As work continues on a new Arlington Transit bus facility in Green Valley, Arlington is taking steps to make it work for electric buses.
Electrifying buses is part of the county’s goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. To reach that goal, it needs to buy battery-powered electric buses and have a place to charge them.
Construction is currently set to wrap up next fall on a new ART Operations and Maintenance Facility at 2629 Shirlington Road and the county aims to have electric buses on-site by 2025. Meanwhile, Arlington is testing out different buses to see which to add to its fleet, piloting buses from two providers last year and possibly testing some from up to two more manufacturers.
With work progressing on both these fronts in tandem, plans for the facility moved forward with partially baked designs for charging infrastructure. This has set the county up to need to amend its design and construction contracts associated with the $96.6 million project as it learns more about what it needs to build.
This weekend, the Arlington County Board is set to tack on almost $585,000 to an existing $4.5 million design contract with Stantec Architecture to fully flesh plans to add up to 46 charging stalls that can accommodate up to 63 buses.
“As [Battery Electric Bus] concept plans were developed, the County proceeded with the 60% design for BEB charging infrastructure,” Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Alyson Jordan Tomaszewski said. “The design scope expanded as the 60% design progressed and as more details about the County BEB requirements were identified.”
Once these designs are 100% complete, the county will update its construction contract with Turner Construction, authorizing it to purchase and install the charging equipment needed for the initial BEB pilot program, per a county report.
“The 100% design will provide capacity to add additional charging cabinets and equipment when additional BEBs are purchased,” it says.
Right now, something of a placeholder contract says the contractor has up to nearly $11.9 million to spend on above-grade charging equipment.
“This includes the necessary switchgear, transformers, chargers, and associated equipment to charge an initial increment of electric buses,” per a 2022 report. “It also includes canopies and solar panel over the canopies.”
That sum is on top of the $66.4 million contract to build the facility and below-grade charging infrastructure. These plans were approved with the expectation that the county would be buying electric buses sometime this spring.
While operating electric buses from the facility seems to have long been the plan, some neighbors had advocated for more fully baked plans for charging capabilities when the project was being developed.
Instead, designs stayed vague “to accommodate future fleet electrification” but be flexible enough to incorporate future technology, per a 2021 community presentation.
Construction on the facility continues apace and the county is still targeting a fall 2024 completion, Tomaszewski said.
“The erection of the steel structure on the Operations and Maintenance building was completed on March 17,” per the website. “In the next few weeks, crews will work on completing detailing of the steel, placing the metal deck, and completing the roof screening wall.”
Construction started last year, with a groundbreaking in June.
Buses are temporarily being stored on a property across the street from Washington-Liberty HIgh School, near a collection of homes. The county and some residents are embroiled in a lawsuit about whether the operations have impacted their quality of life.
A sewer repair company put a price on dealing with federal and state agency permitting processes and working on high-traffic roadways.
That price tag is just over $2.6 million.
Arlington County is poised to pay that extra sum, conceding that the location of the project in question presents “unique challenges.”
To repair an “essential part” of the county’s sanitary sewer system — dubbed the Spout Run Deep Sewer Line — the selected contractor, AM-Liner East, will have to navigate distinct permitting processes and regulations for the National Park Service and the Virginia Dept. of Transportation.
This pipe carries “a significant amount of flow” from federally protected land, and along Langston Blvd and I-66, with the pipe reaching depths up to 115 feet below ground, according to the county.
After getting permission from NPS to work on protected parkland, the contractor will seek state permission once it hits I-66. It will be working on a narrow median and shoulder of I-66 and multiple travel lanes in both directions on Langston Blvd.
“It is believed that the bidders perceived significantly more risk in these bid items, which County staff consider fair given the unique challenges of this project area,” per the report.
For these reasons, AM-Liner East — the lowest responsible bidder — still exceeded expected project costs of $5.3 million. The Arlington County Board is scheduled to approve a $7.9 million contract, plus a $1.2 million contingency “for change orders or increased quantities,” at its upcoming Saturday meeting.
The proposed project generated what the county described as significant interest from nine contractors specializing in trenchless sewer rehabilitation. Only two bid on the project, however — a testament to its perceived challenges.
