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Check here for the latest media reports about BRAC, press advisories related to BRAC activities and other announcements about BRAC-related issues. Please report any bad links by clicking the below each item.

Monday, July 28, 2014

7-24-14 Gazette.Net: Army floats compromise on medical waste area -- Some Silver Spring residents want warning signs, without fence

Representatives of the U.S. Army on Wednesday offered a compromise proposal for an area near a neighborhood trail in Silver Spring where syringes, scalpels and other medical waste were found two years ago.

The Army and residents have been grappling with what to do about the waste since it was unearthed in 2012. It was found along the Ireland Drive Trail, near the Army’s Forest Glen annex, just south of the Beltway and west of Georgia Avenue. The area also is near the U.S. National Museum of Health and Medicine.

The latest proposal involves installing about 2,450 feet of chain-link fencing around the part officials believe is contaminated, including the wooded western portion and the upper part of Ireland Creek. That still would give residents access to 70 percent of the trail and portions of Ireland Creek and would cost almost $400,000, officials said.

Other alternatives derived by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a detailed report ranged from posting signs, for about $11,000, to removing contaminants, for as much as $3.1 million.

“This is only a proposal,” said Nick Minecci, a spokesman for Fort Detrick, which controls the Forest Glen annex, which houses the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and some other biomedical research centers. “A final decision has not been made.”

Medical waste may have originated from a landfill on the annex, where waste was dumped during and after World War II.

The trail was used in the 18th century to transport tobacco downhill to Rock Creek and ultimately England. It was paved in the early 20th century for use by the National Park Seminary girls’ boarding school.

The Army acquired the trail and woodlands during World War II, when it used the buildings to treat wounded soldiers.

Several residents who have used the trail for years said they doubted the contamination posed a serious health threat, especially to those who only use the trail and don’t go near the creek. They noted that Lake Needwood in Rockville has signs warning visitors that there are contaminants in the water, but officials don’t close the lake to recreational activities.

While residents applauded Army officials for coming up with a compromise proposal, some supported the less-costly proposal to only post warning signs.

“There is no such thing as a temporary fence,” said Barbara Schubert, an area resident who founded a preservation group called Save Our Ireland Trail. “The chain-link fence would be topped by barbed wire. Can you imagine that next to this natural trail?”

Agencies have yet to do a detailed risk assessment to show what exactly would be dangerous to humans, she said. Civilian members on the area’s Restoration Advisory Board studied data for two years and did not support a fence, Schubert said.

Army contractors have measured the potential health risk of exposure to arsenic, radium and other chemicals buried in the woods. One dioxin in the stream was measured at a level nine times higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s benchmark level, prompting some signs to warn people to not allow pets to drink from the stream.

Donald Hall of Silver Spring, a retired Army colonel who co-chairs the Restoration Advisory Board, said he also supported the warning sign option for now. The state of Maryland will conduct its own health assessment review and could impose other measures, he said.

“It would be best to wait to see what the state finds before spending money to put up a fence,” Hall said.

More than 50 people attended the open house-format meeting at Coffield Community Recreation Center.

Some residents said they wanted protections from contaminated areas.

Nearby resident Diana Rodum said she supported a different option, costing about $500,000, that would include a fence, but allow access to all of the trail and creek. “We use the trail, but we don’t go down by the creek,” she said.

A 45-day public comment period runs through Aug. 11 and likely will be extended as many people are on vacation, Minecci said. Written comments can be emailed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, at Russell.E.Marsh@usace.army.mil by Aug. 11.

POSTED: 1:52:00 PM |

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

7-10-14 County Planning Board Completes approval process for BRAC-related project to extend Platt Ridge Drive from Jones Bridge Rd to Montrose Drive

Planning Board Action/Decision: Approved Mandatory Referral with Comments and Disposition of Parkland.

(Scroll down to Item 8):  http://www.montgomeryplanningboard.org/agenda/2014/agenda20140710e.html

POSTED: 8:48:00 AM |

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

6-24-14 Bethesda Now: Website For Info, Feedback On Cedar Lane Closure, Summer 2014

The State Highway Administration has established a website to provide updates and a feedback form about its project that will have Cedar Lane closed at Rockville Pike until August.

The website includes photos, schedules, a full environmental analysis and an all important page to submit comments and complaints.

SHA says the closure of about 1,000 feet of Cedar Lane is necessary primarily because it must rebuild a culvert that allows a small stream to flow under the road. The project will bring two new lanes — a left-turn only and thru lane — to help ease traffic back-ups heading to Naval Support Activity Bethesda and NIH each morning.

The road was closed at midnight on June 6. SHA hopes to finish before or by Friday, Aug. 22, before the MCPS school year begins on Monday, Aug. 25.

POSTED: 3:36:00 PM |

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

6-3-14 Montgomery County Govt: Ride On Route 34 Detour around part of Cedar Lane -- Friday, June 6 through approx. Aug 22

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is starting construction on improvements to the Cedar Lane and Maryland Route 355 (Rockville Pike) intersection that will require the detour of Ride On Bus Route 34 beginning June 6 through August 22.

To avoid the construction, the bus route will bypass Cedar Lane between Parkhill and Beach drives, skipping six bus stops (three in each direction) in that stretch of the road. These stops will be temporarily discontinued. A map of detour route is available online.

Route 34 between the Wheaton Metro and Medical Center Metro stations will take the following detour route: Cedar Lane, Beach Drive, Connecticut Avenue, and Jones Bridge Road. The bus will only stop at Route 34 bus stops along this detour route.

Passengers boarding the Route 34 bus at the intersection of Parkwood Drive and Cedar Lane and headed in the direction of the Medical Center Metro Station are advised to board at the westbound bus stop #20868 on Parkwood Drive. If heading towards Wheaton, board the eastbound bus on Parkwood Drive at bus stop #20840.

For more information, visit Ride On’s website or call 311 from within Montgomery County or 240-777-0311 from outside the County.

POSTED: 5:49:00 PM |

Monday, August 12, 2013

Forest Glen Annex's temporarily closure of gate due to sequestration affects Ride On Route 4

On July 15, the Forest Glen Annex closed its Linden Gate entrance to vehicles and pedestrians as a result of sequester staffing reductions. Vehicles and pedestrians must now use the Brookville Gate for all entries and exits.

With this change, the Ride On Route 4 bus will no longer be allowed to enter the Annex. Instead, riders on this route must use the bus stop at the intersection of Linden and Warren streets, and then walk to the Brookville Gate entrance. An option for northbound riders is to use the Ride On Route 2 bus, which will continue to enter the Annex.

More information and maps are available on Fort Detrick’s website or contact the Fort Detrick Public Affairs Office at 301-619-2018.

POSTED: 10:44:00 AM |

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