Arlington, VA

The Virginia Hospital Center’s Carlin Springs Road location is closed for good and demolition is on the way.

The closure has been a long time coming, with Arlington County acquiring 601 S. Carlin Springs Road as part of a land swap with the hospital. VHC, in turn, received land from the county that it’s now using for the expansion of its main campus.

Jessica Baxter, spokeswoman for Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services, said the Carlin Springs center had been leased back to VHC, allowing it to wind down operations there through Dec. 31, 2019. A childcare center closed last summer and VHC’s urgent care clinic recently closed.

“As part of the approval to acquire the Edison property adjacent to the main hospital campus, the Carlin Springs campus was transitioned to Arlington County,” a hospital spokesperson said. “The service closed in December 2019 when our lease ended.”

The Carlin Springs site is now set to be used for county facilities — though the exact plans are yet to be determined.

“The County is currently developing plans to remove the building because it is incompatible with any County use,” Baxter said in an email. “No timing has been set — and is contingent on available funds. Any future uses of the site will involve a public process.”

The lights are off inside the building and a padlock was placed on what was once the front door. A sign on the door — and emails to urgent care patients — encouraged people to instead use VHC’s urgent care clinic that recently opened in Crystal City.

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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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A new Carlin Springs Road bridge over George Mason Drive has been built and county crews are now preparing for some finishing touches.

Construction started in 2017 and most of the work was completed earlier this year. To the consternation of nearby residents, the paving and restriping work has yet to start — the county told residents it was waiting for the right weather conditions — but that’s about to change.

“Remaining work items include installing new street lights for the bridge and the George Mason Drive interchange and landscaping,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet tells ARLnow. “Crews are scheduled to be on site next week to install the street light conduits.”

“Final paving and marking of the roadway is anticipated to take place by early July, barring any complications and weather permitting,” Balliet continued. “At that time, the permanent traffic pattern will be established and all cones and barrels will be removed.”

Numerous residents have emailed ARLnow with complaints about the project not yet being completed, even though it appears to be on-time based on an Oct. 2017 presentation. One explained that the current traffic pattern has resulted in delays for drivers.

“It’s the left turn on Carlin heading towards Ballston onto George Mason,” a local resident said via email. “It’s causing illegal u-turns so drivers can access George Mason northbound.”

Balliet said the lane striping, when it’s complete, will provide a turn lane for drivers heading from Carlin Springs to George Mason.

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Update at 3 p.m. — Power has been restored to Dominion customers in western Arlington, though more than 1,500 remain without power in the Bailey’s Crossroads area of Fairfax County.

Earlier: Thousands are without power in Arlington Monday afternoon, following a major outage in the western portion of the county.

The outage was first reported around 1 p.m., after a tree fell onto power lines near the intersection of Route 50 and Carlin Springs Road. All told, including an ongoing outage along N. Glebe Road, nearly 2,750 Dominion customers are without power in Arlington.

Traffic signals are reported to be dark along S. Carlin Springs Road, from Route 50 to Columbia Pike. Police are on scene, setting up cones and helping to direct traffic. The ramps from Route 50 to Carlin Springs have been closed.

Arlington Public Schools says Kenmore Middle School and Campbell Elementary are currently without power and unable to receive phone calls.

The large outage is also affecting parts of neighboring Alexandria and Fairfax County. As of 1:15 p.m., Dominion was reporting about 1,000 outages in Alexandria and more than 8,000 outages in Fairfax.

Numerous trees are down around the area as a result of today’s widespread wind storm.

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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

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After a man was struck by a car in the middle of a Bluemont intersection, some of his neighbors see new urgency for their years-long effort to force the county to improve conditions for pedestrians in the area.

County police say Eric Larsen was crossing N. Carlin Springs Road near its intersection with N. Edison Street early in the morning last Monday (July 16), when a car slammed into him. Larsen was taken to George Washington University hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and neighbors say he’s still recovering from some broken bones caused by the crash.

Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage says “charges are pending” against the driver, but people living in the area see the intersection’s design deficiencies as the real cause of the crash.

Lora Strine, who lives in the Arlington Forest neighborhood nearby, says her citizens’ association has pressed the county for changes in the area going back to at least 2016. She points out that Carlin Springs is a popular option for walkers looking to reach the Ballston Metro, as Larsen was at the time of the accident, or even the Safeway near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. George Mason Drive.

Yet Strine says the area lacks clearly marked crosswalks or traffic calming measures to slow drivers, particularly on such a wide road, and she can’t understand why it’s taken the county so long to address the issue.

“This accident is not really an accident,” Strine told ARLnow. “It’s really been years in the making.”

Arlington officials point out that they’re hardly ignoring the area, however.

County transportation spokesman Eric Balliet says workers plan to install a flashing sign that can be activated by pedestrians crossing Carlin Springs near the road’s intersection with N. Harrison Street, just a few blocks from the Larsen crash. That signal should be in place as soon as next month.

Balliet added that the county is also planning some curb extensions and crosswalk improvements all along Carlin Springs, leading up to Edison Street, with work set to start in the spring of 2019 and wrap up the following year.

But Strine feels that’s far too long for the neighborhood to wait, and managed to secure a meeting with county staff and County Board member John Vihstadt to make that argument.

Vihstadt says “the jury is still out” in terms of how, exactly, the Board might be able to speed up the construction, though he certainly agrees with Strine’s assessment of the intersection. He’s spent the last year or so working with Arlington Forest residents on the issue, and he sees a need for the county to act quickly, as development in Ballston continues to ramp up and bring people to the area.

“That’s an awful long time to wait for these measures,” Vihstadt said. said. “I don’t find that  acceptable at all.”

At the very least, Vihstadt hopes to see the county beef up the webpage displaying details about the road improvements to keep neighbors better informed.

But even if Vihstadt can successfully convince officials to speed up construction, Strine worries that the work won’t actually slow cars speeding along Carlin Springs. She’d much rather see an additional stop light in the area, or even a stop sign, to bring speeds down.

“They’re wasting time and money by making changes that we know aren’t going to work,” Strine said. “These are just incremental changes: another Band-Aid, as one of my neighbors said.”

While county officials are confident that their planned changes will indeed slow passing cars, Vihstadt agreed that he wants to see the county do more to take into account “context-specific considerations” raised by neighbors about local road projects.

Overall, he lamented that this latest community clash is indicative of a pattern he’s seen all around Arlington in recent years, and provides a clear example of how the county still struggles to balance traffic congestion and pedestrian safety.

“While we like to say that our public policies like ‘the car-free diet‘ are having a positive impact on Arlington traffic, and I think they are, a lot of neighborhoods don’t yet feel that way,” Vihstadt said.

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Morning Notes

Flash Flooding Hits Arlington — Yesterday’s rain closed a series of roads around the county. First responders had to pull 40 people from 25 stranded vehicles on the G.W. Parkway, which was closed for several hours due to standing water. [Twitter]

How to Beat the I-66 Tolls Inside the Beltway — A new study suggests the best way to save some cash on I-66 is to leave home early, particularly before 6:30 a.m. [WTOP]

Zoning Problems Bedevil Carlin Springs Daycare — The Bright Horizons Child Care and Education Center, located on the county-owned Carlin Springs Road property, could be bound for demolition, even though the county doesn’t have enough money to pursue long-term plans at the site. [Arlington Connection]

Tree Activists Blast the County Board — Local conservationists took the Board to task on a variety of tree canopy issues Saturday, including the fate of the large dawn redwood tree set to be cut down in Williamsburg. However, Board members lamented there’s not much they can do to meet the activists’ demands. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo via Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

