For the next couple of weeks, sunset will provide no relief from construction on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in northern McLean.
Starting tomorrow (Friday), crews will spend the hours between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. each day pouring concrete on the surfaces of the Dead Run and Turkey Run bridges, the National Park Service announced on Tuesday (Aug. 22).
“Nightwork will occur intermittently through early September,” the NPS said in a news alert. “Work will occur on one bridge at a time. One lane of travel will be open in each direction; no additional lane closures are anticipated for this work.”
The agency advises drivers to “observe traffic signs, respect the 40-mph speed limit, and watch for crews working along the parkway,” noting that construction signage and message boards will be placed along the roadway.
“In the event of inclement weather, night work will be postponed to the following night,” the NPS said. “Motorists should anticipate delays and plan for additional travel time or consider taking an alternate route.”
The construction work is part of the GW Parkway rehabilitation project, a $161 million effort to upgrade the aging roadway first built in 1962. The project includes asphalt repaving, a redesign of the Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) interchange, stormwater management system repairs, extensions of some entrance and exit lanes, and improvements to stone walls, roadside barriers and historic overlooks.
Construction began in July 2022 and is expected to continue into December 2025.
It took four days of work, but all trees have finally been cleared from the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
The parkway’s northern section between the Capital Beltway (I-495) in McLean and Spout Run Parkway in Arlington reopened at 9:45 a.m. today after hundreds of trees downed by a storm on Saturday (July 29) necessitated an extended closure.
The northbound lane reopened at 1 p.m. yesterday (Tuesday), but the southbound lane weren’t cleared until this morning, according to the National Park Service.
The GW Parkway will be fully operational for the afternoon rush-hour.
Drivers should use caution as the 3-lane traffic configuration is still in effect for the north parkway rehabilitation project.
— National Parks of Greater Washington, DC (@NPSNewsDC) August 2, 2023
“We extend our sincere appreciation to the public for their patience and understanding during this closure period,” GW Parkway Superintendent Charles Cuvelier said. “The safety of our visitors and commuters remains our top priority. We are dedicated to ensuring their well-being and convenience throughout their journey on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.”
As of yesterday, clean-up crews had removed up to 325 trees from the roadway, creating more than 500 tons of wood and debris that filled up 100 dump trucks and 15 chipper trucks, the NPS previously said.
The NPS noted that drivers should still be cautious around ongoing construction to rehabilitate the parkway. The project required the addition of a third, reversible lane in the median that has been in effect since April.
For the next six months, anyone who wants to visit Turkey Run Park in McLean will have to get there on foot.
All parking lots and the Turkey Run Loop Road that leads into the park from the George Washington Memorial Parkway will close today (Monday) for repair and repaving work, the National Park Service (NPS) announced this morning.
The park and its trails will still be open, but the only way to access them will be by walking on the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.
“The NPS will mill and resurface Turkey Run Loop Road and the parking lots within the park,” the park service said in a news release. “The NPS will complete full depth repairs for some road surfaces. All repaired pavement surfaces will also receive new pavement markings.”
The road and parking lot closures will remain in place through construction, which is expected to finish by Sept. 30.
According to the NPS, the road project is being funded by park entrance fees, which can be used “for construction projects that directly enhance visitors’ enjoyment and access.”
The scope of the closures is necessary for “safety and security protections” during construction, a record of determination approved by GW Parkway Superintendent Charles Cuvelier on March 23 says.
“The project will improve the driving experience and safety while retaining the beauty of the park,” the NPS said. “…The closures will not adversely affect the park’s natural, aesthetic, or cultural values. The closures do not require significant modification to the resource management objectives and are not of a highly controversial nature since this is similar to closures that have occurred in the past.”
Photo via Google Maps
Updated at 12:55 p.m. on 4/14/2023 — The National Park Service has delayed the GW Parkway changes due to forecasts calling for inclement weather over the weekend. The lane shift is now expected to begin around April 21-24.
Earlier: Drivers will soon have to get accustomed to a brand-new traffic pattern on the McLean section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Starting Saturday, April 15, the existing southbound lanes will close between the Capital Beltway (I-495) and Route 123 (Dolley Madison Blvd and Chain Bridge Road) so crews can begin rehabilitating that portion of the roadway.
All traffic will shift to the northbound lanes, which have been expanded with the addition of a third, temporary lane in the median. The new lane will change directions based on where rush-hour traffic is headed.
“This temporary lane will serve as a reversible lane, which provides flexibility to change direction for morning and evening rush hours,” the National Park Service said in a news release yesterday (Monday). “This traffic pattern allows the project contractor greater access to the roadway, which will reduce the time needed to complete the project.”
If there’s inclement weather on April 15, the new traffic pattern will commence on Saturday, April 22 instead.
