lanes on each will be open during rush hour and during certain special events and federal holidays.
The bad news is that during the day, during construction, the re-routing of Columbia Pike traffic around the bridge may get a bit funky and cause some delays. The contractor selected to undertake the project will ultimately be able to design their own traffic management scheme, but the plan initially envisioned by VDOT involves directing Columbia Pike traffic up the existing ramps to a makeshift stop light on Washington Boulevard, turning Washington Boulevard and Columbia Pike into a four-way intersection.
Residents who live in the area can breathe easier, however, since VDOT says it will not consider any plan that routes traffic onto neighborhood streets. Also, the intersection of Queen Street and Columbia Pike will remain open during construction, we’re told.
“We don’t want to adversely affect neighborhood streets with detours,” Briganti-Dunn said. “We want the least disturbance possible.”
The project, which will cost an estimated $59 million, will ultimately result in the demolition of the crumbling, 65-year-old Washington Boulevard bridge, likely in late 2014 or in 2015.