Press Club
Arlington County staff present the details of County Manager Mark Schwartz’s $3.9 billion CIP for 2023-32 (via Arlington County)

From a new Columbia Pike library to a dedicated pickleball court, County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed 10-year $3.9 billion capital improvement plan would fund projects across Arlington.

The first 10-year plan for capital projects in four years would budget for infrastructure projects between 2023 and 2032. The CIP proposal, slated for adoption in July, is a 40% increase from the plan approved four years ago, Schwartz said in his presentation to the County Board Tuesday.

“This CIP proposal aims to address current and future capital needs in Arlington County as we emerge from the financial setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Schwartz said in a statement. “We want to focus on key planned investments in addition to following through on commitments from prior plans to benefit county residents and businesses long-term.”

Stormwater projects would receive $331.3 million in funding, including $77 million for Spout Run, $14.7 million for Torreyson Run, $28.5 million for Crossman Run and $49.5 million for Lubber Run — all flood mitigation efforts. Streams and water quality funding is proposed at $52.1 million and maintenance at $50.2 million.

A slideshow outlining what Arlington’s investment in environmental goals looks like in the 2023-32 CIP (via Arlington County)

While Metro remains one of the largest investments in the CIP, at $356.4 million, the proposal also outlines $1.8 billion in non-Metro transportation funding. This includes $16 million for Vision Zero street safety improvements program, $64 million for bridge replacements and renovations, and $89 million for bike and walk programs.

Other highlights include:

The proposed CIP includes new park programs that focus on emerging needs and natural resiliency, a new fire station on the west end of Columbia Pike, and facilities consolidation to enable remote work for county staff.

Schwartz said the needs of the county have changed since the last 10-year CIP, as the county is in “a world shaped by the pandemic where we do our business differently.”

Michelle Cowan, deputy county manager overseeing the Department of Management and Finance, noted during the presentation that the finance department works entirely remotely now, potentially a harbinger of a money-saving reduction in the county’s office footprint.

“We have reduced our footprint which… allows us then to do some really strategic consolidations that you’ll hear about in other county buildings that could get us out of some aging assets,” Cowan said.

The CIP will continue to fund debt service obligations for the investment in housing at Barcroft Apartments, construction of Fire Station 8, which is scheduled to be completed in fall 2023, and the design and planning process for the proposed Arlington boathouse.

Preliminary construction funding for the lower boathouse site is included in the later years of the CIP.

This CIP returns funding levels for the Arlington Neighborhoods Program, formerly the Neighborhood Conservation Program, which are projects identified by individual neighborhoods and include street improvements, streetlights, parks, beautification and sidewalks. The program had steep cuts in previous CIPs.

The 2023-32 CIP proposal would provide $85.2 million in funding to the program. That includes $4 million of funding for projects in fiscal years 2023 and 2024, and would increase to $9 million in 2030 and 2031, Director of Management and Finance Maria Meredith said.

Read More

0 Comments
S. Abingdon Street bridge in Fairlington (via Google Maps)

A rehabilitation project and a potential lane reconfiguration are both in the works for the S. Abingdon Street bridge in Fairlington.

The bridge, which carries local vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the neighborhood over I-395, was built in 1970 and last rehabilitated in 1994. It’s due for more work to improve safety and extend the bridge’s life, VDOT says.

A VDOT presentation noted that inspectors found crumbling concrete below the bridge span.

Abingdon Street bridge inspection photo (via VDOT)

The state transportation department is conducting a virtual public engagement process about the upcoming $10.5 million rehab project, for which it anticipates starting construction in the summer of 2023. At least one lane of vehicle and bike traffic will be maintained in each direction during construction, VDOT says.

More from VDOT’s website, below.

The project includes:

  • Resurfacing the concrete bridge deck and closing deck joints
  • Repairing concrete piers and abutments
  • Adding protective concrete barriers adjacent to piers
  • Extending and adding concrete in-fill walls between piers
  • Replacing bearings and reconstructing bearing seats

The existing sidewalks on both sides of the bridge will remain and the bridge bicycle lanes will be restriped as part of the project.

The bridge averages 8,300 vehicles a day based on 2019 data.

The project is financed with federal and state funding.

Get Involved

In lieu of an in-person meeting, VDOT invites residents and travelers to learn more, watch the virtual presentation and give feedback in the following ways through Wednesday, June 1:

  • Watch the virtual presentation (also available in Chinese and Spanish) at virginiadot.org/Abingdon395.
  • Provide comments via the online survey or by email to [email protected].
  • Mail comments to Mr. Sharif Ramsis, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030.