On April 15, the NPS will implement a new, temporary traffic pattern on George Washington Memorial Parkway between I-495 and Route 123 for the next phase of the North Parkway Rehabilitation Project: https://t.co/3yjIWOU0hL pic.twitter.com/PFFBTyoNQ0
— National Parks of Greater Washington, DC (@NPSNewsDC) April 3, 2023
According to the NPS, here is the daily schedule for the reversible lane:
Weekday morning rush hour (5:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.)
- Two lanes southbound (toward Washington, DC).
- Drivers who need to exit at Route 123 or CIA Headquarters must use the right lane.
- One lane northbound (toward Maryland/Virginia).
Weekday evening rush hour (2:45 p.m.-7:15 p.m.)
- Two lanes northbound (toward Maryland/Virginia).
- Drivers who need to exit at Route 123 or CIA Headquarters must use the right lane.
- One lane southbound (toward Washington, DC).
Weekdays (9:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m.) and weekends
- One lane southbound (toward Washington, DC).
- One lane northbound (toward Maryland/Virginia).
The park service advises drivers to pay attention to traffic signs, adhere to the roadway’s 40 mph speed limit, and prepare for potential delays.
“To increase safety, small physical barriers will divide the narrow, 10-foot-wide lanes,” the NPS said, noting that vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds will still be barred from the parkway.
Federal officials broke ground on the north GW Parkway rehabilitation in July 2022. The approximately $161 million project will update the parkway’s northern section — from the Beltway to Sprout Run in Arlington — for the first time since it was originally completed in 1962.
Funded by the Great American Outdoors Act, which was passed in 2020 to support infrastructure and recreational improvements on public lands, the project will install new pavement, redesign the Route 123 interchange, repair stormwater facilities, lengthen some entrance and exit lanes, and more.
The NPS anticipates the three-lane pattern remaining in place throughout the rest of construction, which is projected to finish in December 2025.
Work has begun on repairs to the George Washington Memorial Parkway’s bridge over Pimmit Run in McLean.
Construction crews are repairing façades of the structures that support the Pimmit Run Bridge as part of the ongoing project to rehabilitate the parkway’s northern section from the Capital Beltway (I-495) to Sprout Run Parkway in Arlington, according to the National Park Service.
Started around the beginning of the month, the bridge repairs are expected to continue “throughout the next couple of months,” the agency said in an update on Friday (Feb. 3).
The bridge’s lanes have been narrowed to provide more staging room for construction equipment, which is separated from the main road by a recently erected temporary barrier.
“Crews may not be visible to the traveling public as most of the work is under the bridge,” the NPS said.
Crews are also still working to install a temporary lane widening the parkway between I-495 and Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road). The added 10-f0ot-wide lane is necessary to give crews space to work and stage equipment, according to NPS.
Here’s more on what to expect during this stage of construction from NPS:
Activities include removing select trees in the median and at the outfalls, installing temporary drainage, and activities related to installing temporary pavement. Motorists may see crews remove select trees at the outfalls over the next couple of months. Additionally, once crews begin select tree removal at the outfalls near Route 123, activities may be visible from the surrounding neighborhoods. The rehabilitation project includes tree replacement, which will occur at the completion of the project.
Weekday lane closures
- Northbound lane closures from 6:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
- Southbound lane closures from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday lane closures
- Northbound left lane from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Southbound left lane from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Nighttime work is possible depending on weather temperatures.
Nighttime lane closure hours
- Northbound lane closures from 7:15 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
- Southbound lane closures from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.
“These lane closures are necessary to stage equipment and keep crews safe,” the park service said. “Lane closures may occur in the left or right lane with varying lengths; however, at least one lane of traffic in each direction will always remain open.”
The plans cover the southern portion of the parkway, covering 15.2 miles from Arlington Memorial Bridge to Mount Vernon. This area includes the majority of the Mount Vernon Trail, though a portion of the parkway and trail through Alexandria isn’t part of the project.
The National Park Service (NPS) will soon present and accept public comment on plans that aim to boost safety with a variety of changes for both pedestrians and drivers along the corridor.
“The road and trail improvements being considered would enhance the visitor experience for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists,” the NPS said in a release. “Potential improvements to the road include the implementation of a new road diet (reducing lanes through pavement striping to improve safety) in some areas, new crosswalks and intersection changes. Potential safety enhancements for the trail could include trail widening and intersection improvements.”
A virtual meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The meeting will be virtual (Webinar ID: 314-024-315).
Comments can be submitted after the meeting online until Jan. 4.
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.
A beautiful morning celebrating the reopening of Bridge 12 with the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail and @ssurovell, Superintendent Charles Cuvelier and Judd Isbell! And, spreading the word about Tour de Mount Vernon! https://t.co/eTrftrB44N pic.twitter.com/iQ6Ufp0kbu
— Supervisor Dan Storck (@DanStorck) September 24, 2022
Exciting ribbon cutting today on the new $3M 14-foot wide bridge on the Mt. Vernon Trail near Ft. Hunt Park – taller, wider, straighter & safer! @NPSNewsDC @vabike @betterDCregion @Karen4Schools pic.twitter.com/ptTdCa4dq8
— Senator Scott Surovell (@ssurovell) September 24, 2022
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.
