(Updated at 10:55 a.m.) The cherry blossoms have passed their peak and the days are getting warmer and longer. That means all signs point to the start of street paving season.
Every year, in March, the Dept. of Environmental Services embarks on its seasonal effort to repave some of its 1,061 lane miles of roadway. After stepping up repaving after years of anemic paving rates, the county has sharpened its focus on streets in poor condition and those that have a lot of traffic.
This year, nearly 58 lane miles are slated for repaving, says Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin. That is down from 74 lane miles last year and below the county’s typical target of 72 miles per year.
“That’s a bit lower than previous years but it takes into account the milder winter allowing for more maintenance,” he said.
More maintenance throughout the winter resulted in fewer road segments with cracking and potholes — two of the metrics the county uses for ranking streets from “poor” to “excellent.”
“Also factored in: avoiding conflicts with current and upcoming projects by other County departments and Washington Gas,” he said.
A new map, released Tuesday, shows which streets the county will pave and repair.
Almost paving season. See if some of your favorite Arlington roads are getting a 2023 makeover. https://t.co/vZ55fyJBIZ pic.twitter.com/GQfGK7iBzK
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) March 28, 2023
Some of the major streets slated for repavement include segments of:
- S. Joyce Street in Pentagon City
- S. Arlington Ridge Road in Arlington Ridge
- N. Sycamore Street in East Falls Church
- 10th Street N. in Clarendon
- N. George Mason Drive through the Bluemont neighborhood and near Arlington Forest
“Paving season kicked off this week along S. Grant Street between 23rd and 24th Street S. with full depth paving,” Golkin said. “The more familiar mill and overlay work is starting somewhat later than usual, mid-April, to allow for public engagement regarding pavement markings and related safety features. Also, a new concrete maintenance contractor is getting a jump on some work pre-paving.”
As part of the repaving project, some existing traffic-calming features will be repaved, including a traffic circle at N. Highland Street and 7th Street N. in Lyon Park and speed “cushions” on N. Livingston Street in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood, near the county line.
Over the last nine years, the county has worked to bring up the “pavement condition index” on its roads from an overall score of 67 (out of 100), which is considered “fair,” to 82.4, which is considered “good,” in 2021, according to the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget.
“With the improvement in average PCI to 82.4, the County will be placing more emphasis on re-builds for streets with low PCI and/or with high traffic impacts,” per the budget. “Arterials are repaved more often due to the traffic volumes and type of vehicles using them, while neighborhood streets get slurry seal treatment every seven to ten years to extend their life rather than re-paving them as often.”
Arlington County plans to spend $10.3 million on paving in the FY 2024 budget, compared to $11.5 million in FY 2023, according to budget documents.
The county, meanwhile, is also attending to potholes that may have formed during the winter months. So far in 2023, Arlington had some 260 potholes, compared to 663 for the first three months of 2022, Golkin says.
“Less freezing and less need for road salt during winter obviously helps keep road surfaces in better shape,” he said.
For the eighth year in a row, the D.C. area had a relatively mild winter. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang declared the end of the season last week, noting winter hardly showed up.
We. Declare. Winter. Over.
(although it never really began)https://t.co/jvytRdi668
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) March 21, 2023
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