Steel Plates on Wilson Blvd in Ballston To Be Removed

N. Randolph and Wilson Blvd steel plates (photo courtesy Frank Murphy)(Updated at 11:00 a.m.) A pair of steel plates that have been causing a bumpy ride for motorists heading westbound on Wilson Boulevard near the Ballston Common Mall may soon be removed.

The plates were installed near the intersection of Wilson Boulevard and N. Randolph Street early last year after residents of the nearby Archstone Ballston Square apartments complained about noise coming from a Dominion Virginia Power vault cover, underneath which sits electrical equipment for their building, according to the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services (DES). The vault cover (located in the left-hand westbound travel lane) was broken and causing loud noises when cars drove over it.

The plates were to be installed over the vault cover as a temporary measure until it could be fixed. However, as of last month, the cover still wasn’t fixed and the plates were causing problems for drivers. In addition to producing a bumpy ride, one driver says the plates damaged his car.

“Recently I hit the corner of the grate with my vehicle and it knocked the alignment off my car,” resident Frank Murphy claimed in a Feb. 27 email to county officials. “I am sure each person listed on this email has traveled west on Wilson Boulevard and noticed these dangerous grates. The corner of one grate sticks up 4 inches.”

Murphy said the county refused to reimburse him for the alleged damage, saying the plates actually belong to Archstone. Archstone and Dominion, meanwhile, are finally planning to repair the vault covers and remove the steel plates, as soon as this month, according to the county.

“Dominion Power has approved the new vault designs, a contractor has been paid to do the installations,” according to DES spokeswoman Laura Smith. “Vault work should hopefully be completed before the end of March 2013.”

That’s little consolation for Murphy and his repair bill.

“I have to pay the money out of my pocket,” he told ARLnow.com. “It’s bulls–t!”

Photo courtesy Frank Murphy


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