Repairs are in progress on the bridge that takes traffic from southbound I-395 to Route 1 in the Crystal City area.
The $4 million Virginia Dept. of Transportation project will “improve safety and extend the overall life of the bridge,” which was originally built in 1976.
More from a VDOT press release:
Repairs are underway on the weight-restricted (20 tons) southbound I-395/Route 1 Exit 8C bridge, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. The project will improve safety and extend the overall life of the bridge, which carries southbound Route 1 over the 395 Express Lanes, the northbound I-395 general purpose lanes and northbound Route 110.
The project includes retrofitting and spot painting structural steel, and replacing the catcher beam system and strip seal at the joint.
During the project, some day and overnight single-lane closures may be scheduled, along with occasional overnight full closures of the bridge with detours.
The bridge, which was originally built in 1976 and rehabilitated in 1999, is about a fifth of a mile long and averages 20,000 vehicles a day.
The $4 million project is financed with federal and state funding and is scheduled for completion in late 2023. […]
Drivers are reminded to use caution when traveling in active work zones. Be alert to new traffic patterns and limit distractions.
The entrance to the bridge has been the scene of numerous crashes caused by drivers trying to exit across multiple lanes at the last second, as documented by public safety watcher Dave Statter.
(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) A major storm affecting most of the eastern U.S. and midwest is set to ramp up tomorrow, making for hazardous holiday travel.
Ahead of the storm, the Virginia Dept. of Transportation sent a clear message this afternoon: start your trip now, if you can.
The storm will mostly bring the D.C. area copious amounts of rain starting Thursday morning, along with gusty winds and bitter cold temperatures on Friday. Frozen precipitation beyond some possible snow flurries is not expected in Arlington, but points west and north will likely see snow, sleet and freezing rain.
Along I-81 and the Blue Ridge, the storm is expected to be a high-impact event, and travel on Thursday is “not advised,” VDOT says.
More from a VDOT press release, below.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is advising motorists traveling in and through Virginia to adjust their holiday travel ahead of winter weather expected in parts of the Commonwealth beginning Wednesday night and continuing through Friday.
Travelers are advised to shift holiday travel to Wednesday if possible. Travel on Thursday is not advised, especially through the western regions of Virginia along the Interstate 81 corridor, to avoid potentially hazardous conditions created by forecasted winter weather.
According to current forecasts, wintry precipitation is expected to arrive as soon as 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 21 in the southwestern regions of the state, and move northward through the western third of the state, and into portions of northern Virginia through Thursday. Periods of heavy snow are expected along the northern sections of I-81 and the mountain passes including Interstate 64 over Afton Mountain and Rt. 33 between Standardsville and Harrisonburg early Thursday. Temperatures are expected to drop rapidly through the day on Friday leading to the potential for refreeze in areas where the pavement remains wet.
VDOT crews are pretreating roadways and interstates today in anticipation of the weather event.
With extreme low temperatures expected to move in Friday, motorists, if traveling, should pack an emergency kit and blankets, and have mobile devices fully charged in the event of a breakdown or emergency.
“Please continue to monitor forecasts closely as forecasts can improve or worsen quickly,” VDOT said in a separate advisory. “Drivers should expect roads to be impacted Thursday and Friday… Treat anything that looks wet as if it could be icy, especially bridges, ramps, overpasses, and elevated surfaces. If there is snow or ice on roadways, travel is hazardous.”
The transportation agency is currently pretreating roads and “will begin deploying trucks early Thursday morning to treat roads as needed.”
“Adjust travel plans and avoid all nonessential travel during the height of the storm,” VDOT said “This helps to avoid deteriorating conditions and to allow crews room to work.”
A Flood Watch, meanwhile, has been issued for the D.C. area ahead of the rain.
322 PM EST Wed Dec 21 2022
…FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT…
* WHAT…Flooding caused by excessive rainfall is possible.
* WHERE…DC and portions of Maryland and northern Virginia, including the following areas: District of Columbia. In Maryland, Anne Arundel, Cecil, Central and Southeast Howard, Central and Southeast Montgomery, Prince Georges, Southeast Harford and Southern Baltimore. In northern Virginia, Arlington/Falls Church/Alexandria, Fairfax and Prince William/Manassas/Manassas Park.
* WHEN…From Thursday morning through late Thursday night.