In addition to VDOT’s construction project, Arlington County is gearing up for a “Complete Streets” repaving and re-striping project on the bridge — from Fire Station 7 to 34th Street S. — this summer.

The project may involve removing the sparsely-used street parking on either side of the bridge, in favor of more robust and protected bike and pedestrian facilities, based on public comments and past history with the program.

Several comments note concerns about vehicles speeding on the bridge and the presence of students going to and from school.

An exact plan for the county’s Complete Streets project has yet to be published.

Photo via Google Maps

0 Comments

(Updated at 12:35 p.m.) The West Glebe Road bridge over Four Mile Run will be completely closed to vehicles in two weeks, and will remain closed for nearly a year.

The circa-1956 bridge, which connects Arlington and Alexandria near the I-395/S. Glebe Road interchange, has been deemed “structurally deficient” since 2018. A $10 million project to replace its deck and beams was approved by the Arlington County Board last April and was slated to start this year, but in the meantime engineers have found “continued degradation of the bridge beams.”

As a result, the bridge is closing to drivers on Monday, May 9, the county announced today. That’s after southbound bridge traffic was detoured for the same reason in March.

New detours will be put into place that will divert vehicular traffic either over the Mount Vernon Avenue bridge to the east or Shirlington Circle to the west. Both of those bridges, coincidentally, are also aging and set for repairs over the next couple of years; the former received funding from the recent federal infrastructure bill.

The county expects two vehicle lanes on the West Glebe Road bridge to reopen in early 2023, while it’s still under construction. Work is expected to start shortly after the May closure and last until the summer of 2023.

Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to use the bridge for a few more months. A temporary pedestrian path across Four Mile Run is expected to open in July. Four Mile Run Trail users, meanwhile, will re-routed to a parallel path, as the portion of trail under the bridge will be closed.

More from a county press release, below.

Because of continued degradation of the bridge beams, engineers will close the West Glebe Road Bridge to all motor vehicle traffic beginning on Monday, May 9, 2022, for construction of a planned replacement superstructure (road deck and beams). Two motor vehicle lanes on the renovated bridge are expected to reopen in early 2023 along with one of two widened sidewalks.

The current structure connecting Arlington and Alexandria over Four Mile Run was built in 1956. Elements have experienced noted deterioration in recent years.

In 2018, a 5-ton weight restriction was placed on all user vehicles. In March 2022, all southbound traffic was detoured away from the bridge amid signs of continued structural beam degradation.

Allowing continued motor vehicle traffic with the additional stress of construction has now been ruled out. Pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to use the bridge through June, after which they will be directed to a temporary crossing, independent of the superstructure, to be built along the bridge, expected to open in July.

The Mount Vernon Avenue Bridge further east over Four Mile Run will continue to handle vehicular traffic detouring from the West Glebe bridge.

The bridge’s original piers are stable and will be used to support the new superstructure, reducing project costs, construction time, and impact on the watershed.

The project is set for completion by summer 2023.

Arlington County and the City of Alexandria continue continue to coordinate closely on the bridge replacement project. Crews will mobilize for the job later this month.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Pastel colors in the skies over the National Mall during peak bloom weekend, as seen from Arlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Traffic Restricted on Deteriorating Bridge — “As a result of a bridge inspection today, Friday, March 25, engineers closed the existing southbound lane of the West Glebe Bridge between Arlington and Alexandria due to further degradation of structural beams.  The northbound lane of the bridge over South Four Mile Run will remain open, making the bridge one-way to traffic and requiring a detour for southbound automobiles. The bridge’s maximum load rating of 5 tons will remain in place with a critical need for heavier vehicles – primarily buses and dump trucks — to comply for public safety.” [Arlington County]

Graupel Covers Fields, Prompts Tweets — An ice pellet downpour covered the ground in parts of Arlington on Saturday afternoon: “Well that was wild… heavy downpour rain and graupel swept through near Clarendon.” [Twitter, Twitter]

The Story Behind the Pentagon Chicken — “The Pentagon Building Operations Command Center initially considered using on-staff pest control to capture the chicken. But the pest control staff wasn’t scheduled to come on duty for another hour. The Building Operations Command Center, or BOCC, then came up with the idea to contact the emergency number at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.” [Patch]

Bullying Incident at Middle School — “After a bullying incident involving her 6th grade son with autism, an Arlington mother asked the school board Thursday night to do more to create an environment where such incidents don’t happen to any child. On Friday both mother Kathleen Clark and her son Colton described what happened to 7 News, and Kathleen talked about changes she hopes Arlington Public Schools makes to help children better know how to relate to others who are different from them in some way.” [WJLA]

