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Arlington National Cemetery’s restored Ord and Weitzel Gate was unveiled to the public earlier this week, after more than four decades in storage.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, the historic gate was officially reopened at the north entrance of the cemetery’s hallowed ground.

The iron gate dates to 1879 when it was first designed by Montgomery Meigs, also known for his work on the U.S. Capitol dome and what’s today the National Building Museum. The columns on top, decorated with “elaborately sculpted urns,” are two centuries old and were originally part of the War Department building prior to its demolition.

In 1902, the names of Civil War officers Gen. Edward Ord and Gen. Godfrey Weitzel were inscribed on the columns, thus giving the gate its name.

As the years went on, though, the cemetery expanded and the gate became weathered. It was also too small for modern vehicles to fit through. So, in 1979, it was disassembled and put into storage.

Forty-three years later, it’s back in its original location, restored, and reopened to the public. Now, though, it’s a pedestrian-only gate.

“The opening of the restored Ord and Weitzel Gate marks an important milestone in Arlington National Cemetery’s long-range plan to preserve our priceless monumental and architectural history,” Karen Durham-Aguilera, Executive Director of the Office of Army Cemeteries, said in a press release. “Our historic gates are among the cemetery’s most unique and meaningful cultural resources, yet their stories often remain untold.”

The restored gate also came with a number of improvements to the Custis walking path, including updating the sidewalk, security features, and making other visitor-friendly infrastructure changes.

The sidewalk was changed from asphalt to concrete for design and safety reasons, per a cemetery spokesperson. A new, updated guardhouse was also added, plus a water fountain, benches, trash cans, and street lamps. There’s a new pull-off location for the ANC tram as well.

ANC is in the midst of undergoing an expansion that will add 60,000 burial sites and space for the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center.

This will require realigning Columbia Pike and moving it closer to I-395 so that gravesites can be placed where it currently curves around the Air Force Memorial. That portion of the project just got underway this past spring. The construction will eventually result in the closing of a portion of Columbia Pike near Pentagon City, which could happen as soon as early next year.

With the expansion, as well as the restoration of the historic Ord and Weitzel Gate, Arlington National Cemetery is looking to preserve, modernize, and grow.

“Just yesterday I was giving a briefing on our Southern Expansion Project, and I discussed how we were building history, a project that will last as long as there is a United States of America,” ANC’s Director of Engineering Col. Thomas Austin said at Tuesday’s ceremony. “Now, here at Ord and Weitzel, we have the honor of rebuilding history, reviving a structure with elements that go back nearly 200 years. What an honor it is and how lucky we all are to be a part of it.”

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A drone hovering near the Pentagon (courtesy of Dave Statter)

The beacon of light in the Arlington sky early Sunday morning wasn’t a UFO, but an authorized Pentagon drone flight.

At about 2:41 a.m. this past Sunday (Aug. 7) morning, some people spotted a dot of light hovering above the general vicinity of Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon.

As former-news-reporter-turned-safety-advocate Dave Statter pointed out on social media, the skies above this section of south Arlington are a general no-fly zone for anything other than military aircraft and commercial flights heading to or from National Airport. He, then, theorized that this was an “authorized [drone] flight (or someone really looking for trouble).”

Turns out, he was right about it being an authorized flight.

“I can confirm the drone activity observed in the early morning hours on Aug. 7 and 8 was part of a Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) security exercise and was approved drone activity,” a Department of Defense spokesperson told ARLnow in an email.

“Due to operations security, we cannot discuss the specifics of the activity,” the spokesperson said, in response to requests for more details about the exercise.

Drone flights, both authorized and not, do happen on occasion here despite the restrictions.

Arlington County used drones to count the deer population, with permission from federal agencies. Just last month, meanwhile, an unauthorized drone flight prompted a ground stop and flight delays at Reagan National Airport.

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Arlington House, as seen from the Kennedy gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery in 2011 (staff photo)

(Updated at 12:45 p.m.) Local lawmakers have again introduced legislation to officially remove Robert E. Lee’s name from Arlington House.

For fifty years, “Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial” has been the official name for the National Park Service-managed mansion that sits on top of a hill at Arlington National Cemetery.