* IMPACTS…Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations. Flooding may occur in poor drainage and urban areas.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…
– Moderate rainfall is expected Thursday into Thursday evening, with rainfall totals of one to two inches. This may lead to isolated instances of flooding, especially in urban and poor drainage areas.
You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop.
VDOT released the following timeline of expected conditions in Northern Virginia and western zones through Christmas.
Arlington Public Schools will open on a two-hour delay on Thursday due to expected freezing rain, the school system just announced.
APS follows Fairfax County Public Schools in announcing a two hour delay tonight. Other Northern Virginia districts have announced weather plans ranging from two hour delays to closures.
CODE 2: All APS schools and offices will open two hours late Thursday, Dec. 15. The Extended Day program will also open two hours late and morning field trips are canceled. Custodial and maintenance staff and food service workers should report to work at their regularly scheduled time. All other employees should report to work two hours past their usual start time. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.
More on the storm timing from the National Weather Service:
Here's a quick look at timing in regards to the wintry precip tonight into Thursday AM. Plan accordingly for slick roads & travel delays. Most locations change to rain late Thursday AM into the afternoon (outside of western MD). Drier conditions Friday. #VAwx #MDwx #WVwx #DCwx pic.twitter.com/UPDbPgz9dO
— NWS Baltimore-Washington (@NWS_BaltWash) December 15, 2022
Metro, meanwhile, said today that it’s tracking the weather and will respond to hazardous conditions as necessary.
Metro is keeping an eye on the sky and advising customers to be prepared for potential service impacts to Metrobus service tomorrow, December 15, if icy conditions materialize.
Metrobus plans to provide regular scheduled service tomorrow. However, if road conditions are observed to be hazardous, Metrobus customers may experience delays or detours as outlined in Metro’s light snow plan, which adjusts service on a route-by-route basis to keep buses off of steep hills, narrow roadways, and other challenging route segments during inclement weather.
Customers can review planned detours in advance to see how their service may be affected by clicking here. If conditions require that a route be detoured, customers will be notified via MetroAlerts email and text messages. Customers are also encouraged sign up for MetroAlerts and to follow @wmata, @metrobusinfo, and @metrorailinfo on Twitter for the latest service information.
Customers should allow additional travel time and use caution on platforms, escalators, parking lots and other areas that may be slippery.
Elsewhere across the system, Metrorail is expected to operate on a normal weekday schedule. MetroAccess will operate normally, with extra travel time possible based on road conditions.
VDOT is encouraging drivers to stay off the roads after the frozen precipitation starts falling overnight.
Motorists should avoid travel as frozen precipitation will create icy roadway conditions in portions of the Commonwealth tonight and tomorrow morning. Pavement temperatures will be at or near freezing levels. Temperatures will drop overnight and could cause treacherous conditions during the morning commute, primarily in the northern, northwestern and parts of central Virginia. As a reminder, bridges, overpasses and shaded areas tend to freeze first.
Freezing rain is forecasted to begin around 9 p.m. tonight in northwest Virginia and will continue through the morning.
Most Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews did not apply liquid pretreatment to roads in areas where the event is forecasted to start as rain, as the pretreatment application will wash away and be ineffective. VDOT crews are ready to treat roadways with salt, sand and abrasives once icy conditions begin to develop. Wreckers are pre-staged along certain routes and tree crews are available to handle downed trees.
Motorists should be vigilant, pay attention to weather forecasts in areas where they plan to drive, and delay travel in the impacted areas.
A number of options have emerged for upgrading an iffy portion of the Arlington Blvd Trail.
Engineers found it would be possible to accommodate a trail up to 11 feet wide with buffers and guardrails, between the bridge to Thomas Jefferson Middle School and George Mason Drive. That could be accomplished by narrowing a few on- and off-ramps, closing slip lanes and reducing the number of thru-lanes and turn lanes in some places.
This summer, Arlington County asked trail users how they feel navigating the 1.3-mile stretch of the trail, which runs along the busy and congested six-lane Route 50. Many said they feel unsafe due to bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle conflicts and the lack of buffer between the trail and vehicle travel lanes.
