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National Park Service staff, elected officials, and community volunteers celebrate the reopening of Mount Vernon Trail’s Bridge 12 (via National Park Service)

The National Park Service has completed the first of four planned projects to reconstruct bridges along Mount Vernon Trail.

Park service staff, elected officials and community members celebrated the reopening of Bridge 12 near Fort Hunt Park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday (Sept. 24). The occasion coincided with National Public Lands Day, which encourages volunteers to help restore and improve national parks and other public lands.

“The Mount Vernon Trail is a very popular recreational resource and these bridge improvements will greatly increase safety for thousands of trail users,” said Charles Cuvelier, superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which runs parallel to the 18-mile trail.

Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck and state Sen. Scott Surovell were among the officials who attended the ribbon-cutting.

The reconstruction began on Feb. 14 and involved relocating Bridge 12, expanding it to 14 feet in width, installing upgraded railings, and resurfacing the trail to the bridge from Waynewood Blvd to Fort Hunt Road, according to the NPS.

The straighter alignment and reduced slope of the trail leading to and from the bridge enabled by its new location will improve safety, the park service said in its news release.

According to On the MoVe, the previous bridge was “known for frequent bike mishaps” and had been under consideration for an overhaul for decades before getting the needed funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation in 2018. The Federal Highway Administration also assisted.

First opened on April 15, 1972, the Mount Vernon Trail spans over 18 miles from George Washington’s Mount Vernon to Theodore Roosevelt Island near Arlington. Maintained with help from the volunteer nonprofit Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail, the facility reached its 50th anniversary earlier this year.

NPS’ next reconstructions for the southern end of the trail will focus on Bridges 23 and 24 between Belle Haven Road and Tulane Drive, On the MoVe reported. The park service plans to replace four bridges in all over the next five years.

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Abortion rights protestors gather at Hollin Hall Shopping Center in Fort Hunt before marching to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s home (via @ShutDownDC/Twitter)

(Updated at 2:25 p.m. on 5/12/2022) The high-stakes battle over abortion access reached a residential neighborhood in Fort Hunt last night (Monday) when protestors marched on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s house.

Drawing about 100 participants, the demonstration was organized by the grassroots protest group ShutDown DC in response to Alito’s draft opinion indicating that the court will overturn its pivotal 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Live video of the protest shows marchers convening at the Hollin Hall Shopping Center on Fort Hunt Road before working their way through neighborhood streets to Alito’s residence. There, they lit candles in the street and delivered speeches for about 15 minutes before returning to the shopping center.

“My body, my choice!” protestors chanted, among other slogans. At one point, they invited residents who came outside to film the passing march to join them, though the onlookers didn’t appear to take them up on the offer.

The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed that its officers responded to the gathering but described the demonstrations as peaceful.

“Officers remained on scene to ensure the safety of the participants, our community members and the roadways until the crowd dispersed on their own,” the FCPD said. “No arrests were made.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said last night that his office coordinated with Fairfax County and Virginia State police, as well as federal authorities, to monitor the protest.

“Virginia State Police will assist federal and local law enforcement as needed to ensure the safety of our citizens, including Supreme Court Justices, who call Virginia home,” Youngkin said on Twitter.

The protest at Alito’s house was one of several abortion-rights demonstrations that have popped up across the D.C. area since Politico published the leaked draft opinion on May 2. A ruling in the case, which involves a challenge to a ban on abortions after 15 weeks in Mississippi, is expected to be finalized this summer.

Students at 11 high schools in Fairfax County rallied yesterday to express their support for abortion as a right and urge state and federal legislators to protect access to the medical procedure.

Protestors have also shown up at the residences of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who both live in Montgomery County, as well as Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who lives in Pimmit Hills. The protests don’t appear to have reached Justice Clarence Thomas in Fairfax Station.

The protests led the Senate to pass legislation yesterday enhancing security at Supreme Court justices’ homes, though the bill still needs to be considered by the House.

The Virginia Republican Party condemned the protests as “an abhorrent and vile affront to the processes of the highest court.”

“Intimidation of the Justices and the threat of violence against them and their families has no place in our Commonwealth or our country,” Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Rich Anderson said in a statement. “Targeting the home of a Justice is wrong, and these protestors should be ashamed of their actions.”

The Democratic Party of Virginia expressed support for yesterday’s student protests but did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Alito demonstration.

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