Chamber Calls for Pause on Housing Conservation District — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is calling for the Arlington County Board to pump the brakes on a proposed Housing Conservation District policy, set for a vote at tomorrow’s Board meeting. The Chamber says the policy would affect more than 450 privately-owned properties. “The County’s failure to provide any notice to property owners that would be affected by the Framework is inconsistent with Arlington’s established government process and the level of transparency the community has come to depend on,” said Chamber President Kate Bates. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

Carlin Springs Bridge Work to ResumeDemolition of the Carlin Springs Road Bridge over George Mason Drive was curtailed by winter weather last weekend, but is set to resume this weekend. Drivers should expect a number of detours in the area. [Twitter]

Fisette Tribute Packs Local Church — “A Dec. 13 tribute to departing Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette was about 90 percent heartfelt thanks for his 20 years of service in elected office. And about 10 percent celebrity roast.” The event was so well-attended that the parking lot of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington was filled to capacity by those whom Fisette has not yet convinced to take the Car-Free Diet. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Gossip: Britt McHenry Back on Local Airwaves? — A noted local Twitter user who goes by the name “Clarendon Bros” shared some local TV gossip last night, claiming that Britt McHenry was seen auditioning for a job at Fox 5. McHenry at one point lived in Arlington — it is unclear if she still does — and had a well-publicized run-in with local towing company Advanced Towing. [Twitter]

Fox Leaves Crystal City BID — “After more than a decade running the Crystal City Business Improvement District, Angela Fox is stepping down. The BID’s board of directors announced Fox’s departure Thursday, but has not named a permanent replacement.” [Bisnow]

Local Homebuilder Getting Bigger — “Arlington-based homebuilder CalAtlantic Homes is purchasing Home South Communities, a privately held homebuilder based in the Atlanta area. CalAtlantic itself is in the midst of a $9.3 billion merger with Miami’s Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), expected to close early next year.” [Washington Business Journal]

Realtor Group Extends Clothing and Food Drive — “Despite the weather, the first community wide drop off for the Arlington Realtors Care (ARC) initiative, held on Saturday, Dec. 9 was a great success. ARC is sponsoring a second community wide drop off date scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16 at RGS Title.” [Press Release]

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The Carlin Springs Road Bridge will close on Friday for partial demolition as part of its planned replacement.

The bridge will be closed to all traffic from 7 p.m. on Friday, December 8 through 5 a.m. Monday, December 11 for demolition. The closure will also affect the section of N. George Mason Drive underneath.

Roadway ramps and sidewalks connecting N. George Mason Drive and N. Carlin Springs Road will stay open during demolition, but traffic will be temporarily detoured via adjacent streets during the weekend closure. Signs will be in place to assist drivers and pedestrians.

Staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services are encouraging motorists to use alternative routes, such as N. Glebe Road, Arlington Blvd and Wilson Blvd during the closure. Properties adjacent to the work site will still be accessible.

Detours will be as follows, per DES:

Detour for northbound traffic on N. George Mason Drive:

  • Turn right at N. Park Drive
  • Turn left at N. Carlin Springs Road
  • Turn right onto ramp to N. George Mason Drive (northbound direction)

Detour for southbound traffic on N. George Mason Drive:

  • Turn right at 6th Street N.
  • Turn left at N. Edison Street
  • Turn left at N. Carlin Springs Road
  • Turn right onto ramp to N. George Mason Drive (southbound direction)

Detour for westbound traffic on N. Carlin Springs Road:

  • Turn right onto ramp to N. George Mason Drive (northbound direction)
  • Turn right onto N. Buchanan Street
  • Turn left onto 7th Street N.
  • Turn left onto N. George Mason Drive (southbound direction)
  • Turn right onto ramp to N. Carlin Springs Road (westbound direction)

Detour for eastbound traffic on N. Carlin Springs Road:

  • Turn right onto ramp to N. George Mason Drive (southbound direction)
  • Turn left onto N. Park Drive
  • Turn right onto N. Carlin Springs Road (eastbound direction)

When the bridge reopens on December 11, the rest of the bridge will be limited to one travel lane in each direction and a single sidewalk until the project is completed.

