A major project to make Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City more bike- and pedestrian-friendly is expected to kick off later this year.
The Arlington County Board approved a $10.6 million construction contract for the long-planned “Complete Streets” project at its meeting this past Saturday.
“The project will rebuild Army Navy Drive within the existing right-of-way as a multimodal complete street featuring enhanced bicycle, transit, and pedestrian facilities and street trees,” said a Board report. “The goal of the project is to create a safer, multimodal system of connections between commercial, residential and retail services of the Pentagon City and Crystal City.”
Currently, Army Navy Drive is a 5-6 lane vehicle thoroughfare mostly serving those driving to the Pentagon, the Pentagon City mall, and nearby apartments, offices and hotels. The project seeks a more balanced mix of transportation modes while giving the corridor a more pedestrian-oriented feel.
“The reconstruction will provide a physically separated two-way protected bicycle lane facility along the south side of Army Navy Drive, in addition to shorter and safer pedestrian crossings, and will accommodate future dedicated transit lanes,” says the project website. “Vehicle travel lanes will be reduced in number where appropriate and will be narrowed to dimensions appropriate for a slower urban context.”
Plans show at least two vehicle lanes in each direction, though some intersections may be configured with two turn lanes and only one through lane.
The project’s impending kickoff comes amid the continued construction of Amazon’s HQ2, the northern edge of which — including the iconic “Helix” building that’s part of HQ2’s recently-approved second phase — will border Army Navy Drive. It will also help facilitate the planned expansion of the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway and will serve a burgeoning residential population in the neighborhood, including a potentially expanded RiverHouse apartment complex.
More from the Board report:
This project will provide a key missing link in the County’s bicycle network by providing an east-west protected bicycle facility that will link up with the Mount Vernon Trail via the existing bike facilities along Long Bridge Drive and the proposed connection to be constructed by the adjacent Boundary Channel Drive/I-395 Interchange project. Furthermore, the project will link to the future two-way bicycle lane facility planned for South Clark Street between 12th Street South and 15th Street South, in addition to the future South Eads Street protected bike lanes.
This project will also complete the extended Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway by adding one dedicated transit lane in each direction along Army Navy Drive between South Joyce Street and South Hayes Street. Finally, the Army Navy Drive Complete Street project supports multimodal connectivity goals of major planned and approved commercial and residential development in Pentagon City, including the Amazon HQ2, Met Park, and River House projects.
Due to the complexity of the project, including building around Metrorail tunnels and the HQ2 construction site, the Board approved a 20% contract contingency on top of a $8.8 million base.
A contingency amount of $1,765,965.7 (20 %) is recommended for any necessary change orders and increased quantities. The construction of the project is within a heavily traveled arterial roadway with several potential concerns, including business accessibility, ingress and egress to I-395, the WMATA Metro tunnel and impacts to several transit routes. In addition, construction for the adjacent private development, PenPlace, is anticipated to take place concurrently with the Army Navy Drive Project. For these reasons, County staff believe a contingency of 20% is appropriate for this project.
The project website says construction is expected to start in the fall and wrap up in the summer of 2025. County staff, via a Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman, suggest that construction could potentially start in late summer.
“We are preparing the Board-approved contract now and that will include working up the Notice to Proceed date,” staff said in a statement. “At this point, looks to be no sooner than about 8 weeks from now, with actual contractor mobilization within a few days of then.”
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