Arlington National Cemetery plans 70 acre, 60,000 burial space expansion

Symmetric rows of gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The military cemetery is the final resting place for war heroes.(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Ed-Ni-Photo)

Arlington National Cemetery will officially expand in a project that extends its southern boundary and adds 60,000 burial spaces.

The National Capital Planning Commission approved the plans on Nov. 5.

The newly expanded area is named the “south parcel” and will include the integration of the United States Air Force Memorial into the boundary of the cemetery, according to a news release.

While the purpose of the plans is to create more interment spaces, the project also aims to improve operations and the visitor experience to both the memorial and the cemetery.

If the Southern Expansion site had not been added to Arlington National Cemetery, the remaining capacity for interments for eligible veterans would have been exhausted for niche urn spaces by 2038 and 2043 for in-ground spaces, the release said.

About 400,000 veterans and their eligible dependents are buried at the cemetery.

The plans allow for additional secure entry points, pedestrian walkways and a parking deck for visitors.

In 2013, the cemetery expanded with the addition of the former Navy Annex site — now known as the Arlington National Cemetery Southern Expansion. This site is bounded on the south by Interstate 395, on the north by Southgate Road, on the west by the Foxcroft Heights neighborhood and the Virginia Department of Transportation Maintenance Yard and on the east by Route 27.

The Department of the Army and the Arlington County Government have been in discussion for several years concerning the disposition of Southgate Road, which is owned by the county and will need to be removed.

The cemetery anticipates that this will be resolved by next summer, according to the release. Columbia Pike and South Joyce Street are also owned by Arlington County.

Arlington National Cemetery was established in 1864 and is one of the oldest military cemeteries in the country.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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