75°Partly Cloudy

by ARLnow.com — July 28, 2015 at 4:45 pm 1,313 0

Spout Run Parkway (photo via Google Maps)The National Park Service this week is beginning a project to repave Spout Run Parkway.

The two-month project will result in lane closures and rush hour delays between the GW Parkway and Lorcom Lane.

From an NPS press release:

George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) will begin a roadway project on July 27, 2015, which is expected to last through late September, along Spout Run Parkway in both directions between GWMP and Lorcom Lane. The project will also include work on the southbound GWMP ramp to Key Bridge, and Rosslyn Circle Ramp onto northbound GWMP.

Throughout the 50-day project, motorists should expect single lane closures for a period of up to 10 days per lane in order to mill and overlay the road and replace the guard-rails. No detours will be in place, so please plan accordingly for delays, especially during rush hour. Every effort is being made to complete the work in a timely manner and minimize traffic delays.

Photo via Google Maps

by Heather Mongilio — July 28, 2015 at 12:00 pm 797 0

1-395 and Glebe Road (via Google Maps)

Arlington residents will have a chance to ask questions and weigh in on upcoming repairs to the interchange of I-395 and Glebe Road.

Virginia Department of Transportation will hold an open house tonight (Tuesday) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Gunston Middle School (2700 S. Lang Street). Attendees will hear from VDOT staff and have an opportunity to ask questions about the anticipated construction.

The roadwork on the three bridges at the interchange is anticipated to begin in April or May 2016, said Brian Morrison, a senior structural engineer with VDOT.

Construction is anticipated to last about four to six months, so the project is predicted to be finished in October or November of next year, Morrison said.

Roadwork on the bridges is expected to include repaving the bridge decks, guardrail improvements, reconstruction of bridge joints, painting bridge beams and fixing the sidewalks and curbs on Glebe Road. The total cost for the project is projected to be $4.7 million, according to VDOT.

The project is currently in its design phase. Once construction begins, there will likely be single-lane and shoulder closures during the night and day, according to VDOT’s website for the project.

by Heather Mongilio — July 10, 2015 at 11:30 am 822 0

Williamsburg Boulevard is scheduled for a construction project this fall as the county works to add rain gardens, more trees and new pedestrian crosswalks to the street.

A date for construction has not been set, but it should start in the fall and last three to five months, said Jessica Baxter, a spokeswoman for Arlington County.

The county may also hold off on some landscaping, tree planting and final paving until spring 2016 if the weather is bad in the fall, she said.

The road will remain open in both ways during construction, but the bicycle lanes will be closed. Pedestrians crosses will still be available.

The stretch of Williamsburg Boulevard is in a residential area, and the construction will only occur between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays in order to reduce the noise level, Baxter said.

Once construction is completed, a newly paved Williamsburg Boulevard will have new curbs where it intersects with 33rd Road N. and 35th Street N., new crosswalks that are compliant with the American Disabilities Act and more canopy trees between 34th Street N. and 35th Street N.

The street will also have two rain gardens, which will help clean polluted runoff.

Canopy trees will also be added to the stretch of Williamsburg Boulevard between Old Dominion Drive and 33rd Road N.

Old Dominion Drive is currently under construction and the two projects are being coordinated to keep traffic delays to a minimum, Baxter said.

“Construction activities between the two projects will be coordinated to reduce traffic delays as much as possible. Drivers may experience some delays trying to access North Glebe Road from Williamsburg Boulevard, particularly after 9 a.m.,” she said.

Baxter said the exact cost of the project has not been determined.

“Construction plans are still being finalized, and the specific contracting mechanism for the bioretention component is still being determined,” she said. “At this time, the construction cost estimate for the project ranges from $600k to $700k. The County is fully funding the project with the majority of the funding coming from the Stormwater Fund.”

by Heather Mongilio — July 7, 2015 at 5:35 pm 1,492 0

(Updated on July 17 on 4:30 p.m.) Old Dominion Drive will undergo another round of road construction for the next 18-24 months as the county works to add sidewalks, street lights and traffic signals.

