SHA map shows the automobile detour and temporary 3-way stops and traffic signals. Image from SHA website.
BY NAOMI EIDE
Construction on the Carroll Ave., Sligo Creek bridge will begin next summer, disrupting traffic in Takoma Park.
The 82-year-old bridge will close for construction anywhere from 12 to 18 months, based on conservative estimates.
Daryl Braithwaite, Takoma Park public words director, worked closely with the State Highway Administration to identify detour routes and the impact of construction on Takoma Park residents.
During the construction on the New Hampshire Ave. bridge project crossing Sligo Creek, Takoma Park did not have much input, Braithwaite said.
This section of Sligo Creek Parkway was closed for the New Hampshire Avenue bridge project. The project was delayed for 10 months because defective cement had to be replaced, as reported in The Voice.
“State Highway just sort of announced they were going to do this project…they saw it as a park and planning and state highway issue, and there was very minimal preparation and no discussion with the city prior to the start of that project,” Braithwaite said.
The State Highway Administration will hold a bidding process to award the contract once construction plans are finalized.
The SHA plans two detour routes, one for truck traffic and the other for standard vehicles passing through Takoma Park.
Truck traffic will detour onto state highways to keep truck traffic off residential streets: Rte. 410 (Philadelphia Avenue), Rte. 320 (Piney Branch Drive) and Rte. 193 (University Avenue).
Standard vehicles will detour via smaller residential streets and Sligo Creek Parkway: Old Carroll Avenue (the short street the connects Carroll to Sligo Creek Pkway next to the bridge), Sligo Creek Parkway north, Maple Avenue, Maplewood Avenue and Flower Avenue.
Images from SHA website and publication.
I think one of the things you find with human nature is people like to go the least bit out of their way as possible. So the more concise route you can have… tends to be the more positive of the types of detours,” Braithwaite said. “That’s one of the reasons why we looked at the Old Carroll and Sligo Creek Parkway route as optimal, because it had the least divergence from the normal driving.”
Braithwaite expects residents will develop their own detours, which may cause unforeseen traffic congestion in other areas of Takoma Park. Those who normally cut through Takoma Park may avoid the congestion entirely and use main thoroughfares, such as state highways.
Though there is some time before a pedestrian bridge is built and the bridge closes for construction, council members in effected wards encouraged preparation and planning.
The city council will hold targeted focal point discussions with their wards to offer a localized perspective on the construction’s impact on specific streets and residential areas.
At Monday night’s council meeting Ward 2 councilmember Tim Male recommended setting an end of February deadline to solicit information from resident groups. If temporary signs or speed bumps are recommended by residents, the city will need to know well ahead of the bridge closure, he said
Councilmember Kate Stewart, Ward 3, said she plans on holding smaller group meetings, perhaps by block, to see how the particular areas are affected. Because there may be different responses from residents on different streets, the small group meetings will tailor neighborhood responses to hopefully relieve hassle and pain.
The greatest impacts, from construction and detour routes, are expected on Flower Ave., Maple Ave., and Maplewood Ave.