Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced today that rehabilitation of 17 lane miles of roads in three neighborhoods in Forest Glen has been completed through a program that is taking a more systematic and comprehensive approach to maintaining the County’s transportation infrastructure.
“To keep Montgomery County moving, we are investing in our existing transportation infrastructure so our older communities stay vital,” said Leggett. “The Department of Transportation has reinvented the way it does business as part of our continuing effort to find better and more cost effective ways of providing services. Forest Glen is the third neighborhood to benefit from this multi-year, intensive approach to upgrading neighborhoods. The results speak for themselves with revitalized roads and a more environmentally sensitive approach to stormwater management.”
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) began the revised Capital Improvements Program rehabilitation and reconstruction program in 2008. The Battery Park and Glen Echo neighborhoods were the first to benefit. MCDOT assesses the condition of all 4,800 lane miles of County roads every two years. The evaluation assigns ratings of very good, good, fair, poor, or very poor to each road using a formula-based scoring system. The scores are then used to prioritize the department’s maintenance, rehabilitation and resurfacing efforts.
“This project is a perfect example of the way innovative thinking and collaboration among stakeholders can create solutions that are wins for everyone,” said County Councilmember Nancy Floreen, who chairs the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. “Transportation improvements and environmental stewardship can indeed go together, and I look forward to more projects like this one that take into account the multiple uses for our roadways.”
MCDOT’s road rehabilitation project was an ideal time for the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to also make improvements in Forest Estates. Through its Green Streets initiative, localized stormwater management features were incorporated into the County’s right-of-way in the Forest Estates neighborhood. These features included rain gardens, bioretention gardens and grass bioswales that channel runoff from paved surfaces to permeable soils, gravel and plants, reducing pollution and improving stream water quality. The project is part of the County’s approach to meeting Federal and State mandates to control and treat stormwater runoff.
“Montgomery County is required by federal and state mandates to control and treat stormwater so that our communities can enjoy clean and healthy waterways,” said Department of Environmental Protection Director Bob Hoyt. “This can be a challenging task, especially for neighborhoods like Forest Estates that were built before modern stormwater regulations. Our staff has done an extraordinary job coordinating with the Department of Transportation and with the Forest Estates community. By installing more natural, small-scale ‘Green Street’ approaches, such as rain and bioretention gardens, we are capturing and treating roadway runoff, replenishing groundwater, protecting our urban watershed health and creating attractive streetscapes.”
Most of the roads in Forest Glen targeted for reconstruction were in very poor condition. MCDOT removed and replaced deteriorated curbs and gutters, as needed, ground up the old roadway surface, further evaluated the road substructure for damage, patched where needed and reconstructed the roads with hot mix asphalt.
MCDOT’s road condition ratings help direct resources to maintain the high quality of good roads and target the worst roads for rehabilitation and repair. For roads in good condition, MCDOT is preserving pavement quality by using methods, such as slurry seal treatments, that seal minor cracks and openings and prevent water damage to the roadway. These methods also restore the pavement’s integrity, are cost effective and extend the life of the pavement.
“We are sharply focused on improved accountability, efficiency and effectiveness in our transportation operations,” said MCDOT Director Arthur Holmes. “Our efforts to use quantitative measures to guide the way we provide services is working.”
The Forest Glen neighborhood is comprised of three Homeowners Associations: Forest Estates, Forest Grove and Northmont. Work in the Forest Estates neighborhood in Forest Glen began in the fall of 2010. Due to the size and scope of the project, the improvements required more than two construction seasons to complete. MCDOT did 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.
The cost to rehabilitate the roads for Forest Glen’s approximately 1,200 homes was $5.5 million.
For more information about the Division of Highway Services road projects, visit the website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot.
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