Construction work on the Ballston Quarter pedestrian bridge will prompt yet more road closures tonight (Friday), but the more extensive work set for weeknights is on hold for a bit.
Workers lifted the bridge’s frame into place over Wilson last month, where it will eventually connect the newly revamped Ballston Quarter development with the neighborhood’s Metro station, running through the Ballston Exchange development at 4201 Wilson Blvd.
However, the four months of work set to snarl traffic in Ballston on weeknights is on hold, county officials announced this week. They’d originally planned to start closing the eastbound lanes of Wilson Blvd to allow for more glass installation on the bridge starting Monday night.
“Due to recent inclement weather, installation work on the pedestrian bridge was delayed,” Will Voegele, senior vice president for mixed-use development at Brookfield Properties (the company that bought Ballston Quarter developer Forest City) wrote in a statement.
“Barring any additional weather-related delays, construction will continue to move forward as scheduled,” he added.
The county says that weeknight closures will now begin on March 17. From 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night, the eastbound lanes of Wilson Blvd will be off-limits to drivers for the next eight weeks. Then, they’ll close the westbound lanes for another eight weeks.
This is far from the first delay for this project, or Ballston Quarter as a whole. Forest City had originally hoped to have the bridge open in time for stores to begin opening at the development this fall, before pushing back construction for months.
The developer has also missed its own targets for opening some stores to customers, and it’s currently unclear where things stand with its new food court. A few restaurants are now open in the new “Quarter Market,” but it’s unclear when the full, 14-restaurant food hall will be ready.
Photo 1 via @ArlingtonDES
Construction is ramping up on the widening of one of the most congested sections of I-66, and that will prompt some changes on county trails and streets lining the highway.
The County Board gave the go-ahead yesterday (Tuesday) for VDOT workers to relocate some local trails and build a noise wall and storm drain associated with the project. Once it’s completed, I-66 eastbound will boast an extra travel lane between Exit 71 in Ballston and the highway’s intersection with the Dulles Connector Road, long one of the worst traffic choke points in the region (and even the country).
The construction will impact areas along the highway throughout Arlington, however, prompting the Board’s latest action.
Perhaps the largest change is the relocation of part of the W&OD Trail near East Falls Church to a new pedestrian bridge running over Lee Highway, and county officials formally gave VDOT workers permission to start work on that project last night.
Workers also now have the county’s permission to build a new noise wall near the N. Harrison Street bridge over I-66 in the Bluemont neighborhood. But that wall will block off a portion of the Custis Trail as it runs alongside the highway, and workers plan to create a new connection from the trail onto the bridge itself, according to a county staff report.
Additional construction on the highway widening will also force workers to connect a portion of the Custis Trail near Bon Air Park to an underground tunnel beneath I-66.
The county will also construct “park benches, trail signage, lighting, bike shelter and racks, railing and fencing” along the new sections of the trail, the staff report said.
State officials awarded a contract for the $85.7 million project in 2017, and they’re currently hoping to have the new lane open by fall 2020.
Workers are installing a new and improved pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd in Ballston this weekend, but that will mean some major road closures.
The new bridge is designed to connect the newly revamped Ballston Quarter with the neighborhood’s Metro station, with a link through the Ballston Exchange development at 4201 Wilson Blvd.
Ballston Quarter’s developer, Forest City, originally hoped to have the bridge ready in time for stores at the former Ballston Common mall to start opening up late last year. But the project ran into a few logistical delays, before ramping up in earnest in December.
Workers have been busily been assembling the bridge in Mosaic Park for the last few months, and they’ll now use a series of cranes to transport the 94-ton bridge to its permanent home over Wilson with road closures starting today (Friday).
County police say they’ll start by closing N. Quincy Street, between Wilson Boulevard and 5th Road N., in both directions at 2 p.m. today.
Then, starting at 7 p.m. tonight and running through noon Saturday, they’ll close the following:
- Wilson Boulevard, between N. Oakland Street and N. Stuart Street
- N. Randolph Street, between 9th Street N. and 5th Road N.
- N. Quincy Street, between 9th Street N. and 5th Road N.
- N. Pollard Street, between 9th Street N. and 6th Street N.
- N. Piedmont Street, between Wilson Boulevard and 7th Street N.
Police say that people living along those roads will be able to enter and exit, but only at the direction of officers.
But the bulk of the work will happen from noon Saturday through 6 p.m. Sunday while the bridge is actually installed. That means Wilson Boulevard will be entirely closed between N. Randolph Street and N. Stuart Street.
