Federal Highway Administration Approves Interchange Modification Report for I-395 Ramp
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the Interchange Modification Report (IMR) for I-395 HOV Ramp. There were several changes FHWA made to Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) and the City’s request to limit movements from the top of the HOV ramp. VDOT and the City requested that right-turns be prohibited from the northbound HOV ramp to eastbound Seminary Road in the morning peak period and left-turns be prohibited from westbound Seminary Road to the southbound HOV ramp in the afternoon peak period. While FHWA supported constructing the HOV ramp, they did not support VDOT and City’s recommendation to prohibit the turning movements and reexamine in six months.
Mark Center HOV Ramp Environmental Public Hearing on January 25
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) held a public information meeting and design public hearing on Wednesday, January 25 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. in the cafeteria at Francis C. Hammond Middle School, 4646 Seminary Road. At the public hearing, VDOT reviewed and listened to public comments on the draft environmental assessment and preliminary design plans for the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) ramp that will be constructed for the I-395 –Seminary Road Interchange near the Mark Center. VDOT and the Federal Highway Administration will provide additional information about the project and be on site to answer any questions. You can send your comments on the EA to VDOT directly by emailing them to Meeting_Comments@VDOT.Virginia.gov. The public comment period closes on February 10, 2012.
You can read the City of Alexandria EA comments with attachments by following the link.
- Information on VDOT's HOT Lanes Project, while not directly related to BRAC-133, nonetheless will affect the Mark Center/Beauregard area. You can find information on this road improvement project at: http://www.vamegaprojects.com/about-megaprojects/mark-center-taskforce/
On December 16, 2011, Congress passed legislation approving a parking cap at the Mark Center. The parking cap provision will limit the number of usable parking spaces to roughly 2,000, unless the Department of Defense can demonstrate for 90 consecutive days that congestion hasn’t reached failing levels of service. If traffic doesn’t materialize, the Department of Defense could partially lift the cap if they and VDOT agree on the number of additional spots that can be used without causing gridlock.
On December 9, 2011, Mayor Bill Euille sent a letter to Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton to request improvements to the Sanger Avenue Bridge that would accommodate a dedicated lane for the City's planned Bus Rapid Transit route along Van Dorn and Beauregard. This improvement would eliminate the only pinch point along that route. The Mayor's Letter is linked here.
On December 1, 2011, the City received a copy of the November 30, 2011 Department of Defense Inspector Genera's Independent Engineering Assessment of the Army's Transportation Plan for BRAC-13 at the Mark Center. Staff will be analyzing the Inspector General’s findings and recommendations, as well as the Army’s response in the days ahead. While the IG’s report will help all understand what went wrong and what could have been done better in the transportation planning processes for the BRAC Mark Center project, what is important is to look forward and to continue to diligently pursue the implementation of the funded short-term, mid-term and long-term transportation improvement projects, as well as the implementation of the City’s planned Bus Rapid Transit in the Beauregard Corridor. All of these improvements are aimed at facilitating better traffic flows in the Mark Center area and beyond. The IG report does include some new recommendations concerning enhancing the existing transportation Management Plan which the City will review. The City will continue to work with FHWA and VDOT in implementing these projects. In addition, the Department of Defense needs to continue to implement and its transit oriented Transportation Management Plan (TMP) so that the planned 43% transit mode is successfully achieved. At this point the City will continue to follow through on the TMP, the GRIP program, the enhanced parking districts and continue to monitor the traffic situation so we can response to analyze the data and respond appropriately. Click on November 30, 2011 IG Report to view the IG Report.
At their October 5, 2011 meeting, the City of Alexandria Transportation Commission entertained a presentation on traffic monitoring efforts at key intersections in the vicinity of the Mark Center. This presentation can be viewed here: Traffic Monitoring Presentation
HOV/Transit Ramp (Long-term Road Improvements) - VDOT has included $80 million in the Six Year Plan for this project. FHWA has determined that the appropriate level of NEPA documentation for the HOV/Transit Ramp at Seminary Road and I-395 is an Environmental Assessment (EA). VDOT has retained a consultant to conduct the NEPA documentation and has, with FHWA, developed the scope of work and Draft Purpose and Needs Statement for the project. A formal memorandum of understanding between VDOT and FHWA is being executed and work is proceeding. Once FHWA and VDOT agree on the scope of the EA, a schedule will be made public.
- City of Alexandria Responds to VDOT Scoping Request for the HOV/Transit Ramp Environmental Assessment (EA). The City's unified response to the EA Scoping request from VDOT can be seen at the link below, along with the resident comments collected through the BRAC-133 Advisory Group, which were complied and formatted by staff, and attached without edits to the scoping response.
