Route 27/244 Interchange
|Washington Boulevard Bridge over Columbia Pike in Arlington|
Project at a Glance
About the Project
This design-build project replaces the Washington Boulevard bridge over Columbia Pike in Arlington. The new bridge will be wider, longer and a great deal more attractive than today’s structure. A light well will separate westbound and eastbound lanes, and an acceleration/deceleration lane will be added westbound between ramps to assist weaving.
The new bridge will accommodate turn lanes, a raised median, a wider sidewalk and a 10-foot shared-use path on Columbia Pike. Clearance under the bridge will be increased to 16'-8” to accommodate a future area streetcar.
Several ramps will also be reconfigured to improve access, traffic flow and increase capacity.
The existing box culvert that conveys Long Branch through the center of the interchange will be replaced with a double-cell box culvert and extended to reduce erosion at the downstream end.
The design provides enhanced safety, mobility and aesthetics for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.
A community working group of citizens, Arlington County and VDOT staff developed concepts for the bridge's architectural and aesthetic treatments, including:
• Decorative pylons in each corner
• Haunched steel fascia girders with a two-tone paint scheme to mimic the existing arch
• A relief pattern incorporated into the vertical outer surfaces of the bridge parapet to create shadows and visual interest.
• A concrete block pattern on retaining and abutment walls similar to Pentagon architecture
• Recessed, arched panels on the abutment walls
• Medallions with images reflecting the historical significance of the Freedmen’s Village, for which the bridge will be named
• Color and anti-graffiti application to concrete surfaces
During the project, drivers can expect single-lane closures daily on Washington Boulevard in both directions from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
January 2014: New traffic pattern for drivers heading to northbound I-395 from eastbound Columbia Pike in place through late 2014/early 2015
Revised traffic pattern on eastbound Columbia Pike at the Washington Boulevard bridge in place through 2014
Periodic Columbia Pike closures – Up to five weekend closures of Columbia Pike are expected for work such as bridge demolition and erection of steel bridge beams. These closures will begin after rush hour Friday evening and reopen by rush hour on Monday morning. Traffic will be rerouted between S. Quinn Street and S. Orme Street around the north side of the intersection. Message signs will notify in advance.
The existing single-span bridge was built in the 1940s by the War Department as part of the Pentagon Roadway Network. It is a thick, solid structure that suffers from deteriorating concrete, corrosion, and heavy chloride contamination. It has also withstood many years of increasing traffic loads.
The interchange did not operate adequately or accommodate all users, and also prohibited improvements to Columbia Pike. A 2008 traffic analysis considered spot improvements and corridor-wide improvements to the interchange to address concerns raised by the community working group. Concerns included maintaining S. Queen Street access, adding signals along Columbia Pike, separating Ramp E from the S. Queen Street intersection to the extent possible, and eliminating time-of-day lane use on eastbound Columbia Pike. While all concerns could not be addressed through design, VDOT’s intent was to determine how best to meet the safety, operation, and access issues raised by the Bridge Working Group, while also ensuring that the interchange configuration will function adequately during the peak hours without queues spilling back onto the mainline of Washington Boulevard. View a copy of the traffic analysis report.
The bridge was rated as “poor” in recent structural inspections, meaning that the superficial concrete is in poor condition, but is still sufficiently capable of carrying traffic without risk to the public. Note: Truck drivers are reminded that the bridge's posted weight was reduced to 26 tons (single truck or truck with trailer), based on the partial bridge demolition that was done in Nov. 2012.
Washington Boulevard carries more than 80,000 vehicles each day over Columbia Pike.
UPC: 13528 State Project: 0027-000-V01,P101,R201,C501,B601,B617,D602