Police are also encouraging drivers to use N. Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive as alternate routes to avoid Wilson Boulevard this weekend. Street parking in the area will also be restricted and drivers should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs.
Safety concerns have prompted the county to close a sidewalk along a bridge over Four Mile Run connecting Arlington and Alexandria.
The western sidewalk of the bridge connecting S. Arlington Ridge Road with Mount Vernon Avenue is now closed indefinitely, the county announced last week.
Officials say a recent inspection revealed “beam deterioration” on one of the supports under the bridge’s western sidewalk. The structure was built back in 1956.
The county now plans to use “signage and barricades” to direct people to the other side of the bridge. A Metrobus stop serving the 10A, 10E, 23A and 23B routes and the entry to the Four Mile Run Park and the Four Mile Run Trail sit just before the north end of the bridge on the east side at S. Glebe Road.
Another Metrobus stop sits at the northwest corner of Arlington Ridge and Glebe Road, serving the 10A and 10E routes.
County engineers plan to “monitor conditions and look at eventual replacement options,” but have no timetable for the sidewalk to reopen.
The county closed sidewalks along another nearby bridge at W. Glebe Road over Four Mile Run due to similar concerns back in November.
Photo via Google Maps
In Planning: New Rail and Pedestrian Bridges — “The only solution, they say, is to add two tracks and create a four-track crossing over the Potomac to handle more commuter and intercity rail service as well as expected increases in freight transportation over the next decades… A stand-alone bike and pedestrian bridge would be built upstream from the new rail bridge, allowing people to walk or bike across the Potomac.” [Washington Post]
School Libraries to Buy New Print Material — “Officials with the school system’s libraries say they are working to ensure that, by the end of the school year, the average age of materials in their print collections is no more than 10 years old.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool by John Sonderman
The construction of a new pedestrian bridge linking Ballston Quarter to the area’s Metro station is picking up steam.
Workers recently began installing supports for the bridge near the development’s entrances along Wilson Blvd, as well as near the “Ballston Exchange” development at 4201 Wilson Blvd, where the walkway will ultimately connect.
The frame for a new bridge is also taking shape in nearby Mosaic Park, where Ballston Quarter developer Forest City secured permission to start assembling the structure through a deal with county officials.
After tearing down the old bridge over Wilson Blvd last May, Forest City originally planned to have the new walkway ready by the time shops first started opening in the newly renovated Ballston Common mall.
But they reported to the county this summer that construction delays were hampering the process, targeting sometime in 2019 instead. As the new year approaches, a spokeswoman for Forest City says that the bridge is “still slated to deliver in the spring of 2019.”
Forest City has until the end of the month to wrap up work in Mosaic Park under the terms of its current deal with the county. However, the company does have the chance to secure a two-month extension for additional work through the end of February, though that’s contingent on the construction not disrupting the long-awaited overhaul of the park set to start this coming spring.
When the bridge is finished, it’s designed to connect the Ballston Metro station seamlessly to the Ballston Quarter development, helping pedestrians avoid crossing a bevy of busy streets.
Rosslyn Shooter Sentenced — “A man who worked as an investigator for conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman will serve nine years in prison for shooting and wounding his ex-boss” in a Rosslyn hotel parking garage. [Washington Post]
Marijuana Arrest Disparity — “African Americans were more than eight times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana crimes in Arlington from 2010-2016.” [Bacon’s Rebellion]
More on Long Bridge Plan — “New plans call to double the number of railroad tracks over the Potomac River between DC and Arlington, and to build a new pedestrian/bicycle bridge between Southwest Washington and Crystal City.” [Greater Greater Washington]
New Gym Coming to Arlington — “Blink Fitness is gearing up to expand into Northern Virginia with five new locations in Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax. Northern Virginia-based Cove Fitness LLC inked the 10-year agreement with the New York fitness chain to bring gyms to the region that will create about 70 jobs and occupy 90,000 square feet.” [Washington Business Journal]
Crystal City Still in Spotlight — “I spent a day in Crystal City, Virginia — and it’s easy to see why Amazon picked it for its new HQ2 headquarters.” [Business Insider]
Most Elaborate Cubicle Xmas Decoration Ever? — At WJLA in Rosslyn, a TV director named Mason Herndon has converted his office cubicle into a log cabin complete with fake snow, a fake fireplace and Christmas lights. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler
Workers are gearing up to make some repairs on the S. George Mason Drive bridge over Four Mile Run, so be on the lookout for some lane closures.