But in recent years, there has been a push to drop Lee’s name from the memorial and return it to its original name of simply “Arlington House.”

In 2020, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va) proposed legislation to do just that since Arlington House lies in his district. The bill was co-sponsored by two other local representatives, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va) and Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va), along with D.C. Congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Beyer said at the time that the legislation was partially inspired by requests for a name change from descendants of those who were enslaved at Arlington House. However, the bill never got out of committee and no change was made.

Two years later, though, these local lawmakers are trying again with a bicameral push.

The House bill is co-sponsored by Beyer, Connelly, Wexton, and Norton while a new Senate bill is sponsored by Tim Kaine (D-Va). The legislation, if passed and signed into law, would strip the Confederate general’s name from the house he once lived in.

“If we are serious about ending racial disparities, we need to stop honoring those who fought to protect slavery,” Kaine said in a press release. “I’m proud to be part of the effort to rename Arlington House, and am going to keep fighting for the kinds of reforms we need to create a society that delivers liberty and justice for all.”

This year’s bills are very similar to the one from 2020, Beyer Communications Director Aaron Fritschner confirmed to ARLnow, save for small language changes including adding a formal historic site designation.

If the legislation does pass, the mansion would officially be called “The Arlington House National Historic Site.”

The building that now sits inside Arlington National Cemetery was first built by enslaved people in the early 19th century to be the residence for George Washington Parke Custis. It was also intended to be a memorial to George Washington, Custis’s adoptive grandfather.

Custis’s daughter Mary Anna Randolph Custis married Robert E. Lee in 1831. The soon-to-be Confederate general was known to be a cruel and sometimes violent head of the household.

During the Civil War, the Union Army seized the house as well as the grounds and turned it into a military cemetery.

In 1955, Congress passed legislation to designate the house as the “Custis-Lee Mansion.” The name was changed again in 1972 to what it is today, “Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial.”

For years, Arlington House was featured prominently in the county’s logo. That changed last year after a push to remove the house from the logo, in large part due to its formal name and association with Lee.

(An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Lee’s relationship to the house and property.) 

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Fourth of July fireworks, as seen from the Air Force Memorial (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

One of the main fireworks viewing spots in Arlington will be closed on the Fourth of July this year.

The Air Force Memorial will be closed on July 4, then will reopen on July 5, due to “safety and security” concerns caused by the ongoing Arlington National Cemetery expansion project.

“While we recognize it has become an annual tradition for many visitors and local community members to view the fireworks and commemorate this patriotic day from the Air Force Memorial, this is an active construction site, which poses a significant safety and security risk,” said Karen Durham-Aguilera, Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery Executive Director.

Construction along S. Joyce Street and Columbia Pike near the U.S. Air Force Memorial in April (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Those who usually go to the memorial may consider other Arlington fireworks viewing spots like Long Bridge Park, Rosslyn’s Gateway Park, the Marine Corps War Memorial or Gravelly Point.

The cemetery expansion project will add 38 acres of hallowed ground near the memorial, extending the life of the cemetery with 80,000 additional “burial opportunities.” The project will realign part of Columbia Pike, which is expected to be closed and rerouted early next year.

The full press release about the memorial closure is below.

Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), in collaboration with the Air Force District of Washington (AFDW), announced today they will close public access to the Southern Expansion portion of Arlington National Cemetery, which includes access to the Air Force Memorial, on July 4. The memorial will reopen to the public on July 5.

“While we recognize it has become an annual tradition for many visitors and local community members to view the fireworks and commemorate this patriotic day from the Air Force Memorial, this is an active construction site, which poses a significant safety and security risk. Our priority is to keep our visitors safe and allow them the time needed to make alternative plans this holiday,” said Karen Durham-Aguilera, Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery Executive Director.

In past years, the grassy slopes around the land acquired by the cemetery from Arlington County and the Air Force Memorial have been a public gathering area for a few thousand people to view the 4th of July fireworks displays here in the National Capital Region.

