Arlington National Cemetery expansion prompts plans for road, land changes

Arlington National Cemetery is going to expand to the south and add about 50 acres for future burials.

But first, streets need to be reworked and the land prepared.

“We are going to realign Columbia Pike, moving it from where it is today, farther south,” said John Martin, consultant project manager of what’s called the Arlington National Cemetery Defense Access Roads (DAR) Project.

Currently along Columbia Pike, there is a narrow sidewalk along four lanes of traffic.

Martin said although the road will remain four lanes wide, 8-foot-wide sidewalks will be added on both sides. A 10-foot-wide cycle track will also be added to the north side.

The project also includes replacing Southgate Road with a new section of South Nash Street, expanding Foxcroft Heights Park, modifying the Columbia Pike/Washington Boulevard interchange and installing new streetlights.

The design is now 35% complete, and the hope is to have it finalized by fall.

A flyover of the proposed plan can be seen in the video below:

Construction is scheduled to start in spring 2021 and continue until summer 2025.

The project does not involve relocating any homes, but at a public hearing Tuesday evening, some area residents voiced concerns about traffic and parking.

Locals are also worried about the future of popular outdoor concerts held at the U.S. Air Force Memorial.

“The Air Force Memorial truly will be integrated into the cemetery project,” Martin said.

A rendering from the plan showed the memorial at the end of a walk through a future columbarium area.

Martin said the goal is to keep the memorial open to the public throughout construction.

The public can view the preliminary plans online and submit written comments by Feb. 26 to

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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