Thursday, April 21, 2011
The construction is part of the Base Closure and Realignment Commissions (BRAC) decision to integrate Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) and National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda (WRNMMCB) in September.
This new construction pattern should help get traffic on and off base more quickly.
With this new construction we will be able to more efficiently route traffic on and off campus, said Jeff Miller, transportation program manager for NSA Bethesda. We will also have a dedicated bicycle lane and pedestrian access at both gates.
Other improvements will include more lanes of traffic and a new traffic signal.
We will have more traffic lanes and more interchangeable traffic lanes, some in and some out depending on the time of day, said Allison Justiniano, traffic mitigation project manager for OICC Bethesda. Were going to have a new traffic signal at Gate One, which will also have four lanes with the option of three in coming on base the morning and three out in the evening.
While the new traffic pattern, after the construction, will benefit the base, for now the change in the traffic pattern may take a little getting used to.
The new traffic pattern will drive under the canopies (to the right of current outbound traffic), said Justiniano. There will be two lanes in and one lane out. The guard station is going to be a little closer to 355 (Wisconsin Avenue), but people will be entering and exiting at the same intersection as they do now just at a little different angle.
I dont think the lane changes will pose a significant impact to vehicle or pedestrian traffic, said Miller.
Until the lanes switch, no pedestrian access will be available at the North Gate. Pedestrians can still access the base through Gate Two, which is also scheduled to begin construction after the lane change at Gate One.
Gate One will become a 24 hour gate when construction begins on Gate Two, said Justiniano. Gate Two is also scheduled to be 24 hours, but only for outbound traffic. Gate One will have two lanes in and one lane out 24 hours a day during the week.
Gate Two will only be open for in bound traffic between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 a.m., said Miller. All other times the gate will be used for outbound traffic. Pedestrians will still have access to the metro and vehicles will be able to make signaled left turns onto Wisconsin Ave.
Construction to both gates is scheduled to be finished by Aug. 1.