“For years, the Air Force Memorial has offered an incredible backdrop to celebrate our Nation’s independence,” said Maj. Gen. Joel Jackson, Air Force District of Washington commander. “However, ongoing construction near the site in support of the Arlington National Cemetery’s Southern Expansion Project prevents us from safely hosting people during this year’s celebration.”

ANC and AFDW have been in close coordination with multiple agencies to include Arlington County Police, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBM-HH) Department of Emergency Services and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency to conduct a thorough safety and security assessment before making the decision to close this area to the public.

ANC’s Southern Expansion Project is the cemetery’s largest expansion to date and will add 38 acres and more than 80,000 burial opportunities. This project is designed to expand the life of the cemetery and allow the nation to honor our future generations for their sacrifices.

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Morning Notes

“Bike route sign at the intersection of 15th Street N. & Taylor Street directing bikes onto Taylor Street, which is a dead end” (Flickr pool photo by Cyrus W.)

‘Conservation’ Nixed in New Name — “The Neighborhood Conservation Program has a new name: Arlington Neighborhoods Program. [Three county departments] announced the new name for the interdepartmental program after almost a yearlong renaming process… The Neighborhood Conservation Program Review (NCPR) Final Report recommended changing the program name because the word ‘conservation’ often evokes a negative connotation and suggests exclusivity.” [Arlington County]

Big Scholarship Match for WHS Grads — “A newly announced dollar-for-dollar match could net the Wakefield High School Educational Foundation’s scholarship fund as much as $2 million over the coming year. It was announced June 2 that Henry ‘Ric’ Duques, a 1961 graduate of the high school, and his wife Dawn had made an up-to-$1 million pledge to the foundation, which will match funds raised by the organization for the year ending June 30, 2023.” [Sun Gazette]

Remembering Local Desegregation Efforts — “Our racial history commemorators have thoroughly marked the 1959 integration of Stratford Junior High School, a first for long-segregated Virginia. But those four African American student pioneers stood on the shoulders of a select group of older peers, whose legal efforts have gone relatively unsung.” [Falls Church News-Press]

New Monument at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — “A monument now stands in memory of the first astronauts to die in their spacecraft, 55 years after a fire on the launchpad claimed their lives. Family members of the fallen Apollo 1 crew came together with NASA officials, space industry leaders and members of the space community to dedicate the new monument during a ceremony(opens in new tab) held Thursday (June 2) at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The memorial is located… in Section 3 of the cemetery.” [Space.com]

ARLnow Cartoonist’s Work Highlighted — “But the father of two has long been a fan of the art form and in the past year, he has become a community cartoonist. [Mike Mount] creates weekly cartoons for an online news outlet in his Northern Virginia county, capturing within those scribbled squares the weird, comical and relatable parts of living in one of Washington’s suburbs.” [Washington Post]

Nature Center Advocate Keeps Advocating — “Look up ‘indefatigable’ in an online dictionary, and a photo of Duke Banks might pop up. Recently given the brushoff – politely but for the second time – by the County Board, Banks is not stopping in his efforts to restore hours that were cut at Arlington’s two local nature centers during the pandemic. Banks pressed his case at the May 24 meeting of the Arlington Park and Recreation Commission.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Monday — Clear throughout the day. High of 80 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:32 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The Military Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery has reopened to the public after six months of significant renovations.

The memorial opened its doors on Friday for Memorial Day weekend, after closing in late November for construction. The work focused on upgrading restrooms to make them ADA-accessible and more family-friendly, Kaprice Dyson, the memorial’s director of marketing, tells ARLnow. Additionally, the 196-seat theater was turned into a multi-purpose event space.

A phase two renovation is forthcoming at the end of 2023 that will concentrate on the exhibit galleries. The funds for the renovations came from “100% donations,” Dyson says.

As part of the reopening celebration, Military Women’s Memorial welcomed an all-woman Honor Flight yesterday (Wednesday) to be among the first groups to tour the revamped facilities. More than a hundred female veterans of World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Desert Storm visited from Orlando, Florida. The oldest veteran on the trip was 96 years old.