Seventh Grade Hoops Team Goes Undefeated — “An Arlington Travel Basketball girls teams capped an undefeated 16-0 season in the Fairfax County Youth Basketball League with victories in postseason tournament-championship games. The seventh-grade girls squad, coached by John Lomas, won the Division I championship game, 51-42, over Lee-Mount Vernon.” [Sun Gazette]

Lease Above Courthouse Metro Extended — “Chickasaw Nation Industries, Inc. (CNI) extends federal services division office lease in Arlington, VA. Represented by Edward Saa and Timothy Jacobs, CNI Federal experienced explosive growth in the 2020-2021 government fiscal year in awarded contracts necessitating a 10,000-SF office presence to service customers.” [Press Release]

More Afternoon ART Buses — “More of a good thing: Midday frequency gets a boost for ART 52 and 75 bus weekday routes starting Monday.” [Twitter]

Nearby: Stabbing in Seven Corners — “Fairfax County police officers arrested and charged a 21-year-old Falls Church man after two men were stabbed just before 2 p.m. yesterday (Thursday). Police were called to Seven Corners at Arlington Boulevard and Patrick Henry Drive for an assault and determined a man was involved in two separate assaults that escalated when he stabbed both men, police said.” [FFXnow]

It’s Monday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 37 and low of 28. Sunrise at 7:00 am and sunset at 7:29 pm. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments
A new bridge in Glencarlyn Park (courtesy Dennis Dimick)

Update at 4 p.m. on 3/15/22 — President Joe Biden has signed a $1.5 trillion spending bill with funding for three projects in Arlington. 

In the 10 months it took for the funding to pass, Arlington County substantially completed two of the projects: repaving parts of the Bluemont Junction Trail and replacing a pedestrian bridge in Glencarlyn Park.

The county moved forward with them in the interim due to safety concerns and the uncertain nature of federal funding, Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish told ARLnow on Tuesday.

The funding will pay for any remaining work and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is considering how to repurpose any unspent funds on similar projects, she said. 

Earlier: A $1.5 trillion spending bill that cleared Congress on Friday has funding for three projects in Arlington.

The bill includes $13.6 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine’s fight against Russia and will fund the federal government through September, avoiding an impending government shutdown. Now the 2,741-page bill is headed to the desk of President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it this week.

The bill also sends Arlington County more than $1.4 million to pay for a health initiative and two parks projects, for which Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) requested federal assistance last May. In total, the spending package has $5.4 million earmarked for 10 projects in Northern Virginia, at Beyer’s request.

“This funding will translate to significant, beneficial projects in Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax County,” he said in a statement on Friday. “I am thankful to my colleagues who enacted the legislation to fund these initiatives, and to the local leaders who worked with me to identify and develop the initial requests. These projects will make a real, positive difference in our region.”

Arlington County’s Department of Human Services is getting $390,000 to purchase two medically equipped vehicles for a forthcoming mobile crisis response team. While not yet in existence, the team will be responsible for responding to behavioral health crises and providing on-site treatment.

The team was a recommendation of the Police Practices Group, which identified about 100 ways policing could be reformed in Arlington, including some ways the county could remove police officers from its mental health crisis response.

The county earmarked $574,000 in the current budget to staff the team with a physician’s assistant, nurse and clinician, and to buy a transport van and operating supplies.

DHS spokesman Kurt Larrick says the vehicles will be purchased once the County Board officially accepts and allocates the federal funding, which will take a couple of months. The mobile crisis response team, meanwhile, is “not up and running yet,” he said.

“County residents do have access to Community Regional Crisis Response services, however, which is a mobile crisis response,” he said. “And our Emergency Services staff can and do go into the community when need arises and staffing allows.”

The county will receive $325,000 to fund repaving and repairs for a segment of the Bluemont Junction Trail and adjacent connector paths. A 2018 trails assessment determined the Bluemont Junction Trail needed significant investments, as the condition of the asphalt is deteriorating in many sections.

The section paid for by the federal government spans the intersection of N. George Mason Drive and Wilson Blvd to the intersection of the trail with the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.

This project is divided into two phases, according to the county. The first phase, completed late last year, updated the main trail and most of its connecting paths. The second phase will update three remaining trail connectors, which need to be realigned to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Phase two construction is expected to begin and end this spring and early summer.

Arlington budgeted $550,000 in its 2022-24 Capital Improvements Plan for the project.

The county will also receive $800,000 for the replacement of a pedestrian bridge in Glencarlyn Park. The bridge, lost during the July 2019 flash flooding, was recently installed. The project was part of the adopted 2021 Capital Improvements Plan.

