Potential BRAC Traffic Issues Are Upon Alexandria

By Julie Carey
|  Tuesday, Aug 9, 2011  |  Updated 9:01 AM EDT
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Starting Tuesday, the first wave of thousands of Defense Department workers will move to Alexandria's Mark Center as a part of BRAC.

Julie Carey

Starting Tuesday, the first wave of thousands of Defense Department workers will move to Alexandria's Mark Center as a part of BRAC.

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The first of thousands of federal employees whose jobs are moving to the Mark Center in Alexandria move in Tuesday.

Outside the new Defense Department building there Monday, dozens of construction workers scurried to put the finishing touches on the transportation center and streets that will soon lead 6,400 workers to this already congested area. The move starts gradually, with 2,300 workers arriving between Aug. 9 and Sept. 15. By year's end, almost 5,000 will be located in what's become a new landmark along Interstate 395. Another 1,400 arrive in 2012.

Some who already work in Mark Center offices are prepared for eventual gridlock. It will be years before a planned $80 million HOV ramp can be built from Interstate 395 to the area. Because the move in will be phased, most don't expect big traffic tie-ups until mid-September.

For months, Gov. Bob McDonnell and other elected officials in Virginia urged the Army to delay the move to no avail. So the governor announced Monday he'll create a new task force to monitor traffic flow and make adjustment as needed to surrounding signal lights. The group also will try to boost transit service.

Metro & Dash buses began making express runs from the Pentagon and King Street Metro stations to the new Mark Center transportation center Monday. One rider told News4 his commute was a breeze.

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