The $22 million Military Women’s Memorial opened in October 1997 and is located at the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery. Incorporated into its facade is a retaining wall — known as a hemicycle – that was first dedicated in 1932 as part of the Memorial Bridge project. It’s celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

The memorial honors the estimated three million female veterans that have served since the Revolutionary War. It’s the “nation’s only major national memorial to honor all women who have [defended] the nation,” according to its website.

The memorial also features a historical database featuring stories of women who served, etched glass tablets, reflecting pool, a 200-jet fountain, and exhibits, including one that honors the contributions of servicewomen of color to the United States. That exhibit went on display in March 2021 and is now part of the memorial’s permanent collection, Dyson says.

Over Memorial Day weekend including Friday, more than a thousand people visited the memorial, according to Dyson.

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A time-honored, pre-Memorial Day tradition took place at Arlington National Cemetery this morning.

More than 1,000 soldiers with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, as well as servicemembers from ceremonial units of the other armed forces branches, fanned out over the cemetery’s 640 acres to place 260,000 flags next to headstones and niche rows.

The annual “Flags-in” mission takes only four hours to honor every individual laid to rest at the ceremony, including our nation’s fallen military heroes.

ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott and other members of the media were able to get a glimpse of the marvel of solemnity and logistics today around dawn, as birds chirped on a cool, overcast morning.

This Memorial Day weekend also brings a new tradition: the public getting a rare opportunity to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“Due to the public’s overwhelming positive response to the Flower Laying Ceremony during the Tomb Centennial Commemoration in November, ANC is inviting the public to once again honor our service members by placing flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider,” the cemetery said earlier this week

The inaugural Flowers of Remembrance Day is taking place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

More about the event from a cemetery press release, below.

Read More

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Up the hill from John F. Kennedy’s grave and behind Arlington House on the western side of Arlington National Cemetery lies the purported inventor of America’s pastime.

The former Union Army General Abner Doubleday is interred in section 1, laid to permanent rest there nearly 130 years ago. He’s one of more than a hundred Union generals that are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. While it’s his accomplishments during the Civil War that led him here, history remembers Doubleday much more for his perceived contributions to the game of baseball.

“I’m a big baseball fan. When I was growing up in the 1960s, the common view among the public was that this guy named Doubleday invented it,” says George Dodge, former Arlington Historical Society president and author of a book about the history of Arlington National Cemetery. “But that’s largely been completely discredited.”

Doubleday, a New York native, had a lifetime full of military experience. He was an officer in the Mexican War, fought in the Seminole War, and actually commended the gunners that fired the Civil War’s first shots at Fort Sumter. During the Civil War, he also saw action at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Bull Run, and Gettysburg.

This feature was supported by the ARLnow Press Club. Join to get the exclusive Early Morning Notes email and to help us tell stories like this. Click here to get a free trial (offer expires 5/31/22).

It was at Gettysburg where Doubleday was given command of the corps, when another general was killed in action, that helped to secure high ground. This ultimately led to the Union’s victory at the famed battle and likely turned the tide of the war.

“He has to be given some credit for that and I don’t think he does,” says Dodge.

After the war, he worked to help formerly enslaved people transition to a life of freedom, secure patents for San Francisco’s cable car system, and led a religious group devoted to spiritualism. Doubleday died in 1893 in New Jersey.

But before all of that, he apparently — according to legend — invented baseball.

The story goes that, while living in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839, a 20-year-old Doubleday drew a diamond in the dust and declared this was for a new game he called “base ball.” Along with a 1871 request for baseball-like equipment, this was enough proof for some that Doubleday invented baseball.

And, for the better part of the 20th century, this narrative existed — and, to some extent, still to this day.

Over the last several decades, however, historians have proven that Doubleday likely didn’t invent baseball.

The tale of him drawing a diamond in the dust was only first recounted via letter in 1905, more than 60 years after the fact, to the Mills Commission, a group that had been tasked to determine the origins of the great American game of baseball.

The letter was written by a man named Abner Graves who claimed he was there that day, but Graves would have only been 5 years old at the time. Additionally, it was unlikely that Doubleday was even in Cooperstown at the time. He was a cadet at West Point in 1839 and, even if he had returned home to see family, his family had moved to another village.

“They were looking for even the flimsiest of proof that [baseball] originated here in the United States,” says Dodge.

