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Route 27/244 Interchange

Washington Boulevard Bridge over Columbia Pike in Arlington

Project Photos

Project at a Glance

Begin Date
Spring 2012

Est Completion Date
Completed Dec. 2015

$46 million



Northern Virginia

Christiana Briganti-Dunn, P.E., CCM

Note: The bridge was dedicated as the Freedmans Village Bridge in September 2015. News release Brochure

About the Project

This design-build project replaced the Washington Boulevard bridge over Columbia Pike in Arlington. The new bridge is wider, longer and a great deal more attractive than the previous structure. A light well separates westbound and eastbound lanes, and an acceleration/deceleration lane was added westbound between ramps to assist weaving.

The new bridge accommodates turn lanes, a raised median, a wider sidewalk and a 10-foot shared-use path on Columbia Pike. Clearance under the bridge was increased to 16'-8.”  

Several ramps were also reconfigured to improve access, traffic flow and increase capacity.

The previous box culvert that conveyed Long Branch through the center of the interchange was replaced with a double-cell box culvert and extended to reduce erosion at the downstream end.

The design provides enhanced safety, mobility and aesthetics for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.

See reports of construction progress: November 2013, July 2013

Aesthetic Features

A community working group of citizens, Arlington County and VDOT staff developed concepts for the bridge's architectural and aesthetic treatments, including:

Decorative pylons in each corner
Haunched steel fascia girders with a two-tone paint scheme to mimic the existing arch
A relief pattern incorporated into the vertical outer surfaces of the bridge parapet to create shadows and visual interest.   
A concrete block pattern on retaining and abutment walls similar to Pentagon architecture
Recessed, arched panels on the abutment walls
Medallions with images reflecting the historical significance of the Freedmen’s Village, for which the bridge will be named
Color and anti-graffiti application to concrete surfaces

Rendering of 27-244 bridge

Project Background

The previous single-span bridge was built in the 1940s by the War Department as part of the Pentagon Roadway Network. It was a thick, solid structure that suffered from deteriorating concrete, corrosion, and heavy chloride contamination. It had also withstood many years of increasing traffic loads.

The interchange did not operate adequately or accommodate all users, and also prohibited improvements to Columbia Pike. A 2008 traffic analysis considered spot improvements and corridor-wide improvements to the interchange to address concerns raised by the community working group. Concerns included maintaining S. Queen Street access, adding signals along Columbia Pike, separating Ramp E from the S. Queen Street intersection to the extent possible, and eliminating time-of-day lane use on eastbound Columbia Pike. While all concerns could not be addressed through design, VDOT’s intent was to determine how best to meet the safety, operation, and access issues raised by the Bridge Working Group, while also ensuring that the interchange configuration would function adequately during the peak hours without queues spilling back onto the mainline of Washington Boulevard. View a copy of the traffic analysis report.

The bridge was rated as “poor” in recent structural inspections, meaning that the superficial concrete was in poor condition, but was still sufficiently capable of carrying traffic without risk to the public. The bridge's posted weight was reduced to 26 tons (single truck or truck with trailer), based on the partial bridge demolition that was done in Nov. 2012.

Washington Boulevard carries more than 80,000 vehicles each day over Columbia Pike.



"Pardon our Dust" meeting presentation (March 2012)
Proposed interchange configuration and bridge plans 
Public hearing brochure and displays (June 2008)

UPC: 13528  State Project: 0027-000-V01,P101,R201,C501,B601,B617,D602

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Page last modified: Dec. 20, 2016