“It’s not very welcome to users. It feels narrow, it’s not continuous and there are poor pavement conditions,” Arlington County transportation planner Bridget Obikoya said in a Nov. 17 meeting. “We want to develop design concepts that improve the existing conditions, such as widening key pinch points and removing barriers and obstructions, improving connectivity and making the trail overall a much more pleasant place to be.”
Over the years, several plans have recommended improvements to the Virginia Department of Transportation-owned trail, which runs east-west from D.C. through Arlington to Fairfax County and bisects a 16-mile bike loop ringing the county.
The 2022-24 Capital Improvements Plan allocated $200,000 to study potential intersection improvements and accessibility upgrades to the area, which has a number of destinations: Thomas Jefferson Middle School and community center, Fleet Elementary School, the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, the Columbia Gardens Cemetery and several churches.
Despite these features, there isn’t much of a trail, and sidewalks are not continuous, says Jim Sebastian, an engineer with Toole Design, a firm that studied the corridor and developed the proposed changes.
“It is challenging, but it’s also exciting thinking about some of the improvements we can make to allow biking and walking to be a little more safe and comfortable,” Sebastian said.
The 1.3-mile stretch was broken into seven segments, four on the north side of Route 50 and three on the south side.
All but one segment has two proposed alternatives, and details of these proposed alternatives can be found in a presentation and explained in a recorded online meeting.
Residents can share their feedback on the proposed alternatives through Monday, Dec. 5. There will be pop-up events along the trail corridor, hosted by the county and local churches and other community destinations.
“This is extremely preliminary,” Nate Graham, a DES public engagement specialist, said in the Nov. 17 meeting. “This is an opportunity… to hear what parts you prefer and develop some combination of first and second alternatives between these seven segments to meet the goals of this project and serve the needs of the community.”
The study found that accommodating the trail, along some segments, could require changes to vehicle traffic.
For instance, between Glebe Road and George Mason Drive, one alternative calls for the closure of the off-ramp slip lane west of N. Thomas Street. The connection between the service road and George Mason Drive would also be closed, with traffic rerouted up to N. Trenton Street.
The parking garage over I-66 near Ballston is falling apart and needs repairs, says the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The garage sits above I-66 between N. Stafford and Quincy streets, next to Washington-Liberty High School. It serves as the primary parking area for the school and is the site of a seasonal flea market, called the Arlington Civitan Open Air Market.
VDOT has launched a public engagement period to brief locals on the garage’s deteriorating condition and the $2.7 million in planned improvements. Through next Monday, Nov. 7, people can provide comments online in a survey and by email or postal mail.
The Commonwealth seeks public input on repairing and rehabilitating the parking garage over I-66 at Washington-Liberty HS. And yes, galvanic cathodic protection is on the menu. https://t.co/dZQmSIbbWl pic.twitter.com/ZSWuwTpuN7
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) October 28, 2022
The state transportation department says it aims to minimize traffic disruptions and keep most parking spaces available during construction. VDOT expects to send out the project for bid next summer and to start work in the fall of 2023, with construction wrapping up in about six months.
“The purpose of this project is to address various conditions identified through routine inspections that are likely to deteriorate further if not repaired soon,” a VDOT staff member said in a presentation. “Delaying action could allow some of them to become critical requiring much more extensive, expensive and disruptive repairs down the road. The repairs will ensure the structure remains safe for all users for years to come.”
The garage was built in 1982, and since then, there has been no major work performed beyond routine maintenance, VDOT Communications Coordinator Mike Murphy tells ARLnow.
After 40 years of exposure to the elements — including cycles of freezing and thawing, anti-icing salts, and high temperatures — the garage’s columns and surfaces are worse for wear, according to the state transportation department’s presentation. The presenter said these signs of deterioration are typical of structures this age.
Some columns on the garage’s lower level need significant repairs to ensure its structural integrity, the presenter said. Leaking water has caused the reinforcing steel within the concrete to corrode, causing the concrete to break in flakes.
In one phase of the project, traffic lanes on I-66 will be shifted to the outside lane and the shoulder to allow work along the median, per the presentation. Lane closures are expected to be limited to single lanes.
“The majority of repair work occurs on the lower level along I-66, which is isolated from parking areas of the garage,” the VDOT staff member said. “There will be no changes to local traffic patterns or pedestrian flow on N. Quincy Street, N. Stafford Street, or 15th Street N.”
