Walking, jogging, and biking along Falls Road between MacArthur Boulevard and Potomac Village is about to become 66 percent safer.
Work began last week on a connecting section of the bike path that runs along Falls Road between Stanmore Drive and Alloway Drive, which will eliminate two of the three existing Falls Road crossings.
The path will remain on the east side of the road between MacArthur Boulevard and Rock Run Drive and will still cross to the west side just north of Rock Run Drive. But following the construction, the path will be completely on the west side of Falls between that point and Potomac Village, eliminating the crossings just north and south of Oaklyn Drive near Cabin John Park Fire and Rescue Station 30.
How long the construction will last depends largely on the weather. Carl Saucier, the superintendent at the construction site, said that he expects his crew to work continuously on the project until the first week of February.
But snow, moisture and frozen ground can slow the work, which was originally slated to be completed this month, said Tom Pogue, spokesman for the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT). Depending on the severity of the weather, some of the work could be suspended until spring, Pogue said.
A crew headed by Saucier of MRC Construction installed silt fences along the edge of the work site Friday in compliance with state- and county-mandated environmental controls. The asphalt path will be installed in phases and will require regrading in front of the fire station and the installation of a new bridge at the stream crossing just south of Oaklyn Drive.
DPWT is coordinating with several other agencies on the construction. Pepco representatives had voiced concerns about the safety of bringing in a large crane for the bridge installation where there are overhead power lines, but the work is now set to proceed.
The construction will entail some lane closures, which will take place during off-peak hours. Following the construction, the southbound passing lane in front of the fire station will be shifted slightly but will remain intact.
The project is expected to cost $954,000 and is funded by general obligation bonds under Montgomery County’s Capital Improvements Program.
“The most important point to note — it is a project that was requested by the community because of concerns that the community had about pedestrian safety,” Pogue said.
A Potomac man was killed crossing near Oaklyn Drive several years ago.
The bike path project has been in the county’s Capital Improvement Program for a number of years.
“It’s not fresh, but we’re pleased that it’s coming through at this point,” Pogue said.