Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, local officials and residents celebrated the reopening of the East Deer Park Drive Bridge in Gaithersburg on August 24 after the completion of urgent repairs this summer. The historic bridge, constructed in 1946, had deteriorated with age.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Division of Transportation Engineering conducts routine bridge inspections. In 2008 it found that the timber supports for the bridge’s steel beams were in an advanced state of decay and needed to be replaced within 12 months. Because of the need to act quickly and the location of the bridge over railroad tracks, the project presented some unique challenges. Temporary steel beams placed across the bridge suspended hangers that lifted the superstructure and allowed access to the bridge supports while they were replaced. MCDOT also resurfaced the bridge deck with asphalt.
MCDOT operates a model bridge inspection, repair and maintenance program for the county’s 319 bridges. Of these bridges, 199 are defined as long-span -- more than 20 feet long -- and 120 are short-span --between six and 20 feet in length. Inspection schedules for bridges are specified by Federal guidelines. Long-span bridges are inspected every two years with the Federal government providing funding for the inspections. The County pays for inspection of short-span bridges, which is done every four years. Following each inspection cycle, MCDOT initiates repair or replacement of priority bridges. The County also funds minor rehabilitation of bridges and preservation efforts that maintain bridges by painting the steel components.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has announced that rehabilitation of four neighborhoods in Glen Echo is underway through a program begun last year that is taking a more systematic and comprehensive approach to maintaining the County’s transportation infrastructure. As part of Leggett’s commitment to using data-driven methods to ensure that critical services are provided in the most effective and efficient ways, the Department of Transportation (MCDOT) revamped its system of prioritizing road repairs and the techniques it uses for road resurfacing.
MCDOT assessed the condition of all 4,800 lane miles of County roads and will conduct updates every two years. The evaluation assigns ratings using a formula-based scoring system, and Glen Echo’s roads were mostly found to be in poor condition.
Work in the Tulip Hill and Mohican Hills neighborhoods in Glen Echo began in early June. Due to the size and scope of the project, improvements will be phased in over two fiscal years, with the Glen Echo Heights and Fort Sumner neighborhoods scheduled for rehabilitation next summer in fiscal year 2011. A total of 18 lane-miles of road will be reconstructed in the four neighborhoods. MCDOT will not widen or alter the character of the streets throughout the community. To preserve the trees in the right-of-way during construction, every neighborhood tree was inspected by the County arborist, and a tree protection plan was put in place.
For more information, call MCDOT’s Customer Service Line at 240-777-6000, or go to their newsletter (pdf).
Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system will make changes to Ride On Routes 6, 18, 25, and 37 beginning September 6. The changes, which are the result of County studies and a public hearing held last spring, are described below:
Route 6 (Wheaton Metro Station – Montgomery Mall Transit Center)
The new name for Route 6 will be Parkside/Grosvenor Metro - Montgomery Mall Transit Center, and the bus will run between these two locations.
Rush hour service between the Wheaton Metro and Parkside/Grosvenor Metro will be eliminated on Route 6 and added to Route 37. (See description of Route 37 changes below for more details.)
Midday service on the Route 6 between Parkside/Grosvenor Metro and Montgomery Mall will be restored.
Route 37 (Potomac – Grosvenor Metro)
The new name for Route 37 will be Potomac –Wheaton Metro Station.
The route will continue to operate between Potomac and the Grosvenor Metro. It will extend to the Wheaton Metro Station during rush hours, giving riders the option to travel between Wheaton and the Potomac Community Center without transferring.
There will be no routing or bus frequency changes between the Potomac Community Center and Grosvenor Metro, although departure times will change slightly.
Routing between Kensington and Wheaton will be changed to include Plyers Mill Road instead of University Boulevard. Bus service on Plyers Mill Road between Georgia Avenue and Brunswick Avenue is new service.
Service on University Boulevard will continue to be provided by the Route 34 bus.
Route 18 (Silver Spring Metro/ Takoma Metro- Langley Park.)
Route 18 will operate seven days a week.
There will be new morning and afternoon rush hour service between the Silver Spring and Takoma Metro stations.
New Route 18 service will include Philadelphia Avenue, Maple Avenue, and Washington Adventist Hospital.
Service along Carroll Avenue, between Philadelphia and Flower avenues, will be provided by Ride On Routes 12 and 13.
Route 25 (Takoma Metro Station- Maple Ave)
The new name for Route 25 will be Takoma Metro Station- Langley Park, and the bus will run between these two locations.
Service on this route will extend to Langley Park.
The route will operate only Monday through Friday during rush hour.
Maplewood Avenue will no longer be served on Sunday.
More service will be provided on Maple and Carroll avenues, with buses operating every 10 minutes during peak periods.
Route 25 will no longer serve Washington Adventist Hospital. This portion of the route will be served by the new Route 18.
Federal recovery funds will be used to purchase 13 replacement Ride On buses. The Division of Transit Services requested $6.9 million to purchase 12 hybrid diesel-electric buses and one clean diesel bus to replace older buses in the fleet. The funds will also pay for software upgrades for the transit system’s dispatch center. The new computer system will give Transit Services the ability to more efficiently manage work assignments and daily bus dispatch, and make real-time bus schedule adjustments.
For more information, go to the County’s website and learn how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is benefiting Montgomery County.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett recently announced the completion of pedestrian and traffic safety improvements along an approximately two-mile stretch of Fairland Road between Randolph Road and Old Columbia Pike. Last year, on his way to an event on Randolph Road announcing the use of speed camera revenues for pedestrian safety improvements, Leggett came upon a collision scene where a pedestrian died near the intersection of Fairland Road and Cedar Creek Lane.
