Eileen Nivera of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) told me yesterday that she just heard from the project staff for the DC portion of the Anacostia River Trail.
DDOT’s contractor is doing the design work for the trail from Benning Road to the existing trail in Prince Georges County, she said. Right now, the design work is 65% complete, which in this case means that the entire trail has been designed but a lot of work remains in obtaining the required permits. DDOT has also been awaiting completion of an Environmental Assessment by the National Park Service (Washcycle also made that point in the comments section of this week’s blog about the October 1 NOVEMBER 4 opening ceremony for the new section that follows the east side of the river from the Port of Bladensburg almost to the DC line). Finally, Amtrak has not yet agreed to allow the trail to pass under its bridge. All of this preparation will be done by the end of 2012, she said.
Ms. Nivera did not know whether the construction would proceed from south to north, from north to south, or from both ends toward the middle.
This final trail segment trail has not yet been funded. Ms. Nivera expects the District of Columbia to seek a federal grant for the remaining section. Because the new segment stops at the woods, a short segment of trail including a small bridge must still be built on property owned by M-NCPPC, as well as property owned by the National Park Service in Maryland along ‘the ramp from the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to westbound US-50. M-NCPPC has no plans to obtain funding for that segment, she said. Instead, it will be part of DDOT's grant application. While it would be unusual for the District of Columbia to fund trail construction beyond its boundaries, it is not unusual for a government agency to manage a federally funded construction project that crosses into another jurisdiction.
The design work is far enough along for DDOT to start applying for grants, she said. Predicting the trail's completion date will be difficult until funding is secured. “The grant application will be a major milestone.”
(Jim Titus is a cycling advocate from Prince Georges County)