Alexandria’s Parks and Recreation Commission will discuss funding for three city park projects next week.
Up for discussion is a $436,000 project to install a launch area/paddling access at Four Mile Run Park, $21,000 for student gardens at Samuel Tucker Elementary School and a $25,000 pocket park at Lake Cook.
The projects are part of the fiscal year 2023 Community Matching Fund, which allows groups to get one-to-one funds for conservation and beautification projects. The Community Matching Fund started in 2017, and has so far funded more than $200,000 for athletic fields, new community gardens, and renovated playgrounds.
City staff recommend that $73,000 in matching funds are approved for the three projects.
“The Fund is designed to foster public/private partnerships and cultivate innovative ways for residents to have a greater stake in improving the park and recreation facilities that they use,” staff said in a report.
The Commission will discuss the projects at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 20, at the Dr. Oswald Durant Memorial Center (1605 Cameron Street).
Alexandria and Arlington will start clearing debris and dredging Four Mile Run in September, and the project will close sections of the park from the public for four to six months.
The City and County maintain a shared flood-control channel in the lower portion of the nine-mile-long stream, and have partnered to dredge Four Mile Run since 1974.
“The work that is upcoming will be maintenance work and it will include dredging or removing some of the soil and rock deposits, which will restore the channel to the capacity so that it can pass a 100 year storm, or a storm that has a 1% chance of happening every year,” Aileen Winquist, Arlington’s stormwater communications manager, said in a community meeting Tuesday night (May 17).
The work area includes portions of Four Mile Run Park and Lower Long Branch, near Arlington’s Troy Park. The project will not impact the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market.
It will take up to six months to dredge at Four Mile Run Park and about a month to dredge the area around Troy Park, Winquist said.
The Four Mile Run dredge project includes shutting down the Four Mile Run Park parking lot along Mount Vernon Avenue for dredging equipment, as well as closure and detour of a section of the park trail.
Four Mile Run Park is also undergoing a trail bridge replacement near the baseball fields.
Maps via Arlington County
The West Glebe Road bridge over Four Mile Run will be closing completely in two weeks, and will remain closed to vehicles for nearly a year.
The circa-1956 bridge connects Arlington and Alexandria near the I-395/S. Glebe Road interchange. It has been deemed “structurally deficient” since 2018. A $10 million project to replace its deck and beams was approved by the Arlington County Board last April as part of a joint project with Alexandria. The project was slated to start this year, but in the meantime engineers have found “continued degradation of the bridge beams.”
As a result, the bridge is closing to all traffic on Monday, May 9, the county announced today. That’s after southbound bridge traffic was detoured for the same reason in March.
New detours will be put into place that will divert vehicular traffic either over the Mount Vernon Avenue bridge to the east or Shirlington Circle to the west. Both of those bridges, coincidentally, are also aging and set for repairs over the next couple of years; the former received funding from the recent federal infrastructure bill.
Arlington County expects two vehicle lanes on the West Glebe Road bridge to reopen in early 2023, while it’s still under construction. Work is expected to start shortly after the May closure and last until the summer of 2023.
Pedestrians and cyclists who formerly used the bridge will also be detoured, though a temporary pedestrian path across Four Mile Run is expected to open in July. Four Mile Run Trail users, meanwhile, will re-routed to a parallel path, as the portion of trail under the bridge will be closed.
More from a county press release, below.
Because of continued degradation of the bridge beams, engineers will close the West Glebe Road Bridge to all motor vehicle traffic beginning on Monday, May 9, 2022, for construction of a planned replacement superstructure (road deck and beams). Two motor vehicle lanes on the renovated bridge are expected to reopen in early 2023 along with one of two widened sidewalks.
The current structure connecting Arlington and Alexandria over Four Mile Run was built in 1956. Elements have experienced noted deterioration in recent years.
In 2018, a 5-ton weight restriction was placed on all user vehicles. In March 2022, all southbound traffic was detoured away from the bridge amid signs of continued structural beam degradation.
Allowing continued motor vehicle traffic with the additional stress of construction has now been ruled out. Pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to use the bridge through June, after which they will be directed to a temporary crossing, independent of the superstructure, to be built along the bridge, expected to open in July.
The Mount Vernon Avenue Bridge further east over Four Mile Run will continue to handle vehicular traffic detouring from the West Glebe bridge.
The bridge’s original piers are stable and will be used to support the new superstructure, reducing project costs, construction time, and impact on the watershed.
The project is set for completion by summer 2023.
