Two new Metro entrances coming to Pentagon City

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Local,Virginia,Liz Essley,Metro,Arlington,Metro and Traffic

The Pentagon City Metro station is slated to get two new entrances in the next two years.

Arlington County is working to build a new $5 million elevator to take riders from the street to the underground station, as well as refurbish a pedestrian tunnel built decades ago but never used.

The Metro station is one of Arlington's most popular, with an average of more than 16,000 people boarding trains there in 2012.

But it has only one elevator, and it's across the street from the Pentagon City mall -- the destination tourists with strollers and shoppers with bags are usually trying to get to via the Metro station, said Arlington transportation planner Bea Hicks.

"That's a very wide street. Putting an elevator on the west side [of South Hayes Street] would be of service to our passengers," said Hicks. "We have an awful lot of traffic in Pentagon City."

The new elevator also will help when one is not working.

"When one elevator is not working, then we don't have another way for people who are carrying luggage or baby carriers or wheelchairs to get down to the station easily," said Hicks.

Most of the dollars for the new elevator will come from federal grants, but the project is taking longer than officials expected. Though an online schedule says the county planned to award a contract to build the elevator in September, Hicks said that probably won't happen until mid-2014.

"As always, a glitch could happen here or there, but that's our current plan," she said.

Arlington officials also are working on a plan to reopen a long-neglected pedestrian tunnel that connects the Metro station with the intersection of 12th and Hayes streets, Arlnow.com first reported. The county commissioned an initial design and repair plans in 2006, but the effort was delayed.

"The county has been unable to reach agreement with adjacent property owners regarding final design, operations and maintenance of the tunnel," Arlington Department of Transportation spokeswoman Laura Smith said.

The tunnel was built in 1984, said Smith. No one from the transportation department was available to answer more questions, but a local transportation blog, SchuminWeb, said the tunnel never opened in the '80s because of security concerns.

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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Liz Essley

Staff Writer - Transportation
The Washington Examiner