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VDOT looks to repair ‘deteriorating’ I-66 overpass and parking lot

The parking garage over I-66 near Ballston is falling apart and needs repairs, says the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The garage sits above I-66 between N. Stafford and Quincy streets, next to Washington-Liberty High School. It serves as the primary parking area for the school and is the site of a seasonal flea market, called the Arlington Civitan Open Air Market.

VDOT has launched a public engagement period to brief locals on the garage’s deteriorating condition and the $2.7 million in planned improvements. Through next Monday, Nov. 7, people can provide comments online in a survey and by email or postal mail.

The state transportation department says it aims to minimize traffic disruptions and keep most parking spaces available during construction. VDOT expects to send out the project for bid next summer and to start work in the fall of 2023, with construction wrapping up in about six months.

“The purpose of this project is to address various conditions identified through routine inspections that are likely to deteriorate further if not repaired soon,” a VDOT staff member said in a presentation. “Delaying action could allow some of them to become critical requiring much more extensive, expensive and disruptive repairs down the road. The repairs will ensure the structure remains safe for all users for years to come.”

The garage was built in 1982, and since then, there has been no major work performed beyond routine maintenance, VDOT Communications Coordinator Mike Murphy tells ARLnow.

After 40 years of exposure to the elements — including cycles of freezing and thawing, anti-icing salts, and high temperatures — the garage’s columns and surfaces are worse for wear, according to the state transportation department’s presentation. The presenter said these signs of deterioration are typical of structures this age.

Slides showing deterioration of the I-66 overpass and parking lot (via VDOT)

Some columns on the garage’s lower level need significant repairs to ensure its structural integrity, the presenter said. Leaking water has caused the reinforcing steel within the concrete to corrode, causing the concrete to break in flakes.

Slides showing deterioration of the I-66 overpass and parking lot (via VDOT)

In one phase of the project, traffic lanes on I-66 will be shifted to the outside lane and the shoulder to allow work along the median, per the presentation. Lane closures are expected to be limited to single lanes.

“The majority of repair work occurs on the lower level along I-66, which is isolated from parking areas of the garage,” the VDOT staff member said. “There will be no changes to local traffic patterns or pedestrian flow on N. Quincy Street, N. Stafford Street, or 15th Street N.”

No impacts to the Custis Trail — which runs parallel to I-66 under the garage — are anticipated at this time, Murphy said.

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