No impacts to the Custis Trail — which runs parallel to I-66 under the garage — are anticipated at this time, Murphy said.
Unmarked or temporarily marked crosswalks along Langston Blvd are slated to be painted today (Friday), weather permitting.
The repainting activity comes nearly two months after the Virginia Department of Transportation paved Langston Blvd from Washington Blvd to N. Glebe Road, in East Falls Church, and from Military Road to N. Kenmore Street, in Cherrydale, according to a paving map.
VDOT, which manages the road, finished the repaving projects at the start of September, as part of its annual road repaving and repainting schedule.
According to the state transportation department, the lag between paving and painting is not uncommon.
“As the line painting contractors are different than the milling/paving contractors, sometimes schedules don’t line up as smoothly,” VDOT spokeswoman Ellen Kamilakis tells ARLnow.
Arlington County and some residents tell ARLnow they have raised concerns about the lag with state transportation department.
“VDOT is aware of our concerns and are working to complete the markings on Langston Blvd,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien said.
The repainting comes while pedestrian safety occupies the minds of Arlington County Board members, local advocates and residents. In recent months, drivers struck and killed two pedestrians: one woman near Thomas Jefferson Middle School was killed by an alleged drunk driver and a woman near Nottingham Elementary School was killed in a crash, which police are still investigating.
While VDOT repaves state routes, Arlington County does take advantage of the state’s schedule to consider changes to the streets under its purview through its Resurfacing for Complete Streets program, O’Brien said.
“For roadways maintained by VDOT, Arlington does coordinate with VDOT on improvements,” she said. “For example, this year VDOT will be adding crossing enhancements on Langston Blvd at our request.”
These include high visibility crosswalk markings, advance yield signs and markings, she says.
She added that the county coordinated with the state to “upgrade the two uncontrolled crosswalks at the intersections of Langston Blvd and N. Oakland Street and Langston Blvd and N. Nelson Street, as well as marking all side streets with high-visibility crosswalks instead of standard crosswalks.”
On Langston Blvd between Military Road and N. Kenmore Street, VDOT will be installing bike lane skip marks through intersections, high-visibility crosswalks along side streets and additional directional markings, according to the county’s first annual Vision Zero report, released this spring.
Arlington County is a year and a half into its Vision Zero initiative that aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Between January 2021 and March 2022, the county updated 238 crosswalks to high-visibility crosswalks, according to the report.
It also “added new warning signage, pavement yield and high visibility crosswalk markings, and other minor improvements at 12 multilane crossing locations,” after a review of multi-lane crossings, per an August newsletter.
VDOT has kicked off work on its I-66 Rosslyn Tunnel Rehabilitation project.
The nearly $38 million project is expected to stretch well into 2025, retrofitting the tunnel under Rosslyn’s Gateway Park that was built some 40 years ago.
The construction will prompt some lane closures on I-66, but mostly during overnight hours.
More from a VDOT press release:
Construction is underway on the rehabilitation and improvements to the Rosslyn Tunnel that carries I-66 under North Nash Street, Fort Myer Drive, North Lynn Street and Gateway Park, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. The project’s purpose is to improve safety and extend the overall life of the tunnel.
The project includes removing the existing tunnel ceiling to improve long-term maintenance; upgrading electrical systems; installing a new fireproofing system; repairing steel beams, abutment and pier concrete, and joints; cleaning and repairing bearings; and replacing the tunnel lighting system.
Lane closures on I-66 associated with the project will mainly occur overnights, with at least one lane of I-66 in each direction open at all times.
The tunnel, which opened to traffic in 1983, is nearly a fifth of a mile long and averages 64,000 vehicles a day.
The $37.7 million project is financed with state funding and is scheduled for completion in summer 2025.
For the most recent updates and to learn more, visit the VDOT project webpage.
Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are reminded to use caution when traveling in active work zones. Be alert to new traffic patterns and limit distractions.
You can get real-time traffic, work zone and incident information online at 511virginia.org, via the free mobile 511Virginia app, or by calling 511 in Virginia anywhere anytime.
Construction is starting next week to make Boundary Channel Drive and the I-395 interchange near Crystal City and the Pentagon safer.
The impact on locals should be “minimal,” Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Mike Murphy told ARLnow. While there could be lane closures, access to surrounding facilities will be kept open.