“For the work on federal lands and in VDOT right-of-way, the contractor will have to comply with restrictive NPS and VDOT permit requirements, respectively, and perform all restoration as per each agency’s specifications, which differ greatly from each other and from the County’s specifications,” the report said.
Arlington County says it identified this 86-year-old sewer line for repair in 2019 after a video inspection “revealed corrosion of the concrete pipe, indicated by exposed aggregate, exposed reinforcing steel, infiltration at the pipe joints, and small cracks.”
The project is part of the county’s program to rehabilitate critical large sewers, which are part of Arlington’s 465-mile sanitary sewage system. This project will start at Spout Run, north of the N. Courthouse Road cul-de-sac and end at N. Nash Street.
“This intricate network exists to make sure that the wastewater that gets flushed every day from homes and businesses makes its way to the Water Pollution Control Plant where it’s properly cleaned and treated before being recycled back into the environment,” the project webpage says.
For this project, AM-Liner East will use a trenchless technology known as cured-in-place pipe lining, which is seen as a relatively quick way to fix pipes with little or no digging involved.
A flexible liner is inserted into the pipe, inflated and exposed to heat or ultraviolet light to harden it and create a new, smooth surface inside.
To ensure this is done without disrupting existing flow, the contractor will install a temporary bypass. The bypass will be above-ground through residential grass areas along N. Uhle St, the Custis Trail and one lane of Langston Blvd. It will go underground near street crossings, such as at N. Scott, N. Quinn and N. Nash streets.
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
A relatively new app that helps startups navigate the labyrinthine government contracting process, collaborate with each other and land contracts has recently nabbed its third state funding round.
The goal of the app, called FedScout, is to improve the outcomes for companies that set out to work for the government. Of the 120,000 companies that register to sell to the government each year, about 60% drop out after the first year because of how difficult the process is, according to the app’s founder, Geoff Orazem.
Orazem founded the Eastern Foundry — a coworking incubator for government contractors that has since gone out of business.
“Ever since I left the Marine Corps and McKinsey & Company, this is what I’ve been trying to do: Make the federal government work with startups more effectively,” he tells ARLnow. “This is just the new chapter toward that goal.”
Orazem founded Eastern Foundry in Crystal City in 2014, later expanding to Rosslyn, adding space to its Crystal City location in 2017 and expanding to North Carolina in 2019. While these coworking spaces fostered collaboration between tenants of each space, he said Eastern Foundry just couldn’t encourage “cross-pollination” from Crystal City to Rosslyn for which he had hoped.
“It turns out, even though [Rosslyn and Crystal City] are only 15 minutes apart, people are busy and it’s hard to convince people to drive, find parking and then pick up kids from soccer,” he said, adding that fostering collaboration between Virginia and North Carolina was an even taller task.
Then came the one-two punch of the rise and fall of WeWork — which, supported by large foreign investors, was able to pump out offices while hemorrhaging money — and the remote work shift caused by Covid. But by 2021, Eastern Foundry closed a checking account that contained $0 and court records indicated the coworking company had no cash and neither owned or leased any commercial property, according to the Washington Business Journal, which reported the company’s bankruptcy filings in 2022.
“WeWork distorted a market. The wake off their bow put a hole in us and then we went straight into Covid. I don’t think there’s a world where we could stay open. We were one of many operators that went under,” he said. “[That] was eight years of my pride, love and personal money. Eastern Foundry’s demise was a huge loss.”
His saving grace was a separate company he founded in 2016, called Federal Foundry.
A contract that’s part of a $1.9 million project to renovate “the courtroom of the future” is set to go before the Arlington County Board.
The Board plans to vote on Saturday (July 16) on an $890,000 construction contract to upgrade Arlington General District Court Courtroom 10B with technology updates and layout improvements. If approved, the contract will go to Michigan-based construction company Sorensen Gross.
Arlington courtrooms haven’t had a major renovation since 1994, according to a report to the County Board.
“Significant technology development has introduced new forms of evidence, including recordings from police body-worn cameras and smartphone cameras,” the report says. “Additional courtroom technology is needed to show this evidence to only the required participants. This technology prototype will address these issues and provide a more flexible setting for future expansion/modification to the system.”
