Notes from 9/25 PYMIG Meeting + Traffic Circle Update

Below you’ll find notes from the September 25 PYMIG meeting, courtesy of our neighborhood’s PYMIG liaison, Steve Crime.

Also, please note that per our HOA Board president, Ron Lafond, the timeline of the demolition of the traffic circle is as follows: Preliminary work will likely start in the next week. The contractor expects to do the bulk of the work over the long Columbus Day weekend and conclude the reconstruction of the circle into a three-way stop by October 14. As always, this is subject to change due to weather and other factors, but the contractor seemed confident about this timeline.

September 25, 2019, PYMIG Meeting Summary

The PYMIG held a meeting at the Charles Houston Rec Center on September 25, 2019, at 7:30pm. The purpose of the meeting was to update the status of the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) environmental permit, review the City Board of Architectural Review (BAR) actions, update the construction schedule and impacts, and update the communications plan to provide construction information to our residents. The agenda, presentation materials, and video of the meeting are available here. (Note: The presentation material slides will significantly aid in understanding the synopsis of the different change options.)

1. Environmental Permit. City staff anticipates the USACE will issue its permit in the next several weeks. Once the permit is issued, work can begin in the wetlands.

2. BAR Actions. The BAR has approved the mass and scale of the station and materials sample board for the bridge, platform, and mezzanine. It will finalize the exoskeleton finish and lighting shortly. There are three excellent virtual tours of various portions of the new Metrorail station available in the ‘Construction News’ section of this site:

3. Parking Spaces by the North Park. The City’s Traffic & Parking Board agreed to the builder’s request to remove approximately nine parking spaces on Carpenter Rd. The spaces that were removed are on the north side of Carpenter along the fence.

4. Upcoming Construction.

     a. Initial construction activities of the AC Switchgear building (located between the WMATA and CSX tracks) will begin shortly. Construction will include installing the underground utilities, excavating foundation footings, and installing the footings.

     b. The initial construction of the North Pavilion/Bridge Pier (located on the Potomac Yard side) will also begin shortly. Construction will include excavation and leveling of the site, relocating storm drainage, and driving piles.

     c. Initial construction in the next several weeks on our side will be to remove the traffic circle and replace it with the pocket park. Once the USACE environmental permit is issued, work will begin in the wetlands, and the following actions are anticipated to occur in the October-December 2019 timeframe:

          (1). Clear and grub the area of the station (October). This means removing trees, bushes, and organic material. There will be some leveling of the site. Exposed earth will be covered with a garden-type of fabric to contain dust.

          (2). Place fill on top of the fabric (November-December). Placement of fill will be an intermittent process of 2-3 weeks of fill installation, then several weeks of letting the fill compress, repeated until the required grade is achieved. When the builders install fill, we can expect to see dump trucks passing through our neighborhood approximately every 10 minutes during regular work hours. The builders stated the fill material will come from a local quarry and has been tested clean of environmental contaminants.

     d. After the land is at grade and stabilized, the builders will begin working on the station’s foundation (early-2020). We had good news on this aspect of construction. The builder will use impact-type pile driving on the Potomac Yard side of the project. However, the builders said they will use controlled modulus columns (CMCs) under the station platforms and mezzanine on our side. These DO NOT involve driving impact-type piles. The builders install the CMCs using boring equipment to produce shafts. Grout or concrete is injected through the hollow boring tool; filling the shaft and serving as the base for the station. That should significantly reduce noise and virtually eliminate any vibration impacts on our homes. Additionally, the type of boring equipment used will compress the soil to the sides of the shaft and does not bring potentially contaminated dirt to the surface. You can view a YouTube video of this construction method at here:

5. Communications plan. City staff reemphasized their commitment to keep residents informed about the progress of the Metrorail project throughout the construction process. The City recently hired an individual to coordinate information flow on all matters to City residents, with special emphasis on the PY Metrorail. The specific communications methods that will be used are contained on slide 19 of the presentation materials.

The next meeting of the PYMIG is TBD.