The roadwork will take place on Old Dominion between N. Glebe Road to 38th Street N., according to Jessica Baxter, a spokesperson for Arlington County’s Environmental Services.

One lane will remain open during construction, which will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. No lanes will be closed during rush hour.

At the end of the project, Old Dominion Drive will be more pedestrian and cyclist friendly, Baxter said.

“Old Dominion Drive is the last arterial roadway located within an Arlington County neighborhood without sidewalks on either side,” Baxter said.

In addition to new sidewalks, the project will also add new street lights, updated curbs and gutters, a new stormwater system, updated traffic lights and updated transit stops. The total cost for the revamp of Old Dominion Drive is about $8.1 million, which is funded through a partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation. Of the $8 million, $2.34 million will come from VDOT, Baxter said.

Construction started Monday and is expected to be completed fall of 2017, weather permitting. Orange construction signs are now in place along Old Dominion Drive.

This is the second phase of the county’s Old Dominion Project. The first phase, which cost about $1.24 million, consisted of similar road work from Lee Highway to N. Glebe Road and was finished in 2010.

Updates on the road project will be posted to the Arlington County website, and residents are encouraged to sign up for email alerts, which can be done on the webpage, Baxter said.

by Heather Mongilio — June 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm 1,826 0

Interchange between Interstate 395 and Boundary Channel Drive

Changes to the Boundary Channel Drive interchange with Interstate 395 and a new bike trail near Long Bridge Park are on the way.

Arlington residents will have a chance to offer feedback on new designs for the Boundary Channel Drive interchange project on Tuesday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Aurora Hills Community Center (735 18th Street S.).

The project is primarily intended to improve safety at the interchange, which is located on I-395 between Crystal City and the Pentagon, said David Kirschner, an Arlington County project manager.

“In this area, Interstate 395 is the most congested roadway in our region,” Kirschner said in an email. “The goals of this project are to improve the operations of the interchange at Boundary Channel Drive and improve safety for all road users.”

The project is also seeking to expand pedestrian and cycling access to and from Washington, D.C., Crystal City, the Pentagon and Long Bridge Park through a new bike trail.

Bike Trail from Humpback Bridge to Long Bridge ParkThe trail is planned to connect Humpback Bridge to Long Bridge Park but has not been designed yet, Kirschner said. The proposed trail will go from the existing Mount Vernon Trail that connects to the underpass under Humpback Bridge and would extend to Boundary Channel Drive through the interchange that already exists.

“We’re definitely always trying to be more friendly to cyclists and pedestrians,” he said.

The new connection will make it easier to get to and from D.C. and the Pentagon, Kirschner said, adding that pedestrians currently have to do a lot of backtracking — via Crystal City or the LBJ Memorial Grove — to get into D.C.

As the project is still in its planning stages, the new trail has not yet been designed and which department will oversee the maintenance has not been determined. The trail’s planned path falls under multiple jurisdictions, as the National Park Service oversees the Mount Vernon Trail and Long Bridge Park is run by Arlington County.

“The need to keep the trail clean and safe will be an ongoing concern as we move forward in the design and construction of the Boundary Channel Drive interchange,” Kirschner said in an email.

In addition to the proposed bike trail, the project will look at a complete revamp of the interchange between I-395 and Boundary Channel Drive.

“Based on our analysis so far, the current four-lane roadway is overbuilt for current traffic. The traffic analysis we are performing will determine what lanes and ramps are needed for the final interchange in the future analysis year of 2036,” Kirschner said in the email.

(more…)

by Heather Mongilio — June 10, 2015 at 10:45 am 1,568 0

Map of GW Parkway that will have repairs.The National Park Service will begin a repair project on the GW Parkway between Reagan National Airport and Interstate 395 on June 15, causing traffic delays in both directions.

Ramps to the 14th Bridge and on and off GW Parkway are also affected by the construction.

Single-lane closures will occur in both directions between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Two-lane closures are expected between 7 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. The lane closures are expected to cause delays.

NPS will work to minimize disruptions to travelers using Reagan National Airport.

Construction is anticipated to be finished by mid-December 2015, barring any inclement weather delays.

