The following was written by Brooke Oberwetter, Amazon’s head of external affairs in Arlington, and Jeff King, Clark Construction’s Project Executive for Metropolitan Park Phases 6/7/8
Residents of Arlington near our HQ2 construction site may be feeling some disruption right now as we move forward with developing Amazon’s second headquarters in National Landing.
We know this can be noisy, particularly as more of us are home right now than usual given the COVID-19 outbreak. We’d like to thank our neighbors for their patience and understanding. We are pleased to share that the finish line on pile driving — the loudest phase of the construction process — is in sight.
We are more than eighty percent of the way through this phase of the project. Barring weather delays or mechanical problems, we are on track to finish this phase by May 15, two weeks earlier than initially projected.
While we move through this phase of the project as efficiently as possible, safety is our number one priority. We’ve heard from some of our neighbors who have a bird’s-eye view of the site that worker safety and physical distancing are important to them. They’re important to us, too. Since the start of COVID-19, Clark Construction — general contractor for the project — has been closely following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and local authorities to work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and enable trade partners to put crews to work in safe and healthy environments.
These measures include requiring face coverings for the entire construction workforce, more hand washing and hand sanitizing stations on site, and resequencing construction activities to create greater physical distancing. Clark has also established a designated site monitor to reinforce the importance of these measures and other safety protocols.
The COVID-19 outbreak continues to be a fluid situation, and we’ll continue to follow the latest guidance from government and public health officials to ensure the jobsite is operating in the safest manner possible to protect our construction crews and the communities where we work.
From the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, it was difficult for us to know how long these circumstances would last. Although we are hopeful that many businesses in Virginia will be up and running again soon — we realize that many people might be working from home for much longer.
Before this work started, Clark met virtually with neighboring residential and hotel property owners and operators and increased the frequency of its construction email updates to provide clarity around upcoming work and open a direct line of communication with residents. Clark also delivered earplugs to these properties, as a way to dampen the noise coming from the construction site.
When it became clear that Virginians would continue to stay at home through April and May, Clark shortened the hours of pile driving operations to minimize jobsite noise during the early morning and evening hours. This week, we took further action, reducing Clark’s pile driving activity by two hours each afternoon. Moving forward, crews will begin pile driving no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and finish no later than 4 p.m.
Since beginning the pile driving process, we’ve talked with dozens of residents. We very much welcome the input and feedback. Some people wanted to make sure that we are aware of the disruption. Others wanted to say thank you for the earplugs, and even offered tips of their own for managing the noise. Many were curious about how long the process would take.
We are committed to keeping area residents updated on our progress — those who are interested in receiving construction email updates or contacting us with any questions can reach us through our dedicated project website, www.metpark678.com.
Last May, we filed our first development plans for Metropolitan Park Phases 6/7/8. We have made remarkable progress in a year, moving from initial design plans to officially breaking ground. It wouldn’t have been possible to drive this project forward without the valuable input we received and conversations we’ve had with a wide range of community stakeholders.
As we move toward completion of this phase of work, we’re one step closer to realizing the lasting legacy of this project — new economic investment, thousands of new jobs, public open spaces and infrastructure improvements, as well as street-level retail and restaurants for the entire community to enjoy.