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by Aaron Kraut — February 24, 2015 at 10:20 am 0

Stream flows under Rockville Pike and Cedar Lane near NIH campus, photo via J.D. Mack

The lane shift slated for a busy section of Rockville Pike near Cedar Lane has been delayed for a third time, this time because of freezing temperatures.

The State Highway Administration said the lane shift would start at 7 p.m. Tuesday. But according to Montgomery County, the record-low temperatures mean the SHA can’t put down new pavement markings necessary for the shift:

The SHA removed the median along Rockville Pike just north and south of its intersection with Cedar Lane/West Cedar Lane. The removal of the median was to allow traffic officials to shift the six thru-lanes of Rockville Pike slightly to the west, allowing for the first portion of an underground culvert replacement project on the east side of the road.

The lane shift was originally supposed to happen in January, but weather issues moved it back to last week. Snow last week moved it back to Tuesday. Now the freezing temperatures have moved it back to March 3, according to Montgomery County.

Sidewalks will remain open and turning movements from West Cedar Lane onto Rockville Pike won’t be impacted. But turns from northbound Rockville Pike to West Cedar Lane will be restricted for the rest of the year and probably well into 2016.

In the late spring or early summer, the SHA expects to shift traffic again as a second phase of culvert work starts under the middle portion of the road. Northbound traffic will move back to the right and southbound traffic will remain where it was during the first phase.

There will be a third phase a few months after that during which crews replace the culvert on the southbound side of Rockville Pike. Southbound traffic lanes will shift back to the east.

Photo via J.D. Mack

by Aaron Kraut — February 18, 2015 at 4:05 pm 0

The lane shift coming to Rockville Pike near Cedar Lane will have to wait until next week.

The shift was originally scheduled for last month before being pushed to Tuesday. The State Highway Administration says inclement weather has again pushed the new traffic pattern back, this time to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

In case of inclement weather, the SHA will put the shift in place on Wednesday, Feb. 25.

PDF: Rockville Pike Lane Shift Delayed

by Aaron Kraut — February 18, 2015 at 1:20 pm 355 0

Snow on Woodmont AvenueState Highway officials say a fast-moving but heavy batch of snow forecasted for this evening will likely make the P.M. rush hour a mess.

“We’ve seen it before and it is the same every time — one inch becomes a nightmare for commuters and our salt trucks if the snow falls during rush hour as predicted,” SHA administrator Melinda Peters said in a press release.

Montgomery County Public Schools has cancelled all school-sponsored after school activities. Community use of school buildings will be allowed as scheduled.

The area is under a Winter Weather Advisory ahead of the snow squall, which could dump a coating to about an inch of snow on roads that were just cleared of Monday night’s snowfall.

The weather front will also bring another blast of Arctic air, which officials say will cause snow to accumulate quickly on pavement. The NWS forecasted the snow squall will hit the area from 3 p.m.-8 p.m.

“While it might be sunny and clear at 2 or 3 p.m., this storm will move fast and before you realize it, you may not have time to make your commute home. Please monitor the weather throughout the day and if you cannot leave early, consider staying late or using transit to avoid driving,” Peters said. “We need motorists to be part of the solution. Leaving work at your normal departure time could significantly add to your commute. We implore drivers to alter their travel plans to be safe and avoid extensive delays in frigid temperatures and bad weather.”

by Aaron Kraut — February 17, 2015 at 12:05 pm 218 2 Comments

State Highway Administration (file photo)State Highway crews did immediate inspections of 69 bridges similar to one from which loose concrete fell on a woman’s car last week in Prince George’s County.

Three of the bridges included on the list were in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area: The Bradley Boulevard bridge over I-495, the I-495 bridge over Connecticut Avenue and the nearby I-495 bridge over Kensington.

The two I-495 bridges both required some concrete removal, according to a State Highway Administration press release on Saturday. Crews completed their work that day.

Following the incident in Prince George’s County, Acting State Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn directed SHA engineers to immediately inspect 27 bridges of similar age and condition.

