BRAC Work To Close Elmhirst; Off-Peak 355 Lane Closures Still A Month Away

Water Line replacement will close Elmhirst Drive in Bethesda, followed by utility work that will prompt off-peak Rockville Pike lane closures.

Water line work is set to begin Thursday as officials prepare to launch a major intersection improvement project near Cedar Lane and the Rockville Pike, but utility work that will is still about a month away.

The intersection improvement project is one of a host of transportation upgrades around the planned to ease the local impact of the federally-mandated Base Realignment and Closure process, which drew 2,500 new employees to the military hospital last year and is expected to nearly double the amount of annual visitors to one million.

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission crews will close Elmhirst Drive in the Locust Hill neighborhood as they replace a water line, and the work should be completed within two weeks, Phil Alperson, Montgomery County BRAC coordinator, announced in an email Wednesday.

Beginning Thursday, expect closures on Elmhirst Drive between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., according to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. Motorists coming from 355 will be directed to use Locust Hill Road and Elmhirst Lane as alternate routes.

Following the water line work, Elmhirst will be closed intermittently as crews work on sewer and gas lines, said Matt Bezanson, a construction manager for the Maryland State Highway Administration, which is heading up the intersection improvement projects. After the work is complete, utility undergrounding that will require off-peak lane closures on Rockville Pike will launch, Bezanson said.

“We’re probably about another month away from anything happening that would affect 355,” Bezanson said.

The work is the first step of a $9 million BRAC advanced utility breakout improvement contract which SHA awarded to Fort Myer Construction of Washington, D.C., according to an SHA news release.

The year-long utility work on Rockville Pike will be followed by another two years of construction on the Pike at the Cedar Lane and Jones Bridge Road intersections, the Washington Post reported last month.

to fund some of the BRAC-related intersection projects planned, along with deep elevators on the east side of the Rockville Pike and a pedestrian underpass to ease access to the military hospital for pedestrians coming to and from the Medical Center Metro.

A project at Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road is already underway, Alperson said. The elevator and pedestrian tunnel project is expected to launch in fall of 2013, the Post reported.

Federal money will cover the $68 million for the elevator and pedestrian underpass project. Another $30 million of the cost of the intersection improvements will be covered by the state, and $59 million will be funded through federal dollars, according to the Post.

For real time BRAC construction updates, follow the county’s newly-minted BRAC Twitter account at @BracMoCoMD. Questions about the intersection improvement projects can be directed to SHA at 410-545-0303.

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