Arlington County and the City of Alexandria continue continue to coordinate closely on the bridge replacement project. Crews will mobilize for the job later this month.
(Updated 7:25 p.m.) While there are still some issues with infrastructure over Four Mile Run, Alexandria and Arlington are moving forward with a project to clean out what’s under it.
In a recent newsletter about flooding infrastructure, the city announced an upcoming meeting to discuss the particulars of a dredging project in Four Mile Run.
“Members of the community are invited to a virtual public meeting on May 17, about a project to dredge Four Mile Run,” the newsletter said. “Dredging Four Mile Run is an important federal flood control measure. Alexandria and Arlington have partnered to dredge Four Mile Run since 1974. Periodic dredging of significant accumulated sediment in the channel that borders the municipalities is required to maintain conveyance capacity and freeboard for the channel as set by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)previously determined in a 2021 inspection that soil deposit levels were “unacceptable” due to excessive shoaling — an indication that the creek is too shallow and could present a flooding hazard.
The USACE inspection determined the channel had “excessive shoaling” due to shallow water depths. Dredging the soil deposits will address this shoaling and ensure the channel can handle large, once-in-a-century floods, the county says.
The dredging is included in a federal flood control project, and per an agreement as far back as 1974, Arlington and Alexandria have joint responsibility for maintenance of the channel. The city’s website notes that the north side of the channel is obviously Arlinton’s responsibility, and the south side is Alexandria’s responsibility.
The city website said the project will restore capacity to the channel and clear away debris, vegetation growth and more that’s grown in Four Mile Run.
The dredging project is scheduled to run from September 2022 to February 2023.
H/t to Ronald Gochenour for noting the inspection report and explaining excessive shoaling
City staff laid out what’s ahead for some of the city’s stormwater infrastructure projects in a presentation prepared for the City Council’s meeting tonight (Tuesday).
Three large projects to increase sewer capacity are planned in Del Ray, according to the Flood Action Alexandria presentation. Two of the projects — a $34 million undertaking at East Glebe Road and Commonwealth Avenue and a $16 million project at Ashby Street and East Glebe Road — were merged together for planning purposes. The two projects are next to each other in the Four Mile Run watershed.
“This project is expected to increase the capacity, or size, of the stormwater sewer pipes; create opportunities for stormwater to be stored and released slowly over time; and incorporate ‘green infrastructure’ practices, such as permeable pavement, that allow the stormwater to soak into the ground, reducing runoff,” the city website states.
The contract for work in the Four Mile Run watershed is estimated to be awarded sometime this spring, with the project targeted for completion in 2025.
Another, called the Hooff’s Run Culvert/Timber Branch Bypass, is at the southern end of Del Ray. The $60 million project will construct a new stormwater pipe system to transport stormwater away from the Hooff’s Run Culvert, helping manage flows from the Timber Branch watershed, the city website states. The city plans to put out a request for qualifications for that project this spring.
Between fiscal years 2023 and 2032, the city proposes to fund $156 million in large capacity projects, $55 million in maintenance, $44 million in spot improvements and $18 million in water quality projects, according to the presentation.
The presentation lists two spot improvement projects in the design phase and another two in construction phase. Spot improvements are small capital projects meant to address localized flooding and draining issues relating to the city’s storm sewer system.
Cul-de-sac inlets and drainage are being designed for the Mount Vernon Avenue cul-de-sac near Blue Park. At Oakland Terrace in Rosemont, the city is in the design phase to stabilize degrading and eroding banks and protect sanitary sewer line.
The city is also increasing inlet capacity at Hume Avenue in the Potomac Yard area, and not far away at Clifford Avenue, and Fulton and Manning streets. The latter work started at the end of February.
Vernon Miles contributed to this article. Photo via City of Alexandria.
The Mount Vernon Avenue bridge is a vital link between Alexandria and Arlington, but it’s in rough shape and in desperate need of a refit.
The Arlington Ridge Road/Mount Vernon Avenue bridge over Four Mile Run in rough shape and this morning (Friday) Senator Mark Warner and local leaders met with engineers to review the state of the bridge and advocate for the bridge to get a significant boost from federal funding. Federal funding for bridge infrastructure is currently in the hands of state leaders who will allocate funding to bridge projects around the state.
Greg Emanuel, director of the Department of Environmental Services for Arlington County, led Warner and other leaders on a tour of the bridge and highlighted where the issues are. On the Arlington side of the bridge, where the Four Mile Run trail runs beneath the bridge, Emanuel said the superstructure of the bridge will require replacement to the tune of around $28 million.