“In an abundance of caution,” SHA engineers and district maintenance personnel picked out 42 more similar bridges to inspect outside of the normal two-year schedule.

“With these actions, we want to assure the traveling public that we are committed to making sure this never happens again,” Rahn said Saturday.

The SHA said 17 of the 69 bridges “had been under review by SHA for patching, rehabilitation or replacement.”

by Aaron Kraut — February 15, 2015 at 1:55 am 1,000 3 Comments

Toyota Corolla after hit from behind on Beltway shoulder, Via mcfrsPIO

Updated Monday – Treacherous road conditions may have led to a Beltway wreck in Bethesda that sent two emergency workers to the hospital, one with critical injuries.

MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer said the workers and an ambulance were on the scene of an initial collision that happened a little after 12:15 a.m. Sunday.

Maryland State Police said the driver of a 2005 Ford F-150 lost control of his truck, skidded across two lanes and onto the right shoulder where the EMT workers were.

The truck hit the back of the Toyota Corolla involved in the initial crash and both EMT personnel. The truck then hit the ambulance before coming to rest.

State Police identified the two EMT workers as Thomas Schryver, 26, and Sydney Marshall, 19. Both are volunteers for the Glen Echo Fire Department. Piringer said that both suffered serious injuries but their prognosis was good.

State Police identified the driver of the truck as Maximillano Curcho, 34, of Clarksburg. He was also taken to Suburban Hospital. The people in the Toyota were taken to MedStar Hospital, though police said it’s unknown if they sustained injuries in the second crash.

“Nothing has been ruled out at this time as a possible cause of the crash,” read a State Police press release. “No charges have been filed at this time, pending the outcome of evidence analysis and the crash investigation.  Anyone who may have witnessed this crash is urged to contact the Maryland State Police Rockville Barrack at 301-424-2101.”

The inner loop at River Road was completely shut down for more than an hour after the incident. At 1:30 a.m., one lane was opened.

Via mcfrsPIO

by Aaron Kraut — February 11, 2015 at 1:35 pm 1,226 4 Comments

Inner Loop Beltway traffic near River Road after Wednesday crash, via TrafficLand.comPolice and MCFRS personnel are on the scene of a serious two-car wreck on the inner loop of the Beltway near River Road.

The accident happened around 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday between River Road and the I-270 spur.

One vehicle involved was overturned and MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer said to expect some lanes to remain blocked by rescue personnel and equipment at the scene. Piringer said the accident led to serious injuries.

Photo via TrafficLand.com

by Aaron Kraut — February 9, 2015 at 3:15 pm 606 0

Rockville Pike from North Drive to Locust Drive will have a new traffic pattern starting next week, via Google Maps

The traffic shift coming to a busy portion of Rockville Pike in Bethesda is now set to begin next week.

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17, the State Highway Administration expects to shift travel lanes to the west side of the road between North Drive and Locust Drive. The SHA removed the concrete median in the section to allow for the shift.

The state agency is making the shift to allow for construction of a culvert that must go under Rockville Pike.

The changes were originally set for mid-January, but delayed because of weather issues. Next week’s lane shift could also be delayed by inclement weather, the SHA said in a press release.

Sidewalks will remain open and turning movements from West Cedar Lane onto Rockville Pike won’t be impacted. But turns from northbound Rockville Pike to West Cedar Lane will be restricted for the rest of the year.

In the late spring or early summer, the SHA expects to shift traffic again as a second phase of culvert work starts under the middle of the road. Northbound traffic will move back to the right and southbound traffic will remain where it was during the first phase.

SHA spokesperson David Buck told BethesdaNow.com there will be a third phase a few months after that during which crews will replace the culvert on the southbound side of Rockville Pike. Southbound traffic lanes will shift back to the east.

SHA will keep all three travel lanes open in each direction during rush hour, but there could be partial lane closures involved in the project during off-peak hours.

