Detour signs, utility flags, tree markings signal start of ANC Millennium Project
This rendering of Arlington National Cemetery's Millennium Project displays future multi-columbarium sites and burial plots adjacent to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Land from the joint base was annexed to the cemetery in 2004, and preliminary construction on the addition has started. The perimeter columbarium wall will run parallel to the base's McNair Road along with a state-of-the-art jogging path. JBM-HH's Old Post Chapel is depicted on the far left and the JBM-HH motor transportation pool is in the upper right of the drawing. Courtesy: Army Corps of Engineers rendering

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Despite the biggest National Capital Region snowstorm in several years, construction prep work has begun on the Millennium Project, a planned 27-acre addition to Arlington National Cemetery.

With annexed land from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, the ANC expansion project will provide 30,000 burial and niche spaces south of McNair Road from the JBM-HH bus motor pool to the rear of the Old Post Chapel.

The land adjacent to McNair Road and the Old Post Chapel, commonly known as the picnic area, was annexed to the cemetery by Fort Myer in 2004. The National Park Service has also presented acreage to ANC for the completion of the project.

Even though a fresh layer of snow covers the area, the construction blueprint was laid out at the site. Trees to be removed were spray painted with an "X," while multi-colored utility flags pinpoint underground electrical, sewer, water and gas lines.

With the pre-construction ground work finished, Millennium Project construction is still on schedule.

"It [the weather] definitely sets back some of the activities that they [construction workers] had planned for this week," said Arlington National Cemetery Director of Engineers Kent Carson.

Carson added that electrical cables needed to power temporary street lights were scheduled to be inserted this past week, but the inclement weather scrubbed the work.

The blue and red plastic utility flags near McNair Road mark water and electrical lines respectively. Yellow flags signify underground gas lines while green markers correspond to sub-level sewer lines.

Carson said 600 trees will be removed during the Millennium Project construction, but he emphasized more than 600 will be replanted throughout the multi-level addition which will feature a perimeter columbarium wall near McNair Road, a loop road through the site and an emergency vehicle service road to be built behind the Old Post Chapel.

"Up by [McNair Road] and the picnic area, a lot of those [trees] are coming out," Carson said. "There will be a stream running through the area, and as you get down into that area, more of the trees will be saved."

Detour signs have already been erected to alert joggers and pedestrians that the JBM-HH picnic area jogging path is closed. The exercise path will be out of commission for close to 24 months but will be replaced, and McNair Road can still be navigated by motorized vehicles and bicycles according to Bonsok Escobar, chief of engineers, JBM-HH Public Works in an email to the Pentagram.

"The jogging trail will be included in the [construction] project area, and it will become unavailable for about two years," Escobar said. "Eventually, a new, nice trail will be built and returned to JBM-HH for our use."

McNair Road will remain open but temporary lane closures may occur during construction, and a chain-link fence will be erected along the edge of the road according to Escobar.

The jogging path closure extends from the Old Post Chapel to the intersection of McNair Road and Marshall Drive. Joggers and walkers are asked to use Marshall Drive - adjacent to Whipple Field - as an alternate exercise route.

Carson noted that the permanent light poles will be saved and reinstalled next to the jogging path, which will run parallel to McNair Road. The measurement between McNair Road and the project's perimeter columbarium wall will be approximately 30 feet.

By late winter, the Millennium Project construction time table calls for all picnic area trees to be removed and by spring, ground work will commence on building the multi-tiered burial and inurnment addition.

Millennium Project construction is planned for completion by summer 2016.

Page last updated Fri January 24th, 2014 at 00:00