The nearby West Glebe Road Bridge is in a similar state of disrepair and Emanuel said Alexandria and Arlington are working together for bridge replacement over the course of this year and into 2023. Once that’s completed, Emanuel said Arlington and Alexandria will turn their attention to the Mount Vernon Avenue bridge in the 2024-2025 timeframe.
Emanuel said the current bridge is comprised of stacked slabs of concrete that are difficult to inspect without taking the bridge apart. While the piers and abutments holding up the bridge will remain, an inspection in 2018 found that parts of the roadway superstructure have deteriorated and need to be replaced with a steel bridge — which Emanuel noted will also be easier to inspect.
As part of a new infrastructure bill, Virginia is receiving $537 million for bridge repair. Of the bridge replacement’s $28 million estimated budget, up to 80% of that can be paid for from the federal funding that the state is currently divvying up.
“What we don’t want in Virginia is what happened in Pittsburgh a week ago,” said Warner. “Help is on its way for additional funding.”
Local leaders said more state and federal support for the bridge repair projects would be greatly appreciated.
“Bridges are about connecting communities,” said Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol. “We do have a plan to address [the bridge repair] but could use federal support. This project will make a big difference and improve connectivity between low-income communities.”
Alexandria City Council member John Chapman said he grew up around the area and saw little difference as a local between the Alexandria and Arlington sides of Four Mile Run. Chapman said residents on both side of Four Mile Run need to be able to move seamlessly from one side to the other.
“This is a great opportunity to show we caught something before it became a problem,” said City Council member Sarah Bagley. “Inspections are vital.”
Emanuel said localities are currently waiting for more announcements from the state on how the federal funding will be allocated, but Emanuel said the bridges that are in poor condition — which the Mount Vernon Avenue bridge qualifies as — will be first in line for funding.
Despite Gov. Glenn Youngkin getting a less-than-warm reception in Alexandria yesterday, Jennifer Deci, Youngkin’s Deputy Secretary of Transportation, was a welcome presence at the tour and said that state leadership was eager to work with federal and local partners to fund bridge projects and seek more infrastructure funding from the federal government.
Deci said the timeline for allocating the bridge funding is still being worked out, but will likely be sometime in the first half of this year.
The West Glebe Road Bridge connecting Arlington and Alexandria is dropping down to one lane in each direction after an inspection found deterioration under the bridge’s sidewalk.
According to a press release from Arlington County, one northbound lane and one southbound lane will be open, with one northbound lane being converted into a pedestrian and bicycle path after the closure of the west sidewalk.
“A recent inspection revealed additional deterioration under the west sidewalk and the temporary walking path, which necessitated the sidewalk being closed in this area,” the County said.
In April, the County Board approved a $9.89 million contract — funded jointly by Alexandria and Arlington — for a bridge replacement. Construction is expected to start next summer. The County said the closures will remain in place until the bridge replacement is completed.
The County noted that this isn’t the first time travel capacity on the bridge has been reduced.
“The routine inspection of the bridge in fall 2018 uncovered deterioration that prompted a vehicle weight restriction of 5 tons and closure of the sidewalks in both directions,” the County said. “The southbound lane across the bridge was converted for the exclusive use of people walking and biking.”
Photo (1) via Google Maps, photo (2) via Arlington County
Mayoral candidates engage in public forum — “Alexandria’s mayoral candidates gathered in a virtual forum on Saturday, kicking into high gear to get their message out ahead of the Nov. 2 general election.” [Alexandria Times]
Amazon backs grant program to spur affordable development near D.C.-area transit — “Amazon will fund a new grant program to help local governments and nonprofit developers pursue affordable projects near transit stations, directing $500,000 of its recently announced $2 billion Housing Equity Fund to this effort.” [Washington Business Journal]
Local group plans Four Mile Run clean-up — “Join us Sat., Oct. 23 for cleanup at Four Mile Run Park from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to celebrate the Clean Virginia Waterways and Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.” [Twitter]
Alexandria kid goes viral for love of fire department — “Alotta yuck these days… Please enjoy the delight of my three year old spotting a fire truck. @AlexandriaVAFD, meet your biggest fan!” [Twitter]
D.C. didn’t ask Northam and Hogan to help crack down on ticket scofflaws, despite initial claims it did — “D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser never reached out to the governors of Virginia and Maryland to negotiate reciprocity for automated traffic camera tickets, despite a District government report — signed by the mayor and submitted to the D.C. Council last week — saying that said she did.” [DCist]
What a week in Alexandria.
