Alexandria searches for solution to Potomac Yard Metro station access

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The Potomac Yard Metro station is slated to open in spring 2022. Rendering courtesy City of Alexandria

Alexandria officials continue to search for a way to satisfy future Potomac Yard Metro station riders from both sides of the tracks without breaking the budget. Although the state announced an additional $50 million in funding for improved access, a solution has yet to be found.

The station — which would provide transportation access near Amazon’s HQ2 and the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus — was originally designed to have two entrances on the west side of the tracks and another entrance, farther south, on the east side of the tracks.

When initial construction bids in 2017 exceeded the project’s then-$320 million budget, “the only practical way to keep the station financially viable was to reconfigure the entrances,” Craig Fifer, director of the city of Alexandria’s office of communications and public information, said in late September. Some residents on the east side of the track protested the changes.

Even after the state announced the additional funding last November, city officials said that amount might not be enough. “We are revisiting that proposal and working to identify a design that further enhances access from that … location. Several updated designs have been proposed to date; however, they have come in far above the $50 million mark,” Fifer says. “Our latest design is undergoing cost analysis by the contractor,” he adds, and the city expects to present the results to the Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group by the end of November.

Part of the station will be built on wetlands, which requires two permits. The State Water Control Board has approved the project and city officials said in early October that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was expected to complete its review within a few weeks.

The station is being built on Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines, between the Braddock Road and Reagan National Airport stations. The location is already used by Metro, so construction has to be completed alongside active tracks. Officials say the station is set for a spring 2022 opening, but the project has been in the city’s plans for more than two decades.

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