Closures to Begin for Washington Blvd Bridge Project

by ARLnow.com May 14, 2012 at 10:05 am 4,582 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.”

  • Teyo

    I’m still baffled as to why they didn’t take this opportunity to fix the ramp design. Given that they will have lights on both sides of the bridge, this design is much more straightforward and requires one less light: http://g.co/maps/r28up

    • Rich

      That design does not fix the merge at NB Washington BLVD of NB and SB I-395 Traffic. That is the biggest headache currently and the new design does correct the merge.

    • bobco85

      I personally would prefer the new design versus the Hamden CT example to which you linked. The center light will only affect one direction of traffic on Columbia Pike. People heading towards the Pentagon on Columbia Pike will deal with 3 lights, whereas people heading away from the Pentagon on Columbia Pike will only deal with 2. The new design gives people more opportunities to make right turns at intersections or right turn exit ramps (4 in the new design versus 2 in the Hamden CT design), which I think would make it easier and quicker to get through that area than having to wait through a red light to turn left or go straight.

  • BrianKal

    Am I right in assuming that daytime lane closures will be on weekdays only?

    • Douglass Parker

      We can only hope my friend, we can only hope…

  • spaghetti

    Just fixing the bridge and changing the ramps costs $51.5 million?! This actually makes the streetcar seem like a bargain in comparison.

    • Cakes

      Yeah, “just”.


    • bobco85

      They’re not fixing the old bridge. They’re building a new bridge. That said, I have no clue as to the value or cost when it comes to projects like these. All I see are numbers with lots of zeroes behind them (although I do like math!) with the thought that I will never make that crazy amount of money in my lifetime.

    • Josh S

      What would be an appropriate amount?

    • Nick81

      They’re not just fixing the bridge. They’re building a whole new bridge next to it, then tearing down the current one and building a second new one. Still a lot of money I suppose, but probably not outrageous.

      What is outrageous is that this project is going to take them three and a half years! All that time for two very short and simple bridges?

      • drax

        It takes a long time to dismantle and then rebuild a bridge while traffic is using it and going under it. It probably costs more too. If this were a new bridge on a new road with no traffic yet, that would be different.

      • Josh S

        In China, it would be done in a month.

        • drax

          LOL. In China it would be done for $10,000!

          • jackson

            And it would break apart in two years and you’d shrug and buy a new one.

      • ArlCivilEng

        A couple of things:

        Lane closures have restricted hours/days depending on size of road – i.e. M-H 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, F 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
        Putting them out and picking them up takes time
        Maintaining existing traffic flow restricts work activities i.e. moving materials from the laydown area to where they are needed
        Weather delays – lane closures can’t be put out when it is precipitating or water mist is coming off the road

        A couple assumptions:
        One (small) contractor
        VDOT provided a time frame for work not an end date
        Realignment of Washington Blvd could not happen to the extent that both bridges could be constructed simultaneously

        Considering the above and the fact there are two bridges to be built – 3.5 years seems reasonable

      • YTK

        This heah is the SOUTH. They moove reeeal sloow sometimes.

  • bridge deaths

    vdot has been clearing brush and cutting trees for the last two weeks and i have seen 4 raccoons run over because they were driven out of their habitat. vdot should be trying to trap and re-locate these critters instead of forcing them into traffic on the pike and 395 access ramp.

    • Roover

      @ bridge death

      Oh my god r u serious!!! Racoons!! We live in an urban enviroment and youre worried about Raccons. They dont belong here anyways. They have a brain of their own. They should know not to cross the street

      • bridge deaths

        absolutely serious. they are alive, breathing and there is no reason for them to be struck and killed as if they are worthless.

      • Col Quaritch

        I’ll do it with minimal casualties to the indigenous. I’ll drive ’em out with gas first. It’ll be humane. More or less.

      • drax

        “They don’t belong here”

        Says you.

      • JR

        I don’t mind coming down there with a .22, as long as I get to keep them for a pot of raccoon stew.

        I’ll even invite the neighborhood over to enjoy it. But it will be BYOB.

        • JR

          And I’ll be generous enough to only keep one hat for myself. The rest I’ll sell, splitting revenues 50/50 with the county.

    • Cakes

      F racoons. Really.

      • bridge deaths

        i think your comment would be different if the word human were substituted for raccoon. however these are living, breathing creatures, with hearts, lungs and babies of their own. stop being so selfish about which deserves consideration from our construction/destruction.

        • Scott

          …if the word human were substituted for raccoon


          • Ballston Resident

            vdot has been clearing brush and cutting trees for the last two weeks and i have seen 4 humans run over because they were driven out of their habitat. vdot should be trying to trap and re-locate these critters instead of forcing them into traffic on the pike and 395 access ramp.


        • Cakes

          Humans > animals. Always.

    • Quoth the Raven

      And when the bill for this animal catch-and-transport program comes due, you won’t be complaining about misuse of tax dollars, right?

      • bridge deaths

        i would rather pay the bill to help save life anytime. i guess to you only human life matters.

        • Roover

          @ bridge death

          We have homeless adults in our beautiful county along with their children thats homeless. I would rather put my money to help fund a shelter for them than for a raccoon to be safe. I think their are more problems in the world than some raccons safety. I respect what you are saying…but come on racoons!!!!

        • Quoth the Raven

          Take whatever you want from my comment, so if you read “only human life matters” from what I said, that’s up to you.

          Just curious — if we catch these things, where should we put them?

          • drax

            We can put them in the huge wooded areas we have. The point is that they’re being driven into the road to get there.

          • Quoth the Raven

            One commenter says he’s seen 4 racoons run over. We don’t know where they came from, what they were doing when they crossed the street, why they were run over, or whether the brush-cutting had anything to do with it.

          • nom de guerre

            My sources have told me they were seen texting while they attempted to cross the road.

          • Quoth the Raven

            See? Just what I thought. They had it coming.

        • Skeptical

          @bridge deaths: I agree with you that it’s pretty damn sad when animal deaths are treated as just a cost of doing business. Don’t expect any sympathy from most people who like to post here, though. ARLNOW seems to have a large jeering section of people who like to bag on suicides, crime victims, and people who just want peace and quiet in their homes, so raccoons don’t have a chance.

          Actually I believe there are ordinances about removing raccoons humanely from human dwellings and relocating them way out in the boonies; I saw it done at a former neighbor’s, where they had to delay till the mother raccoon’s litter could survive on their own. No idea what rules exist about construction and land clearing though. I bet a “critter getter” business could manage the bridge project problem for the cost of an evening at Tallulah’s.

          • Roover

            OMG!!!! let this rest your late….. topic is ova

          • steve

            i don’t even know what language this is supposed to be.

          • Roover

            What r u talking bout Steve


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