Potomac Yard Metro Finishes Permitting, Moves Into Construction Phase

(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) With the acquisition of a Clean Waters Act permit, the Potomac Yard Metro station has been cleared to start construction.

On Friday, Nov. 15, the Army Corps of Engineers issued the final permit required for construction on the Metro station to start in the wetlands, staff said at a Nov. 19 meeting. The announcement was followed by a small round of applause from the Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group (PYMIG), a group that’s been meeting since 2011 to consider issues related to opening a Metro station in Potomac Yard.

After the announcement, staff laid out a new timeline for construction work to begin over the next few months, after a series of delays. On Monday, Dec. 2, work will start on placing fill at the site. The following Monday, Dec. 9, pile driving is scheduled to start. Staff said this will take approximately three weeks to create 60 piles.

By March, city staff said concrete will start being poured for the foundation of the Metro station. Construction is expected to last a little over two years, with an opening scheduled for March 2022.

Meanwhile, the PYMIG also broached early discussions about securing residential parking permits for the neighborhoods near the new station.

Currently, staff said they are looking at putting out a survey that will require 60 percent of residents to write back and say they are in favor of creating a residential parking area, but a resident of the area noted that 60 percent might be too high of a threshold for expecting residents to respond to a mailer.

“The is a reason we have [residential parking permits] adjacent to all of our Metro stations,” Mayor Justin Wilson said. “But the reason we’ve had a high bar in the past is you’re asking people to give up something: asking them to give up free reign of the streets, asking them to register for a permit every year, asking them to subject guests and visitors to that regime.”

Wilson said he hoped to avoid a situation where a smaller percentage of property owners can impose a residential parking permit system on all of their neighbors.

“I get the need for a threshold,” Wilson said. “We’ll look at whether that’s the right threshold, but you do want to make sure you have some way of demonstrating folks are supportive.”

The city issued a press release, below, about the final permit being issued Friday afternoon.

On November 15, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit to the City of Alexandria for the new Potomac Yard Metrorail Station. In accordance with the federal Clean Water Act, the extensive evaluation process used to issue the permit included a public comment period and consideration of conservation, economics, aesthetics, environmental protection, cultural values, energy needs and safety.

This was the final permit required under the Joint Permit Application process with the Corps and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The Virginia State Water Control Board unanimously approved the state permit in September. Preliminary construction activities began earlier this year, and the station will be subject to additional development review and other local permits over the next year.

The new Potomac Yard Metro Station, to be built on Metrorail’s Yellow and Blue Lines between the existing Braddock Road and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport stations, will provide an extensive range of benefits for Alexandria and the surrounding community, including walkable access to regional transportation systems for neighborhoods in the northeast area of the city. The station is also expected to generate billions of dollars in new private sector investment over the long term and eventually support 26,000 new jobs and 13,000 new residents. The Potomac Yard area represents the most significant redevelopment and tax base growth opportunity for Alexandria, with the potential to achieve the vision for an urban mix of uses near transit.

The $320 million station will be funded through a variety of sources – including new tax revenue from development in Potomac Yard over the next 40 years, grants from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, and developer contributions. The station is scheduled to open in early 2022.

Photo via City of Alexandria

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