Major changes at GW Parkway bridge
Construction workers are preparing for a new phase of construction on the George Washington Parkway's Humpback Bridge. The old northbound lanes of the bridge are going to be demolished, then rebuilt. Northbound traffic will be shifted temporarily to the center of the bridge.
The too-short ramp from the southbound 14th Street Bridge to the northbound parkway also will be rebuilt. During this phase of construction, which could start Thursday, the old ramp will be closed and drivers will be on a new temporary ramp.
The Mount Vernon Trail, which runs over the bridge, will be temporarily relocated. Bike riders should dismount when they reach the construction zone and watch for construction equipment, which may be crossing the trail.
All this is going to result in an increase in the number of brief closings from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. These closings will last up to 15 minutes.
During this phase, scheduled to last till the end of 2010, at least one lane will remain open in each direction -- except for those 15 minute closings.
The bridge project is behind schedule. The original timetable called for completion of the rebuilding in February 2010. Project managers say it has been delayed till spring 2011, because of unforeseen problems with the utilities in the area, ground conditions and bad weather.
Though this is a very heavily used commuter route, I don't get many complaints about traffic delays stemming from the bridge reconstruction. The Ohio Drive reconstruction, another National Park Service project just across the river in the District, has generated much more feedback from readers about congestion.
Most people who ask about the Humpback Bridge ask why it's taking so long. Park Service and Federal Highway Administration officials told me back at the beginning that the fastest way to get it done would be to shut down the bridge completely and just work around the clock. But that would have created a huge problem for commuters that would have rippled out across the D.C. region. So they had to devise a plan that would allow the work to proceed more gradually while maintaining traffic flow across the bridge.
| June 30, 2010; 9:55 AM ET
Categories: Advisories, Construction, Driving, Northern Virginia | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, GW Parkway, Humpback Bridge
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