Arlington, VA

Watch out for some delays along the S. Washington Blvd bridge near the Pentagon tonight (Thursday).

The Virginia Department of Transportation says workers will be shifting the two westbound lanes to left, closer to the middle of the road, from about 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. They’re advising drivers to avoid the area, near the Pentagon’s north parking lots, or prepare to encounter some backups.

VDOT adds that the shift is to “allow for railing and pedestrian fence installation along the west side of the bridge deck,” as work on the renovation project nears its end. Construction has been ongoing since 2015, and VDOT hopes to have it wrapped up by sometime this fall.

The County Board recently asked state officials for permission to name the newly renovated bridge “Arlington Veterans Bridge.”

Photo via VDOT

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Morning Notes

Metro Workers’ Strike Threat Fizzles — After two straight days of talks, tensions between Metro and its largest workers’ union seem to be subsiding. The two sides are planning a “cooling off period” through Monday, and the union is starting to circulate a list of demands to elected officials. [Washington Post]

New Metro Railcars are on Hold — Don’t expect to see more 7000-series railcars on the tracks anytime soon. Metro says wiring problems with the cars have forced the rail service to commission a new round of inspections before putting them in service. [Greater Greater Washington]

County Board Wants to Name Bridge for Veterans — Arlington officials are asking the state to christen the Washington Blvd bridge over Jefferson Davis Highway, just near the Pentagon, as “Arlington Veterans Bridge” by the time its fully rebuilt later this year. [InsideNova]

Kaine Pouring Lemonade in Arlington Tonight — U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) plans to stump in Arlington and lend a hand as a “guest pourer” at a lemonade stand managed by Bridges to Independence, his campaign says. The event, designed to benefit the homelessness-focused nonprofit, starts at 6 p.m. at the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union (4121 Wilson Blvd).

Flickr pool photo via Erinn Shirley

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A shared-use path is now open on eastbound Washington Blvd near the Pentagon, part of a bridge rehabilitation project in Arlington County.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said a 14-foot wide path for bicycles and pedestrians along eastbound Washington Blvd (Route 27) over Route 110 opened yesterday (Tuesday).

The path is now 14 feet wide on the bridge and replaces a narrow concrete sidewalk that pedestrians and cyclists used to use. It is 10 feet wide on the approaches to the bridge.

Drivers in the area can expect some delays starting tonight (Wednesday), as eastbound traffic on Washington Blvd will shift onto the newly-constructed portion of the bridge. The traffic shift allows construction crews to demolish the middle portion of the bridge and rebuild it.

Work is expected to last from 10 p.m. tonight until 5 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday). Drivers are advised to seek alternate routes.

VDOT said it still believes the $31.5 million project is on track to wrap up next year. It will replace the existing bridge, built in 1941, with one that is wider, longer and taller.

Photo via VDOT

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Lanes will close on Route 110 near the Pentagon next week for up to two months as part of a state construction project.

The right lane of northbound Route 110 at Washington Blvd will close Wednesday night and the right lane of southbound Route 110 will close Thursday night at the same interchange.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said the closures are to remove and rebuild the bridge piers on the shoulders. Message signs alerting motorists to the lane closures are in place.

The left lane of northbound Route 110 and the left lane of southbound Route 110, which have been closed since early April to reconstruct the bridge pier in the median, will reopen Tuesday night.

The work is part of the Route 27 over Route 110 project, which is scheduled for completion next spring. The project will modify and repair the Washington Blvd bridge, including widening it and making it longer, wider and taller than the existing bridge.

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Morning Notes

On approach to Reagan National Airport (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Elementary Student Fascinated by Fallout Shelters — Nathan Eberhart, a McKinley Elementary student, has been trying to unravel the mysteries of school fallout shelters for his school’s student newspaper. Eberhart thinks the Cold War relics could be better put to use nowadays “as a community-activities storage area for things like Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, recreational sports and enrichments.” [InsideNova]

Protest Planned in Rosslyn — The Mayday Project will be protesting outside the Infectious Diseases Society of America headquarters in Rosslyn today and tomorrow. The organization wants Lyme disease recognized as a chronic illness. The protest will be held from about 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the 1300 block of Wilson Blvd. [Twitter]