Public uproar over Sunday’s flooding spilled out throughout this week, which continued to be threatened by near-daily flash flood advisories from the National Weather Service.
Our top story was on Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, who criticized City Manager Mark Jinks on the city’s stormwater infrastructure. Mayor Justin Wilson says that multiple projects are underway and take time, and that the city is now looking into whether spot improvements and any other projects can be accelerated.
The group DrainALX has also gained popularity, as it continues to catalog stormwater issues and complaints. One Del Ray resident even told us that she’s turned to therapy after repeatedly spending thousands on a continually ruined basement.
Our weekly poll also found 55% of respondents (193 people) have experienced flood damage to their homes, 14% (74 people) have experienced other sorts of property damage and 31% (159 votes) have never had any property damaged by a storm in the city.
This weekend’s forecast is partly cloudy with a 50% chance of scattered thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon, followed by a 40% chance of thunderstorms Sunday night.
The week before school starts, the School Board unanimously approved Thursday night the requirement that ACPS staffers get the coronavirus vaccine.
“We do have authority to require testing and require vaccinations,” Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. said at the board meeting. “However, there have been no cases where someone has contested that requirement. That has not occurred as of yet, and I’m sure it’s going to begin soon…”
In the meantime, Alexandria is also prepping COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees.
- Alexandria Fire Department rescued several people Sunday, weekly forecast looks stormy
- New census shows Alexandria not majority-white
- Olympic boxer Troy Isley welcomed back to Alexandria
- Mayor Wilson talks flooding, vaccine requirements, and Arlington gondola with WAMU
- Man arrested for domestic violence, pointing gun at wife’s head in Del Ray
- Alexandria kicks off Restaurant Week
- Evolving COVID-19 decisions loom as Alexandria City Public Schools fully reopen next Tuesday
- With high transmission levels, Alexandria says third COVID vaccine dose is available for severely immunocompromised residents
- Alexandria Tutoring Consortium launches $25K fundraiser to expand virtual reading program for young kids
- Barricade situation in Landmark area ends in arrest
- As Alexandria looks to accelerate stormwater projects, Sheriff gives city manager a D-
- The Four Mile Run Bridge in Arlandria will not fully reopen until fall 2025
- Institute for Defense Analyses announces Potomac Yard move-in later this year
- Woman behind DrainALX campaign shares frustrations and hopes from locals after Sunday flood
- HUD Secretary Fudge visits Alexandria, says affordable housing is a Biden Administration priority
- New census shows Alexandria not majority-white
- Alexandria School Board to discuss mandatory vaccinations for staffers this week
- After rampant flooding over weekend, another Flash Flood Watch is in effect for Alexandria
- Poll: Have you gotten the infamous mite bite in Alexandria?
- Alexandria Fire Department struggling with staffing shortage and forced overtime
- Stuck in quandary, Del Ray flooding victim seeks therapy
Have a safe weekend!
Police say no foul play suspected after body found in Four Mile Run Park — “Police activity in park behind 3900 block of Mt. Vernon has cleared. An adult male subject was found in the park. At this time, it does not appear to be suspicious. This is a Medical Examiner’s case.” [Twitter]
Fire Chief Smedley promotes staff — “In addition to promoting Lt. Sharpe and EMS Lt. Prodoehl, @SmedleyCorey promoted 18 other Lieutenants, EMS Lieutenants, and Captains. We’re celebrating the promotion of about 8% of our department. Congratulations to our new officers and thank you for everything you do!” [Twitter]
Ballyshaners to celebrate halfway point to St. Patrick’s Day — “On Saturday, September 18, from 11am-7pm, local Irish group The Ballyshaners welcome you to celebrate the halfway point to Saint Patrick’s Day.”
The Art League showcases the work of Bryan Sieling — “Enjoy collecting objects you’ve found? There is a new exhibit at The Art League Gallery on display through Sept.5 that takes collecting one step farther. Artist Bryan Sieling transforms objects into amazing works.” [Zebra]
Today’s weather — “Showers early then scattered thunderstorms developing later in the day. High near 80F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%… Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers. Low 73F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.” [Weather.com]
New job: Full-time assistant store manager at Aldi — “When you join our team as an Assistant Store Manager, you’ll take on key store management responsibilities including assisting with supervising day-to-day store activities, ensuring overall store performance, managing schedules, and developing operational action plans while identifying training opportunities to develop and grow the team.” [Indeed]