The county kicked off work on the bridge on Monday (Nov. 26), and it will likely last through spring 2019.
Workers will reduce from two lanes in each direction down to one as construction proceeds, but only during “non-rush hours,” according to a county NextDoor post.
The work will primarily focus on “patching and sealing,” mainly on “good weather days” through early next year.
Then, the county plans to repaint the bridge in summer 2019.
Photo via Google Maps
Worker Rescued from Memorial Bridge — A man working on the Memorial Bridge rehabilitation project was injured this morning and transported to the hospital via fireboat and then ambulance. The injuries were reported to be non-life-threatening. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
More Worries About Real Estate Prices Post-Amazon — “Amazon’s possible arrival in Northern Virginia and Queens, New York, has already sent shockwaves through surrounding real estate markets. Mara Gemond, a longtime Arlington, Virginia, realtor… Crystal City — until news broke that Amazon might be splitting its 50,000-employee second headquarters between there and Long Island City in New York. All of a sudden, the two-bedroom condo in a 1980s-era building that had been sitting on the market for nearly three months with no offers, even after a price cut, had a flood of interest.” [CNN, Washington Post, ARLnow]
Metro Closure Causes DCA Gridlock — The closure of the Crystal City and National Airport Metro stations prior to Friday’s evening rush hour, amid a rush to get out of town for the holiday weekend, caused gridlock around the airport, the GW Parkway, Route 1 and other nearby roads. Arlington County Police were dispatched to the area to help with traffic control. [NBC 4, Twitter, Greater Greater Washington]
Chamber Welcomes Amazon — Among those welcoming Amazon to Arlington is the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. “This addition to Arlington is a significant step toward enhancing and maintaining the strength of Arlington’s commercial sector and diversifying our economic base,” the Chamber said in a statement. [Arlington Chamber]
Restrictions for West Glebe Road Bridge Traffic — “A routine inspection of the bridge on West Glebe Road at South Four Mile Run has uncovered deterioration, which will require a vehicle weight restriction of 5-tons, and closure of the sidewalks in both directions. Because safety is the priority, the restrictions are effective immediately.” [Arlington County]
Marymount U Prez Dances with Local Stars — “Dr. Irma Becerra has many accomplishments to her name. Dancing is not one of them, but D.C.’s Dancing Stars Gala could soon change that. Marymount University’s new president is one of eight local celebrities who will vie for $10,000 [this past] Saturday when the annual fundraising competition is held at The Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner.” [Fairfax News]
Arlington Resident Buys Airline — Sanford Rederer, a resident of North Arlington and Sarasota, Florida, has purchased Florida-based Island Air Charters. [Business Observer]
Pictured above: Crystal City as it once was — building and wayfinding sign in 2011 (Flickr pool photo by Chris Reed)
A coalition of businesses, neighborhood groups and transportation advocates are urging planners to include a bike and pedestrian trail along the long-planned replacement for the Long Bridge, a key railroad connection from Virginia into D.C.
A total of 15 organizations from Arlington, the District and the rest of the metropolitan Washington region penned a new letter last Thursday (Nov. 1) to both local and federal transportation officials working on the project, calling the inclusion of a trail alongside the bridge part of “a once in a generation opportunity to transform our regional transportation network.”
Planners are still sorting out exactly what the new bridge might look like. The original structure, which runs from near the Pentagon in Arlington to Southwest D.C., was built back in 1904, and officials from around the region have viewed replacing it as a necessary step for improving freight and passenger rail service between D.C. and Northern Virginia.
However, the prospect of including a trail alongside the new Long Bridge was not formally included in the various assessments of potential designs of the project. Accordingly, the group penning the letter sought to emphasize the benefits such a trail could have for the region’s commuters, and its economy.
The organizations — which include the Crystal City Civic Association, Friends of Long Bridge Park, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and Greater Greater Washington — stressed that any new trail crossing the Potomac River would provide “crucial links to several important regional trails.” The current crossing along the 14th Street Bridge does not offer a connection to the regional trail network on the D.C. side. of the bridge, and the friends group supporting the Mt. Vernon Trail co-signed the letter.
The groups also stressed that such a trail would spur economic development “by linking two key activity nodes in Southwest D.C. and Crystal City.” That goes doubly so if officials also follow the groups’ recommendation that the trail “connect to the esplanade in Long Bridge Park” and “extend as far towards L’Enfant Plaza as physically possible” on the D.C. side.