Four Mile Run Cleaning Planned — Starting in a few days, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria will begin a joint project to remove excess vegetation from the Four Mile Run flood control channel, which extends from I-395 to the Potomac River. “Residents will see crews working in or near Four Mile Run, removing trees, shrubs, and other vegetation growing in the channel,” the county noted in a press release. [Arlington County]

Washington Blvd Lane Closure — A northbound lane closure on the Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110 was put in place overnight, according to VDOT. A southbound lane closure, similarly reducing the number of lanes on the bridge from three to two, is expected to be put in place next week. The lane closures were originally planned for this past Monday.

Another County Board Straw PollAnother straw poll in the race for the Democratic County Board nomination was held last night at Del. Alfonso Lopez’s campaign kick-off event at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse. The reported results were: Christian Dorsey 27%, Peter Fallon 23%, Katie Cristol 22%, James Lander 15%, Andrew Schneider 12%, Bruce Wiljanen 1%.

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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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

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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

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A big milestone has been reached in the construction of a new Washington Blvd overpass over Columbia Pike: Washington Blvd traffic is now using both new bridges.

The Virginia Department of Transportation changed the traffic pattern today, directing eastbound traffic onto the newly constructed bridge. Before today, eastbound and westbound traffic shared the first bridge built as part of the $48.5 million, three-year long construction project.

The bridge is expected to fully open by late this summer and be named Freedman’s Village Bridge, after the freed slave community that was founded a few miles away.

“We wanted to pay respect to the local significance of Freedman’s Village,” VDOT Project manager Christiana Briganti-Dunn told ARLnow.com today. “Four pylons will show the name and there will be medallions on the bridge replicating scenery in the village, taken from a Harper’s Weekly story from 1864.”

The remaining work to be done includes completing the box culverts to redirect Long Branch Creek, which flows underneath the interchange, ramp reconstruction, a shared-use path, a sound barrier and painting. VDOT spokeswoman Jenni McCord said they are planning a “big celebration” when the bridge opens up.

This morning, in the shadow of the bridge, VDOT hosted a kick-off event for National Work Zone Awareness Week, highlighting the dangers for motorists and construction workers in highway work zones.

“So many lives are at risk when a driver fails to follow the rules of the road in a highway work zone,” Virginia State Police Capt. James De Ford told a crowd of about 50 workers, transportation agency employees and media. “Drivers must stay alert in work zones. The consequences are too severe not to.”

Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter said that Arlington in 2014 had fewer work zone injuries than any of the previous five years. In Virginia, 15 people were killed in work zone accidents in 2014 — all of them motorists.

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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

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Interchange of Columbia PIke and I-395 (via Google Maps)(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) Starting today, drivers heading eastbound on Columbia Pike toward I-395 will be following a new traffic pattern.

Drivers heading toward northbound I-395 will now turn left at the traffic signal on S. Quinn Street and bear right to merge onto the interstate, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Those going south will drive through the intersection with S. Quinn Street and use the ramp on the right.

That’s a change from before, when northbound and southbound traffic could both take the ramp. VDOT workers will be on the road today making the switch, which is expected to be complete by 5:00 p.m.

VDOT also announced that Columbia Pike will be closed to drivers between S. Queen Street and Orme Street each of the next three weekends as workers demolish the old Washington Blvd overpass. The closure will begin at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow night until 4:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 3, and it will be closed again at the same times Feb. 7-10 and Feb. 14-17.

The demolition is the next phase in the $51.5 million Washington Blvd improvement project, still slated to be finished in the summer of 2015.

Photo via Google Maps

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Washington Blvd bridge over Columbia PikeNorthbound traffic on Washington Blvd is now going over the newly-constructed overpass over Columbia Pike.

The bridge, which has been under construction since 2012, was built to replace the previous structure. The old bridge was built in the 1940s as part of the original Pentagon Roadway Network and had been in “poor condition,” according to VDOT.

Construction on the project is still expected to wrap up at some point in 2015, according to VDOT’s project website.

Lane closures will continue on Columbia Pike into 2014 while the new bridge is finished and the old bridge is demolished. Demolition is expected to happen as soon as January.

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