This article originally appeared in the April 30, 2020, issue of the Memorial Business Journal.
Arlington County and the federal government have reached two agreements to move forward with the expansion of Arlington National Cemetery. The expansion will create much needed burial space using a parcel of land south of the existing cemetery, achieved by closing, realigning and relocating Arlington roadways.
The Arlington County Board approved an agreement with the federal government endorsing the major design elements for the planned realignment of Columbia Pike, which the federal government will be paying for.
“The expansion of Arlington National Cemetery is an opportunity to better align Columbia Pike and increase its multimodal transportation capacity, especially with the addition of new bike trails,” said Libby Garvey, County Board chair. “Our partnership with the federal government is important to the county’s ongoing efforts to improve this vital corridor.”
The board approved a second agreement that calls for Arlington to provide $500,000 for the federal government to design a multi-use trail along Washington Boulevard adjacent to the cemetery. This segment of the trail is an important connection from Columbia Pike Pentagon City to Memorial Drive. The agreement gives the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division the authority to move forward with designing the trail.
The project will add about 50 acres to the cemetery, making room for 60,000 more burial plots and sustaining the cemetery until 2050. No homes will be relocated in the scope of the project.
Columbia Pike will still be four lanes wide but will add 8-foot sidewalks on both sides and a 10-foot bike path to the north of the roadway. Construction for the project is slated to begin in spring 2021 and is expected to finish in summer 2025.