VDOT News - Northern Virginia
Michelle Holland 703-586-0487
March 12, 2021
New Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail Bridge Opening Today, March 12, Over Route 29 (Lee Highway) Near I-66 in Arlington
Provides safer, faster crossing for bicyclists and pedestrians
ARLINGTON – The new Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail Bridge over Route 29 (Lee Highway) in Arlington will open this afternoon, Friday, March 12, announced the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). This new bridge will provide bicyclists and pedestrians with a safer, faster crossing over busy Route 29 adjacent to I-66. The new bridge was built as part of VDOT’s I-66 Eastbound Widening Project.
“This new W&OD Trail bridge is another step forward in VDOT’s commitment to expanding multimodal transportation options in the I-66 corridor and across the region,” said Bill Cuttler, P.E., VDOT Northern Virginia District Construction Engineer. “The new bridge will benefit a range of trail users, from people walking and bicycling to the nearby East Falls Church Metrorail Station to the dedicated bicycle commuters who use the trail year-round to reach destinations across Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.”
The new crossing separates trail users from motorists at the signalized intersection of Route 29 and Fairfax Drive. The new bridge will enhance safety for both trail users and motorists and improve operations at nearby intersections on Route 29.
This section of the W&OD Trail between Arlington and Falls Church is heavily traveled by approximately 1,500 bicyclists and pedestrians on weekdays and more than 2,000 trail users on weekends. On weekdays, the W&OD Trail is a significant commuter route, carrying a steady flow of cyclists in both directions, tying together much of the region’s trail network. On weekends, the trail is a prime recreational resource for thousands of cyclists, runners, walkers, and more.
“The W&OD is the center spine of the trail network in Northern Virginia and has reached a new level of use during the pandemic,” said Paul Gilbert, Executive Director of NOVA Parks. “We are thrilled to offer trail users this new bridge over one of the busiest intersections along the trail. This is part of the larger effort to improve the capacity of the trail in more urban areas. The new dual-trail configuration being constructed in Falls Church to separate pedestrians from cyclists on parallel paths is also part of this greater effort. NOVA Parks created the W&OD Trail 45 years ago, and with our many partners, we continue to improve and evolve the trail to meet the needs of today.”
The new, six-span bridge is 623 feet long, with the longest span being above Route 29 at a length of 153 feet. Design and construction of the bridge were complex due to the close proximity to Dominion Energy’s energized 230 KV transmission lines, which require minimum clearances, and led to the need to introduce curvature in the bridge to meet requirements. Additionally, the new bridge was constructed adjacent to the historic Benjamin Elliott Coal Trestle, built in 1926 for processing of coal from the W&OD Railroad for local delivery.
“The partnership between VDOT, the County, NOVA Parks, and our community made this bridge a reality,” Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said. “This new connection will benefit Arlington and the entire regional trail network by making it safer and more comfortable for all trail users who ride the W&OD Trail.”
Minor additional work will occur on and around the bridge through summer 2021, including replacing traffic signals at the Route 29 intersections with Fairfax Drive and Washington Boulevard and constructing new curb ramps at these two intersections.
The approximately $6 million trail bridge was designed and constructed by VDOT and its design-build contractor, Lane Construction Corporation, in collaboration with NOVA Parks (owner and operator of the W&OD Trail), Arlington County, and the City of Falls Church. The trail bridge is part of several multimodal improvements being built through the $85.7 million I-66 Eastbound Widening Project, a part of VDOT’s larger Transform 66 Program aimed at moving more people along the I-66 corridor more efficiently.
Other components of the multimodal I-66 Eastbound Widening Project include:
- Adding another travel lane along four miles of eastbound I-66 from the Dulles Connector Road to Exit 71 (Glebe Road/Fairfax Drive) in The new lane on I-66 East, which opened in December 2020, addresses a stretch of roadway that was previously a bottleneck area where eastbound traffic on the Dulles Connector Road merges with eastbound I-66, funneling down to two through lanes.
- Modifying ramps at Exits 69 (Washington Boulevard/Lee Highway) and 71 (Glebe Road/Fairfax Drive), rehabilitating and repairing bridges crossing I-66, and building more than 12,000 linear feet of new and replacement noise barriers along eastbound and westbound I-66. These improvements opened in late 2020.
- Building a new ramp providing direct access from I-66 East to the West Falls Church Metrorail Station at the Leesburg Pike (Route 7) Interchange. The ramp will connect two existing ramps – the ramp from eastbound I-66 to Route 7 and the ramp from the eastbound I-66 collector-distributor road adjacent to the station’s parking garage. This ramp connection is expected to open this spring.
- Improving the Custis Trail in Bon Air Park by adding a roundabout where the Custis Trail passes under I-66 – completed in 2020.
Learn more about the project at inside.transform66.org. Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova
Looking east across Route 29.
Profile of the new bridge, looking south along Route 29 toward Falls Church.
Looking east along the new bridge.
Looking east alongside the new bridge, headed toward Route 29.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.