Full steam ahead
WTOP's Nick Iannelli reports
The design for a $68 million, federally funded shallow tunnel crossing under Rockville Pike will get the thumbs up from Montgomery County planners when it goes before the Planning Board next month.
At a hearing on Jan. 9, Planning Staff will recommend the Board approve the BRAC-related project meant to clean up congestion on Rockville Pike.
Staff recommended minor changes to the project, which will put an 80-foot long shallow pedestrian tunnel crossing at the South Drive/Wood Road intersection with MD 355. At the east side of Rockville Pike will be a bank of three high-speed elevators so commuters from the Military Medical campus can access the Metro station platform 120 feet below ground.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation will put out a Request For Proposal this year and select one of two contractors in October 2014 for the design-build project.
The suggestions from county planners include expanding new plaza areas to allow better pedestrian circulation on both sides of the street and removing the existing sidewalk that leads to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center security gate at South Wood Road.
Planners would also like to see the design provide lighting of the tunnel, portals, elevator areas and outside sidewalks that meet with the standards of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
They also expressed some need for adequate directional signage, especially for new visitors to NIH or the Military Medical Center.
Design renderings will be shown at the Board hearing on Jan. 9. The tunnel portals, canopies and elevator enclosures are under review by the National Capitol Planning Commission.
Image via Montgomery County Department of Transportation