“Every effort will be made to minimize traffic delays and accomplish the work in a timely manner. The NPS regrets any inconvenience and appreciates all motorists’ understanding and patience,” NPS said.

Photo via Google Maps

by Ethan Rothstein — April 23, 2015 at 3:30 pm 2,895 0

Rendering of the future Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110Each direction of the Washington Boulevard bridge over Jefferson Davis Highway will have one fewer travel lane starting next week.

Starting Monday, April 27, the Virginia Department of Transportation will close off the two lanes to make way for the next phase of work in replacing the 74-year-old bridge. Construction on the project began in March.

The lane closures are expected to last the duration of the project, which has a projected completion date of May 2018 and a price tag of $31.5 million, per VDOT.

“Drivers are advised to expect delays and use alternate routes if possible, particularly northbound during the a.m. rush hour, where drivers could experience a 10-minute delay,” VDOT said in a press release announcing the traffic shift. “Motorists are also asked to be alert to Pentagon and Virginia State Police who will help facilitate traffic movement.”

When complete, the new bridge will be wider, taller, and longer than the current one, which VDOT has deemed “structurally deficient.” It will also include a 14-foot-wide shared use path on one side and an 8-foot-wide sidewalk on the other.

Image via VDOT

by Ethan Rothstein — March 25, 2015 at 5:00 pm 1,296 0

Rendering of the future Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110Construction on the project to replace the Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110 next to the Pentagon is now underway.

The $29.5 million endeavor will replace the existing bridge — built in 1941 and now “considered structurally deficient,” according to the Virginia Department of Transportation — with a new structure that expands the shared-use path to 14-feet wide, add an 8-foot sidewalk and is longer, wider and taller than the existing bridge.

While construction has begun, traffic impacts won’t start until May.

“VDOT will maintain a minimum of two lanes in each direction on both Routes 27 and 110, other than temporary night closures to install bridge girders,” VDOT said in a press release. “Pedestrian traffic will be shifted to a temporary bridge in 2016.”

The existing Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110 (photo via VDOT)When complete, the bridge will include homages to the military, with four medallions commemorating the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. This is the second Washington Blvd bridge VDOT is replacing with a medallion-adorned new structure — just down the road, the new bridges over Columbia Pike will have medallions commemorating Arlington’s Freedman’s Village.

The new bridge was originally scheduled to start construction in 2014 and wrap up this year. VDOT has adjusted its timeline, and now expects to complete the bridge by May 2018.

Images via VDOT

by Ethan Rothstein — February 20, 2015 at 2:40 pm 891 0

Update on 2/21/15 — This project has been approved. See the county press release here.

Millions of dollars in construction work to improve the flow of traffic near the Crystal City Metro Station could begin in a matter of months.

The Arlington County Board will vote at its meeting tomorrow to award a $2.7 million contract for construction on S. Bell Street and 18th Street. The work would include building four bus bays on 18th Street S. under Jefferson-Davis Highway and converting S. Bell Street to a two-way road between 15th and 18th Streets.

The project was originally split in two — the bus bays and surrounding street improvements and converting Bell Street to a two-way road — but the county decided to consolidate to reduce construction impacts and improve coordination, according to the staff report.

The bays allow buses and shuttles to park at an angle along the street, as opposed to stacking parallel to the curb and clogging traffic.

“Construction of the transit and street improvements are important for improving safety and traffic flow in the area, as well as supporting the Crystal City Sector Plan and the [Crystal City-Potomac Yard] Transitway,” the staff report states.

If approved, construction is slated to begin in April and take about 12 months. The contract includes a 15 percent contingency — 5 percent higher than standard because of unknown complications that could come from digging up the street.

According to county Department of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet, the new bus bays are needed for hotel and employer shuttles that drop off around the Metro station. The Transitway, when fully realized, will turn northbound Crystal Drive into a dedicated bus lane during rush hour. Those shuttles currently stop and drop off passengers on Crystal Drive, and they will be temporarily moved during construction.

