The span was open, but empty, at the time, and nobody was hurt. The actions of the contractor, Skanska, are under review.
A large section of the bridge’s concrete base and walkway — which traversed Green Line and MARC train tracks in Prince George’s County — crashed onto a construction vehicle below, leaving the bridge’s mangled chain-link safety fencing hanging awkwardly in the air.
Dust and sparks flew as parts of the bridge crashed onto the tracks
Skanska workers had been building a test track for new Metro cars, and an operator lifted the excavator’s arm into the pedestrian walkway, Metro officials said. Skanska project executive John Hellman provided no immediate explanation of the incident and said the investigation is ongoing.
The bridge in the Berwyn Heights area is along a common route to Lake Artemesia Natural Area, a popular recreation spot.
Christy Dollymore walks her dog Lou across the bridge several times a week. It is the quickest way to reach the lake, and the walk itself is an attraction for some. She often sees parents bringing their children there to scope out the trains, Dollymore said.
“I’ve never been afraid up there,” Dollymore said, adding that she will not be scared off from using the bridge again once it is repaired. “It’s just a freak construction accident.”
And an inconvenience.
“We’re sad because we have to go the long way to get to the lake now,”
Train service was pretty quickly restored, but it's unclear how long it will be before the bridge is re-opened. The bridge serves as a connection between the Indian Creek Trail and the College Park Trolley Trail.
The National Park Service will be presenting rough sketches of design concepts for the Memorial Circle Transportation plan that were developed at a workshop that evaluated previous studies of the area, existing and projected traffic conditions including accident, speed and road/trail volumes, and the memorial character of the area. These concepts will be the foundation for the development of alternatives to be presented later in the year.
I know there are a lot of cyclists who use this area - as the Mount Vernon Trail passes through here - daily, and this is your opportunity to offer your thoughts about this process and the ideas that were generated before they develop alternatives.
Comments will be accepted at the open house or may be provided online through the NPS Planning Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website.
The sketches have been posted to the project website and comments will be accepted from March 3, 2015 to March 10, 2015. You can access this site here.
The sketches are really rough, they look like the actual marked up maps from the workshop, so don't expect studio-style art.
The open house is from 5pm to 8pm at NPS National Capital Region Headquarters, 1100 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC.
Here are my comments I submitted back in September:
While the scoping document mentions the social paths that runners and cyclists have carved from the north side of Memorial Bridge to the MVT, it seems to be out of concern for their use and dedicated to finding ways to stop it. Instead, NPS should view these as desire lines which are to be embraced and improved to meet user need
The MVT is only 9 feet wide in this area - and sometimes less, but best practices would dictate that such a heavily used trail, and its spurs to Arlington National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Pentagon's 9/11 Memorial, be widened.
From Memorial circle to Arlington National Cemetery, cyclists use narrow sidewalks made with an aggregate surface. Aggregate becomes very slippery and unstable when wet, and thus NPS should consider a safer material be used.
The scope should be enlarged to include the bicycle/pedestrian path on the downstream (south) side of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. Currently this path is disconnected on the Virginia side, but a connection to the MVT is possible. Extending the trail from the current Virginia end of the bridge path, it could be turned south along the connector between S. Arlington Road and US-50. The ample green space along the north side of the connector’s bridge over the Washington Channel could be used to cross that body of water and then the trail could cross over or under the GWMP, or even at-grade. This would allow for a direct connection between the MVT and Constitution Avenue, while bringing access to two large parcels of parkland currently inaccessible to users.
Robert Looper III an ANC 5C commission has proposed a connection from the Fort Lincoln/Gateway area to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail via the New York Avenue/Route 50 Bridge. Not so long ago I would've thought the idea crazy, but the MoveDC (page B13) plan does show a trail connection across this bridge
This resolution passed unanimously by the ANC 5C Commission and was enthusiastically received by the Developer of Fort Lincoln. We need your help to make this a reality by contacting DDOT and letting them know that it’s time to #maketheconnection!
I think it's a great idea (and I've promoted a similar one before).
