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Metro Brief: County to spend $90 million on transportation projects

Montgomery County

On November 15, 2011

  • Transportation project funds will be used to help ease traffic gridlock.

Montgomery County has approved of nearly $90 million dollars worth of transportation projects to address traffic congestion in Bethesda. The funds were awarded by the Office of Economic Adjustment, an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense.

  "These funds will enable us to construct and complete six separate projects that will reduce gridlock, improve vehicular mobility, and promote pedestrian safety in Bethesda around the newly-designated Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and NIH," said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett.

 The newly-funded projects include constructing a new entrance and improving pedestrian access at the Medical Center Metro Station, and improving traffic operations at major intersections along Rockville Pike, Connecticut Avenue, Cedar Lane, Jones Bridge Road, and Old Georgetown Road. These projects are in addition to new and renovated bike paths and sidewalks the County's Department of Transportation has already constructed around the Medical Center.

 "When Congress approved the BRAC law – Base Realignment and Closure – in 2005 that merged the Walter Reed Army Medical Center with the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, the intent was to provide ‘world class' health care to our nation's wounded, active and retired military," said Leggett. This resulted in an increase of personnel by 33 per cent and visits to the campus by 100 per cent. Bethesda's transportation infrastructure is already at capacity and cannot accommodate this dramatic growth. Unfortunately, the BRAC law did not account for improving the transportation infrastructure around the Bethesda Hospital complex, which could create untenable gridlock around the campus that could deny patients, families or medical providers timely access to the hospital."

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