- The City received the scoping letter from VDOT for the proposed HOV/Transit Ramp at Seminary Road and I-395 on August 12, 2011. You can see the entire content of that letter at this link: VDOT Scoping Letter for HOV/Transit Ramp EA
- Mark Center/BRAC-133 Commuting Options
- Short and Mid-term Road Improvements -
- The Eastern Federal Lands Division (EFL) of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has updated their website to include a page about the Mark Center. This is the agency that is managing the Short and Mid-term Road Improvements environmental review process and construction. That link is here for your use and information: http://www.efl.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/mark-center.aspx
- The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued a notice of concurrence on pursuit of a Categorical Exclusion (CE) as the appropriate NEPA documentation for the Short and Mid-term Road Improvements. The Defense Department has transferred the $20 million in funds to FHWA for these improvements through , and Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division of FHWA has agreed to manage and administer this project from NEPA through construction. FHWA has begun the NEPA process and will issue a preliminary schedule for the project design and construction.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is studying a potential HOV/Transit Ramp at I-395 and Seminary Road for purposes of enhancing safety and upgrading the roadway system. VDOT has sent notification to all property owners adjacent to the highway corridor.
Planning and improving highways requires a location and design survey. VDOT surveyors or VDOT's consultants may need to enter your property to locate physical features, property lines and marks, septic tanks and drain fields, etc. The prime consultant for this project will be Whitman, Requardt & Associates, LLC.
This survey work does not necessarily mean that a highway is crossing your property or an imminent improvement is forthcoming. The survey is simply to gather information and is an early, necessary step for determining the feasibility of highway improvements. The surveyors will work in your neighborhood from August 20, 2011 through July, 2012.
If you have any questions or knowledge of any particular items of interest that may affect the improvements in your area such as cemeteries, easements, wells, septic tanks, drain fields, or other homeowner installed facilities not recorded in your locality’s public records, please contact: Sid A. Siddiqui, P.E., Location and Design, Virginia Department of Transportation Northern Virginia District 4975 Alliance Drive Fairfax, VA 22030, or call at (703) 259-2117.
SPECIAL MEETING Held regarding the Environmental Assessment for the HOV/Transit Ramp
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is developing plans to construct a High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) /Transit Ramp at the I-395/Seminary Road Interchange for the purpose of providing adequate transit and HOV access to the Mark Center and nearby employment centers, and to relieve forecasted peak traffic congestion at specific interchange ramps. The project also will include the widening of the Seminary Road Bridge and approaches on the third level bridge along Seminary Road as well as the introduction of a traffic signal at the intersection where the ramp ties to the widened bridge. In conjunction with the referenced project, a study will evaluate the turning movements from the HOV ramp onto Seminary Road.
The BRAC-133 Advisory Group hosted a special meeting on September 7, 2011 with the purpose being to provide information and discuss the Environmental Assessment (EA) process currently underway for the proposed HOV/Transit Ramp at I-395 and Seminary Road, and to garner Advisory Group and public comments on the proposed project. The City of Alexandria will be submitting comments on the EA, and will attachment resident comments into that submission. Resident comments were due to David Grover, BRAC Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org not later than close of business on Monday, September 12, 2011. Comments were to address the specific project being proposed, which is the HOV/Transit Ramp at Seminary Road and I-395 as described above, and the potential impacts of this project on the community. For additional information on this go to the Advisory Group page.
- Check out this link to review the public participation guidelines for the environmental review process: A Citizen's Guide to the NEPA, Public Participation.
- Artwork Concepts for the Mark Center Transportation Center - The Army is making the selection for a wall mural to be placed at the Mark Center Transit Center. Please note that the Army has determined to eliminate the sculptural element from the process, and only the wall mural is now being considered. The artwork is anticipated to be installed in the fall of 2011.
- Fairfax County has formed a BRAC-133 Task Force that will meet monthly. The link to the Fairfax County BRAC-133 page is www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/brac where you can find additional information about what Fairfax County is doing related to the BRAC-133 project.
The BRAC-133 Evolution
- The Virginia Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta expressing concern about deficiencies of the current Transportation Management Plan (September 27, 2011)
- The City prepared report, BRAC Cost Benefit Analysis is available at this link.
- The City is engaged in a planning process for the Beauregard Corridor. See what is happening by following this link: Beauregard Corridor Plan
- Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton sent a letter on March 11, 2011 to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates requesting Department of Defense funding for the short and mid-term road improvements at key intersections near the Mark Center to mitigate impending traffic congestion resulting from the opening of the BRAC-133 facility there. You can read this letter by following the link to Secretary Connaughton's 3-11 letter.
- VDOT prepared a presentation on the on the HOT lanes Transit/TDM plan update in April.
- The BRAC-133 Ad Hoc Committee has completed the work for which it was established related to the Army's Transportation Management Plan (TMP). The accomplishments of this Committee are summarized in the document found at this link: BRAC-133 Ad Hoc Committee Accomplishments
- VDOT made a presentation to City Council on February 12, 2011 outlining advancement of funding for the Long Term Road Improvements, which consist of the HOV/Transit Ramp at Seminary Road and I-395. You can see the VDOT HOV/Transit Lanes Presentation here.
- The Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Federal Funding of Transportation Improvements in BRAC Cases released Special Report 302 on February 7, 2011, entitled "Federal Funding of Transportation Improvements in BRAC Cases". This report supports funding of transportation improvement funding for road construction and transit outside of the base boundaries, changes to the Defense Access Road rules and other important changes to mitigate transportation impacts from BRAC implementation in communities. See this Transportation Research Board Report here.
