Work to replace a culvert that collapsed under Hillandale Road in Bethesda started this week and should take six weeks to complete.
The Highway Services division of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation is managing the project. Part of the culvert fell apart in October, bringing down part of the road and leading the county to close it for an estimated six months.
On Tuesday, crews were removing guard rails on either side of the road between Willett Parkway and the Bethesda Swimming Pool.
The road will remain closed between Willett Parkway and Little Falls Parkway during the culvert work.
The Bethesda Swimming Pool, an outdoor county swimming facility, is set to open in May. The facility does have access to Little Falls Parkway.
Just as a new traffic pattern goes into effect at Cedar Lane and Rockville Pike, local commuters can expect new construction to start soon at nearby West Cedar Lane and Old Georgetown Road.
The delayed lane shift of Rockville Pike just south and north of its intersection with Cedar Lane went into full effect overnight Monday, according to the State Highway Administration’s Christopher Bishop.
The SHA finally got a long enough stretch of decent weather to put down new lane markings to shift northbound lanes to the west, which will allow crews to build a new culvert for a stream that passes under the roadway.
That means drivers will no longer be able to turn left from northbound Rockville Pike to westbound West Cedar Lane until the end of the entire culvert project, which could be late summer 2016.
In an update to the county’s BRAC Implementation Committee on Tuesday, Bishop also announced SHA just got its Notice to Proceed on its intersection improvement project at West Cedar Lane and Old Georgetown Road, on the other side of the NIH campus.
The winter storms are (hopefully) over and temperatures could hit 50 degrees over the weekend and into Monday.
But the thawing from Thursday’s snow storm is likely to create a new problem, the potholes that traditionally show up as the freezing weather stops and spring approaches.
Montgomery County allows residents and drivers to report potholes online by creating a service request. The county says it will generally inspect and repair a reported pothole within three business days.
Keep in mind that the State Highway Administration is responsible for filling potholes on numbered state roads, such as MD 355 (Wisconsin Avenue), MD 185 (Connecticut Avenue) and MD 187 (Old Georgetown Road).
You can create an online pothole request with the SHA too.
Plow truck operators were trying to keep main roads as clear as possible as heavy snow fell throughout the area on Thursday afternoon.
Between 1 and 2 inches of snow was falling per hour during the heaviest periods of the snowfall, with 3.5-5 inches reported throughout the Bethesda and Chevy Chase area around 2 p.m.
Montgomery County plow crews haven’t started plowing primary neighborhood or neighborhood roads. The Highway Services Division’s plow progress can be monitored on MCDOT’s website.
Officials are urging residents to stay off the roads if possible. If you must drive, MCDOT has a warning:
Make sure to clean the snow off your car before driving. Citations are possible for drivers who are caught w/ excess snow on their vehicles
— MC Highway Services (@MontCo_Highways) March 5, 2015
The Rockville Pike lane shift that’s been delayed four times because of winter weather is now scheduled for Tuesday, March 10, with an inclement weather date of March 11:
SHA traffic lane shifts on MD 355 at Cedar Lane/West Cedar Lane are now scheduled for Tues, March 10, with inclement weather date March 11.
— MCDOT (@MCDOTNow) March 4, 2015
It will be the State Highway Administration’s latest attempt to move traffic lanes to the west on the busy stretch around Cedar Lane in order to replace a stream culvert under the roadway.
The SHA removed the median on the road to accommodate the shift, though the move has been pushed off multiple times because of snow, ice and cold temperatures that prevent crews from putting down new lane markings.
The State Highway Administration said it will re-issue an updated traffic alert as soon as it has a new date for the shift.
“Our project engineering team will meet with the contractor performing the work and advise of a new date for the traffic shifts. SHA will re-issue an updated traffic alert concerning the change as soon as new dates for the work become available,” read a SHA statement.
The SHA said the lane shift would’ve started at 7 p.m. Tuesday:
SHA lane shifts on MD 355 in Bethesda postponed again due to expected inclement weather later today. New date has not yet been selected.
— MCDOT (@MCDOTNow) March 3, 2015
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:
FROM MD SHA: Forecasted low temperatures impacting placement of pavement markings will delay traffic shift at MD355 / Cedar Lane to March 3
— BRAC-Bethesda MD (@BracMoCoMD) February 24, 2015
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
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.
“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.”
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.”
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.
Fire department personnel are on the scene of a fire in a paper shredder truck near Wisconsin Avenue.
The fire was reported at 2:30 p.m. on Bradley Boulevard, just across the street from Fire Station No. 6.
Westbound Bradley Boulevard is closed at Wisconsin Avenue. MCFRS units report they have put out the bulk of the fire.
A water main break has Willow Lane closed at Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda.
WSSC crews working to fix the pipe have blocked off part of one lane of northbound Wisconsin Avenue.
Use Leland Street as an alternative to access the county parking lots behind the Farm Women’s Market or the Town of Chevy Chase.
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