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County inks contract for oversight of Crystal City Metro second entrance project

Arlington County has selected a contractor to oversee work to build a new second entrance to the Crystal City Metro station.

Over the weekend, the Arlington County Board approved a nearly $8 million contract, plus a contingency of $197,497, with Gannett Fleming, Inc. to provide construction management and quality assurance services for the project.

Viewed as a way to further revitalize Crystal City and improve access and accessibility to the station’s east end, the second entrance will be located at the northwest corner of 18th Street S. and Crystal Drive.

Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2024 and last about 2.5 years, according to the county. Previously approved state and local funding will pay for the project, which has a total budget of $146.1 million.

A long-standing goal of county transportation planners, the second entrance will include a direct route, accessible to people with disabilities, to connect users who access the station from the east. It is intended to improve connections for pedestrians and cyclists and to the nearby bus and Virginia Railway Express stations.

There will also be additional space inside the station to accommodate long-term passenger demand.

“The Crystal City Metrorail station is among the most heavily used in Arlington County and Northern Virginia,” per a report. “The Crystal City area is experiencing continued growth and will have significant redevelopment in the next few years.”

The station was also one of the five transportation projects associated with Amazon’s second headquarters, including a pedestrian bridge to Reagan National Airport and an at-grade Route 1.

The project will be delivered via a public-private partnership with developer JBG Smith, which owns a significant amount of property in the neighborhood. It approached the county with an unsolicited proposal to undertake the project and, in 2020, the county struck a deal with the developer to prepare 30% complete designs.

This project was included in the current 2023-2032 Capital Improvement Plan at an estimated cost of $94.9 million, based on conceptual planning work, but costs have increased since then, the county says.

The new $146 million budget is based on the 30% complete designs, a redesign of the station entrance and “upward cost pressures industry-wide,” according to the county.

JBG Smith has been working to finalize the station design since August, after the county approved a $117 million contract with JBG Smith and Clark Construction for final design and construction.

Gannett Fleming was selected from four contractors that bid this summer to help oversee the design and construction. The county says $8 million, plus contingency, is “fair and reasonable” because it is within 12% of an independent cost estimate for the project of around $7 million.

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