Arlington County is calling for the public’s help once again for the planning of a pedestrian bridge connecting Crystal City to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
This time, Arlington County wants the public’s help in deciding between two locations for the bridge.
Arlington residents can submit their opinions no later than Nov. 6 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or completing the online feedback form at www.cc2dca.us.
Once finished in 2028, the Crystal City to Ronald Reagan Airport, or CC2DCA, for short will be the first of its kind. The 1,300-foot pedestrian bridge will be the equivalent of a five-minute walk from Crystal City to the airport and will allow for the thousands of those living and working in Crystal City to get to the airport quickly and easily.
The first option, option 7D, would start where the new National Landing Virginia Railway Express station will be at 2011 Crystal Dr. The bridge will cross over the George Washington Memorial Parkway and end at Terminal 2’s parking garage.
The second option, option 9D, also would end up in the Terminal 2 garage. But, it would start at the future Amtrak station, which is further down Crystal Drive at 2231 Crystal Dr., making it a longer walk through the parking garage to get to the airport.
The preferred option is 7D, according to Arlington County. Option 7D is the quickest to the airport and the cheapest, according to a senior planner for Vanasse Hangen Brustlin engineering consulting company Drew Morrison.
The planning for the bridge is already three years in, though it’s scheduled to be completed six years from now.
Arlington County is scheduled to be done with the planning for the bridge in mid-to-late 2023. Then, the engineering for the bridge is scheduled to be completed in 2026 to early 2027. Finally, the construction for the bridge is set to be done by 2028, according to Morrison in the virtual public meeting.
“Of course, I will benefit from the bridge,” Crystal City resident Ekaterina Smirnova said. “But the reality is I probably won’t be living here still to experience it.
The reason why engineering is scheduled to take so long is because of five-to-six other projects that will interfere with the bridge.
Projects like the new VRE station, the new Amtrak station, and the new Terminal 2 security checkpoint at the airport are all directly connected to one or two of the bridge options.
The construction for all three of these projects have yet to begin.
The estimated walk time now from the Crystal City VRE station to the airport is 33 minutes, according to Apple Maps.
“It’s not a bad walk,” Crystal City resident Miguel Diaz said. “I’ve done it a couple of times, it’s just when I went it was really dark at the time.”
Both times Diaz made the walk it was early in the morning, before the Metro opened or as the Metro was just opening.
Planning the design of the bridge will be the county’s next step after picking its location. Lighting, a roof over the bridge, and even seats on the bridge are all in the discussion, according to the senior planner for VHB Drew Morrison in a virtual public meeting.
Arlington County values the public’s opinion on what to add to the bridge, as it decided to add a connection to the Mt. Vernon Trail for both options after it was brought up as a concern for members of the public over the summer.
Some residents feel discouraged about this plan, fearing that those trying to make it to the airport will be stuck in the congestion of bikers and runners throughout their commute.
During the virtual meeting last Tuesday, the team responded that this is a concern that will be handled in the design stage of the project.
Originally, there were four other options included with options 7D & 9D. Three of those options included a tunnel.
Those options were deleted after the county learned that the existing infrastructure could not handle a tunnel, according to Morrison in the virtual public meeting.
The $38 million project funding comes from not only Arlington County. Of the $38 million, $9 million comes from federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement funds, $18 million comes from Northern Virginia regional funds, and the remaining $11 million comes from Arlington County, according to Morrison in the virtual public meeting.
The next public meeting will be in March 2022, when residents can help plan what the design of the bridge would look like.
“We at the National Landing BID are thrilled by the considerable progress made towards making CC2DCA a reality and we applaud Arlington and Virginia’s commitment to delivering this next-generation mobility project,” said President of National Landing Business Improvement District Tracy Sayegh Gabriel in a press statement email.