Construction Update: Cherrydale Lee Highway Utility Undergrounding, May 2013 Community Update >>
The Cherrydale Lee Highway Revitalization Program was designed to bring aesthetic and functional improvements to Cherrydale’s busy Lee Highway corridor making the area more pedestrian-friendly and helping to revitalize this diverse and dynamic neighborhood. This two decade long program is now in its final stages with utility undergrounding slated for completion in late 2013 and the final phase of the streetscape improvements scheduled to be finished in 2014.
- Series of street improvements (four phases)
- Relocation of existing overhead utility lines underground and removal of poles along Lee Highway between I-66 and North Quincy Street (two phases)
- One of the County’s first utility undergrounding initiatives
- Working with multiple external partners including Dominion Virginia Power, Verizon, Comcast, VDOT
- Street improvements on the north side of the street completed between 1996 and 1999
- New medians
- Turn lanes
- Pedestrian crossing signals
- Street trees
Arlington County is committed to aggressively pursuing the completion of this program. Milestones for the critical Utility Undergrounding Phase II project (PDF)
have been developed to help further this goal and will be used to track progress during the final stages of this program. These milestones, which have been shared with the community, provide a report card for the County, its partners, and the community.
Numerous design and construction setbacks have been associated with the utility undergrounding project over the last decade.
- In 2010, a conflict was discovered that would have required closing several commercial driveways, an insurmountable hardship for local businesses.
- An alternate design was developed that
- Expands scope of the project by three blocks south along N. Quincy Street, west along 21st Street N., and north along N. Quebec Street to Lee Highway, and
- Lengthens schedule by two to three years with a new completion date of November 2013.
- Once the utility undergrounding designs are finalized, work on the remainder of the street improvement design and construction will recommence.
- Phase 1: Installation of landscaped medians, turn lanes, upgraded traffic signals and sidewalk improvements along the north side of Lee Highway from I-66 to N. Monroe Street - Completed
- Phase 2: Sidewalk improvements, street lighting along the south side of Lee Highway from I-66 to N. Oakland Street - Completed
- Phase 3: Installation of landscaped medians, turn lanes and sidewalk improvements along north side of Lee Highway from N. Monroe Street to Military Road - Completed
- Phase 4: Street improvements along the south side of Lee Highway from N. Oakland St. to N. Quincy Street - Design work anticipated to resume early 2012, completion spring 2014
- Design phase is approximately 75% complete
- Remainder of the phase dependent on the completion of Phase 2 utility undergrounding
- Phase 1: Utility undergrounding from I-66 to N. Monroe Street - Anticipated completion 2011
- Duct banks and installation of most of the utility cable was completed in 2003 and 2004.
- Still to be completed:
- Installation of utility facilities (transformers, switches, etc.)
- Connections to the utility grid
- Transfer of service connections for the adjacent properties
- Removal of the existing poles and line
- Phase 2: Utility undergrounding from N. Oakland Street to the west side of N. Quincy Street - Anticipated completion November 2013
- Portion between N. Monroe Street and N. Oakland Street completed with private development
- County staff, along with our utility partners, are working on the alternate design for this portion of the project
- New design expands project by three blocks (PDF), schedule by two to three years
View Detailed Timeline and Program Schedule >>
Why does it take so long?
The Cherrydale utility undergrounding project is one of the first of its kind undertaken by Arlington County. Additionally, the undergrounding of existing overhead utilities is one of the most complicated types of capital projects that a local jurisdiction can undertake and requires significant resources and capacity to attempt this type of project. In particular, this project faces several challenges including:
- The coordination, management and consideration of the needs of dozens of partners and stakeholders.
- The undergrounding of facilities for three utility partners along the state-owned Lee Highway, all while avoiding existing utilities already under the roadway.
- Private properties adjacent to the undergrounding project are directly affected by the reconfiguration of their existing utility service connections.
- Solutions for one partner’s challenge frequently generate a conflict for another partner.
As part of this process, Arlington must rely upon each partner to provide detailed plans for their infrastructure and systems, coordinate and review each of the designs with relation to the other affected utilities, and construct the underground duct banks and associated facilities to accommodate the utilities’ requirements. Once Arlington has constructed the duct banks and other facilities to accommodate the utilities, Arlington must coordinate the actual demolition, conversion, and new construction on each of the active utility systems. The active utility system demolition, conversion, and construction must be performed by each individual utility on their own system.
Additionally, the County and the utility companies must coordinate with dozens of private properties to convert their overhead services to the new underground facilities. Each entity has unique challenges and priorities.
For more information, please contact Mike Collins at (703) 228-6506.