- The Defense Department Inspector General's Assessment of the BRAC-133 Environmental Assessment and Transportation Management Plan was released in April, 2011
- The Transportation Management Plan (TMP) Letter of Agreement has been executed by the Defense Department and the City of Alexandria, setting out the process for amendment of the TMP.
- VDOT submitted their final report on the Short and Mid-term Road Improvements near the BRAC-133 facility. The VDOT Final Report on Short and Mid-term Road Improvements is available here.
- On February 3, 2011, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton sent this letter to various elected officials announcing the intent of VDOT to advance implementation of HOV/HOT lanes in the I-95/I-395 corridor, including a ramp at the intersection of Seminary Road and I-395 dedicated to HOV and transit users. A copy of Secretary Connaughton's letter can be seen here.
- On January 25, 2011, Staff gave an update regarding BRAC-133 to City Council. That City Council Presentation can be seen here.
- The Virginia Congressional delegation representing the Alexandria area sent a letter on January 19. 2011 to Defense Secretary Gates requesting funds for road improvements and mitigation of service impacts resulting from the BRAC-133 project at the Mark Center. The letter to Gates can be seen here.
- At their January 11, 2011 meeting City Council adopted a Resolution for DASH bus rehabilitation. These formerly surplus buses will be rehabilitated to provide subsidized express transit service between the BRAC-133 facility at the Mark Center to the King Street Metro Station during peak periods. Staff provided a presentation on the DASH transit and bus rehabilitation to Council prior to the vote to adopt the resolution.
- City Council, at their meeting December 14, 2010, adopted a resolution supporting the recommendation of the BRAC-133 Advisory Group for Short and Mid-term Road Improvements in the vicinity of the Mark Center BRAC-133 facility. See the Council resolution here: 12/14/10 Council Resolution on Short and Mid Term Road Improvements. Staff presented an update of recent developments related to the BRAC-133 project, which included the execution of the TMP letter of agreement, progress made on a cooperative agreement between the City and DoD for enhanced express transit service provided by DASH between the King Street Metro station and the BRAC-133 facility and the above mentioned resolution by City Council. The staff presentation can be viewed here: 2010-12-14 Staff Presentation. Prior to Council's unanimous vote in support of the Advisory Group recommendation, the VDOT consultant gave a presentation on the recommended improvements, which can be seen here: Consultant Presentation.
- The Department of Defense Inspector General's Office has been charged with conducting an assessment of the processes and levels of participation by stakeholders in the preparation of the Transportation Management Plan (TMP) and Environmental Assessment (EA) done for the BRAC-133 site selection. Because the Inspector General's Office will eventually have offices at the Mark Center facility, they have engaged an independent engineering firm to conduct this assessment. The Assessment team has forwarded questions on the TMP and EA to City staff, and the interview for the TMP has been held. A second interview with City staff is being scheduled related to the EA. The TMP questions are available at this link:TMP Inspector General Questions and responses. The questions for the EA assessment are available at this link: Inspector General EA questions and responses.
- On November 17, 2010, the BRAC-133 Advisory Group adopted a resolution recommending that the City Council implement the short and mid-term road improvements recommended by the VaMegaProjects consultant, and further that City Council request that the Department of Defense or Duke Realty or another federal agency fully fund the analysis and the implementation of the improvements. This resolution (2010-11-17 Advisory Group Resolution) will be presented to City Council December 14, 2010.
- On Thursday, September 16, Congressman Jim Moran held a Community Town Hall to discuss the BRAC-133 relocation to the Mark Center, and the related transportation impacts that concern local residents.
- Mayor Euille's September 1, 2010 letter to Congressman Moran
- Mayor Euille's comments about BRAC-133 to the National Capital Planning Commission
- Mayor Euille's editorial regarding BRAC-133 transportation issues
- Alexandria City Council recommendations to the Virginia Department of Transportation outlining alternative transportation improvement options
- The US Army Corps of Engineers provided the City with the Final Transportation Management Plan (TMP) for BRAC-133 at Mark Center. The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) approved the TMP.
- The Army has provided written responses to the comments made by the public on the BRAC-133 Draft TMP. All previously submitted comments can be viewed on the Archive page.
- Letter from Chairman Sharon Bulova of Fairfax County to City Council in support of studying Alternatives F and G for the Interstate 395 and Seminary Road Interchange.
- Letter from Mayor Euille, acknowledging receipt of Secretary Connaughton's letter to the City of Alexandria.
- Letter from Sean T. Connaughton, Virginia's Secretary of Transportation, presenting a time line of VDOT's continued efforts to work with the City regarding the potential traffic impacts by the relocation of Washington Headquarters Service to the Mark Center.
- On March 11, The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) held a community meeting where it was evident that the two proposed alternative access designs were unacceptable to the community at large. Subsequently, the City proposed another design and requested that VDOT review the design to see if it warranted further study. Read the VDOT response.