By Raytevia Evans and Drew Hansen
Officials heralded a big step for transportation improvement in the Northern Virginia area Monday morning as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority broke ground on a new Metrobus facility in Lorton.
The state-of-the-art facility, which will be located at 7901 Cinder Bed Rd., will replace Metro’s nearly 70-year-old Royal Street Bus Garage in Old Town Alexandria. The old bus barn has exceeded its life and cannot accommodate new WMATA buses.
"The facility we have now is so old, it was built when I was born and it was outdated by the time [Fairfax County Supervisor] Jeff McKay was born," joked U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th) during the ceremony. "We started this years ago, and this is going to provide for a tremendous economic development opportunity.”
The project will generate about 300 construction jobs, said WMATA. According to the Metro media relations office, the facility is expected to be completed in 20 months, around mid-2015.
In July, WMATA approved the future sale of its bus barn facility located between Royal and N. Pitt streets, paving the way for the redevelopment of an entire city block in North Old Town.
With ground broken on the Lorton project, WMATA is expected to issue a solicitation for the Old Town property soon.
Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille told Patch in May that the site could be a combination of townhomes and apartments, but that its future “will be determined by what is the best use and the highest value that Metro gets out of the property.”