Rockville company lands $59.1 million contract to expand Arlington cemetery -- Gazette.Net







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This story has been corrected on Oct. 30, 2013. An explanation follows the story.

Forrester Construction of Rockville has been awarded $59.1 million from the Army Corps of Engineers to develop about 27 acres for the Millennium Project to increase burial space at Arlington National Cemetery.

This will be Forrester’s fourth project at Arlington National, the most recent being Columbarium Court No. 9, which opened in May.

“It’s such a pleasure and privilege to be able to work on that site,” said Frank Pinto, Forrester’s director of project development.

Without its latest addition, Arlington officials believed the cemetery would have quickly run out of burial space for military veterans and their families. The plans for this project will add pre-set crypts for in-ground burial; columbarium structures, which are vaults lined with recesses for urns; and in-ground cremains sites. In addition to the much-needed new burial spots, a great amount of landscaping will be needed as well as the construction of retaining walls, security walls, and vehicle and pedestrian roads and walkways.

The company was picked for the project through competitive solicitation that started in the spring. The Army Corps of Engineers looked through proposals from different companies that included their pricing and qualifications and decided Forrester was the best option.

“The Corps requires near-perfect finishes and we have a track record of doing it in the past; our price was pretty compelling as well,” Pinto said.

Though the contracting selection process involves sensitive information that cannot be publicized in too much detail, Patrick Bloodgood, the Army Corps of Engineers’ Norfolk District spokesman, said previous work was one of the many criteria looked at when choosing Forrester.

Although there has been some public protest about the construction as a whole because it would mean removing about 900 trees, some of which have been there since the cemetery opened, the Corps plans protect select trees and plant more to offset what is removed.

“We’re doing a ratio of new trees greater than one-to-one,” Bloodgood said, stating that plans call for planting 800 trees and more than 1,000 each of tree seedlings and shrubs.

“There’s going to be a number of environmental improvements,” Pinto said.

He explained that Forrester will be shaping the landscape to protect and preserve the natural habitats of native species and restore a stream that runs through the property.

While the project has no formal groundbreaking planned, Pinto said the company will be mobilizing on-site within the next two months and plans on working into 2016. He said Forrester will take the appropriate time to do the project right and achieve the best result possible.

“We don’t want speed over quality,” Pinto said.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated what will be happening to the stream.