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Detour Ahead on Clara Barton Parkway

Maryland is about to rehabilitate the bridge that takes westbound traffic from the Clara Barton Parkway onto the southbound Capital Beltway just north of the American Legion Bridge. Drivers will use a detour for about 10 weeks, if the schedule holds.

Some of you may be hearing echoes of last year's project at the Legion Bridge, which slowed drivers going from the George Washington Parkway onto the Beltway's inner loop. Once again, we're talking about work along a commuter route near the bridge.

But there's cause for optimism on this one.

The ramp to be closed starting Monday carries about 600 vehicles a day, says David Buck, spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration. For those drivers, the detour should add no more than five minutes to their trips.

The detour near the Naval Surface Warfare Center to reach the Beltway is a relatively smooth one. It certainly doesn't involve a slow move out into Beltway traffic, as occurred on the GW Parkway ramp last year.

This is the detour: Take westbound Clara Barton Parkway to the next exit at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (Forrestal Road). Traffic will cross over the parkway, making two left turns, and exit back onto the parkway heading eastbound. Drivers will then take a left exit to southbound Interstate 495.

To minimize delays, SHA says, detoured ramp traffic will be permitted to make a left turn without stopping at Forrestal Road. Other drivers should watch out for a temporary stop sign along northbound Forrestal Road before the detour ramp.

What they're doing: Constructing a new concrete bridge deck, cleaning and painting the steel bridge beams, and minor repair work on the approaching roadway.

The parkway bridge, built in 1961, is safe but but the driving surface must be repaired, SHA says. The $2 million project, awarded to Anchor Construction Co. of Landover, is part of SHA's bridge preservation and replacement program.

Questions: Call SHA's District 3 office at 800-749-0737, or go to

By Robert Thomson  |  July 29, 2008; 8:27 AM ET
Categories:  Construction  
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