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Page updated Oct 15, 2015 3:55 PM

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Four Mile Run Restoration Projectcircle logo 


What's New?

  • Four Mile Run Bridge Demolition is underway. Visit for the latest trail closure information and detour routes. 
  • Questions? Visit the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) website or contact the following City of Alexandria staff:
    • RPCA: Ron Kagawa, 703.746.5489 or Dana Wedeles, 703.746.5491 
    • T&ES: Claudia Hamblin-Katnik, 703.746.4068 
    • P&Z: Nathan Imm, 703.746.3845    


Four Mile Run Overview  4mr2

Four Mile Run is a nine-mile long stream located in a highly urbanized area in Northern Virginia. Its 19.6 square mile watershed covers portions of Arlington and Fairfax Counties and the Cities of Alexandria and Falls Church. The lower portion of Four Mile Run, from I-395 at the upstream end to National Airport at the mouth, is contained in a hardened flood control channel and marks a rough boundary between Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. Along this stretch of Four Mile Run are neighborhoods, commercial districts, and some industrial facilities, including the Arlington County Water Pollution Control Plant. Because of the highly urbanized nature of the Four Mile Run watershed, the neighborhoods and businesses adjacent to this portion of the run were subjected to repeated flooding, beginning in the 1940s. In response to this flooding, the municipalities forged a partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to build a flood-control channel in the lower portion of Four Mile Run. Construction of that channel took place during the 1970s and early 1980s. Since its completion over twenty years ago, the channel has safely conveyed the high storm flows through the two jurisdictions and prevented flooding.   


Four Mile Run Restoration Project 4mr cover page(1)

The restoration project is a joint venture to restore 2.3 miles of a highly degraded stream within the hardened flood control channel - or levee corridor - of Four Mile Run. Through a partnership of efforts and funds, residents and staff from Alexandria, Arlington, the Northern Virginia Regional Comission (NVRC), the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers and Congressman Jim Moran's office have been working collaboratively to successfully implement the framework set forth by the Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan (2006).  

A citizen-led Joint Task Force (JTF), with representatives appointed by the chief administrative officers of each jurisdiction, examines project alternatives, gathers public input, and provides recommendations to the project’s Agency Coordination Group (ACG). Members of the ACG represent the various local, regional, and federal government agencies involved in the planning and implementation of the restoration effort. A list of JTF members and an archive of meeting summaries are available on the project website 

NVRC is facilitating the administration of the Four Mile Run Restoration Project and additional information related to the project can be found on their website.   


Master Plan and Design Guidelines

The Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan was adopted in 2006 and provides the framework and vision for the restoration of the stream corridor. To view the Master Plan, please visit the NVRC website 

The Four Mile Run Design Guidelines, as approved by Arlington County and the Alexandria Planning Commission in September 2009, were created to govern the aesthetic and physical components of the stream corridor. The Design Guidelines include recommendations that will guide trails and paths, stream crossing, bridges, lighting, building orientation and setbacks, benches, the proposed Nature Center, and vegetation; among other physical components.   

Stream Restoration Demonstration Project   4mr1

The Four Mile Run Tidal Restoration Demonstration Project is currently in a design phase.  The project aims to restore the banks of the Four Mile Run shoreline and wetlands along Four Mile Run from Mt. Vernon Avenue to Route 1. The scope of work includes naturalization of the corridor, such as removal and management of invasive species and re-introduction of herbaceous plantings, a sediment transition/capture area to minimize the amount of sediment that flows into the tidal section of Four Mile Run, and re-establishment of wetlands in Four Mile Run Park.  The City of Alexandria and Arlington County anticipate design work to be complete by March 2014 and the construction to begin September 2014 and conclude September 2015.


Four Mile Run Bridge Demolition   

The westernmost bridge between Route 1 and Potomac Avenue is currently being removed (as of November 2013). The removal and subsequent dedication of land is part of the Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan, endorsed by the Four Mile Run Joint Task Force and ultimately adopted by both the Alexandria City Council and the Arlington County Board in 2006. The removal of the bridge is part of a large, ecological plan that provides regional benefits as intended by the Commonwealth’s Chesapeake Bay requirements, the City’s Water Quality Supplement to the City of Alexandria Master Plan, as well as the City’s Eco-City Alexandria initiative, and the approved Eco-City Environmental Charter and Action Plan. Improving the existing streams and adjacent buffer areas will increase the natural light levels within the Run, improving the stream’s natural ability for pollutant removal. 


Pedestrian/Cyclist Bridge Competition

The City of Alexandria, Arlington County, in partnership with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, announce the signing of a contract for the design of the Four Mile Run Pedestrian-Cyclist Bridge based on the March 2010 Bridge Design Competition and Call for Qualifications.  This step begins the formal design and technical engineering process for this bridge envisioned in the Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan.

Since the design competition, Arlington, Alexandria, NVRC and the Virginia Department of Transportation worked to develop the Scope of Services for the design and engineering. Understanding the constraints of the project, timeframe, budget and scope, the 2nd ranked team entered into an agreement for design services.  The jurisdictions will begin the design process with Buro Happold and member of the second ranked team of: Olin/Buro Happold/Explorations Architecture/ L’Observatoire International.  A presentation of their work and the competition renderings of their concept can be viewed on the NVRC website.

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