The construction project is set to include renovations such as raising the floor to make routing cables easier, new video monitors and sound systems that coordinate microphones and integrate translation capabilities. By adding a new “technology backbone,” the county aims to give “more direct control of multimedia presentations,” according to the report.
The spectator area, jury box and witness stand are also set for changes, according to a Q&A document with prospective vendors. The changes will comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and improve the layout for judges, witnesses and clerks, according to the report.
The total budget for the project is around $1.9 million, which was included in the county’s adopted fiscal year 2022-2024 Capital Improvement Plan. In addition to the construction contract, the total cost reflects around $370,000 in design and administrative costs and $250,000 in contingency costs.
Construction is currently expected to start in early August and should be mostly complete by July of next year, according to the Q&A document.
Photo via Google Maps
Arlington County is negotiating a contract with a new medical care provider for the county jail — its most recent move in the wake of a series of inmate deaths.
The decision, announced yesterday (Monday), comes the same month that a man, who appears to be connected to the current provider, appeared in Arlington County General District Court on charges related to the police investigation into the in-custody death of Darryl Becton last year.
Also this month, a man named Clyde Spencer became the sixth reported in-custody death in six years.
The effort to find a new medical provider will cut short Arlington’s contract with Corizon Correctional Health, which was renewed last year through 2025. Corizon will continue to provide services until the new provider is slated to take over, on Monday, Nov. 15. Because the negotiations are ongoing, the Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail, couldn’t reveal the name of the proposed new provider.
The county says it made the decision “after careful consideration” to ensure the medical safety of inmates.
“The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing the highest level of medical services to those in our custody and I take each individuals care very seriously,” Sheriff Beth Arthur said in a statement. “How we care for those remanded to our custody is a priority. We are committed to having a vendor that provides the level of medical service that reflects the high expectations of not only myself, but the Arlington community.”
Corizon was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment.
Corizon has been sued multiple times across the nation for inmate deaths allegedly connected to inadequate care. In Arlington, it appears that local officials are investigating whether the way Becton was cared for in jail played a role in his death. The state medical examiner’s office ruled his cause of death to be hypertensive cardiovascular disease — caused by sustained high blood pressure — complicated by opiate withdrawal.
Nearly one year after Becton’s death, the Commonwealth’s Attorney issued an arrest warrant for a man who was charged with falsifying a patient record, a misdemeanor.
Although the office couldn’t add further details about the man at the time, a D.C. resident by the same name lists his occupation as a licensed practical nurse and his employer as Corizon Health, according to a LinkedIn profile.
And if the man who was charged is indeed employed by Corizon, his case is the second in which a Corizon correctional nurse has been charged with a crime involving an inmate in Arlington.
Another nurse was charged in 2014 with misdemeanor sexual battery and found guilty in Arlington General District Court. In an appeal to the Circuit Court, the inmate and the nurse reached a deal that allowed the nurse to avoid a jail time, according to Maj. Susie Doyel, the then-spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.
The Arlington branch of the NAACP, which called for an independent investigation into Becton’s death last year, issued a statement after the news of the new medical provider was released.
“Although the Sheriff’s Office is seeking a new medical contractor, the issue remains that there have been six in-custody deaths in six years, as reported by the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office,” President Julius “J.D.” Spain, Sr. said. “The Arlington Branch NAACP’s position remains firm in seeking justice for those who have died while in the custody of the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.”
“Ultimately, the Arlington County Sheriff, the Command Staff, and Sheriff’s Office personnel are responsible for the health, care, and safety of the individuals in their custody,” Spain’s statement continued. “The Arlington Branch NAACP will continue to seek justice to find all who are responsible, complicit, and or negligent in the deaths of those in-custody and hold them accountable.”