Outside of Arlington, local earmarks in the bill will support storm sewer and climate resilience improvements in the City of Alexandria and Falls Church City and improve information technology services in Fairfax County. It will also support a pilot program for the deployment of body-worn cameras in the Alexandria Police Department and safety improvements to the GW Parkway.

0 Comments

A 50-year-old bridge over I-395 near Shirlington is slated for upgrades next year.

Locals can learn more about the planned bridge work next Tuesday evening during a virtual meeting hosted by VDOT, which is managing the project.

The bridge connects the southbound I-395 collector-distributor lanes and southbound Shirlington Road to N. Quaker Lane at the I-395 Exit 6 interchange.

First constructed in 1973, the bridge needs upgrades to improve safety for drivers and to extend its usable lifespan, says VDOT. Today, the bridge is crossed by about 7,400 vehicles daily.

The bridge over I-395 in Shirlington slated for repairs (via Google Maps) 

According to the project webpage, VDOT will:

  • Resurface the concrete bridge deck and closing deck joints
  • Repair concrete piers and abutments
  • Repair and repaint steel beams
  • Add protective concrete barriers adjacent to piers
  • Replace bearings
  • Upgrade guardrails adjacent to the bridge

The $4.3-million project will be financed with federal and state funding, including State of Good Repair funds used for bridges.

Next Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 7 p.m. VDOT staff will make a short presentation and then answer questions from the public for an hour. Project materials, which are not yet available, will be posted on the meeting webpage before the meeting starts, the department says.

Through Friday, March 25, VDOT will accept feedback via email and U.S. mail, addressed to Vicente Valeza, Jr., P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030.

0 Comments

The Ballston pedestrian bridge is shining blue and yellow tonight in support of Ukraine.

The two-year-old pedestrian bridge that stretches over Wilson Blvd, connecting with Ballston Quarter mall, will be running “blue and yellow lights 24/7 for the time being,” a county spokesperson tells ARLnow. It is a show of solidarity with the country that remains under attack by Russia.

Officials worked quickly with Arlington public arts staff to make this happen, after ARLnow was previously told that something of this nature was not in the works.

This comes as other neighboring localities, like D.C. and Alexandria, have enacted similar symbolic gestures in recent days.

On Monday night, the County Board issued a resolution condemning Russia’s “unprovoked attack” on Arlington’s sister city Ivano-Frankivsk in southwestern Ukraine.

“The Arlington County Board… stands in support and solidarity with the people of Ivano-Frankivsk and all of Ukraine in their defense of sovereignty and democracy,” said the resolution.

0 Comments
The new bridge in Glencarlyn Park (courtesy Dennis Dimick)

A pedestrian bridge in Glencarlyn Park that washed away during a severe flash flood nearly three years ago has been replaced.

On Monday, a contractor installed a new bridge over Four Mile Run in Glencarlyn Park (301 S. Harrison Street). The installation was completed before noon, Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish tells ARLnow.

The new bridge is in the same location as the old one, per the project webpage.

Location of the Glencarlyn Park pedestrian bridge (via Arlington County)

Although the new bridge is in place, pedestrians and cyclists can’t walk or bike over it just yet.

“Our contractor has final work to do that is weather dependent,” Kalish said. “The bridge should be open to the public by the end of March.”

https://twitter.com/WalkArlington/status/1493408479435968512

In July 2019, six pedestrian bridges in Arlington were washed away after torrential rain caused heavy flooding. The Glencarlyn bridge suffered some of the worst damage in the storm, along with two bridges at Lubber Run Park.

The parks department has funds to replace one bridge at Lubber Run, and selected the bridge at the park’s southern end, per a webpage for the project.

Plans for the replacement are in the design stage, and construction could begin late this summer and end next spring.

An illustration of the new Lubber Run Park pedestrian bridge (via Arlington County)
0 Comments

The Mount Vernon Avenue bridge is a vital link between Alexandria and Arlington, but it’s in rough shape and in desperate need of a refit.

This morning (Friday) Sen. Mark Warner and local leaders met with engineers to review the state of the Arlington Ridge Road/Mount Vernon Avenue bridge and advocate for it to get a significant boost from federal funding. Federal funding for bridge infrastructure is currently in the hands of state leaders who will allocate funding to bridge projects around the state.

Greg Emanuel, director of the Department of Environmental Services for Arlington County, led Warner and other leaders on a tour of the bridge and highlighted where the issues are. Beneath the Arlington side of the bridge, where the Four Mile Run trail runs, Emanuel said the superstructure will require replacement to the tune of around $28 million.

