Drivers using Takoma Park’s largest commuter route will encounter lane shifts and lane closings starting Thursday, May 9, through the end of 2014.
The State Highway Administration (SHA) is replacing a bridge deck on New Hampshire Ave. where it crosses Sligo Creek. New Hampshire Ave (MD 650), on the east side of the city, travels north from Washington DC into Maryland’s suburban Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.
Work begins May 9 with the placement of a temporary pedestrian bridge. Around noon one or two southbound New Hampshire Ave. lanes will be closed near Sligo Creek Parkway.
Once work begins, says the SHA, travel lanes along MD 650 will shift; all through-lanes will remain open during the morning and evening rush hours.
The first of two
As previously reported in the Voice, this is the first of two city bridge projects that will impact traffic for the next 2 to 3 years. When this project is done, work will begin on the Carroll Ave. bridge over Sligo Creek. The bridge will be closed to Carroll Ave. traffic for the duration, which is estimated to be a year. Detours for that upcoming project had not been worked out as of last February.
During the New Hampshire Ave. closures, motorists will be detoured onto East-West Highway (MD 410 – Ethan Allen Avenue), and Carroll Avenue (MD 193). Weather permitting, all lanes of traffic along Sligo Creek Parkway and southbound New Hampshire Ave. will reopen to traffic no later than 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 11.
Sligo Creek Parkway access to New Hampshire Ave. will also be closed beginning at noon, May 9.
Once the temporary pedestrian bridge is in place, SHA may temporarily close one lane in both directions of MD 650 weekdays, between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. and one or two lanes overnight, Sunday through Saturday, between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Drivers wishing to access Sligo Creek Parkway from New Hampshire Ave. will be detoured around the construction zone via East-West Highway (MD – 410) and Carroll Avenue.
“Maintaining access to the Sligo Creek Parkway hiker/biker trail and area residences during the bridge deck replacement project is a top priority,” says SHA administrator Melinda B. Peters via a press release. “SHA asks that motorists remain patient during construction and remain alert for work crews.”
Loud and disruptive
The SHA warns residents and travelers that equipment used during construction can be loud and disruptive. To explain the project schedule and additional impacts the SHA is hosting a community meeting Wednesday, May 15, at 6 p.m. at the Takoma Park Community Center.
Motorists should plan ahead and add extra commute time during construction, advises the SHA. More than 69,000 vehicles travel along this section of MD 650 in Montgomery County daily.
SHA will use electronic message boards, construction cones and barrels, arrow boards and flaggers to direct motorists through the work zone. SHA urges drivers to stay alert – look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers.
Originally built in 1932 and widened in 1964, the bridge is structurally sound but needs a new concrete deck (bridge driving surface). SHA says it will begin constructing new concrete medians, curb and gutter and upgrading sidewalks along MD 650 for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance before replacing the east and west sides of the bridge deck.
As part of the project, SHA will also:
* replace metal railings on the bridge;
* clean and paint steel sections of the bridge;
* resurface the pavement approaches;
* replace the traffic signal at the MD 650/Sligo Creek Parkway intersection; and
* apply new pavement markings.