Give Feedback on Design of New Carlin Springs Road Bridge

by Katie Pyzyk June 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm 6,712 84 Comments

The county is going to replace the Carlin Springs Road Bridge, which goes over George Mason Drive, and wants resident input on how the new bridge should look.

Although still structurally sound, the 51-year-old bridge is apparently the most deteriorated of the 25 throughout the county. The new bridge will be improved structurally, and widened to increase safety, particularly for bikers and pedestrians.

Currently, the entire bridge is 65 feet wide. The bridge widening proposal suggests increasing that to 69 feet. Under the plan, the existing sidewalk, which is five feet wide, would become eight feet wide, and a five foot bike lane would be added. The four lanes of vehicle traffic would remain, but there would no longer be a center median.

Ritch Viola, a transportation planning supervisor with Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services, said the bridge replacement is part of a larger overall project to change the nature of Carlin Springs Road. Over the next few years, there will be a series of improvements stretching to Glebe Road. The addition of elements such as curb extensions and wider sidewalks is aimed at improving safety on the road.

“We’re trying to manage some of the speed that’s out there now, as well as provide facilities for bikes and pedestrians,” Viola said.

Although the county will deal with the architectural logistics of replacing the bridge, residents are asked to give feedback on the aesthetic aspects. The online survey for the designs is available through July 11. Once suggestions are sifted through and a final proposal is devised, the county needs to get approval from VDOT, which is funding the project.

There will be a public meeting about the concept sketches next Tuesday, June 26, which will include presentations and an opportunity for public comments. It will be held in room 104 of the Lubber Run Community Center (300 N. Park Drive), at 7:00 p.m.

County staff expect construction on the project to begin late this year or early next year. Efforts will be made to maintain access across the bridge during construction, which is expected to last about a year.

  • JamesE

    #4 is the best one

  • Mary-Austin


    maybe they can do a bridge contest like they do the decal contest.

    • JamesE

      Get outta here #1 belongs in Columbia, MD! 4 reminds me of a castle or old European design.

      • Arlington, Northside

        I was thinking Rt. 50 in Ann Arundal County approaching Annapolis.

        I like #2 as it replicates Arlington Memorial Bridge a bit.

    • South Side Chris

      Number 1 is too Jersey.

      • DCBuff

        What exit?

  • nom de guerre

    I propose a streetcar vs. articulated bus contest.

  • Cherrydale Ken

    I like bridge concept #1. The others look like they are lifted from the bridges that cross Rock Creek Park in the District. I think #1 is distinctive enough and could be mimicked around the County. It lends itself to being an Arlington Design–not like anything else in the region. I also like the Street name on the side.

    • Cherrydale Ken

      Unfortunately, a cohesive bridge design concept for Arlington is too late for other prime candidates that have recently been or are currently being redone. :o(

  • I agree

    Oh yeah, #4 looks like the GW parkway. Stay classy Arlington, stay classy.

    I hope the lighting is dark sky compliant and they process the stormwater somehow.

    • WeiQiang

      you know … you KNOW that they’re going to install the new glaring blue LED lights, right?

      Can someone in the County PLEASE talk to the procurement folks about only buying LED street lights with a warm Kelvin color rating … or whatever it is???

      • Andy

        Not only that, but some that don’t shine half their light up into the sky.

        • WeiQiang


    • Just Me


    • Eric

      Design needs planter boxes.

    • that reminds me, where are our bio- luminescent foliage that was rumored to be engineered a few years back?

  • Josh S

    #4 for sure. The biggest upgrade aesthetically speaking. Gives it a real parkway-like feel.

    • South Awwlington

      Agreed…or no. 2. It’s a nod to the Memorial Bridge.

  • DarkHeart

    That’s a huge difference between Carlin Springs Bridge and Wash Blvd/Columbia Pike (currently under repair). Few if any bridgecicles here.

  • chris

    I hope the fix the entrance and exits fom the bridge too.

    • D’oh

      What, you don’t like playing collision roulette?

    • BlueLoom


      The exit from Carlin Springs onto Geo Mason heading north must be one of the most dangerous in the county. You can’t see cars coming around the curve under the bridge until they’re already practically t-boning you.

  • John Fontain

    I vote for the one that won’t fall down on me when I drive under it.

  • Boris Durke

    Beyond aesthetics, I’m more concerned that they are removing the median.

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      I was thinking the same thing. That’s a high(er) speed corner, and I would worry about potential collisions without the physical barrier to at least somewhat prevent lane-drift.

      • Arlington, Northside

        If you do the speed limit, it is not a high speed corner.

        • Reticulated Python

          + 30 MPH (not 50)

          • Lee-n-Glebe

            I’m talking about turning left from Carlin Springs E onto George Mason N. Meaning I’m stopped, not speeding. It’s the cars on W-bound Carlin Springs who are speeding and may lane-drift.

    • JamesE

      Yeah I can no longer safely Tokyo drift there anymore without a median.

    • Dude Where’s My Car

      agreed, I am not a civil engineer, but no median on the bridge itself PLUS wacky exits & entrances PLUS bikes on both sides seems like it is asking for trouble.

      • Reticulated Python

        PLUS Arlington drivers. THAT’S all you really needed to say.

        • WeiQiang

          Almost by definition – the bridge being about 1/4 mile from the ArlCo border on Rt 50 – I’d wager that most of the drivers arent’ from Arlington.

          Before any brahs start harshing on my facts:

          NO, I don’t have any facts
          NO, I don’t want a streetcar to bring people to collect facts
          NO, I don’t want to issue a bond referendum to pay for facts

          • Arlington, Northside

            For sure, those of us trained locally are generally pretty good drivers having learned to adapt from day one to all the out of towners with 1000 different styles and driving habits.

