The City of Alexandria and the Federal Transit Administration will hold a meeting on April 19 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at to discuss the status of the Environmental Impact Study process for a proposed Potomac Yard Metrorail station serving the blue and yellow lines.
The FTA and the city, in cooperation with the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority and the National Park Service, have narrowed the station plan to three alternatives all located just east of the at Potomac Yard Shopping Center.
Thirty-six options were analyzed and whittled down to three zones. Officials then determined the best station design and configuration for each zone with an eye on minimizing adverse impacts.
“Alternative A” is an at-grade station on existing track located between the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the CSX train tracks just west of the Potomac Greens neighborhood. This location was reserved for a Metro station several years ago.
Construction access for Alternative A would be completely on the east side of the tracks. No new track would be needed for this option. Crews would use Potomac Greens Avenue to access the site.
“Alternative B” is also an at-grade station located between the parkway and CSX but on a new track alignment and north of Potomac Greens. This alternative would have considerable impact to surrounding wetlands, which are slated to be revived after construction.
Alternative B includes approximately 2,000 feet of new track. Construction access would occur along Potomac Greens Avenue as well as the GW Parkway. A section of the right, southbound lane on the GW Parkway would close during off-peak hours for construction vehicles to accelerate and decelerate.
“Alternative D” is an aerial station located between the CSX tracks and Potomac Avenue, almost directly behind the Target. It would include approximately 6,000 feet of new track and the construction of a new bridge over Four Mile Run and two other Metrorail bridges. “Alternative D” includes the largest area impacted by construction.
With plan D, new tracks through Potomac Yard would be aerial and would impact the redevelopment of sections of North Potomac Yard (where the shopping center is currently located), project officials said at a Planning Commission hearing in February.
New track is needed in several of the alternatives to create enough linear track for trains to move safely into nearby tunnels.
Project officials compared the at-grade station alternatives to the Morgan Boulevard Station in Prince George’s County, Md., near FedEx Field. The aerial station would be similar to the station planned for Tysons Corner.
Cost estimates for the three alternatives will be completed in the fall. With differences in the amount of new track and other considerations, the cost of each alternative will vary.
Officials are also analyzing a no-build option.
“When we approved the [Potomac Yard] plan, certainly we recognized that the Metro station might not come to fruition, whether it’s because the [Environmental Impact Study] or the financing,” Planning Commissioner Eric Wagner said in February. “It’s not an open-ended commitment by the city just financing something regardless of cost.”
As part of its 10-year Capital Improvement Program, the city is expecting to spend approximately $265 million on the Potomac Yard Metro station.
Project officials hope to conclude the EIS in 2013 and begin building the station in 2014 with the intent to open the station in late 2016.