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W&OD Trail to close next month as Sparrow Pond restoration work continues

As restoration work continues at Sparrow Pond, one trail will close as another opens.

The Washington & Old Dominion Trail will be closed for six to seven weeks starting in mid-to-late February, per an Arlington County webpage.

“The work will allow the construction team to finish the new outfall that will connect Sparrow Pond to Four Mile Run,” the county says. ‘Thank you for your patience and understanding with the trail closures and weather-related delays.”

Restoration of the man-made pond along the W&OD Trail is still on track to be completed on time, with work expected to wrap up in August, according to the county.

A detour will direct cyclists and pedestrians to a newly reopened Four Mile Run Trail, set to open this week, says Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services. This trail had been closed for the construction of a new outfall connecting Sparrow Pond to Four Mile Run.

“The team has been excavating, placing the concrete outfall structures, and stabilizing the area to build a new outfall from Sparrow Pond to Four Mile Run,” the county webpage says.

The trail closures are part of a multi-phase project to restore the pond — which had filled up with sediment — to its original depth.

The county is removing sediment and adding a collection bay, which it says will make maintenance and future sediment removal easier going forward, maximize water quality benefits and restore the pond’s habitat.

Two aerial views from Arlington County of Sparrow Pond, in 2003 and 2018

Through February, the contractor is working on excavating and installing pipe segments in the new outfall from Four Mile Run up to Sparrow Pond.

“Most habitat structures have been installed, including turtle basking logs, root wad habitat structures, and poles for wood duck boxes,” the county says. “Wood duck boxes will likely be installed in late February or March. Once the outfall is completed, work will resume on the remaining pools.”

Local officials, meanwhile, are asking that pedestrians and cyclists using the S. Park Drive trail spur to keep a wide distance from active equipment and follow flagger instructions during active construction hours.

Cyclists are cautioned to go slow and exercise caution due to large moving machinery, equipment, rocks, debris and wet or slippery conditions on the trail.

Typical work hours are weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., the county says.

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