Arlington, Alexandria officials break ground on new Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway bus service

ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - The Potomac Yard-Crystal City Transitway is a project most residents are excited about, even if it means making a sacrifice on the front end.

"The traffic and construction might be a hassle to get to initially, but I think anything that can alleviate single-destination vehicles versus mass transportation is a good thing," said local resident Sarah Berkshire.

Officials broke ground Friday on the transitway. It's sponsored by Arlington County and the City of Alexandria.

The Transitway, which aims to provide faster bus service along the Route 1 corridor, will be the D.C. Metropolitan area’s first right-of-way dedicated to premium bus operations, according to the project’s website. The service, also called Metroway, will be operated by WMATA.

Once complete, the Transitway will be 4.5 miles long and extend between the Crystal City and Braddock Road Metro stations with an all-day dedicated transit lane in Potomac Yard and seven other transit stations.

"This is extremely exciting. It's been a long time coming - to actually see the fruition of many years of planning work and the contributions of the community," said James Hamry of WMATA. "It's a really enjoyable experience."

The project, which includes eight stops and is about 4.5 miles long, will serve around 13,000 households - a number that's expected to grow.

"The transitway is coming along just as the real major growth spurt is happening in the corridor," Hamry said. "Like I said, the timing couldn't be more perfect."

Officials say the project is also expected to draw even more people to the area who are looking for efficient and hassle-free public transportation.

"As a public transportation user, I'm far more inclined to go somewhere that has easy public transportation options," Berkshire said. "I find more foot traffic benefit businesses. So while it might be a short term hinderance to traffic flow [with the construction], I think, long-term, it'll be good for the area."

Friday's groundbreaking comes just a few weeks before the completion of the Alexandria portion of the project, scheduled to debut by Aug. 24. The entire project will be finished early next year.