SHA mulling Bethesda intersection redesign -- Gazette.Net


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A winding portion of Woodmont Avenue north of downtown Bethesda could get redesigned in hopes of making the area safer for both drivers and pedestrians.

David Buck, a spokesman for the State Highway Administration, said cars are traveling too fast on Woodmont Avenue, which splits off ahead of a traffic signal and curves south from Wisconsin Avenue. That makes the area dangerous for people walking through it or trying to cross the street.

Plans are in the early stages, Buck said, but the goal is to make the bends in the road less severe. As it is, drivers tend to speed around the curves as they travel away from Wisconsin Avenue, sometimes bumping into the curb or island in between the two roads.

“It’s very difficult for pedestrians to cross right there right now,” Buck said.

More detailed plans are expected to be ready this fall, and construction could start sometime in 2015.

Straightening out the road will mean slimming down the small island where the “Welcome to Bethesda” sign is, Buck said. News website Bethesda Now reported that reconfiguring the intersection will probably mean removing the sign.

Buck said SHA is working with Bethesda officials to find a new place for the sign.

“We’re discussing what we can possibly do to relocate that or come up with some answer to that,” he said.

The work is one of a flurry of roadwork projects along Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda designed to deal with an influx of commuters at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Buck said. Starting June 6, work is expected to close a segment of Cedar Lane. Information about detours around the closure is at montgomerycountymd.gov/BRAC.

ewaibel@gazette.net