The County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) worked with neighborhood residents to develop and implement enhanced safety measures. The changes included increasing police enforcement of speed limits; installing more speed limit signs and larger replacements for existing signs; installing on-pavement speed limit markings; and trimming overgrown foliage. In addition, MCDOT installed:
Bus stop improvements near Colefair Drive, Fairridge Drive, and Westwind Drive that included bump-outs to calm traffic, bus pads with kneewalls, sidewalk connections, crosswalks, and signing;
Bump-outs with a crosswalk and signing near the Twin Farms Swim Club;
Bump-outs at Partridge Drive; and
Traffic signals at Tamarack and Serpentine roads.
The net results of these efforts are:
Average travel speeds have been reduced from nearly 50 miles per hour (MPH) to about 40 MPH;
Well-signed and marked bus stop crossings enhance safety for transit passengers;
Signalized crossings at Tamarack Road and Serpentine Way enhance safety for both pedestrians and motorists; and
Traffic signals provide gaps in traffic, giving motorists traveling into or out of neighborhoods at non-signalized locations more opportunity to turn onto Fairland Road.
Montgomery County’s Silver Spring and Friendship Heights TRiPS Commuter Stores now offer commuters new payment options when adding value to their SmarTrip Cards or purchasing other transportation fare media. Commuters can use cash, or Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit or debit cards. In addition, checks will be accepted when purchasing other transportation fare media, such as bus passes, Metrorail farecards and SmarTrip cards.
Commuters can also exchange SmartBenefits vouchers for the following Metro and Ride On passes and cards:
Ride On Monthly Pass
Metrobus Weekly Pass
Metrobus Weekly Disabled Pass
Metrobus Weekly Senior Pass
Metrorail One Day Pass
Metrorail Short Trip Pass
Metrorail Weekly Fast Pass
Metro Access Cards (five in each package)
Ride On’s Rockville Transit Information Center also accepts Master Card, Visa, checks and cash as methods of payment for purchasing fare media, or they can purchase or add value to SmarTrip Cards using MasterCard, Visa or cash.
Commuters are reminded that they can always add value to their SmarTrip card on any Ride On bus and at Metro stations, Giant Food stores and CVS pharmacies.
The Silver Spring TriPS Commuter Store is located at 8413 Ramsey Avenue. The Friendship Heights TriPS Commuter Store is at 17 Wisconsin Circle, Chevy Chase. The Rockville Transit Information Center is at 101 Monroe Street, 5th Floor. For more information, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/commute, or call Montgomery County Commuter Services at 240-777-8380or 240-773-8747.
Montgomery County has received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to design hiker-biker trails and bike lanes in the vicinity of the National Naval Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health. The grant provides for the design of bike facilities on:
Cedar Lane for an off-road bike path between Old Georgetown Road and an existing path beyond Rockville Pike that connects to Beach Drive;
Battery Lane and Glenbrook Parkway for sidewalk repairs, lighting, and improved signage;
Rockville Pike for a hiker-biker path to replace the existing sidewalk on the east side between Cedar Lane and Jones Bridge Road; and
Jones Bridge Road to add either bike lanes or an off-road bike path between Rockville Pike and the entrance to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Services.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett called on the Department of Defense and the United States Congress to act quickly to construct a pedestrian access project at the Medical Center Metro station. Leggett supports a new entrance to the Metro station with access from the east side of Rockville Pike.
Leggett issued the urgent call because the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) will significantly expand the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. He noted that 3,000 pedestrians cross Rockville Pike every day to get to the Navy Medical campus. These pedestrians are already at risk as they compete with vehicles traveling north and south and entering and exiting the campuses. When the new Navy Medical Center is completed in September 2011, an additional 2,500 daily employees and 400,000 more visitors throughout the year will add more vehicles and pedestrians to the already congested area.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Division of Highway Services is working to resurface and repair roads and repair or replace curbs, gutters and sidewalks. Recent road resurfacing projects include Arcola Avenue from Georgia to Parker avenues; Parker Avenue from Arcola Avenue to Newport Mill Road; Newport Mill Road from Parker Avenue to Veirs Mill Road and Amherst Avenue in Wheaton; the Avenel and Mazza Woods neighborhoods in Potomac; the Regency Estates neighborhood in Rockville/Potomac; Huntington Parkway and Tilbury Street in Bethesda; and Norbeck Meadows in Rockville.
Road resurfacing is underway in the following neighborhoods and roads: Rollingwood in Chevy Chase; Sherwood Forest in Colesville; Liberty Heights in Germantown; Lake Churchill in Germantown; Highland in Rockville; Glenview in Wheaton; Rosemont in Gaithersburg; Russet Road in Aspen Hill; Tuckerman Lane in North Potomac; and Nicholson Lane in North Bethesda.
The following neighborhoods and arterial roads are scheduled to be resurfaced next: Tea Neck in Potomac; Ashton Manor in Ashton; Manor Oaks in Olney; Kingsbridge in Damascus; Prathertown in Germantown; Grosvenor Lane in North Bethesda; Bou Avenue in Rockville; and Connecticut Avenue from Bel Pre Road to the Leisure World Entrance.
Concrete curb and sidewalk repairs have been completed or are underway in the Green Tree Manor neighborhood; Kentstone Drive; Linder Lane between Wyngate Drive and Singleton Drive and Lindale Lane in Bethesda; the Greenwood Knolls neighborhood in Wheaton; Glenview in Wheaton; Broxburn Drive in Bethesda; Rollingwood in Chevy Chase; Tilbury Street in Bethesda; North Potomac in Potomac; Garrett Park in North Bethesda; Clearbrook Lane in Kensington; Glenview in Wheaton; and Fernwood Road in Bethesda. The Wheaston Woods neighborhood will receive repairs next.