As work continues on a new Arlington Transit bus facility in Green Valley, Arlington is taking steps to make it work for electric buses.
Electrifying buses is part of the county’s goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. To reach that goal, it needs to buy battery-powered electric buses and have a place to charge them.
Construction is currently set to wrap up next fall on a new ART Operations and Maintenance Facility at 2629 Shirlington Road and the county aims to have electric buses on-site by 2025. Meanwhile, Arlington is testing out different buses to see which to add to its fleet, piloting buses from two providers last year and possibly testing some from up to two more manufacturers.
With work progressing on both these fronts in tandem, plans for the facility moved forward with partially baked designs for charging infrastructure. This has set the county up to need to amend its design and construction contracts associated with the $96.6 million project as it learns more about what it needs to build.
This weekend, the Arlington County Board is set to tack on almost $585,000 to an existing $4.5 million design contract with Stantec Architecture to fully flesh plans to add up to 46 charging stalls that can accommodate up to 63 buses.
“As [Battery Electric Bus] concept plans were developed, the County proceeded with the 60% design for BEB charging infrastructure,” Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Alyson Jordan Tomaszewski said. “The design scope expanded as the 60% design progressed and as more details about the County BEB requirements were identified.”
Once these designs are 100% complete, the county will update its construction contract with Turner Construction, authorizing it to purchase and install the charging equipment needed for the initial BEB pilot program, per a county report.
“The 100% design will provide capacity to add additional charging cabinets and equipment when additional BEBs are purchased,” it says.
Right now, something of a placeholder contract says the contractor has up to nearly $11.9 million to spend on above-grade charging equipment.
“This includes the necessary switchgear, transformers, chargers, and associated equipment to charge an initial increment of electric buses,” per a 2022 report. “It also includes canopies and solar panel over the canopies.”
That sum is on top of the $66.4 million contract to build the facility and below-grade charging infrastructure. These plans were approved with the expectation that the county would be buying electric buses sometime this spring.
While operating electric buses from the facility seems to have long been the plan, some neighbors had advocated for more fully baked plans for charging capabilities when the project was being developed.
Instead, designs stayed vague “to accommodate future fleet electrification” but be flexible enough to incorporate future technology, per a 2021 community presentation.
Construction on the facility continues apace and the county is still targeting a fall 2024 completion, Tomaszewski said.
“The erection of the steel structure on the Operations and Maintenance building was completed on March 17,” per the website. “In the next few weeks, crews will work on completing detailing of the steel, placing the metal deck, and completing the roof screening wall.”
Construction started last year, with a groundbreaking in June.
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At Generation Hope, we’re dedicated to supporting teen parents in college as they work toward earning their degrees. We are in need of caring child care volunteers for upcoming events on Saturday, October 21st (in Washington, DC), and Saturday, November 4th (in Arlington, VA). Join our growing volunteer community and support us at an event this fall!
At all of our events, we provide free onsite child care for the children of the teen parents we serve, creating a nurturing environment for the kiddos while their parents learn valuable life skills and build community.
If you enjoy working with children and are looking to make an immediate impact in your community, please visit https://www.generationhope.org/volunteer to learn more.
Join us for Arlington’s biggest civil rights & social justice event of the year. The banquet is back in person at the Arlington Campus of George Mason University.
Our keynote speaker this year is Symone Sanders from MSNBC and former Chief of Staff for Vice-President Kamala Harris.
The Master of Ceremonies is Joshua Cole, former state delegate, NAACP President, and local pastor.
Tickets/seating are limited. Purchase your ticket today! Sponsorship opportunities available.
Join us at Church of the Covenant on Military Road every other Wednesday afternoon from 4:00-5:30pm beginning on October 18th for The Backyard: After-School Kids Club. Cost is free! The program will provide recreation, snacks, Bible stories, and other fun