One lane of travel each way along 18th Street S. will remain open during construction. The contractor that won the contract, Ardent Company, submitted a $2.3 million bid, more than $800,000 less expensive than the second-place bidder in a nine-bid race. The county determined Ardent to be a responsible bidder.

In addition to the bus bays and S. Bell Street work, the construction will add to the area:

  • A median under Jefferson-Davis Highway, to prevent what the county calls “prevalent” jaywalking near where the bus bays will be placed;
  • Bus shelters and benches at each of the four sawtooth bays;
  • Sidewalk improvements on both sides of 18th Street S.;
  • Replacing the asphalt roadway with concrete to withstand increase stress from bus traffic; and
  • Reconfiguring the S. Bell Street and 18th Street intersection to improve safety and circulation

by Ethan Rothstein — February 4, 2015 at 11:30 am 5,111 0

The two large mounds of dirt at the Route 50-Washington Blvd interchange “aren’t going anywhere,” the Virginia Department of Transportation says.

Ellen Vogel, VDOT’s district landscape architect, told the Arlington Civic Federation last night at its monthly meeting that the twin mounds of dirt are too expensive to move.

The mounds are made up of construction debris covered in 4 feet of soil at the minimum. The debris is from the recently completed Route 50-Courthouse Road-10th Street N. interchange project. As for why the mounds never appeared in the plans for the interchange — and residents weren’t told the mounds were to become their new neighbors — Vogel said “nobody knew about it except for the construction folks on site.”

“They cost millions of dollars to move,” she said. VDOT tried to find a suitable location to dump the debris in Maryland but “they didn’t want it.”

With a dearth of landfills accepting that much dirt and debris in Northern Virginia, there are no viable options to transport the mounds, we’re told. It will stay where it is, next to the ramps from Washington Blvd to westbound Route 50 and from eastbound Route 50 to northbound Washington Blvd.

“I guess we have a new mountain in Arlington,” one Civic Federation member said. Many of the dozens in attendance laughed at Vogel’s honest answers about the new mountains’ origins and future. Some expressed concerned over environmental hazards, which Vogel dismissed.

“Most of it is fill dirt and concrete from the bridge,” Vogel said. “There are no toxins, it’s all inert material. It’s unsuitable for road construction, but it’s not unsuitable to plant in.”

The two mounds take up almost 100,000 square feet of surface area between them, and, starting in the spring, VDOT is committing to planting hundreds of trees on the site, including 24 red maples, 47 scarlet oaks and 52 Jefferson elms.

Vogel said there would be no such mounds around the under-construction Washington Blvd bridge over Columbia Pike, another VDOT project. Most of the major excavation work has been done, she said, so there’s no dirt to be piled.

by Ethan Rothstein — January 26, 2015 at 1:35 pm 810 0

Old Dominion Drive (photo via Google Maps)Old Dominion Drive and the park outside Gunston Community Center are getting upgrades.

On Saturday, The Arlington County Board unanimously approved $7.3 million worth of contracts to construct sidewalks on both sides of the arterial road from 38th Street N. to west of N. Glebe Road. The improvements will also install as well as curbs and gutters, traffic and pedestrian signals and stormwater upgrades.

Of the contract, $2.34 million will be coming from the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the rest will be coming from local bond funding and money from the HB 2313 transportation funding law.

“Old Dominion Drive is one of the last arterials located within a County neighborhood without sidewalks on either side,” the county said in a press release. The improvements are expected to be finished by fall 2016

The county also approved a nearly $600,000 contract for improvements around Gunston Community Center in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood. The money will go toward renovating the parking lot, outdoor basketball court and lighting. The parking lot and courts will be closed starting in March and are expected to reopen in the summer. People using the community center’s turf fields and indoor facilities will be directed to park at the adjacent Gunston Middle School parking lot.

“These two projects are prudent, timely investments in maintaining and upgrading our existing infrastructure,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes.

Photo via Google Maps

by Ethan Rothstein — December 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm 1,313 0

New, protected bike lanes are now in place on S. Eads Street in Crystal City.