Back in 2011, DDOT and the FHWA released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed replacement of the South Capitol Street Bridge. This project covers the area that is the intersection of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail on both sides, and the South Capitol Street and Suitland Parkway Trails and it would completely rebuild South Capitol Street and Douglass Bridge. [Update: JDLand covers the same territory here]
But since 2011, they have decided to make several changes to the design, most notably to build a fixed bridge instead of a draw bridge and to change the alignment on the east side of the river to avoid having to acquire land from the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB). This decision resulted in changing the alignment of the proposed new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge to a location immediately south of and parallel to the existing bridge (instead of offset at an angle). They also changed the east side traffic circle into a traffic oval aligned in the same direction as the west side one and changed the proposed ramps or ramp modifications between South Capitol Street and I-695, Suitland Parkway and I-295, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE and Suitland Parkway. This resulted in a new alternative called the Revised Preferred Alternative and the issuing of a new Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). You can see the new alignment in the image below and images from 2013 here.
The Preferred alternative offered a lot for cyclists. The new bridge will have much improved multi-use paths. The project will construct new and improved pedestrian/bike connections throughout the project areas including a new pedestrian/bike path along Suitland Parkway connecting Firth Sterling Avenue and the east oval. They would implement signed bicycle routes along New Jersey Avenue and throughout the Project Area to provide connections and improved access to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, the riverfront, and Historic Anacostia. On the west side, the project will change South Capitol between the river and I-395 into a boulevard with at-grade crossing, slower speeds and better sidewalks, which should make it better for biking on and easier to bike across. It will also reconstruct the pedestrian bridge over Suitland Parkway between Sheridan Road and Barry Farms and widen the Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue overpass at Suitland Parkway to accommodate a new multi-use trail. The existing Suitland Parkway Trail within the project area will be upgraded as well.
The revised preferred alternative will still feature all of these items, although the combined width of the bike/ped facilities was decreased from 20 feet to 18 feet. It now includes an 8-foot pedestrian lane and a 10-foot bidirectional bicycle path - curb-separated - on both spans as seen below.
The Revised Preferred Alternative has several other changes for cyclists and pedestrians.
Both (as opposed to only one in the PA) existing ramp configurations between I-695 and South Capitol Street will be replaced with an urban interchange, creating a safer interchange configuration for cyclists and pedestrians.
On the southern side of Suitland Parkway, a sidewalk and bicycle path will now be included. A grade separated pedestrian/bicycle path would be provided at the ramp from southbound I-295 to westbound Suitland Parkway.
The proposed traffic circle would be replaced by a traffic oval, providing a sidewalk around the oval, and a connection with a section of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. The pedestrian travel distance around the oval would still be greater than traveling through the traditional at-grade intersection.
In the PA, the proposed interchange at Suitland Parkway would require pedestrians and cyclists to cross the ramps between the two roadways. These crossings would be controlled by a traffic signal. But in the RPA, the elimination of the center ramp interchange will provide two urban diamond interchanges that will be controlled by traffic signal. In addition, a sidewalk/bicycle path would be provided or upgraded along the north side of the reconstructed Suitland Parkway.
The RPA includes a new multi-use Firth Sterling Trail. It will primarily use the existing CSX right-of-way and connect the South Capitol Street Trail (at Firth Sterling and South Capitol Street intersection) with the Anacostia Metrorail Station.
The Firth Sterling Trail is really a separate project that is new to the FEIS, but not really new. Sort of like the Soccer Stadium is new and in the project area, but not really new. If CSX is finally willing to get rid of this ROW, maybe this can later be extended all the way to D Street SE? The SEIS has this to say about it elsewhere.
This project would be a multi-use trail connecting the South Capitol Street Trail (at Firth Sterling and South Capitol Street intersection) with the Anacostia Metrorail Station (just northeast of the Suitland Parkway and Firth Sterling intersection). The length of the trail, including intersection crossings, will be approximately 2,400 linear feet.
The majority of the trail will be located within the CSXT Railroad Shepherds Branch right-of-way that is being acquired in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 by DDOT from CSXT. Due diligence on the right-of-way is presently underway by DDOT/AWI staff. The trail location is within the APE for the Revised Preferred Alternative.