The nearby West Glebe Road Bridge is in a similar state of disrepair and Emanuel said Alexandria and Arlington are working together for bridge replacement over the course of this year and into 2023. Once that’s completed, Emanuel said Arlington and Alexandria will turn their attention to the Mount Vernon Avenue bridge in the 2024-2025 timeframe.

Emanuel said the current bridge is comprised of stacked slabs of concrete that are difficult to inspect without taking the bridge apart. While the piers and abutments holding up the bridge will remain, an inspection in 2018 found that parts of the roadway superstructure have deteriorated and need to be replaced with a steel bridge — which Emanuel noted will also be easier to inspect.

As part of a new infrastructure bill, Virginia is receiving $537 million for bridge repair. Of the bridge replacement’s $28 million estimated budget, up to 80% of that can be paid for from that federal funding that the state is currently divvying up.

“What we don’t want in Virginia is what happened in Pittsburgh a week ago,” said Warner. “Help is on its way for additional funding.”

Local leaders said more state and federal support for the bridge repair projects would be greatly appreciated.

“Bridges are about connecting communities,” said Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol. “We do have a plan to address [the bridge repair] but could use federal support. This project will make a big difference and improve connectivity between low-income communities.”

Alexandria City Council member John Chapman said he grew up around the area and saw little difference as a local between the Alexandria and Arlington sides of Four Mile Run. Chapman said residents on both side of Four Mile Run need to be able to move seamlessly from one side to the other.

“This is a great opportunity to show we caught something before it became a problem,” said City Council member Sarah Bagley. “Inspections are vital.”

Emanuel said localities are currently waiting for more announcements from the state on how the federal funding will be allocated, but Emanuel said the bridges that are in poor condition — which the Mount Vernon Avenue bridge qualifies as — will be first in line for funding.

Despite Gov. Glenn Youngkin getting a less-than-warm reception in Alexandria yesterday, Jennifer Deci, Youngkin’s Deputy Secretary of Transportation, was a welcome presence at the tour and said that state leadership was eager to work with federal and local partners to fund bridge projects and seek more infrastructure funding from the federal government.

Deci said the timeline for allocating the bridge funding is still being worked out, but will likely be sometime in the first half of this year.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Snowy bridge in Rock Spring Park (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

New Leadership for Local Dems — “The Arlington County Democratic Committee went with the more centrist option on Jan. 5, electing Steve Baker to a two-year term as party chair. Baker defeated Matt Royer in the balloting, held at the party’s biennial reorganization meeting. Baker promised to use his leadership post as ‘a collaboration and a partnership’ and ‘keep Arlington Democrats a big-tent party.'” [Sun Gazette]

W&OD Bridge Work Has Started — From BikeArlington: “Work on the @WODTrail bridge [near the caboose] was delayed but has begun today. Please follow detour signs onto the Four Mile Run Trail.” [Twitter]

Amazon Donates to Local Nonprofit — “Amazon.com Inc. donated $25,000 to Arlington nonprofit Boolean Girl to support the organization’s workshops that teach young students how to code and build electronics. Amazon’s gift from November boosts the Clubhouse educational program to meet weekly instead of monthly.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s Friday — Following the overnight snowfall, today will be sunny, with a high near 30. Northwest wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Sunrise at 7:29 a.m. and sunset at 5:02 p.m. Saturday will be sunny, with a high near 33. Sunday there’s chance of freezing rain and sleet before 9 a.m, then rain likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

0 Comments

Morning Notes

A December sunset along Columbia Pike, at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

First County Board Meeting of 2022 — “Arlington County Board members will hold their annual organizational meeting on Monday, Jan. 3 at 6 p.m… At the meeting, board members will elect a chair for the coming year (almost assuredly Katie Cristol) and will lay out their own personal priorities for the coming year. A number of procedural votes will be held, but the real business of governance will not take place until the board’s formal January meeting later in the month.” [Sun Gazette]

Bridge Project Near Fairlington Complete — “The rehabilitation of the King Street (Route 7) bridge over I-395 and pedestrian improvements along a half-mile of King Street are complete, Virginia Department of Transportation officials said on Dec. 22, improving pedestrian mobility and safety, giving drivers a smoother ride and extending the overall life of the bridge. The $13 million project was financed with federal and state funding.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Monday — A chance of rain and snow flurries before 9 a.m. today, then rain likely through the afternoon. Otherwise cloudy, with a high near 44. Sunrise at 7:26 a.m. and sunset at 4:53 p.m. Tomorrow there’s a chance of rain after 1 p.m., but otherwise it will be cloudy with a low of 41 and a high of 52. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list