“Some day and overnight lane closures may be scheduled along I-395, Boundary Channel Drive, and Long Bridge Drive in the project area,” Murphy said. “Access to I-395 via Boundary Channel Drive, as well as access to Pentagon facilities and the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center will be maintained during construction.”
The long-planned $20 million project is set to reduce traffic lanes on Boundary Channel Drive to make room for paths and sidewalks, install roundabouts, reconfigure ramps, and add crosswalks.
The purpose of the renovations is to simplify traffic patterns and to make it safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.
“We’ve long sought these improvements,” then-County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said at a Board meeting last year when voting to approve the project. “They will reconfigure the interchange that you see to make it work a lot better and safer for everyone.”
The VDOT-led project is expected to be completed about a year from now, in fall 2023.
Crews will begin with work on Boundary Channel Drive, where both directions will be reduced to one lane to allow for the construction of the new roundabouts, utility work, and pedestrian improvements.
Those improvements include a path along the south side of Boundary Channel Drive, complete with crosswalks, landscaping, and street lighting.
The new shared-use path, varying in width between ten and twelve feet, will start at the Long Bridge Aquatic Center parking lot entrance. It will then follow Long Bridge Drive northbound before connecting with westbound Boundary Channel Drive, per Murphy. The half-mile-long path will pass under I-395 and turn north at the soon-to-be-built western Boundary Channel Drive interchange roundabout.
The new path will ultimately connect with the existing one that parallels the southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway ramp to I-395 southbound.
This project has been in the works since at least 2014 and is estimated to cost $19.6 million. It’s being paid for by a combination of state, federal, regional, and county money.
The 21st Street N. bridge over I-66 is set to get a minor makeover.
The bridge — located north of Courthouse, near the MOM’s Organic Market — was built in 1980 and carries around 1,400 vehicles per day. It was described as “deteriorating” in a project review carried out by the Virginia Department of Transportation in 2017.
VDOT plans to resurface the concrete bridge deck, close the deck joints, repair the concrete piers and abutments of the bridge, as well as replace its bearings, according to a news release. The project is not expected to change the width of the existing lanes and sidewalks on the bridge, which is also located near McCoy Park.
Construction is scheduled to begin next summer. The work is not expected to close any existing roads that may significantly disrupt traffic, according to the project’s website, and should improve the bridge’s safety and longevity.
The estimated cost is $3.4 million, which is paid for by federal and state funds, including money from Virginia’s State of Good Repair program, VDOT said.
A virtual public meeting is set for 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday), during which the project team is scheduled to give a presentation and answer questions from the audience.
Those interested in participating can register for the meeting on the project website beforehand. Those who do not register can instead call 1-866-901-6455 to listen in on the meeting, according to VDOT.
After the meeting, interested members of the public will be able to voice their opinions on the project through an online form, email or U.S. Mail. The public comment period is set to end on Monday, July 11.
Map via Google Maps
School’s Out for Summer — Today is the last day of high school for Arlington Public Schools students. Tomorrow is the last day of middle school and Friday is the last day of elementary school. [Arlington Public Schools]
Meetings Planned for Route 1 Changes — “Two upcoming online forums will look at Virginia Department of Transportation proposals for U.S. Route 1 through the Crystal City corridor. On June 15 at 7 p.m., the Livability 22202 Route 1 Working Group and VDOT proposals will be presented and feedback sought… On June 21 at 6:30 p.m., VDOT will host a public-information meeting on the proposal.” [Sun Gazette, VDOT]
Yorktown Girls Win State Soccer Tourney — “A season that began with a loss ended with no other setbacks and a state championship for the Yorktown Patriots. The girls soccer team won the Virginia High School League Class 6 state tournament by nipping the Kellam Knights, 1-0, in the June 11 title game.” [Sun Gazette, Washington Post]
DJO Softball Wins State Title — “The [Bishop O’Connell] Knights capped a dominant campaign with their 26th Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state title over the past 28 seasons. Katie Kutz tossed 235 strikeouts and went 17-0 while batting .482 at the plate en route to Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and VISAA player of the year nods.” [Washington Post]
Groundbreaking for Bus Maintenance Yard — “Arlington County will host a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning for its new Arlington Transit (ART) operations and maintenance facility. The public is invited to attend. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. at the site of the future facility at 2629 Shirlington Rd. in Arlington in the Green Valley neighborhood.” [Patch]
School Board Absences — “The board, whose schedule of meetings is approved at the start of each fiscal year, has had a tough time gathering all five members on the dais at one time in recent months. Goldstein frequently has been absent, and at the May 26 meeting Priddy was gone. (On May 26, Diaz-Torres was not attending in person but did participate remotely from Puerto Rico, Kanninen said at the start of that meeting.)” [Sun Gazette]
More Bad Driving on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “This is a new one. Driver just stops at the end of the gore partially blocking the left lane until they can figure out their next move.” [Twitter]
Gov. Proposes Three-Month Gas Tax Holiday — “In Arlington, Virginia, the cost of regular gas is around $5.29. As gas prices continue to climb, CG Green says he’s pumping the brakes on unnecessary trips. ‘Look at it, it’s crazy,’ said Green. ‘It’s $5.29 for gas. I have to rethink where I’m going.’ Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin says he is in favor of temporarily suspending the commonwealth’s gas tax.” [WUSA 9]
It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 86 and low of 68. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:37 pm. [Weather.gov]
Members of Congress from Virginia are pushing the federal government to help fund proposed changes to Route 1.