Crews were painting the new markings early this afternoon (Thursday) and there is no parking for stretches between 15th and 23rd Streets today or tomorrow. The road is now down to three lanes — two through lanes and a center left-turn lane — and there are bike lanes on each side of the road.

Parking has been removed on the northbound side, and the parking lane has been moved away from the curb on the southbound side of the road, to protect cyclists from traffic. The lanes are being referred to as a pilot program by the county, and county staff will study traffic patterns once the lanes are fully implemented.

“The idea for the Eads Street plan is that ultimately we’d rebuild the road with new curb and gutter and new geometry,” Arlington’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs Manager David Goodman said. “We’re testing it, certainly, to confirm that Eads Street will work okay as a protected bike lane, moving the parking out and the way it interacts with transit. Making sure that it is in fact a good idea to do that there. When funding opportunities come around, we can look at making more permanent changes.”

Goodman said the “flexi-posts” in place on the S. Hayes Street protected bike lanes should be installed this month.

The posts are helpful to motorists confused about where to park their car. Cars were reportedly ticketed earlier this week for parking in the bike lane before parking was prohibited entirely. There are no signs on the stretch of road to indicate to drivers where they are allowed to park, and one Twitter commenter said “1 painted bike per block clearly not sufficient guidance.”

From 23rd Street S. to Eads Street’s terminus at S. Glebe Road, the road has also been reduced from four lanes to three to accommodate a new bike lane, but the lane will be in the traditional place between parking and traffic, Goodman said, similar to the configuration along Wilson Blvd in Clarendon.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 21, 2014 at 11:10 am 2,338 0

Wilson Boulevard west of George Mason Drive will go from a four-lane road to two through lanes with a center turn lane this spring, and it’s a plan many residents who live nearby are happy with.

The plan will result in increased travel times for the stretch of Wilson that will be affected, from N. Manchester to N. Frederick Street. In addition to the lane reduction, the reconfiguration will also add bike lanes on either side of the road, which will serve a dual purpose as a buffer between the sidewalks and motor vehicles.

“Wilson Blvd is unacceptable and we all deserve better,” Chris Healey, the co-chair of the Bluemont Civic Association sidewalk safety task force, told the attendees. “That’s what we’re here to try and accomplish.”

The road restriping will occur in the spring, when that stretch of road is up in Arlington’s repaving schedule. The reconfiguration doesn’t make an impact on the county budget, but it also won’t help the state of the sidewalks, which residents and staff agreed are too narrow and too dangerous.

What will one day become Phase II of the reconfiguration will include sidewalk widening and other improvements, but Arlington Bureau Chief for Transportation and Operations Engineering Larry Marcus told ARLnow.com that those improvements are currently unfunded and have no timeline for construction.

“This isn’t a total solution, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Marcus said. “Phase II is why we’re here, to hear from people and to look over the winter and what needs to improve.”

Arlington Department of Environmental Services engineers predict that travel time will increase on the road, but only between five and 20 seconds between N. Manchester and Edison Streets each way during rush hour. The greatest concern about the change for some residents was turning off onto the cross streets. Staff predicts that those maneuvers will take as much as 35 seconds longer on some cross streets.

One resident who said he lived on N. Manchester Street, which is where the lane reduction will begin, said it will only make his street more dangerous.

“My opinion is you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul,” he said. “You’re adding a choke point to [Manchester] which is already a cut-through. My biggest concern is already having to worry about my kids because I’ve got cars screaming back and forth between 50 and Wilson. We’re putting higher-density living spaces on Wilson Blvd and we’re trying to increase businesses in Wilson Blvd, and we’re operating on the assumption that none of those people are going to drive, which is ridiculous.

Gillian Burgess, the chair of the county’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, attended the meeting and said she was still concerned about the bike lanes, since they will have no protection from cars, and since buses will be expected to pull into them when they pick up and drop off passengers.

“The entire Wilson Blvd corridor is a huge gap in the current bicycle network,” she said. “We appreciate that that’s being recognized. As we go forward, we appreciate that there will be more bicycling accommodations, but we really need to make sure that they’re safe.”

Ed Fendley, the other co-chair on the sidewalk task force, said after all of the residents were able to talk to staff individually, the reaction was generally positive.