Via Google Maps

by Aaron Kraut — February 4, 2015 at 10:15 am 337 4 Comments

The Element 28 construction project at Old Georgetown Road, via Work Zone Cam

Updated at 3:55 p.m. – Lane closures are coming to a downtown Bethesda section of Old Georgetown Road this weekend as construction crews install a crane.

Only one lane of Old Georgetown Road between Wisconsin Avenue and Commerce Lane will be open from 4 a.m. Saturday to 5 p.m. Sunday to allow for the installation.

Schuster Construction needs the crane to build Element 28, the 15-story, 120-unit apartment building from developer Kettler at 7535 Old Georgetown Road. The State Highway Administration issued a permit allowing the lane closures.

The SHA said inclement weather this weekend would push the work to next weekend.

In a regular email blast on Tuesday, Regional Services Director Ken Hartman said the far left parking lane closest to the Metro station will be the one that remains open. In a press release, the SHA said Schuster will convert that parking lane to a regular through-traffic lane using arrow panels, construction barrels, cones and a flagging operation.

Montgomery County Police officers will also be on scene to guide drivers through the work zone.

Sidewalks on the north side of Old Georgetown Road in the stretch will be closed. SHA said the operation entails a large crane that will be used to lift a second crane onto the site.

Via Work Zone Cam

by Aaron Kraut — February 1, 2015 at 12:30 am 752 4 Comments

Bradley Boulevard water main break, Photo via WSSC/Twitter

Updated 7:05 a.m. Feb. 1 – An 8-inch water main break that shut down part of Bradley Boulevard on Saturday night broke again early Sunday morning — about an hour after the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission said it had been fixed.

The break to the 62-year-old pipe had Bradley Boulevard shut down east of Arlington Road to Offut Lane.

WSSC said it had repaired the main and water service would be restored to surrounding properties by 11 p.m. Saturday.

But the fix apparently didn’t hold.

About an hour later, the water main broke again:

Later Sunday morning, WSSC said one nearby apartment building was without water service:

Photo via WSSC/Twitter

by Aaron Kraut — January 28, 2015 at 11:45 am 410 11 Comments

River Road and Western Avenue in Bethesda/Friendship Heights, via Google Maps

Updated 7:45 a.m. Thursday – The utility work that has been driving some River Road drivers crazy over the last few months will soon transition to Western Avenue.

It’s part of Pepco’s project to install 6,500 feet of new underground transmission pipes in the area. Pepco says the work will improve reliability of electrical service to residents and commercial property owners. See the Pepco fact sheet for more details about the Western Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue segment of the project.

The River Road work has led to a number of daytime lane closures and complaints from residents about limited access to adjacent neighborhoods. Drivers have also complained about potholes, bumps and uneven pavement resulting from the underground work.

Pepco crews will begin installing pipe and manholes along Western Avenue to Wisconsin Avenue, then underground cable, according to an e-newsletter from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center.

The Western Avenue work, including the restoration of the road, is scheduled to be finished by April. Completion of the work on other segments of the project may take another year and the schedule could change because of weather or “operating constraints.”

PDF: Pepco Underground Construction Fact Sheet

Via Google Maps

by Aaron Kraut — January 23, 2015 at 6:45 am 498 6 Comments

Updated at 2:35 p.m. – The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission says a River Road water main break is repaired and the road should reopen by the afternoon rush hour.

Traffic was diverted around River Road between Western Avenue and Little Falls Parkway for much of Friday. All northbound traffic was being directed to Wisconsin Avenue and southbound traffic to Massachusetts Avenue, according to WSSC.

Just before 2:30 p.m, WSSC said the pipe was back in service and the intersection should be cleared and open within the hour:

WSSC crews were on the scene starting Friday morning making repairs to the 8-inch pipe. The repairs also had Willard Avenue closed at River Road.

