Project Expected to Improve Traffic Flow and Promote Pedestrian Safety along Congested Corridor
Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Acting Director Al Roshdieh announced the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to design and build the Maryland (MD) Route 355/Rockville Pike Crossing Project, which will relieve traffic congestion and promote pedestrian safety at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centerin Bethesda. The Crossing Project was conceived by MCDOT to address BRAC-mandated growth at Walter Reed, which brought a 45 percent increase in personnel and a doubling of visits to the Bethesda campus.
The project will construct a shallow underpass serving pedestrians, cyclists and bus commuters to enable safe and efficient passage under Rockville Pike between the east side at the Navy entrance and the west side Transit Center near the entrance to the National Institutes of Health. To facilitate Metrorail access on both sides of Rockville Pike, the project includes high-speed elevators on the east side of the road that will descend 135 feet to the Metrorail mezzanine.
In May of 2013, MCDOT held a public meeting for contracting firms and issued a Request for Expressions of Interest for the Crossing Project. Nine firms responded and in September 2013, MCDOT selected two prime contractor finalists who will receive the RFP: Clark Construction and a joint venture of Corman-Bradshaw Construction. Formal proposals from the two firms are due later this spring and a contractor will be selected by the summer. The entire project is expected to be completed in fall 2018.
Funding for the project became available in June 2013 when, after lengthy negotiations, stakeholder agencies signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that enabled the Department of Defense to release the funds designated for the BRAC-related project. The signed MOA set in motion the process of selecting a design-build contractor and moving forward to construction. Stakeholders that signed the MOA and contributed to the RFP included: MCDOT, Department of Defense (DoD)/United States Navy, Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Federal Highway Administration and the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to the Crossing Project, the contracted work will include SHA-designed improvements for traffic and pedestrians at the nearby intersection of Rockville Pike, Jones Bridge Road, Center Drive and Woodmont Avenue. This intersection project has been funded by a separate DoD grant of $4.3 million, and will be built in conjunction with the Crossing Project to avoid duplication of effort and reduce disruption to the community. MCDOT will oversee the construction of both projects under a single contract.