When the Carroll Avenue Bridge over Sligo Creek closes for rehabilitation next spring, traffic will be divereted through Takoma Park for about a year and that has some neighbors worried about cut-through traffic.
In a workshop Oct. on 2, the Maryland State Highway Administration presented plans for rehabilitating the Carroll Avenue bridge over Sligo Creek and Sligo Creek Parkway.
The bridge was built in 1932, and during routine inspection by engineers, the road surface and main supporting elements showed early signs of becoming structurally deficient. SHA officials emphasized that these early signals do not mean the bridge is unsafe.
Construction is projected to begin in spring 2015 and will include replacing the entire bridge deck — the driving surface, the columns above the bridge arches, sidewalks, railings and lights on the bridge.
The bridge will be closed for about a year, during which time cars will likely use a detour route on Flower, Maplewood and Philadelphia avenues. A temporary pedestrian bridge also will be constructed next to the Carroll Avenue bridge.
However, Christopher Bishop, community liason with SHA, said the detour has not been finalized and the administration will continue to work with the community, including nearby Washington Adventist Hospital, to create a detour that can best mitigate traffic and disruption to neighborhood.
The hospital is a designated Chest Pain Center and Primary Stroke Center, which means many patients are experiencing life-threatening conditions, wrote Geoff Morgan, vice president for expanded access at the hospital, in a statement.
“We are working collaboratively with the State Highway Administration and the City of Takoma Park to ensure effective access to the hospital during the period of construction,” Morgan wrote.
John Robinette, president of the Long Branch-Sligo Neighborhood Association, said that planning ahead will be key.
“We know we’re going to have to deal with that inconvenience,” he said. “We’ve always had to deal with cut-through traffic.”
But with plenty of time to work with the city and police before construction begins, Robinette is confident that the neighborhood will come up with strategies for keeping the neighborhood safe for children and keep disruption to a minimum.
One strategy will be working with police to ensure strict enforcement of traffic signals, he said.
SHA Project Manager Maurice Agostino said the agency looked into building a temporary bridge during rehabilitation, but determined it would be too expensive and would disturb the Sligo Creek Stream Valley park area.
“The majority of the concerns were with traffic, with the detour cutting through the surrounding neighborhoods,” Agostino said of the Oct. 2 meeting.
At the workshop, highway officials and community members discussed the detour and alternative plans. Bishop estimated that about five dozen people came to the meeting. Some construction may also take place before and after the bridge’s closing.
Bishop said the project would go to bid in 2014, with a budget of $946,000. For now the next steps are to work with the community to address their concerns and move forward with the project design, Agostino said. No further meetings have been scheduled.