Completion of the project, which will add wider sidewalks, bike lanes, four travel lanes and other features, is scheduled for fall 2019.

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Morning Notes

Sycamore Street, Carlin Springs Projects Approved — At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved a pair of major road projects. One, intended to improve pedestrian safety along N. Sycamore Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood, “will reduce travel lanes from four lanes to two lanes by adding raised medians planted with trees and grass,” at a cost of $1.4 million. The other will replace the Carlin Springs Road Bridge over North George Mason Drive at a cost of $7 million. [Arlington County, Arlington County]

Fox 5 Zip Trip Comes to Arlington — Fox 5 brought its “Zip Trip” morning news segment to Pentagon Row in Arlington on Friday, highlighting a variety of local organizations, businesses and leaders. Among those making an appearance on live local TV: Bayou Bakery, Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, District Taco, Lebanese Taverna, the Arlington County Fire Department and County Board member Katie Cristol. [Fox 5, Twitter, Twitter]

Park Improvements Approved — The Arlington County Board has approved a $2.1 million series of improvements to Stratford Park — including new, lighted tennis and basketball courts — and the replacement of the artificial turf at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. The turf replacement is expected to cost just under a half-million dollars. [Arlington County]

County Can’t Halt Development — Despite the desires of some anti-development advocates, Arlington County does not have the legal authority to impose a moratorium on development, County Board members and the County Attorney told a speaker at Saturday’s Board meeting. [InsideNova]

Forest Inn Makes Dive Bar List — The Forest Inn in Westover has made the Washington Post’s list of the “best true dive bars in the D.C. area.” The Post’s Tim Carman and Fritz Hahn recommend ordering “a cold Budweiser, which was, for years, the only beer on tap.” [Washington Post]

Monday Properties Refinances 1812 N. Moore Street — Monday Properties has obtained fresh financing for its 1812 N. Moore Street tower in Rosslyn, which was once on uncertain financial ground as it sought its first tenant but is now set to be the U.S. headquarters of food giant Nestle. A portion of the new financing will be “used for tenant improvements and building upgrades featuring an expanded fitness center and new 12,000-square-foot conference facility on the building’s 24th floor.” [Washington Business Journal]

Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Map Updated — The County Board has voted 5-0 to update its Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area map. “The more accurate map will help Arlington protect environmentally sensitive lands near streams and ensure that the County can comply with local and State regulations,” and “will allow the County to review development projects fairly and provide accurate information to residents and other stakeholders,” according to a press release. [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

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Replacement of the Carlin Springs Road bridge will be up for discussion at the Arlington County Board’s meeting Saturday.

The Board will consider a construction project that would remove the 65-foot-wide bridge and replace it with a 69-foot-wide structure. The bridge takes N. Carlin Springs Road over N. George Mason Drive near Barrett Elementary School and Lubber Run Park on the border of the Arlington Forest and Bluemont neighborhoods.

In a report on the project, county staff said that while still structurally sound, the bridge was built in 1961 and is the most deteriorated county-owned bridge.

The Rustler Construction company submitted the winning bid on the project, which would combine the bridge replacement with a new sewer line along N. Carlin Springs Road between N. Abingdon Street and N. George Mason Drive. The bridge will also receive the following additions:

  • Wider sidewalks
  • Bike lanes
  • Four vehicular travel lanes
  • A facade arch and decorative railing
  • Enhanced lighting on and under the bridge
  • The street name on the bridge facade

Staff estimates the entire project will cost just over $5.8 million, with another $1.1 million set aside in contingency funds. The project for the bridge will be funded from the county’s capital improvement program, as well as with bonds, grant funding and money from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

Additional bonds from the project to revamp the Shirlington Road Bridge will be used to make up a funding gap of $775,000, as that is progressing slower than expected, according to the staff report.

The sewer project will also be funded from the capital improvement program, and from funds carried over from another project in the Sanitary Sewer System improvement program that has been put on hold several times.

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