The more likely reason that this myth exists is that Doubleday represented a home run candidate — a respected Union Army general buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Morning Notes

Lunchtime in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Public Safety Watchdog Profiled — “Like a lot of people, Dave Statter got a bit bored when the pandemic hit and he was pretty much confined to his home. But unlike most of us, Statter lives high atop a Crystal City building overlooking I-395. Why binge Netflix when just outside the window is real-life drama, pathos, tragedy and comedy, all captured by the five video cameras Statter has trained on the traffic below?” [Washington Post]

Aquatics Center Struggling to Hire — “It’s been open for almost three-quarters of a year, but Arlington’s Long Bridge Park aquatics center is not immune for finding personnel that are plaguing the rest of the county government… The aquatics facility, which opened last summer after a lengthy and difficult birthing process, is still in need of a general manager and aquatics-program manager, and the 16 lifeguards on staff would require an infusion of eight to 10 more to bring it to a full complement.” [Sun Gazette]

APS May Add Some Instructional Time — “It’s a mystery: How does a school district that invariably has the highest (or close to it) per-student costs in the region also have the lowest amount of instructional time in a typical school year? Whatever the historical reasons for that anomaly, Arlington school officials are hoping to rectify the last half of that equation. Kind of.” [Sun Gazette]

Sailor Killed at Pearl Harbor Now at ANC — “A young sailor in the U.S. Navy who perished in Pearl Harbor has finally been laid to rest. U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class Walter Stein, 20, of Cheyenne, Wyoming was buried Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery. Stein was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor while serving aboard the USS Oklahoma… Stein’s remains were not officially identified until April 16, 2021 — about 80 years after his death.” [Patch]

Donation to Local Housing Nonprofit — “Arlington Community Federal Credit Union announced a $10,000 grant to local nonprofit, Rebuilding Together- Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church (AFF). The grant was part of a national give back program award from national credit union credit card vendor PSCU to be given to a local nonprofit of Arlington Community FCU’s choice. Rebuilding Together- AFF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that serves low-income homeowners and nonprofits.” [Press Release]

E-CARE Returning Next Month — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “Saturday, April 23, Earth Day weekend: E-CARE returns to Yorktown HS for fast, safe drop-off of household hazardous materials, old electronics, bikes and much more. Fun fact: Folks arriving by foot and bike get through even faster.” [Twitter]

Pair of Missing Persons — Arlington County police are looking for two missing people: a 16-year-old boy last seen in the Rosslyn area, and a 31-year-old woman last seen near the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center. [Twitter, Twitter]

It’s Wednesday — A chance of shower in the morning, then mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 58 and low of 36. Sunrise at 6:57 am and sunset at 7:31 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Arlington County is applying for $15 million in federal funding to improve cycling and walking connections around Arlington National Cemetery.

The money would partially fund the construction of a long-proposed Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) Wall Trail along Washington Blvd, which would connect Columbia Pike and the Pentagon City area with Memorial Avenue and the Arlington Memorial Bridge into D.C.

The Arlington County Board is scheduled to review the application on Saturday.

“The ANC Wall Trail will provide a missing link in the County and regional non-motorized network that will complete a bicycle and pedestrian connection between all three of the County’s major development corridors,” the county says in a report.

Right now, the cemetery is an “effective barrier to demand for non-motorized travel to and across Memorial Bridge,” according to the county, as security concerns after 9/11 led the Department of Defense to prohibit travel through the burial grounds.

The trail would run along the western side of Washington Blvd from Columbia Pike to Memorial Drive. Currently, there is a trail on the other side of Washington Blvd, a highway also known as State Route 27, but it gets dicey near Memorial Circle for pedestrians and cyclists looking to access the nearby Mt. Vernon Trail or cross into D.C.

Renderings of Arlington National Cemetery expansion and Columbia Pike reconfiguration project (via National Capital Planning Commission)

The Columbia Pike interchange with Washington Blvd is set to be modified as part of the ANC Defense Access Roads Project, which will also move Columbia Pike closer to I-395, realign S. Joyce Street, build a new S. Nash Street connector road, and remove part of Southgate Road.