Perhaps most importantly, the letter urges that the trail “be funded and constructed concurrently with the rail component of the Long Bridge project,” and that it “should be incorporated into the design of the broader project in a way that optimizes the achievability of the project with regard to cost and complexity.”
In a draft of an environmental impact statement prepared in late June, federal and local planners stress that any trail is “not part of the purpose and need” of the project. Even still, they agreed to include the study of four potential trail crossings in more detailed studies of the project to be completed over the coming months.
Planners have so far narrowed potential designs of the bridge replacement down to two options; both involve building a new, two-track bridge alongside the existing structure, but one alternative calls for the current bridge to stay in place and the other would involve fully replacing it.
Two of the trail designs call for building the crossing alongside the new bridge. Two others call for building the trail along its own, independent bridge: one proposal envisions it being upstream of the new two-track bridge, another would be downstream.
The transit advocates at Greater Greater Washington have expressed doubts about these proposals in the past, arguing that the designs “do the bare minimum” and represent a missed opportunity for planners. However, officials did agree to examine trail crossings over the Long Bridge Park side of the G.W. Parkway, “with an evaluation of connections to the Mount Vernon Trail and Ohio Drive S.W.,” two features that were previously championed by Greater Greater Washington.
Even still, there remains no guarantee that the trail will indeed be included in the project — the June report notes that Virginia rail officials noted “noted that the primary focus of the project is increasing rail capacity, and expressed significant concerns regarding safety and constructability of any combined-mode structure.”
Planners are still a long ways off from finalizing designs, however. The first step is settling on a single “preferred alternative” to examine in more detail, which planners hope to do within the next two months.
Officials then hope to have engineering and environmental analyses drawn up by summer 2019, and the project still needs additional funding. Virginia officials and the rail company CSX, which owns the bridge, have committed to chip in a total of $30 million for the effort, though there’s no telling just how much the bridge replacement might ultimately cost.
The Carlin Springs Road Bridge construction has passed the halfway point, and some more road closures are on the way as work wraps up.
The southern half of the replacement bridge is now in use with one lane of traffic open in each direction. Pedestrians are directed to use the walkway on the southern side of the bridge.
Work has begun on rehabilitating the north side of the bridge. Starting tomorrow (Saturday), the contractor is scheduled to install steel beams to allow construction on the remainder of the new bridge deck. During this time, N. George Mason Drive will be closed where it passes under the bridge.
The current traffic pattern will remain in place until the rest of the bridge deck is completed. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2019.
Meanwhile, the new sanitary sewer main at the N. Carlin Springs Road and N. Abington Street intersection has been completed. Street pavement and other restoration work is expected to be completed by late fall 2018.
The original Carlin Springs Road Bridge was demolished in December 2017 after it was found to be substantially deteriorated. The new bridge will feature wider sidewalks, bike lanes, and four vehicle travel lanes.
Photo via Arlington Department of Environmental Services
Plans are underway to address Arlington Memorial Bridge’s crumbling facade and deep structural issues, but over the next week it will mean extra traffic for morning commuters across the bridge.
From today (Monday) until Friday (Aug. 17) two lanes of Arlington Memorial Bridge on the G.W. Parkway will be closed to prepare the bridge for full rehabilitation later this fall. The rightmost westbound lane will be closed from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. and the center eastbound lane will be closed from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The parkway will also see late evening closures over the coming week to prepare the bridge for rehabilitation later this fall. From Wednesday, Aug. 15 until Sunday, Aug. 19, one northbound lane of the parkway will be closed south of Memorial Circle, near the Potomac River. Closures will start at 7 p.m. and end at 5 a.m.
The plan is to move the construction equipment from the road to a fenced staging area on the river. Workers on-site will direct traffic as heavy equipment is moved into the construction site.
Cyclists and pedestrians on the Mount Vernon Trail may also experience delays during this process. While the trail won’t close, the equipment will be passing over the trail and workers onsite will be directing traffic on the trail.
The full bridge rehabilitation later this fall will reduce the bridge to three lanes of traffic: one eastbound, one westbound, and one that will shift to accommodate rush hour traffic.
In 2016, the Federal Highway Administration informed the National Park Service (NPS) that, without repairs, the bridge will require full closure in 2021. According to NPS, the current schedule of closures will help strengthen the bridge; adding new concrete to the roads, reinforcing the rusted steel drawbridge, and making repairs to the underside of the road. The full rehabilitation later this fall will replace the drawbridge span, replace most of the concrete across the bridge with prefabricated concrete panels.