The changes, while still being hashed out by VDOT and local officials, would lower elevated portions of Route 1 through Crystal City to grade, turning it into a lower-speed “urban boulevard.” VDOT is also mulling at least one pedestrian bridge or tunnel at 18th Street S., near the Metro station, to improve safety.
With the first phase of Amazon’s HQ2 on track to open in Pentagon City in 2023, state and local officials see a need to turn the area — collectively known as National Landing — into a more cohesive downtown and economic center. Key to that vision is revamping Route 1, also known as Richmond Highway, which effectively separates Pentagon City from Crystal City.
At last check, cost estimates for the project were around $200 million.
Northern Virginia’s congressional delegation would like to see the feds foot much of the bill, through funding from the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure bill.
In a joint letter to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, the lawmakers say argue that the Route 1 project meets all criteria for funding through the infrastructure bill.
“This grant request will allow Virginia to convert the Route 1 corridor in Arlington into a multimodal urban boulevard that prioritizes pedestrian safety in a walkable environment,” the wrote. “VDOT is developing multimodal solutions for Route 1 to meet National Landing’s transportation needs with the coming of Amazon and other related developments.”
The letter was signed by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Donald McEachin (D-Va.), Elaine Luria (D-Va.), and Robert Wittman (R-Va.).
“The Commonwealth’s commitment to Amazon is to improve safety, accessibility, and the pedestrian experience crossing Route 1,” the lawmakers wrote. “Investment in National Landing will produce significant, measurable benefits to the economy, health, and safety of local citizens… This project satisfies all the merit criteria outlined in the federal grant opportunity, especially the priorities of providing economic, state of good repair, environmental, and equity benefits.
The letter also argues for the project’s fiscal benefits, including reducing bridge maintenance costs and providing acres of additional land for development.
“The transformation of Route 1 to an urban boulevard includes the removal of three bridge structures from the VDOT inventory, which will reduce long term maintenance costs,” the letter said. “Modifications to the I-395 interchange will remove a structurally deficient bridge and avoid future replacement or rehabilitation costs, while also extending the urban boulevard to the north which will contribute to lower speeds.”
“[The project] increases the accessibility to job centers through the proposed access improvements, which will benefit residents of all income levels,” the letter continues. “The project will create approximately 6.5 acres of excess right-of-way resulting in high value developable land.”
Another hoped-for benefit: fewer cars and better safety features.
“It will reduce the need for single-occupancy vehicle trips in favor of environmentally friendly options such as enhanced transit service, walkability, biking routes,” said the letter. “The project also includes multiple innovative solutions, such as a progressive design-build strategy and a pilot safety project to implement near-miss crash technology in National Landing.”
The completion of VDOT’s Phase 2 study of the proposed changes is currently expected to wrap up in early 2023. While the project has general support from the county and the business community, some residents have expressed concerns about whether taking away overpasses in favor of at-grade crossings actually makes things more dangerous for pedestrians.
Much of the congressional delegation, led by Kaine, also wrote a letter to Buttigieg supporting funding for an I-64 connector to ease congestion between Richmond and Hampton Roads.