Arlington, VA

Arlington County has made progress in repairing infrastructure damaged in the July 8 flash flood emergency.

Last week Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services reopened a portion of the Four Mile Run Trail that runs under Wilson Blvd. The underpass was partially washed out by the force of the raging flood waters.

Crews “completed the work to repair the bike trail underpass by replacing the curb that was undermined by the stream and placing new concrete slab on the sidewalk surface,” DES spokeswoman Jessica Baxter tells ARLnow. “We also painted the curb on the outer perimeter towards the stream. Overall, it took about two weeks to complete.”

Arlington reported around $6 million in damage to county infrastructure from the flooding. Baxter said DES has completely most of its repairs, though some work remains to be done.

“In terms of repairs, we have substantially completed our tasks — we have minor items to address, such as catch basin repairs,” she said.

A number of footbridges were swept away by floodwaters. At least one, near 38th Street N. in the Old Glebe neighborhood, was recently replaced. Arlington’s parks department is currently evaluating the replacement of others.

“As of Oct. 2, County contractors have removed bridges that were destroyed by the storm, including the bridges at 38th St. N. and N. Chesterfield Street, Bon Air, Glencarlyn and Gulf Branch. Lubber Run will follow,” parks spokeswoman Susan Kalish said. “All bridges and fords damaged in the storm are being assessed for safety and next steps.”

Photo (1) courtesy Dennis Dimick, (3) courtesy @btj/Twitter

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Completion of the Ballston Quarter pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd could be delayed by another three months.

The Arlington County Board is set to discuss extending the completion deadline of the under-construction bridge from September 1 to December 1 at its meeting tomorrow (Saturday). The delay is at the request of the mall’s owner, which is building the bridge as a condition of Ballston Quarter’s recent renovations.

The company cited “difficulties associated with the complexity, constructibility issues of the design, field modifications, and the current status of construction” as reasons for the extension, according to as staff report to the Board.

This will be the second time the bridge project has been delayed. Originally, the walkway was scheduled to open last fall so it would be ready for the first shops to open at Ballston Quarter. Then the deadline was pushed to September of this year.

A spokeswoman for mall operator Brookfield Properties told ARLnow they are “on track for a November opening” for the bridge, pointing interested locals to a blog with periodic bridge construction updates.

It’s been more than two years since the original Wilson Blvd bridge was torn down. Once the new walkway is completed, it will link the mall to the Ballston Metro station.

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Morning Notes

‘Mabel’s Restaurant’ Coming to Arlington Heights — The restaurant coming to the grounds of the Dominion Apartments, at the former Sherwin Williams paint store (3411 5th Street S.), is called “Mabel’s Restaurant.” An outdoor seating area is planned for the restaurant, according to permit filings. [Arlington Economic Development]

Northam Visits Amazon — “In June, we were excited to open our first temporary office space for our Arlington headquarters in Crystal City. Today, we welcomed @GovernorVA to tour our new work space and meet with Amazonians from the Commonwealth.” [Twitter]

Crystal City Conducting Survey — “The area encompassing Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard – Arlington is a dynamic mixed-use urban center and Virginia’s largest walkable downtown… we are embarking on a place branding effort to uncover our neighborhood story and create a striking visual identity.” [Crystal City BID]

History of Heidelberg Bakery — “Heidelberg Bakery is a local landmark in Arlington… In this oral history clip, Carla and Wolfgang Buchler, owners of the Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe, discuss the lack of diversity in breads that Wolfgang found in America when he first came to the U.S. in the 1970’s–and how tastes have changed, partly due to Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe’s delicious treats.” [Arlington Public Library]

Glebe Road Bridge Project — “The Virginia Department of Transportation on Tuesday, Aug. 13 will hold a community forum on its plans to rehabilitate the Route 120 (North Glebe Road) bridge over Pimmit Run to improve safety and extend the bridge’s overall lifespan. The event will be held on from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Williamsburg Middle School, 3600 North Harrison St. in Arlington.” [InsideNova]

‘Drunkard’ Ruling Won’t Be Appealed — “Virginia’s attorney general on Friday said he will not appeal a ruling that struck down a state law allowing police to arrest and jail people designated as ‘habitual drunkards.'” [Associated Press]

Oil in Sink Causes ‘Fatbergs’ — “If you pour used cooking grease down the kitchen sink, you’re not alone — according to a new survey, 44 percent of respondents in the D.C. region pour cooking oil, fat, or grease down the sink at least occasionally. In doing so — rather than dumping it in the trash–you may be contributing to the creation of something truly horrifying — a fatberg.” [DCist]

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Arlington County has officially finished replacing the old Carlin Springs Road bridge near Ballston.

