Work is progressing on the multiphase Columbia Pike utility undergrounding and streetscape improvement project.
The gas main relocation on Columbia Pike — between Four Mile Run and the Arlington/Fairfax line — is expected to be completed later this month, ending the pre-construction phase of the utility undergrounding that began in 2017. Northern Pipeline, Washington Gas’ contractor for the project, will coordinate with customers to change service over to the new gas mainline.
Drivers should expect traffic disruptions, lane closures, and possible left turn restrictions on Arlington’s western end of the Pike for the duration of the construction. This phase of the undergrounding project is expected to take three years to construct.
Three segments of the entire multimodal street project have already been completed. Another three construction segments have yet to begin, and the entire project is estimated to continue through 2021, according to Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services. Those three segments run from S. Wakefield Street to S. Oakland Street, from S. Garfield Street to S. Quinn Street, and from S. Orme Street to S. Joyce Street.
A DES press release stated that the work was intended to “make Columbia Pike a safer, more accessible route for all users.”
The $14.6 million construction contract, approved November 2017 by the County Board, also includes street improvements between Four Mile Run Bridge and S. Jefferson Street. Planned enhancements include wider sidewalks, upgraded traffic signals and street lights. Old water and sewer pipes will be replaced and overhead utilities will be buried.
An outdoor sculpture by Chicago-born Donald Lipski will be installed by Arlington’s Western Gateway, near Columbia Pike and South Jefferson Street, marking the entrance to Arlington from Fairfax County. Residents interested in email updates regarding the projects can sign up on the county’s project and planning website.
Expect additional traffic headaches through the fall on Columbia Pike, now that a project to relocate an underground gas main is underway there.
Crews with Washington Gas started the construction Monday between the Fairfax County line and Four Mile Run, ahead of several streetscape improvements the county has planned for the future.
At least one lane of Columbia Pike in each direction will remain open at all times during construction, and work could be possible on nights and weekends.
Washington Gas crews will store equipment and other materials at four locations along the Pike during construction. Although nearby properties still can be accessed, adjacent bus stops could be temporarily moved or closed.
This is the latest phase of a project approved in 2014 by the County Board that included new bike boulevards on 9th and 12th Streets S., as an alternative route to Columbia Pike, which runs parallel. Once the gas main work is complete, county workers will install wider sidewalks, new street lights, upgraded traffic signals, trees and bus shelters. A piece of public art will also be added at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Jefferson Street.
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