A stretch of an arterial road lacking in walker-friendly facilities is set to get a new $1.1 million sidewalk that engineers hope will make it easier for people to get to and from the bus.
The state is planning to install a sidewalk on the east side of Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase. Representatives from the State Highway Administration presented designs for the sidewalk at Chevy Chase Village Hall Wednesday evening.
The stretch of Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase, which is about seven-tenths of a mile long, has sidewalks on the west side, but not the east. Kate Mazzara, assistant district engineer, said community members had asked for a sidewalk, particularly for people who use bus stops on that side of the road. People leaving the bus sometimes walk along the grass to get to the next crossing point or jaywalk to get to the sidewalk across the street, some local residents at the meeting said.
The sidewalk is planned to be eight feet wide in most places, since the master plan for the area calls for a hiker-biker path along the route, Mazzara said. The width drops down to five or six feet in some places due to right-of-way restrictions and to avoid cutting down trees.
“We’ve been able to save the trees with the pinch points,” Mazzara said.
Tim Madden, a landscape architect, said the plans save 11 “pretty substantial” trees that engineers initially thought would have to come down. He said 58 trees will still be removed to build the sidewalk, but the administration is planning to plant 42 new trees, most of them eastern redbuds on the west side of the road.
John Gover, the project manager, said most of the sidewalk will have a buffer of grass between the curb and the sidewalk. In places where the ground rises steeply up from the road, the administration plans to put in retaining walls with sidewalks on top. The raised walkways will be up to four and a half feet tall with a guard rail and a bar to hold onto inside the railing. The design is similar to retaining walls the administration recently installed on Connecticut Avenue in Kensington, Mazzara said.
The designs also include a pedestrian crossing at the intersection with Chevy Chase Boulevard with flashing lights that people can activate when they want to cross Wisconsin Avenue.
Gover said the project will cost $1.1 million. A contractor will install the sidewalk.
“We are hoping to start mid to late March,” he said. After that, construction should take 90 working days if the weather allows, Gover said.