The rehabilitation of the George Washington Memorial Parkway will bring new traffic impacts to the McLean area, starting Monday (Sept. 26).
Drivers should prepare for increased construction activities and potential delays along the parkway’s northern section between I-495 and Dolley Madison Boulevard, the National Park Service announced yesterday (Tuesday).
Advising caution in work areas, the NPS says it will “temporarily” widen the road by removing the median, creating three northbound travel lanes.
“This temporary widening will maintain a three-lane configuration during construction, allowing the contractor greater access to the roadway and reducing the time needed to complete the project,” the park service said.
The parkway’s northbound lanes may be closed between 7 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., while the southbound lanes may close between 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Per the news release:
Closing some northbound and southbound lanes at the same time will shorten the project duration. At least one lane of traffic in each direction will always be open.
To allow for the temporary road widening, the NPS will remove select trees and plants. Tree locations and topography were considered in the construction planning, and every effort was made to minimize the number of trees that must be removed. The NPS will replace the trees when the project is completed.
Some lane closures are also planned on the bridges over Pimmit Run and Glebe Road in Arlington, where crews are set to start working next week.
“To avoid traffic delays on the northern section of the parkway during this time, drivers should consider alternate routes,” the NPS said.
Announced in December, the $161 million rehabilitation project broke ground in July. It’s the first major upgrade for the GW Parkway’s 7.6-mile northern stretch since it opened in 1962, promising asphalt repavings, a redesign of the Route 123 interchange, and other improvements.
The NPS says it expects the parkway rehab to be completed in late 2025.
Photo via Google Maps
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts might catch fire later this month.
No, the Original Kings of Go-Go, this summer season’s opener, isn’t rolling into town ahead of schedule. Instead, the National Park Service plans to conduct a “small prescribed fire” in the circular driveway in front of the Filene Center, according to a news release.
Expected to take place the week of March 14 or 21, depending on the weather, the fire is intended to control woody and invasive species and preserve the wildlife habitat, the federal agency says. It will be only the second-ever prescribed fire at the park, following a successful burn in April 2018.
NPS says the fire will spread over less than 1 acre of land.
“The safety of park staff and visitors is our top priority, along with protecting the iconic Filene Center,” Wolf Trap’s Acting Superintendent Ken Bigley said. “We will only conduct the prescribed fire if conditions are appropriate. Fire allows for the native vegetation to flourish along with improving the habitat for wildlife.”
According to NPS, the park’s public areas and trails near the circle, Stage Road, and Lot 4 parking lot will be closed “for several hours” during the fire. Additional, temporary road closures might be required if smoke reduces visibility.
Here’s more from NPS on how the fire will work:
Many factors must align to conduct a prescribed fire and ensure public and firefighter safety. The timing of the prescribed fire is dependent on weather conditions being within required wind, temperature, and relative humidity parameters. Wildland fire engines, firefighters, and the nearby paved road serve to create buffers and fire breaks to ensure the fire is contained. NPS staff will monitor air quality and smoke impacts. Upon completion of the fire activity, wildland firefighters will continue to monitor the area to ensure the fire is completely out.
Photo via Wolf Trap National Park/Facebook
Hikers at Turkey Run Park now have safer access to trails alongside the Potomac River, thanks to the hard work of more than 100 volunteers.
The National Park Service and the nonprofit Potomac Appalachian Trail Club officially reopened a half-mile section of trail in the McLean park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday (March 5), the NPS announced.
It was the federal agency’s largest volunteer-designed and built project in the D.C. area, according to a press release.
“This project is a great example of the success we can have when park staff work together with partners and volunteers to meet the needs of visitors,” George Washington Memorial Parkway Superintendent Charles Cuvelier said in a statement. “We embrace the collaboration, trust, and open communication we have with partners and are grateful to PATC and the volunteers for making this project possible.”
According to the NPS, it took more than four years and over 1,000 volunteer hours for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club to rebuild a section of trail that had eroded due to its age and location on a gorge leads to the Potomac River.
The project was intended to provide safer and easier access to the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, a regional network that follows the river and runs along the northern edge of Turkey Run Park.
Founded in 1927, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club consists of volunteers and a professional support staff who manage over 1,000 miles of hiking trails across Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
Among other challenges, the Turkey Run project required constructing a wood staircase with over 100 steps that enables trail users to climb almost 170 feet in less than two-tenths of a mile, according to PATC President Joe Lombardo.
“This daunting task required the skill and dedication of experienced crew leaders to design and execute a unique trail rehabilitation plan that provided improved access and was sensitive to the natural setting of the park,” Lombardo said in the NPS news release.
George Washington Memorial Parkway, which encompasses Turkey Run Park, did not immediately return FFXnow’s request for additional comment on the trail project and an update on its plans for the former Claude Moore Farm, which is being revamped as South Turkey Run Park.