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by ARLnow.com — April 30, 2015 at 9:05 am 2,048 0

On approach to Reagan National Airport (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Elementary Student Fascinated by Fallout Shelters — Nathan Eberhart, a McKinley Elementary student, has been trying to unravel the mysteries of school fallout shelters for his school’s student newspaper. Eberhart thinks the Cold War relics could be better put to use nowadays “as a community-activities storage area for things like Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, recreational sports and enrichments.” [InsideNova]

Protest Planned in Rosslyn — The Mayday Project will be protesting outside the Infectious Diseases Society of America headquarters in Rosslyn today and tomorrow. The organization wants Lyme disease recognized as a chronic illness. The protest will be held from about 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the 1300 block of Wilson Blvd. [Twitter]

Four Mile Run Cleaning Planned — Starting in a few days, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria will begin a joint project to remove excess vegetation from the Four Mile Run flood control channel, which extends from I-395 to the Potomac River. “Residents will see crews working in or near Four Mile Run, removing trees, shrubs, and other vegetation growing in the channel,” the county noted in a press release. [Arlington County]

Washington Blvd Lane Closure — A northbound lane closure on the Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110 was put in place overnight, according to VDOT. A southbound lane closure, similarly reducing the number of lanes on the bridge from three to two, is expected to be put in place next week. The lane closures were originally planned for this past Monday.

Another County Board Straw PollAnother straw poll in the race for the Democratic County Board nomination was held last night at Del. Alfonso Lopez’s campaign kick-off event at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse. The reported results were: Christian Dorsey 27%, Peter Fallon 23%, Katie Cristol 22%, James Lander 15%, Andrew Schneider 12%, Bruce Wiljanen 1%.

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Ethan Rothstein — April 23, 2015 at 3:30 pm 2,895 0

Rendering of the future Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110Each direction of the Washington Boulevard bridge over Jefferson Davis Highway will have one fewer travel lane starting next week.

Starting Monday, April 27, the Virginia Department of Transportation will close off the two lanes to make way for the next phase of work in replacing the 74-year-old bridge. Construction on the project began in March.

The lane closures are expected to last the duration of the project, which has a projected completion date of May 2018 and a price tag of $31.5 million, per VDOT.

“Drivers are advised to expect delays and use alternate routes if possible, particularly northbound during the a.m. rush hour, where drivers could experience a 10-minute delay,” VDOT said in a press release announcing the traffic shift. “Motorists are also asked to be alert to Pentagon and Virginia State Police who will help facilitate traffic movement.”

When complete, the new bridge will be wider, taller, and longer than the current one, which VDOT has deemed “structurally deficient.” It will also include a 14-foot-wide shared use path on one side and an 8-foot-wide sidewalk on the other.

Image via VDOT

by Ethan Rothstein — March 25, 2015 at 5:00 pm 1,296 0

Rendering of the future Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110Construction on the project to replace the Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110 next to the Pentagon is now underway.

The $29.5 million endeavor will replace the existing bridge — built in 1941 and now “considered structurally deficient,” according to the Virginia Department of Transportation — with a new structure that expands the shared-use path to 14-feet wide, add an 8-foot sidewalk and is longer, wider and taller than the existing bridge.

While construction has begun, traffic impacts won’t start until May.

“VDOT will maintain a minimum of two lanes in each direction on both Routes 27 and 110, other than temporary night closures to install bridge girders,” VDOT said in a press release. “Pedestrian traffic will be shifted to a temporary bridge in 2016.”

The existing Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110 (photo via VDOT)When complete, the bridge will include homages to the military, with four medallions commemorating the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. This is the second Washington Blvd bridge VDOT is replacing with a medallion-adorned new structure — just down the road, the new bridges over Columbia Pike will have medallions commemorating Arlington’s Freedman’s Village.

The new bridge was originally scheduled to start construction in 2014 and wrap up this year. VDOT has adjusted its timeline, and now expects to complete the bridge by May 2018.

Images via VDOT

by Ethan Rothstein — March 24, 2015 at 4:50 pm 1,715 0

A big milestone has been reached in the construction of a new Washington Blvd overpass over Columbia Pike: Washington Blvd traffic is now using both new bridges.

The Virginia Department of Transportation changed the traffic pattern today, directing eastbound traffic onto the newly constructed bridge. Before today, eastbound and westbound traffic shared the first bridge built as part of the $48.5 million, three-year long construction project.

The bridge is expected to fully open by late this summer and be named Freedman’s Village Bridge, after the freed slave community that was founded a few miles away.

“We wanted to pay respect to the local significance of Freedman’s Village,” VDOT Project manager Christiana Briganti-Dunn told ARLnow.com today. “Four pylons will show the name and there will be medallions on the bridge replicating scenery in the village, taken from a Harper’s Weekly story from 1864.”