The NPS is also closing lanes on the Windy Run Bridge to keep up with additional bridge rehab needs, with work running through the fall.
Photo via National Park Service
The National Park Service is warning drivers about severe traffic backups on the GW Parkway starting today (Monday) and running through the fall, as rehab work on the Windy Run Bridge gets going.
Workers have spent the last few weeks removing guard rails and center curbs, as well as doing some paving work, in order to prepare for work on the bridge, located in northeast Arlington near the Woodmont and Riverwood neighborhoods.
Starting today, the NPS plans to reduce the parkway from four lanes down to three, and expects to:
- Lower the work zone speed limit to 35 miles per hour
- Direct all traffic into three narrow travel lanes
- Shift travel lanes to accommodate rush hour traffic
The NPS plans to always keep one lane open in each direction, reversing the third lane as needed to match the direction of traffic in the morning and evening rush hours on weekdays.
That means the reversible lane will run northbound from noon to 8 p.m. and run southbound from 8 p,m. to noon. On Saturdays and Sundays, the reversible lane will only run southbound.
“Drivers should expect a lower speed limit, narrower lanes and a substantial police presence until this fall,” park superintendent Alexcy Romero wrote in a statement.”We need to shift traffic so that workers can safely rehabilitate the road surface of Windy Run Bridge.”
The bridge was built back in 1959, and the NPS plans to “restore the bridge deck by removing and replacing its top layer” in order to extend its life.
While work on Windy Run should wrap up before the year is out, the NPS also warns that “all of the bridges and roadway on the northern part of [the parkway] will also soon need maintenance work.” The NPS recently closed a public comment period on some of that planned work, and expects to release more details in the coming months.
Photo via the National Park Service
The Van Buren Bridge near the East Falls Church Metro station is back open after months of renovation work, complete with a new walkway for cyclists and pedestrians.
The city of Falls Church had been working since last fall to repair and widen the bridge, located near where N. Van Buren Street intersects with 18th Street N. and running over Benjamin Banneker Park.
The bridge previously lacked a sidewalk of any kind, forcing pedestrians into the roadway. Accordingly, the $300,000 construction project won some regional transportation funding for its potential to provide a smoother connection for people looking to reach the nearby Metro station with the new 12-f00t walkway.
Great news! The Van Buren Street bridge has now reopened to all traffic, including pedestrian & bicycle access! The new bridge has a dedicated walkway & improved access to the @WODTrail & the @ArlingtonVA Benjamin Banneker Park. #BikeDC #BikeVA pic.twitter.com/MqexG8vHTs
— City of Falls Church (@FallsChurchGov) July 24, 2018
With the W&OD Trail close by as well, planners also envision the bridge improving conditions for cyclists in the area.
The project’s conclusion also marks the end to detours on N. Van Buren Street, which previously routed drivers onto nearby roads like 19th Street N. and N. Sycamore Street.
The developer behind the renovated Ballston Quarter mall is pushing back its plans to open a new pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd, as part of a host of proposed changes to the project.
Forest City had originally hoped to open the overhauled bridge connecting the mall to 4201 Wilson Blvd and the Metro station in time for stores to begin opening this fall. Yet work on the bridge is “currently behind schedule and is now expected to be completed in the winter or early spring of 2019,” according to a report prepared for the County Board.
Accordingly, Forest City is asking the Board to tweak some of the planning documents governing the project to account for the delay, which county staff believe will allow for “additional time for public engagement” around changes to the bridge’s renovation. Staff are recommending that the Board push off any consideration of that request until next month, though Board members won’t get a chance to vote on that recommendation until Saturday (June 16).
County staff also suggest that the Board wait until its July 14 meeting to consider a request from Forest City to add “large media screens” to the development. The big TV screens would face Wilson Blvd as part of Ballston Quarter’s west plaza. A spokeswoman for Forest City said “nothing is yet confirmed” when it comes to the purpose of the screens.
The Board could take some action related to the development on Saturday, however. Forest City is hoping to open six “outdoor cafes” as the mall welcomes back patrons in September, though construction plans originally called for some additional landscaping and construction work to be completed before those restaurants could open.
Staff noted that Forest City’s plans are “not ideal,” but they also didn’t see any “public safety risk” in letting the cafes open first. They’re recommending that the Board approve the request, then consider individual permits for each restaurant over the course of the next month.