Most of the construction on the new bridge over N. George Mason Drive had wrapped up last month, with crews working on paving and re-striping by mid-June. The Department of Environmental Services celebrated the project’s completion in a tweet Tuesday, writing that the project was “ahead of schedule and under budget.”

On the project’s website, officials noted that crews were finishing installing new street lights on the bridge, as well as improving some landscaping along George Mason Drive.

Previously, neighbors had written to ARLnow to complain of the delays caused by the construction and, in particular, drivers illegally u-turning on Carlin Springs to get to George Mason. DES spokesman Eric Balliet said at the time the department as working on adding a turn lane to fix the problem.

On Tuesday, the department thanked people for their patience noting that “any inconveniences during the work are now water under the bridge.”

Demolition of the old bridge started two years ago, after the County Board approved plans dating back to 2011, which aimed to replace the “deteriorated” structure with a new bridge featuring bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and better street lights, among other improvements.

Image via Arlington County

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Construction on the Washington Blvd (Route 27) bridge near the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery is now complete.

The newly reconstructed bridge was renamed Arlington Veterans Bridge in honor of the county’s veterans; it maintains the original design spanning over Route 110, recently renamed as Richmond Highway.

Arlington County shared a video this week spotlighting the completion of the bridge this past May. The span was originally built in the 1940s.

“The substructure includes granite, which is not a very common material that we use in our bridges these days,” said VDOT Project Development Engineer Nicholas Roper, who is also a retired Army colonel.

Roper explained that crews were able to widen the bridge and add granite cladding to the structure, adding that, “three of the original piers from the 1940s still remain.”

As part of the reconstruction, VDOT added a sidewalk on one side of the bridge and a 14-foot wide path, which opened in 2017, on the other side for pedestrians and cyclists.

“It’s a place where daily residents of Arlington County and thousands of individuals… traverse the bridge,” said retired Army Col. Joseph A. Simonelli Jr., who chairs the county’s Military and Veterans and Committee, which recommended the name.

“It honors the 13,000 current Arlington veterans,” said Simonelli. “And the millions of veterans in our nation. And as a veteran, it makes me proud.”

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VDOT has officially kicked off construction on the new Washington & Old Dominion Trail bridge over Lee Highway.

A new county video, above, shows renderings of the white bridge with decorative safety walls over the highway. The bridge is expected to accommodate the approximately 2,000 daily trail users.

The construction is part of the project to widen I-66 eastbound between Exits 67 and 71, which began last year. As part of the construction, some disruptions are expected for trail users and drivers in the area.

Per Arlington County:

Bicyclists and pedestrians should expect a temporary trail realignment and detours during construction. The first trail detour has closed the W&OD Trail between Little Falls Street and Lee Highway (near mile marker 5.5) and for a short portion on the east side of Lee Highway. In addition, Fairfax Drive will be closed to traffic, Lee Highway will have short traffic stoppages at night, and there may be lane closures on side streets.

“Once the project is complete, cyclists and pedestrians can expect a much-improved experience on this portion of the W&OD Trail,” the county said in a press release.

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The S. Clark Street bridge over 18th Street S. in Crystal City is set to be torn down this month, prompting some detours.

Knocking down the bridge is “tentatively set for late May,” the county wrote in a press release, noting that the exact date could be three to four weeks from today.

The county is warning drivers the demolition will cause detours, namely:

This work will require a series of alternating eastbound and westbound closures on 18th Street between South Eads and South Bell Streets. The detours are expected to last for 2-3 weeks.

Drivers will be encouraged to use 15th and 20th Streets South as alternate routes. Additional details for the detours will be shared soon, as plans for the bridge removal are finalized.

The demolition is part of a $6 million project to tear down the elevated section of S. Clark Street and build a “new open space” with streetscaping that’s friendlier to development. It’s happening in an area next to the Crystal City Metro station that’s likely to increasingly become a hotspot with Amazon’s arrival.

“To make way for new building sites and an improved surface street network, the Crystal City Sector Plan and accompanying Multimodal Transportation Study called for its demolition,” wrote the Crystal City Business Improvement District on its website.

Demolition started last summer and as of the beginning of 2019 crews had already demolished the S. Clark Street overpass over 15th Street S.

Officials have said they hope to complete the project by this summer.

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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.

For the second straight week, workers plan to close Wilson Blvd between N. Randolph and N. Stuart streets starting at 8 p.m tonight through Sunday at 6 p.m.

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

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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.

VDOT just finalized plans for the bridge this past fall, following a bit of controversy over its design, and hopes to start work on it sometime this spring.

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.

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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.

Photo 1 via @btj, photo 4 via @ArlingtonDES

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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

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