As part of the analyses of three potential sites for a Potomac Yard Metro station, balloon tests will occur over the next several weeks in order to document the visual impacts of the station designs.
Tests will occur during a three-week period beginning Monday, with a final test date proposed for Dec. 7. Specific weather conditions are needed to conduct the tests, which will be used to collect photos and video of each of the proposed station locations and to make visual renderings.
Balloons will be visible from the George Washington Memorial Parkway for as much as 90 minutes while the tests are being performed.
The city reminds drivers that stopping along the parkway is prohibited.
The total cost of the testing will not be known until after the tests are completed, city officials told Patch. The city is paying for the tests from funds reserved for planning the station.
This past Tuesday, Alexandria City Council received an update on the status of the Metro station planning and development in Potomac Yard.
Staff continues to plug away at the mandated Environmental Impact Study of the three potential station locations. The draft EIS should be completed in the second quarter of 2013. The city will then hold a series of community meetings and public hearings about the draft EIS. The selection of a locally preferred alternative is expected by September 2013. The final EIS is expected by the second quarter of 2014, with a Record of Decision expected by June 2014.
Projected costs vary between the three station alternatives—two at-grade stations east of the CSX tracks and a third aerial station to the west of the tracks.
Cost estimates will be refined in January. Projections are currently between $119 million and $538 million, according to the Washington Business Journal.
City officials said Tuesday that the high-estimate $538 million cost of the aerial station could push it out of consideration.
“That number is a big challenge and might not be doable,” Deputy City Manager Mark Jinks said of the aerial station.
Vice Mayor Kerry Donley, who did not seek re-election this fall, said Tuesday he hopes to remain on the city’s Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group after his term ends at the turn of the year.