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Plans for DCA pedestrian bridge take shape, as more public input sought

Plans to build the future pedestrian bridge from Crystal City to National Airport are firming up.

A new report outlines the impact the bridge could have on the environment. It also details how the project will relate to separate plans to redo roadways and add more parking, new car rental facility and office space.

The environmental assessment says the impact on scenic views for drivers on the GW Parkway, as well as vegetation removal, is expected to be relatively minimal. Up to 146 trees could be removed for construction and the area would later be replanted.

Now through Oct. 3, community members can comment online on the report, Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Erin Potter tells ARLnow. They can also attend a public hearing on Sept. 19 at the Aurora Hills Recreation Center (735 18th Street S.).

Even with the pedestrian bridge, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), which governs DCA and Dulles International Airport, says it does not project reduced vehicle traffic to and from the airport. As such, it is designing significant upgrades for drivers.

“The overall number of passengers and employees shifting to the multi-modal access would not have a notable effect on the forecast traffic demand on the Airport roadway network or the demand for on-Airport passenger and employee parking,” a report for the MWAA project says.

While MWAA is not leading the bridge project, it did have input on where the pedestrian bridge could go, the report says. It notes that where the bridge goes and what angle it is at will not alter the project’s environmental impacts.

MWAA asked Arlington County and the Virginia Dept. of Transportation to move the bridge to reduce impacts on existing parking and accommodate a proposed elevated ramp west of the West Entrance Road, the report says.

“Arlington County and the CC2DCA project team have been working closely with MWAA staff to coordinate delivery of the safety and access improvements provided by both projects,” says Potter.

Construction on the CC2DCA bridge is expected to begin construction in late 2027 and last for two years, Potter said. Since MWAA is still finalizing a timeline for its road improvements, VDOT and Arlington are blocking off an area where the bridge could go and deciding on a final alignment later.

The new report describes how the preferred option marries two other alternatives: one that crossed the GW Parkway and Mount Vernon Trail at a significant angle and another that provided a straight shot. The new renderings also show that, of the two Mount Vernon Trail link options, a more curved path was chosen.

CC2DCA pedestrian bridge alternatives (by ARLnow)

As planning efforts continue for projects at DCA, the surrounding area is set to see changes, too.

An airport access road is set to be removed to make way for a redevelopment project proposed by JBG Smith. Near the Crystal City-side of the bridge, a second entrance to the Crystal City Metro station and a new Virginia Railway Express station and Amtrak platform are being built.

Meanwhile, the Mount Vernon Trail is set to be widened to 11 feet, a planned Crystal City bicycle network could be completed next year and the bus rapid transit network will be extended to Pentagon City.

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