July 16, 2008
“I am very pleased that the Defense Department has agreed to take on the task of constructing turn lanes at the North Wood Gate of Bethesda Naval Hospital along Rockville Pike. This project will help remove traffic from the through lanes along Rockville Pike by extending the existing southbound left turn lane into the Navy Med campus, and by creating a new northbound left turn lane into the NIH truck inspection facility.
“This can be a good beginning toward addressing the many critical traffic congestion challenges created by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decision to expand Bethesda Naval – but it is only a beginning. Much remains to be done and getting that done is a priority of mine and of the surrounding community. I appreciate the important
support we’ve received from Senators Mikulski and Cardin and from Congressman Van Hollen.
“I applaud DOD for recognizing that the success of the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda will be due in significant part to relieving traffic and congestion in the surrounding neighborhoods.
“An especially positive element of this decision is that this particular project will not have to go through a cumbersome and lengthy process under the Defense Access Roads (DAR) program. This project was initially requested for funding as a DAR project, which would allow DOD funds -- if specifically appropriated by Congress for this project -- to be used for projects on public rather than military roads.
“I understand that this project isn't quite a done deal, and that DOD must identify the funds within its construction budget for this project. But, clearly, DOD recognizes the importance of ensuring the success of the BRAC-mandated mission at Bethesda Naval Hospital -- to construct the world's finest military medical center -- and that solving the traffic and congestion problems that could result from dramatic growth at the Bethesda campus is an integral part of that mission.”