This story is already two weeks old, and was covered pretty completely by GGW, but in case you missed it, NPS is rebuilding some of the entrances to National Airport, and as part of that the MVT is being improved.
There are three major things happening to the trail: it's moving away from the George Washington Parkway where it passes under the Route 233 bridge, it's getting a new barrier wall under the Metro bridge that carries the Yellow and Blue lines into the airport, and it's moving around a large tree that forces a quick S curve.
That S-curve has always annoyed me, more so because it passes over a ramp from the GW Parkway that was abandoned long ago and should have been removed. I'm happy to say that that will happen as part of this project.
Anyway, here are plans that show exactly how the trail is being realigned and rebuilt.
Construction plan under Route 233 bridge
New and old alignment/design of MVT south of Ramp 500B
The trail is currently 9' throughout most of the area, but will be widened to something between 9' and 13', depending on location, with a traffic barrier on the road-side of the trail under Route 233 and the Metro tracks/Ramp 500A.
As you can see above, the old ramp will be removed, raised and replanted, with the trail going west of the big tree there. It will get drive pads and have mountable curbs on each end - with the barrier removed - I suppose so that emergency access remains(?)
Trail Cross-section under Route 233
They're also going to install a new water fountain south of Route 233.
The Route 233 bridge is going to get better for pedestrians (and cyclists I suppose) as well. The sidewalk will be widened by 2.25' , though some of that space will be taken up by a new 2.5 foot tall traffic barrier on the inside of the sidewalks.
Route 233 Bridge Cross section
Route 233 will also get new crosswalks on the south side and a connection on the east end for those using that sidewalk. Currently, there is no crosswalk across Ramp 500C (lower left corner of image below), but when the project is done it will have a crosswalk there with a warning sign and curb ramps. In addition, pedestrians will no longer be dumped into no-man's land when they get across the bridge, as there will be a crosswalk to take them north to the triangle between Abingdon Road and the Route 233 lanes where they can access the existing pedestrian path.
View of new bridge pedestrian facilities
It's odd to me that they aren't constructing connections between the Route 233 bridge's sidewalks and the MVT. The sidewalks east of the project boundary are pretty unappealing, but people do use them and the MVT is only a few feet away. The north side sidewalk connects to the new Crystal City Workout Park and the south side to S. Clark Street. These sidewalks east of the project boundary could be upgraded in the future as more of Route 233 is rehabilitated - and with a few crosswalks make even more connections, but I guess I missed the public comment period. [And what's up with that old, ghost parking lot under the bridge, east of the railroad tracks? What is that from?]
Anyway during the construction they've built a bunch of detours of varying quality - covered at the GGW piece. They've built temporary mulch trails bounded by wooden rails which pretty much everyone agrees are awful.
Thanks to Wendy for these photos.
It's not an ideal detour, but the improvements to the trail will be nice, and the widening is a sign that NPS concedes that the trail is too narrow.