Friday, May 30, 2014

Leggett Joins Lieutenant Governor Brown, Federal Delegation, Local and State Dignitaries to Celebrate Start of Cedar Lane Intersection Improvement

BRAC Project Will Help Reduce Bethesda Traffic Congestion

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (third from left) joined federal, state and local officials to celebrate the greenlighting of another BRAC project; the MD 355 and Cedar Lane Intersection Project in Bethesda. Pictured from left to right are: Deputy Transportation Secretary Wilson H. Parran, Senator Richard Madaleno, Leggett, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown, Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and County Councilmember Roger Berliner.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett joined Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown to celebrate the start of improvements to the Cedar Lane and MD 355/Rockville Pike intersection -- a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) project to help mitigate the traffic impacts from the expansion of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). Leggett joined U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards and Deputy Transportation Secretary Wilson H. Parran to highlight the many other BRAC-related improvements that have been made to ease traffic in Bethesda.

Staff at WRNMMC has increased from about 8,000 to nearly 11,600 and the number of visitors, most of whom arrive by car, has doubled to nearly one million. In 2007, Montgomery County and State of Maryland officials, together with community leaders and the U.S. Navy, created a comprehensive mobility plan to address the traffic impacts of BRAC through projects that improve traffic flow at key intersections and provide better pedestrian and bicycle access.

Montgomery County and the State of Maryland began implementing the plan, but additional resources were needed to complete it. The County’s congressional delegation, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Congressman Chris Van Hollen, succeeded in obtaining nearly $120 million from the Federal government to make all the changes needed.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has completed construction of the following new and upgraded hiker-biker paths and sidewalks to serve the Medical Center with the help of a U.S. Department of Defense grant:
  • A hiker-biker path along Jones Bridge Road from Rockville Pike to Connecticut Avenue, provides a connection to the Capital Crescent and Rock Creek trails; 
  • A hiker-biker path along Cedar Lane, from Rockville Pike to Old Georgetown Road, and a wider Cedar Lane bridge across Rock Creek connects to the Bethesda Trolley and Rock Creek trails; and 
  • New and improved sidewalks and bike paths serve the Medical Center on Rockville Pike and in the Battery Lane neighborhood. 
The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will upgrade the Cedar Lane intersection to: 
  • Add a southbound left turn lane onto Wilson Drive (at the National Institutes of Health) from westbound Cedar Lane. 
  • Add a northbound right turn lane onto Cedar Lane from North Wood Drive, Naval Support Activity Bethesda. 
  • Add a morning rush hour signal for southbound left turns onto North Wood Drive, Naval Support Activity Bethesda. 
  • Increase space for more vehicles waiting to turn left going southbound at North Wood Drive, Naval Support Activity Bethesda. 
  • Increase space for more vehicles waiting to turn left going northbound at the National Institutes of Health commercial vehicle inspection facility. 
  • Replace two culverts beneath Rockville Pike/MD 355 at Cedar Lane. 
  • Restripe Cedar Lane (no lanes added) to facilitate turns and traffic flow. 
SHA is also making improvements to three other major intersections that serve the Medical Center that will enhance traffic flow and promote pedestrian safety. The projects are fully funded with monies from the Federal government and the Maryland Department of Transportation:
  • Rockville Pike at Jones Bridge Road 
  • Connecticut Avenue at Jones Bridge Road 
  • Old Georgetown Road at Cedar Lane 
Next year, MCDOT will begin a $68 million project to construct major upgrades to the Medical Center Metro Station, including a bank of deep elevators to the Metrorail platform on the Naval Support Activity Bethesda side of MD 355/Rockville Pike and a shallow pedestrian underpass to allow thousands of bus and carpool commuters and pedestrians to cross Rockville Pike safely.

More detailed information on the Bethesda area BRAC projects is available on the County’s website.