The remaining work to be done includes completing the box culverts to redirect Long Branch Creek, which flows underneath the interchange, ramp reconstruction, a shared-use path, a sound barrier and painting. VDOT spokeswoman Jenni McCord said they are planning a “big celebration” when the bridge opens up.

This morning, in the shadow of the bridge, VDOT hosted a kick-off event for National Work Zone Awareness Week, highlighting the dangers for motorists and construction workers in highway work zones.

“So many lives are at risk when a driver fails to follow the rules of the road in a highway work zone,” Virginia State Police Capt. James De Ford told a crowd of about 50 workers, transportation agency employees and media. “Drivers must stay alert in work zones. The consequences are too severe not to.”

Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter said that Arlington in 2014 had fewer work zone injuries than any of the previous five years. In Virginia, 15 people were killed in work zone accidents in 2014 — all of them motorists.

by Ethan Rothstein — October 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm 2,316 0

Traffic on Columbia Pike approaching Washington BlvdThose frustrated with their morning commute on Columbia Pike aren’t likely to see relief come until the spring.

The backups that have caused rush hour delays for drivers going eastbound on Columbia Pike in the morning are likely due to the temporary traffic pattern that makes cars turn left to get on northbound I-395, Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jenni McCord said. The temporary traffic pattern shift is expected to be in place for the next six months.

After that time, the traffic will again go back to using a right exit off Columbia Pike to get on the interstate in the direction of D.C.

The complete project’s end date is Sept. 14, 2015.

The left turn isn’t the only headache Pike drivers will have to deal with as the $48.5 million construction of the Washington Blvd bridge over Columbia Pike continues. Scheduled to start in early December, McCord said, S. Queen Street will be closed to traffic at Columbia Pike for six months. “Local traffic will enter/exit Arlington View and Carrington Village via S. Quinn or S. Rolfe Streets,” McCord said.

On Washington Blvd, the temporary signal at the Columbia Pike exit ramp has been removed, and crews will be pouring the concrete deck for the second bridge on Monday after steel beams were installed in September, McCord said. There will continue to be daytime lane closures in the area until the project is complete in a year.

File photo

by Ethan Rothstein — January 30, 2014 at 11:30 am 2,161 0

Interchange of Columbia PIke and I-395 (via Google Maps)(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) Starting today, drivers heading eastbound on Columbia Pike toward I-395 will be following a new traffic pattern.

Drivers heading toward northbound I-395 will now turn left at the traffic signal on S. Quinn Street and bear right to merge onto the interstate, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Those going south will drive through the intersection with S. Quinn Street and use the ramp on the right.

That’s a change from before, when northbound and southbound traffic could both take the ramp. VDOT workers will be on the road today making the switch, which is expected to be complete by 5:00 p.m.

VDOT also announced that Columbia Pike will be closed to drivers between S. Queen Street and Orme Street each of the next three weekends as workers demolish the old Washington Blvd overpass. The closure will begin at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow night until 4:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 3, and it will be closed again at the same times Feb. 7-10 and Feb. 14-17.

The demolition is the next phase in the $51.5 million Washington Blvd improvement project, still slated to be finished in the summer of 2015.

Photo via Google Maps

by Ethan Rothstein — December 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm 1,388 0

Washington Blvd bridge over Columbia PikeNorthbound traffic on Washington Blvd is now going over the newly-constructed overpass over Columbia Pike.

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.

by ARLnow.com — July 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm 1,356 0

Construction on the Columbia Pike/Washington Blvd interchange projectA major closure of Columbia Pike is planned this coming weekend due to bridge construction.

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.

by ARLnow.com — December 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm 3,226 32 Comments

Construction will close the righthand lane of eastbound Columbia Pike in the area of the Washington Boulevard bridge through 2014.

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

by ARLnow.com — May 14, 2012 at 10:05 am 3,433 40 Comments

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.”

by Katie Pyzyk — April 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm 2,712 19 Comments

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.

by ARLnow.com — March 22, 2012 at 3:57 pm 3,608 16 Comments

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.

by ARLnow.com — September 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm 6,511 31 Comments

The project has been nearly 20 years in the making, but VDOT has finally nailed down rough a construction schedule for the Washington Boulevard bridge over Columbia Pike.

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.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — September 17, 2010 at 2:18 pm 1,315 4 Comments

There’s some good news and some not-so-good news to report for people who regularly travel over or under the Washington Boulevard bridge.

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.

“[The contractor] will need to demonstrate to [VDOT] that they will be able to adequately maintain the traffic demand,” said VDOT senior engineer Christiana Briganti-Dunn.

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.

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