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Wisconsin Avenue Tunnel at Walter Reed Approved for Construction

The tunnel is slated to be completed by the end of 2016.

Possible section plan for tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue at NIH and Walter Reed, and for new Metro entrance at Medical Center. Courtesy of Montgomery County Department of Transportation.
Possible section plan for tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue at NIH and Walter Reed, and for new Metro entrance at Medical Center. Courtesy of Montgomery County Department of Transportation.
Construction of a shallow pedestrian tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue between the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center received approval last Thursday from the Montgomery County Planning Board.

The tunnel will make it possible to cross underground Route 355 between the two medical centers, and will provide direct access from Walter Reed to the Medical Center Metro station. Currently, only NIH has direct access to the station. 

A shaft of three elevators—and a stairway and escalators—will connect the east side of Wisconsin Avenue outside Walter Reed with the Metro station under the 8800 block of Wisconsin Avenue. 

The $68 million project will be funded by federal grants and overseen by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, according to an email newsletter from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center.

"Before BRAC [Base Realignment And Closure] relocation [of Walter Reed from Washington, DC, to Bethesda] officially began in September 2011, some 3,000 pedestrians crossed Rockville Pike" at South Drive each day, Art Holmes, director of the Montgomery County department of transportation, said, NIH Record reported. That number is projected to increase to 7,000 by 2020; currently, 50,000 vehicles travel that segment of Wisconsin Avenue each day, Holmes said.

Construction of the tunnel will begin this year and is slated to be done by the end of 2016, according to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center newsletter.

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