The other option for the Firth Sterling Trail project would be to add it to the present South Capitol Street Trail. This project is nearing completion of the preliminary (30 percent) plans within a few weeks. Currently, it has no final design or construction funds obligated to the project. Based on the NEPA process required for acquisition of six easements from the JBAB, the South Capitol Street Trail design will not be finalized until next year at the earliest. Construction would probably not begin before fiscal year 2017.
The West Traffic Oval would include a MUP, but I'm not sure who would use it. I guess to run laps?
On the intersection of Howard and Suitland Parkway Trail, the SEIS includes this
The proposed Suitland Parkway Trail along the north side of the roadway will pass through the intersection of Howard Road at Suitland Parkway, which is proposed by the Revised Preferred Alternative as an un-signalized, right-in/right-out intersection. The projected traffic volumes turning right at this location are not high enough to warrant a traffic signal. However, potential pedestrian/vehicle conflicts could become problematic at this location if right turning movements were to increase substantially. Adequate gaps in vehicular traffic to facilitate as safe pedestrian crossing of Howard Road could become infrequent and cause delays for Suitland Parkway Trail users. The proposed intersection could include installation of a traffic signal to control the flow of vehicles and provide alternating rights-of-way for pedestrians/cyclists and right-turning traffic.
As shown in Figure 4-15, movements shown in similar colors could proceed together and then alternately stop to reduce conflicts and ensure sufficient crossing times for Suitland Parkway Trail users. This configuration would provide a two-phase crossing of Howard Road, so the triangular pedestrian refuge island between the inbound and outbound lanes of the roadway would need to be of sufficient size to accommodate the expected numbers pedestrians and cyclists waiting for changes in signals. Although not part of the proposed Revised Preferred Alternative, this revised intersection will be studied further during final design.
Here's the east oval which includes the Anacostia Drive connector and connections to the Anacostia Riverwalk as well as sidewalks to the south.
And the cross-section of Anacostia Drive with the side-paths.
And just for good measure, the interchange of I-295 with Suitland Parkway.The southside sidewalk is visible, but I don't see the northside path and Ramp B underpass.
DDOT is planning to build a bike/ped bridge over DC-295 that will connect the Mayfair neighborhood and proposed Parkside development to the west with the Minnesota Avenue Metrorail and Bus Transfer Stations, Downtown Ward 7, and the Deanwood Community to the east.
Last spring, the City Paper reported that DDOT had advertised for contractor bids for the project. Bids were due by May 12 with working starting in the summer. But now the project website is listing the project as "Advertised for Construction - Winter 2014/2015." It looks like they underestimade the cost, since last spring they estimated the cost at $16 million, but now the project page puts it at $22 million.
At the most recent DC BAC meeting, DDOT gave an update on its work and included that it is only working on one possible cycletrack at this time - the "East End Bikeway" [nee the 9th Street Cycle-track] a north-south facility located between 4th and 9th NW which might also be bike lanes.
During FY2014 they added 8.5 miles of bike lane and 20 CaBi stations for a total of ~200, and work is underway on the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Pedestrian Bridge and the Kenilworth section of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
There is also planning underway for improvements of the Rock Creek Park Trail (complete in 2015), the Fort Totten Section of the Met Branch Trail (2016), the Oxon Run Trail rebuild (2020), Klingle Valley Trail (2015), East Capitol Street EOTR improvements (2015), Maryland Avenue road diet (2016), Suitland Parkway Trail Rehab (2016), and the South Capitol Street Trail (2017). More projects may be added and other projects advanced if more local trail funding can be allocated to bike programs. DDOT is asking for $1 million (place pinky at corner of mouth) extra.
The National Park Service (NPS) has initiated work on a Transportation Plan and Environmental Assessment (plan/EA) for the Memorial Circle area of the George Washington Memorial Parkway (the park). The purpose of the plan is to reduce conflicts between trail, walkway, and roadway users and to increase overall visitor safety, while maintaining the memorial character of the area and improving mobility for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles.
So far they've only put out a Public Scoping Newsletter and from my review it seems that they've identified the major issues in their project area. But anyone with comments on issue they miss or on solutions to consider should comment.