County Board to Consider Bridge Pact — “The Arlington and Alexandria governments are planning to formalize their long-shared responsibilities for maintenance of five bridges that span Four Mile Run between the two communities. The new agreement sets out the share of funding for future short-term and long-term rehabilitation of the five bridges – at West Glebe Road, Arlington Ridge Road, Shirlington Road, Route 1 and Potomac Avenue – as well as maintenance costs.” [InsideNova]
Meal Donation to Hospital — Per a spokeswoman: “At 12:45 p.m., roughly 1,500 meals from local restaurants will be delivered to Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington as part of a 9/11 Day and World Central Kitchen initiative to support first responders and frontline healthcare workers on the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The local restaurants participating in the delivery to Virginia Hospital Center are Arepa Zone, La Ceiba and Bistro Bis.”
Board to Vote on ART Facility Contract — “The Arlington County government is moving forward with planning for reconstruction of its Arlington Transit (ART) operations and maintenance facility, located on Shirlington Road in the Four Mile Run/Green Valley area. County Board members have been asked to approve a contract of roughly $3.9 million for planning, design and construction-administration services for the $81 million project. Stantec Architecture is receiving the contract.” [InsideNova]
Local Bars Welcome NFL Season — “‘We’re delighted to have live sports back,’ said Dave Cahill, general manager of Ireland’s Four Courts in Arlington, Virginia. ‘We’re fortunate here at the Four Courts; we have three different rooms, and we have a large outdoor area. So we have 18 televisions inside and three TVs outside. Having three rooms, it’s going to allow us to spread people out all over the rooms, 6 feet apart and still enjoy the football,’ he said.” [WTOP]
GOP Senate Candidate Addresses Civ Fed — “His longshot candidacy notwithstanding, Daniel Gade received a polite reception from delegates to the Arlington County Civic Federation. ‘I’m the sort of person who will always tell you the truth,’ the Republican U.S. Senate nominee said at the Sept. 8 event. His opponent, incumbent Democrat Mark Warner, was invited but did not attend the forum, convened online due to the public-health pandemic.” [InsideNova]
County Encourages Local Hotel Bookings — “For most of us with out-of-town family and friends, it’s been far too long since we’ve been able to get together. And with safety being everyone’s top priority, you may not be comfortable yet hosting guests in your Arlington house, condo or apartment. With plenty of space, great fall deals and packages, and an array of enhanced health and safety programs, Arlington’s 44 hotels can offer the ‘spare bedroom’ for your visitors this fall.” [Arlington County]
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
(Updated 3 p.m.) Fend — a Ballston-based startup that adds a physical component to the data transfer process to reduce hack-ability — has won a key Department of Defense contract.
The company’s technology transmits information from a data-collecting source, like a piece of industrial equipment, in a unidirectional beam into the second piece of equipment that links with the cloud network. The physical barrier reduces the possibility of hacking through a network.
The startup won a $1.6 million contract to install devices at an Army Corps of Engineers facility starting in June as part of the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program.
According to the Department of Defense project description:
On-board processors enable Fend’s hardware to communicate with protected equipment using common protocols and transmit this information to an on-site network or cloud service. Fend’s [technology] would serve the unmet needs of critical infrastructure managers across [the Department of Defense] by quickly enabling secure access to equipment data.
Dunn said part of the new contract will be putting the project through the wringer to see if it can survive in the field.
“We tested program out in the field and it worked for extended periods of time,” said Colin Dunn, Fend’s founder. “Probably looking at several dozen [pieces]. We need other rigorous scientific tests to make sure the data going into the device is the data going out. There’s also performance tests and environmental tests — seeing if it works in hot and in cold.”
Dunn said the project has evolved some since the initial design, like streamlining the number of ports on the box and figuring out ways to make the product more cost effective and rugged.
“This opens up a lot of doors,” said Dunn, “not just for military, but opening to the commercial sector by showing that it’s good enough for the military.”
The new contract has allowed Fend to expand, with the company currently looking to hire a project manager, electrical engineer, a data scientist and a few people in sales.
