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The Mystery of the Missing Sod

New sod in the median of Route 1 was removed just as quickly as it was installed to make way for BRT construction.

A few weeks ago, the medians along Route 1 just east of Del Ray were fitted with new sod. Then, just as quickly, a large swath of the sod was removed, leaving a naked strip of dirt and many commuters and nearby residents confused as to what happened.

The swift removal of the sod was not a mistake; Route 1 was expanded over the summer to make way for the construction of a bus rapid transitway and sod was temporarily placed in the former northbound lanes to control erosion and sediment. The sod was then removed to make way for construction of the .

Rich Baier, director of Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, says it was a decision between covering the median with sod or straw.

City departments are utilizing and repurposing some of the removed sod as needed throughout Alexandria.

The BRT in Alexandria will consist of exclusive bus lanes in the median of Route 1 between Potomac Avenue and E. Glebe Road. The transitway will eventually connect the Braddock Road and Pentagon City Metro stations and will be constructed in concert with Arlington County.

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Del Ray Porch Sitter October 25, 2012 at 01:59 PM
City departments are utilizing and repurposing some of the removed sod as needed throughout Alexandria. HA! That would be believable if they cut and rolled the sod, but from what I saw, the backhoe just tore it up and piled it with the rest of the rubble. That couldn’t have left much to salvage and reuse.
Neal Learner October 25, 2012 at 02:43 PM
My question is what other nominal green space is going to be ripped up to make way for the Potomac Yard Borg. Busses may get a few extra cars off the road, but make not mistake, the traffic nightmare is just beginning. I had to wait 5 minutes to turn left onto Monroe Ave out of the Giant parking lot the other day as cars zoomed home from work and to soccer practice. Just wait until the thousands of more homes are built and occupied, thanks to our city officials who could never say "no" to developers.
Drew Hansen (Editor) October 25, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Neal, in regards to green space, they are building a large linear park in Potomac Yard skirting the eastern edge of the development. Here's my story on it from 2011: http://patch.com/A-hWPl
Phillip Cide October 25, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I also saw the pile of what looked like scrapped off sod. Given the short time frame, I would think that covering with straw would have been much more cost effective. I expect that much of the remaining sod will be damaged by the continuing construction. It also looks like some of the new curb is also "temporary". I wonder if the real problem is two different contracts; one of which was not complete until the sod was laid.
John Slotman October 26, 2012 at 02:18 PM
How much is Alexandria spending on this again? Between the Potomac Yard work and the new left turn only lights on Howell and Custis, this project is going to make living in and around Del Ray hugely inconvenient for drivers.
Lee Hernly October 26, 2012 at 02:38 PM
What the City SHOULD have done is put the BRT in an added lane not in the median. Near Monroe Ave, a BRT bus coming from Crystal City is going to have to turn around. This means stopping traffic not once but twice. For example, WMATA has BRT service between King Street Metro & Fort Belvoir which doesn't use special lanes. They also should have run the BRT service to Braddock Road NOT Crystal City as Braddock Road ridership has long been low.
Cynthia furlong October 30, 2012 at 01:58 AM
It's simply not believable that the plan was to rip up the sod. Especially since, as some others have noted, it was ripped up along with the freshly completed curbs. This is total taxpayer abuse. Thank goodness elections are coming up shortly.
Joseph M. October 30, 2012 at 02:17 AM
If the bus doesn't run in exclusive lanes with red-light signal priority, then it's not a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line.
Lynhaven Lady November 07, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I agree with Phillip- putting down sod for a week and then ripping it up was a complete waste of taxpayer dollars.

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