This work, funded by the federal government and managed by the Federal Highway Administration, will facilitate the addition of 70 acres to the southern portion of the cemetery, making room for 60,000 burial sites and space for the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center.

Road work is underway, and early next year, road users can expect to be redirected from the Pike to side streets near Pentagon City. The new burial ground could open in late 2025.

New cycling and pedestrian facilities and grading for the connection to the future ANC Wall Trail are also included in the project. Part of its scope includes designing the trail, for which Arlington County agreed to pay $500,000.

The county expects final designs to be developed over the next year or so. The overall cost of the trail is estimated at $25 million.

Once the wall trail is built, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to connect to Pentagon City via S. Joyce Street at the southern end of the ANC Wall Trail. It will allow safer bike and pedestrian travel between Pentagon City and Columbia Pike to D.C. and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

North of Memorial Avenue, cyclists and pedestrians would be able to link up to the existing trail alongside Route 110, which provides a connection to the Iwo Jima Memorial, to Rosslyn, and to the larger network of bicycle and pedestrian trails along the R-B corridor, the county says.

The $15 million, if awarded, would come from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity” (RAISE) program, which has $1.5 billion earmarked to reimburse localities for surface transportation projects.

The Transportation Department caps awards at $25 million, and one state can receive no more than $225 million. Awards must be split evenly between urban and rural areas.

There is a “low likelihood of a funding award compared with other external transportation capital funding programs,” the county report notes.

Arlington applied last year and was denied funding — along with every other application from Virginia, according to the report. Staff will be meeting with federal transportation staff to understand why and plan to use that information for the new application.

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A portion of Columbia Pike near Pentagon City is set to be closed and re-routed to side streets early next year due to work to expand Arlington National Cemetery.

The work, which will add 60,000 burial sites and space for the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center, will also involve moving Columbia Pike closer to I-395, so that gravesites can be placed where it currently curves around the Air Force Memorial.

Grading work along the new planned path of the Pike has already started, as have some occasional lane closures.

“Crews have implemented various, intermittent lane closures on the project to begin work,” Amber Vincent, Public Affairs Specialist at Arlington National Cemetery, told ARLnow. “In the next six months, longterm lanes closures/shifts will be implemented to access work areas within the project.”

Lane closures are planned on Southgate Road, which runs alongside the Pike next to the current cemetery border, the spokeswoman said. That will be followed by the construction of a new road connecting the Pike and Southgate, west of the Air Force Memorial, and then the closure of the Pike itself.

“Long term lane closures are roughly 1-2 months out and will take place on Southgate Road and Joyce Street in order to begin preparations for what will ultimately be a full closure of Columbia Pike,” said Vincent. “While these closures are in place, a new roadway (South Nash Street) will be constructed between Columbia Pike and Southgate Road one block east of Oak Street.”

“We anticipate South Nash Street to be complete and open late 2022 or early 2023,” she continued. “At that time, Columbia Pike will be closed and traffic will utilize the newly constructed South Nash Street and Southgate Road to bypass the closed section of Columbia Pike to Joyce Street.”

Known as the Arlington National Cemetery Defense Access Roads (DAR) Project, the work is being funded by the federal government and managed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as is part of the 70-acre southern expansion of the cemetery.

The detours will maintain pedestrian access, we’re told, while the project will add a new sidewalk and a shared-use trail, add street lighting, and put utility lines underground.

“Access to existing facilities, as well as pedestrian and vehicle will be maintained throughout construction,” Vincent said. “Arlington National Cemetery and our partners… recognize that pedestrian infrastructure is important to those living in the D.C.-Maryland-Northern Virginia area and we have made appropriate plans to incorporate adequate pedestrian access to and around the Southern Expansion area.”

In the fall, parking was permanently prohibited on Southgate Road between S. Oak Street and Columbia Pike. After its use as a detour, that portion of Southgate Road will eventually become part of the cemetery.

Officials are still eyeing a late 2025 opening for the new burial ground, Vincent said.

Arlington National Cemetery expansion and Columbia Pike realignment, set to be completed in 2025 (image via FHWA)
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