Metro said its T2 bus to Rockville had to take a detour at Western Avenue and resume the route at Goldsboro Road and River Road:

Via @ABC7Bri

by Aaron Kraut — January 16, 2015 at 11:00 am 1,447 0

Cedar Lane/Rockville Pike culvert project, via J.D. Mack

Updated Jan. 23 – The new traffic pattern for a busy section of Rockville Pike has been postponed until at least mid-February.

Last week, road signs said the changes could happen on or about Jan. 21 in order to allow work on a new stream culvert under the road. State Highway Administration spokesperson David Buck said the agency found out today (Jan. 23) that the lane shift will have to wait.

The SHA recently widened the road just north of Cedar Lane and removed a concrete median to allow for the shift.

Southbound Rockville Pike traffic will shift to the right. Northbound Rockville Pike traffic will shift to the left. Three through lanes in both directions will always be open during peak hours.

The area affected by coming traffic pattern changes, via Google MapsOnce the lane shift goes into effect, the SHA will begin replacing the culvert under the northbound side of Rockville Pike.

In the late spring or early summer, the SHA expects to shift traffic again as a second phase of culvert work starts under the middle of the road. Northbound traffic will move back to the right and southbound traffic will remain where it was during the first phase.

Buck said there will be a third phase a few months after that during which crews will replace the culvert on the southbound side of Rockville Pike. Southbound traffic lanes will shift back to the east.

The changes, if carried out as previously planned, will include the opening of the new Rockville Pike entrance to the Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. The existing Rockville Pike entrance to the school will be closed.

Buck said the $11.9 million culvert replacement project is almost half done. In August 2014, the SHA reopened Cedar Lane east of Rockville Pike ahead of schedule after realigning a culvert under that road.

The SHA will send out a news release about a week to 10 days before it’s ready to make the lane shift.

Correction, 3:45 p.m. – A previous version of this story incorrectly reported a new entrance to the Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart would be opening on Cedar Lane and an existing Cedar Lane entrance to the school would be closing. The new entrance to the school will open on Rockville Pike, not Cedar Lane. It will replace the school’s existing Rockville Pike entrance.

Photos via J.D. Mack, Google Maps

by Aaron Kraut — January 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm 213 0

Updated at 5:10 p.m. – Another winter storm could impact yet another morning rush hour on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service is predicting about an inch of snow from 4 a.m. to the late morning hours in central and southeast Montgomery County. The NWS issued a Winter Weather Advisory from 4 a.m. to noon Wednesday:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO NOON EST WEDNESDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO NOON EST WEDNESDAY.

* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW.

* ACCUMULATIONS…AROUND ONE INCH.

* TIMING…ONSET AROUND 4 TO 6 AM…CONTINUING INTO THE LATE MORNING HOURS…BEFORE MIXING WITH PERIODS OF SLEET AND DISSIPATING BY EARLY AFTERNOON.

* TEMPERATURES…MIDDLE 20S DURING THE PREDAWN HOURS…INCREASING TO LOW 30S LATER IN THE MORNING.

* WINDS…NORTH AT 5 TO 10 MPH.

* IMPACTS…SNOW WILL LIKELY DEVELOP EARLY IN THE MORNING COMMUTE. THIS COUPLED WITH ROAD AND AIR TEMPERATURES WELL BELOW FREEZING WILL CAUSE ACCUMULATION OF SNOWFALL ON ROADWAYS. THIS WILL RESULT IN HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS.

Montgomery County will activate its Storm Operations center at 3 a.m. on Wednesday to monitor a storm that could bring an inch or two of snow and freezing rain to the area.

For the third time in a little more than a week, the State Highway Administration is asking commuters to monitor the forecast and consider delaying their morning travels.

“While roads were generally in good condition earlier this week, a difference of only one or two degrees is the difference between wet roads and hazardous icy roads,” SHA Administrator Melinda Peters said “Please take these forecasts and warnings seriously and consider delaying or canceling your travel and appointments while we take care of making the roads safe for travel.”

The SHA will again pre-treat major roads and highways with salt brine to prevent snow accumulation. But sub-freezing overnight temperatures are expected to make any precipitation freeze over on untreated surfaces.

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