Fiber Optic Tubes and Columbia Pike Sidewalks

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Alice West Fleet Elementary Library
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Arlington Logo

March 6, 2001

TO:  Jay Fisette, Chairman, Arlington County Board

FROM: Ron Carlee, Acting County Manager


 In response to Mr. Wind's e-mail regarding conduit installation work along South Glebe Road, staff called Mr. Wind to determine the need for County staff to get involved in this matter, which primarily concerns a telecommunications company and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).  Mr. Wind indicated that while the County was welcome to attend the meeting, he felt confidant that representatives from VDOT as well as the telecommunications firm installing the underground conduit would attend, therefore the County's role would only be one of observer.

Staff from DPW chose not to attend as the work in question is entirely in VDOT right of way and is being done under permit from VDOT.  Should either VDOT or the contractor be unable to satisfy the concerns of the citizens, DPW will consider intervening on the behalf of Arlington County citizens.  At this time however, it appears VDOT is responding.

In response to my inquiries below, today (Thursday, Feburary 8, 2001), I spoke with Steve Dye, senior inspector with VDOT Permits, about the fiber optic construction on Columbia Pike and on Glebe Road.

    He has ordered the permittee, MCI WorldCom, immediately to begin restoring the sidewalk along Columbia Pike.  The permittee has subcontracted with D & L Construction for this restoration.   The restoration should begin by Monday, February 12.  The restoration should take 2-3 weeks, depending on weather, and will be guaranteed for at least a year.

    Mr. Dye told me that no further work will proceed, however, until D & L Construction completes the restoration of Columbia Pike.

    I also put Mr. Dye in touch with Mr. Russell Carroll, construction supervisor for Arlington County's storm sewer and repaving project on 6th Street.

    I also spoke today with Mr. Mark Clem of Down Under Construction, MCI's subscontractor for the excavation along Glebe Road.  Mr. Clem told me that they will be excavating ALL SIDEWALKS and ALL DRIVEWAY APRONS along Glebe Road between Columbia Pike and Route 50 in the near future.

    Mr. Dye said that the subcontractor will be required to provide written notice to all Glebe Road residents in advance of the start of the excavation.  Some driveways may be impeded for a day.  When a driveway subtends two sidewalk panels, they will excavate one side on one day and the other side the next.

    I talked with Mr. Clem about two special cases.
1. He will look into removing the concrete lump that protrudes into Glebe Road just south of 6th Street,
2. He will look into leveling the lips of driveways that junction Glebe Road, as long as he has to repave them anyway.  This includes the private driveway.
    Note that those not commitments, just agreements to look into.

    I am satisfied that VDOT has now provided full information about the project, and will notify neighbors before proceding further.  If anyone has questions, please contact Mr. Dye at 703-328-1587.

-- Thank you
-- Jay Jacob Wind

    Recently, VDOT granted a construction permit to WorldCom to install fiber optic tubes under sidewalks on Columbia Pike (State Route 244) and Glebe Road (State Route 120).

    Mr. Robert Bell of the local VDOT office (703-383-2645) told me that the company paid VDOT a $40 fee for the permit to excavate, and that the company also deposited a performance bond to assure their promise to restore the sidewalk on Columbia Pike and other areas.  Mr. Steven Dye is the permit supervisor (703-328-1587).  According to Mr. Dye, crews will begin restoration next week.  The target date for completion is two weeks, and the restoration is guaranteed for 18 months.

    Today, Mr. R.C. Edwards of VDOT's Richmond office called me to obtain full information.  Mr. Edwards was very helpful and appreciated my neighborhood's concerns.

    Here is the situation:

    At this time, WorldCom has torn up the sidewalks on the north side the entire length of Columbia Pike from Washington Boulevard (Route 27) to Glebe Road,
and dug under front lawns all along Glebe Road from Columbia Pike to Arlington Boulevard (Route 50).

    A portion of the once-decorative sidewalk two miles long and two feet wide is now covered with hot-patch asphalt.  The asphalt is full of dangerous ruts, making the sidewalk impassable in spots.  Decorative bricks are piled up in some sections.  See photos below.

    As far as I know, neither VDOT nor the permittee provided any notice whatsoever to property owners, businesses, or residents about the plans to excavate.

    My neighbors asked me, as president of Arlington Heights Civic Association, to find out what is going on and when it will be repaired.

    I need answers to the following questions:


Click on the link to see photos:

-- Thank you
-- Jay Jacob Wind, President, Arlington Heights Civic Association