          • chris

            Rt 50 is not a border.

          • WeiQiang

            yeah, um no it isn’t … seeing how I used to live in Woodlake Towers. the border crosses Rt 50, which would make it the border on Rt 50. Kind of like pinpointing a location by using two streets that cross.

            Would you prefer “… the ArlCo border where it crosses Rt 50.”?

        • Dude Where’s My Car

          PLUS narrower lanes for cars. 😀 (10.5′ vs. 12.75′) I guess that’s why they illustrated the cross-section using a BMW Mini and not some huge-arsed SUV, minivan, or food truck.

          I guess that’s where the “managing some of the speed that’s out there” part comes in. Losing control of your bowels out of fear apparently makes you ease up on the gas pedal. 😉

          • Reticulated Python

            And if they really wanted to get creative, they could build it out of those hideous orange planter blocks from yesterday’s story. Except that instead of pointing toward Artisphere they could point *AWAY* from that horrible “mall” called Ballston.

      • Rick

        I put in the survey comments to axe the bike lanes. The road is too narrow near route 50 and too narrow by Wilson Boulevard… it’s barely safe for cars it’s certainly not a good idea to encourage bike use in that stretch

        • DCBuff

          Save the median!

  • PL25rd

    I like number 4 the best, number 1 the least.

  • Joe Hoya
  • Dude Where’s My Car

    also what is the deal with the bridge piers? are royal carriages supposed to pass under this bridge on a regular basis?

    • Josh S

      Only royals deserve bridge piers?

      • WeiQiang

        the Royal Arlington County Board … THE MOST PROPERLY corrupt board in the country

      • Dude Where’s My Car

        i thought we intentionally threw off royalty? 😉

        just not a huge fan of the escutcheons, ornamental pilasters, LED “gas lamps” and other visual aspects intended to make it look more like Vienna, Austria than Vienna, Virginia 😉

        • Josh S

          What does Vienna, VA look like?

          • Arlington, Northside

            A more urban Clifton, VA.

          • PaulB

            Oh snap.

        • DCBuff

          Not enough bollards.

  • Mike

    I like 1 and 4 the best – a bridge combining elements of both would be ideal. 3 is the worst – the flat concrete facade just looks ugly

  • John Fontain

    I’d vote for #1 if the words on the arched sign in the middle say “Wag More Dogs.”

    • nom de guerre

      Not bad. I vote for “In Memory of Sam’s Corner”.

      • Rick

        I was leaning towards “No fat chicks”

        • John Fontain

          How about “LEED Certified”?

          • nom de guerre

            “75 NEW JOBS”

          • WeiQiang

            “The MOST Corrupt Board”

          • nom de guerre

            “PROPER SLICE AHEAD”

          • WeiQiang

            Bring it, brah:

            “Placere non vomere in mea Metro”

          • John Fontain

            I’m amending mine to “LEED Certified for Higher Density”.

  • WeiQiang

    May I offer a recommendation that the decorative carving in #1 be a pictogram relief of my life?

  • Arlingtron
  • #4, barf. #1, yes. #2, ehh. #3, nah.

  • DB

    I vote for #4.

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    These really look like very high-end bridges. Shouldn’t we be worried about all the money we’re spending on ornamentation? It’s not like a streetcar will be trolleying across it. Why not just poured concrete and some cobra lights?

    This post is brought to you by The Monongahela Metal Foundry, “casting steel ingots with the housewife in mind.”

    • WeiQiang

      clown questions, brah

  • John

    They all look terrible, but 2 is the least offensive. Why not just design the new bridge without all the strange, tacky add-ons. VDOT is a terrible bridge designer. Although their engineers design pretty good freeway ramps.

    • DCBuff

      Agree. Number 2, as most neutral, is least offensive. But, given the likelihood that it is also the least expensive (concrete, minimal decorative elements, lights), ArlCo won’t go for it. But if it had a black box theater…

  • lorenzo

    what a clown bridge, brah

  • South Awwlington

    I agree with the statement about a County-wide, cohesive bridge design and materials.

  • ConstantCritic

    how many parking meters can they fit on the bridge?

    • WeiQiang

      clown question, brah.

      every serious player knows that the metric is: number of temporary classroom trailers

  • Just Me

    I like #4 the best.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    What ever looks as much like the current crossing. This is the nice-est bridge in AC – just keep it same but more useful.

    • Josh S

      I think you might be confusing the nearby landscaping with the bridge itself. There is nothing particular noteworthy or aesthetically pleasing about the current bridge.

  • Put the median back

    Even a one foot median would be better than nothing

    • Arl4ist

      Definitely agree that a one-foot median would be better than nothing. Cars often nearly collide there when preparing to merge and there’s often debris in the median. And what about those bike lanes? Do they end after the bridge or are they going to be extended?

  • DCBuff

    Keep the median!

  • AlexW

    Number 4 without the blue shading.

  • Bob the Builder

    The bridge should be made much, much wider underneath so that GeoMason drive is not smashed in the old footprint.

  • Mc

    Sketch 2

  • Tricia

    Lovely, just lovely. As if my 25B bus route weren’t messed up enough already after the BRAC nonsense in Alexandria, now it’s going to be slowed down even more by construction on Carlin Springs? I’m going to have to start hoofing it from Skyline to work, because it just might be faster. Ugh.

    • South Awwlington

      Big picture, long game here. Breathe.

      • Tricia

        Breathe? It’s supposed to start at the end of the year, and my route is already so messed up that busses are frequently 20+ minutes late. I need a reliable way to work, and Carlin Springs won’t be it. It frequently already takes 40 minutes to bus from Skyline to Ballston anyway (once the bus actually arrives) so construction is just going to slow it down even more. It literally could be faster to walk.


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