“The report-outs from the tables highlighted that the great majority of the comments received were in the form of positive support and constructive suggestions for improvements,” he told ARLnow.com.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm 4,655 0

The proposed Wilson Boulevard improvements (image via Arlington CountyThe stretch of Wilson Blvd between N. Frederick and Manchester Streets is planned to be reduced from four lanes to three next spring.

The change has been advocated by the Bluemont Civic Association (BCA) for years, and the neighborhood’s representatives have posited that the lane reduction, coupled with sidewalk expansion, will make the corridor more walkable without increasing traffic congestion.

The project, which Arlington County says is in design phase with reconfiguration set for spring 2015, will reduce westbound and eastbound traffic to one lane each, while adding a center lane for left turns and bike lanes on either side of the street. The plan also calls for consolidating bus stops in this stretch to reduce possible congestion.

Currently, there are no funded plans to expand the sidewalks.

County staff is holding a general community meeting on Nov. 20, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at Arlington Traditional School (855 N. Edison Street), to discuss the plans. The county also plans for a “robust community notification process throughout the corridor,” before the restriping and repaving work begins.

The plans to reduce the lanes on Wilson Blvd was initially recommended by the BCA’s Sidewalk Safety Task Force and supported by the BCA in October 2012. Arlington decided to incorporate the plans when it made its restriping and repaving calendar for this year.

Wilson Blvd improvements map (image via Arlington County)“We are grateful that Arlington County is listening to us and working to make our ‘Main Street’ a safer and more pleasant place for all residents and visitors,” BCA President John Lau said in a press release. “Working together, the efforts of neighborhood residents and county officials have led us to this long-awaited first step for improving our neighborhood and an important Arlington corridor.”

While the county approved the requested changes to Wilson Blvd’s lane configuration, the BCA’s requests to have the power lines — with poles located on Wilson Blvd’s sidewalks — moved underground was deemed prohibitively expensive by the county. The BCA is also hoping that the improvements be extended for all of Wilson Blvd west of N. Glebe Road, something county staff said it will continue to explore.

“This is a demonstration project that will be monitored further by the County to determine whether a complete streets project — currently unfunded — is viable along the entire section of Wilson Boulevard, west of North Glebe Road,” the project website reads. “If successful, staff will continue to work with the community to develop this future potential project.”

The plan, when it was being discussed last June, received some concern for businesses located along the corridor. The sidewalk task force reported businesses were “extremely concerned” that reducing the number of lanes would “gum up traffic to the point where they would lose business.”

The BCA cited the stretch of Washington Blvd west of N. Glebe Road, which goes from four lanes to two and has higher peak traffic volume, as an example of why the Wilson Blvd proposal won’t significantly worsen traffic.

Images via Arlington County

by Ethan Rothstein — October 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm 2,316 0

Traffic on Columbia Pike approaching Washington BlvdThose frustrated with their morning commute on Columbia Pike aren’t likely to see relief come until the spring.

The backups that have caused rush hour delays for drivers going eastbound on Columbia Pike in the morning are likely due to the temporary traffic pattern that makes cars turn left to get on northbound I-395, Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jenni McCord said. The temporary traffic pattern shift is expected to be in place for the next six months.

After that time, the traffic will again go back to using a right exit off Columbia Pike to get on the interstate in the direction of D.C.

The complete project’s end date is Sept. 14, 2015.

The left turn isn’t the only headache Pike drivers will have to deal with as the $48.5 million construction of the Washington Blvd bridge over Columbia Pike continues. Scheduled to start in early December, McCord said, S. Queen Street will be closed to traffic at Columbia Pike for six months. “Local traffic will enter/exit Arlington View and Carrington Village via S. Quinn or S. Rolfe Streets,” McCord said.

On Washington Blvd, the temporary signal at the Columbia Pike exit ramp has been removed, and crews will be pouring the concrete deck for the second bridge on Monday after steel beams were installed in September, McCord said. There will continue to be daytime lane closures in the area until the project is complete in a year.

File photo

×

Subscribe to our mailing list