An exclusive left turn lane on southbound Connecticut Avenue from the Beltway to Jones Bridge Road should be done later this year and an extra right lane on northbound Rockville Pike from Cedar Lane to the Beltway is the last BRAC-related road project awaiting federal funding.
State Highway Administration officials updated a meeting of the Walter Reed BRAC Integration Committee on Tuesday night at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center with status updates on federally funded projects at the four major intersections around Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the National Institues of Health.
The area has become a traffic chokehold as workers file in and out of both secure facilities. SHA has received millions in grant funding from the Defense Department to widen intersections, add lanes and make sidewalk improvements.
Barb Solberg gave updates on each intersection. Construction timelines in SHA terms indicate actual roadway construction, Solberg said. In many cases, disruptions occur earlier because of work on underground utilities:
Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road — Phase 1, the new southbound lane on Connecticut Avenue from the Beltway to Jones Bridge Road, is under construction now and should be complete this summer or fall. Phase 2, the addition of a northbound Connecticut Avenue lane in the existing median to the Beltway, is under construction and should also be complete this summer or fall.
SHA has a separate contract out for the widening of Jones Bridge Road to the south, which would allow for another left turn lane to northbound Connecticut Avenue for the evening rush. Construction on that is expected to begin in fall of 2014.
Rockville Pike and Cedar Lane — Phases 1 and 2 include adding a lane on West Cedar Lane and increasing the length of the left turn lane just south of the intersection that allows access to the Military Medical Center’s North Gate. Phase 3 is the widening of Cedar Lane on both sides of Rockville Pike and should start in fall 2013 and finish in fall of 2015. It will include periodic closures of Cedar Lane.
Phase 4, the last project awaiting federal funding, will extend the lane SHA is adding to northbound Rockville Pike all the way to the Beltway. Solberg said the funding application should go out in the next couple months and construction should start in summer 2014 and finish in winter of 2015 or 2016.
Old Georgetown Road and West Cedar Lane — The first project to receive federal funding will add a right turn lane for drivers turning north onto Old Georgetown Road. Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2014 and finish a year later.
Rockville Pike and Jones Bridge Road — SHA is going to convert one of the thru lanes on southbound Rockville Pike to a left turn lane onto Jones Bridge Road. Solberg said construction started in January 2012 and should be complete by this summer. The rest of that intersection’s improvements involve sidewalk work that will be a part of the upcoming Rockville Pike pedestrian tunnel project.
Montgomery County BRAC coordinator Phil Alperson noted none of the federal funding for these projects is threatened by sequestration fears or budget talks on Capitol Hill.