Photo courtesy Fend
Amazon’s Helipad in Doubt — Amazon requested that it be able to build a helipad at both of its new campuses, in Crystal City and New York City. But it’s unlikely that the company will be able to win approval for operating a private helicopter in the restricted airspace around Washington. [WAMU]
Wawa Looks to NoVa — “‘Fairfax County and Northern Virginia is a really important market for us,’ Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens was quoted as saying… ‘We are looking at strategically bending our store model to get more access to that area and plan to announce some openings in that area coming up.'” [Tysons Reporter]
Metro Holiday Schedule — Metro is operating on a reduced schedule today and tomorrow, as well as New Year’s Day. It will operate on a regular weekday schedule on New Year’s Eve, with special late night service until 2 a.m. [WMATA]
Christmas Is a Recycling Nightmare — “Your holiday wish list – or at least what it comes wrapped in – may be causing big problems for recyclers. ‘It surprises a lot of people,’ Arlington County Solid Waste Bureau Operations Manager Shani Kruljac said. Here’s the deal: a bunch of holiday-related stuff you may assume is recyclable actually isn’t.” [Fox 5]
APS Seeking Nominations for Top Cross Guards — “Arlington Public Schools is asking the public to consider nominating local crossing guards for Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guards competition… Nominations are open through Jan. 25.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Firms Awarded Federal Contracts — Ballston-based CACI has been awarded “a prime position” on a $12.1 billion U.S. Army information technology contract. Meanwhile “DTS, a small business in Arlington, Virginia, has won a $2.6 million contract with the Fish & Wildlife Services to provide IT program management and change management services.” [BusinessWire, Washington Technology]
Changes are coming soon to Dawson Terrace Park near Rosslyn now that the Arlington County Board has approved a $1.5 million construction contract.
Currently, there are two small courts at the park. These will be replaced by one larger, multi-use court the size of a high school basketball court.
Project illustrations show eight to 10 foot decorative fences installed on either side of the court, behind the basketball nets. Also included: new lighting and landscaping.
Design for the project began in the second quarter of 2016. Project construction is anticipated to begin in the second quarter of 2018 and wrap up by the end of the year.
A small field along 21st Road N. is not scheduled for any renovations in this plan, but stormwater management and ADA improvements are in the works.
The County Board voted unanimously to grant the park contract to D.C.’s Bennett Group at Saturday’s County Board meeting (April 21), according to a county press release. County staff had recommended that the contract be approved.
“Arlington continues to upgrade and improve its parks, to make them both more accessible and more engaging,” County Board Chair Katie Cristol said in a statement. “These renovations will help ensure that Dawson Terrace will be a great park for everyone to use, for years to come.”
The three and a half acre park in the North Highland neighborhood is home to the Dawson-Bailey House, the second oldest home in the county, and site renderings include a decorative screen and plants that would form a buffer on the building’s eastern facade. In 2016, an archaeological dig at Dawson Terrace Park uncovered approximately 2,000 glass, ceramic, and glass objects from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Also at its Saturday meeting, the County Board approved the planting of over 1,000 trees in parks along Four Mile Run. The plantings are partially funded by a federal grant.
More from a county press release, after the jump.
Aging speed bumps throughout the county are set to be replaced or repaired under a new contract.
The County Board is expected to approve a $246,275 contract for the maintenance work, which will focus on traffic calming fixtures from the 1990s and early 2000s that are badly deteriorated “due to weather and vehicular traffic.”
Speed humps and speed cushions are two of the ways by which the county calms traffic, and typically they are repaired when the street is repaved. However, according to county staff, “some devices’ conditions require substantial repair or replacement outside of the normal timeframe of the street repaving.”
The contract will go to Alexandria’s Kathmar Construction, Inc., which bid less than half that of the only other bidder for the project.
The contract for renovations at Dawson Terrace Park in North Highlands, northwest of Rosslyn, is set for approval, per a county staff report.
The work will renovate areas of extensive use, including a multi-use court, playground, walkways, and picnic areas. D.C.’s Bennett Group, beating out five other bidders, is expected to be awarded the $1,507,500.45 contract.
Landscaping, stormwater management, and ADA improvements will also be part of the project, but a small field along 21st Road N. will not be within the project’s scope.
The County Manager’s office has recommended awarding the contract and approving a $150,750.05 contingency for change orders.
The Dawson-Bailey House, believed to be the county’s second oldest house, is located at the park, at 2133 N. Taft Street.
The Dept. of Parks and Recreation has submitted documentation to the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board “to ensure the project respected and complimented the historic nature of the site.”