MGM casino construction brings traffic pattern changes to National Harbor -- Gazette.Net







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Residents near National Harbor are concerned about snarled traffic in their neighborhood for the next two years as construction nears on a planned MGM casino.

“There was nothing on the state highway website that there was going to be a change in the roads,” said Sarah Cavitt of Fort Washington, who along with her husband, William, requested the May 29 meeting with developers and Prince George’s County officials to clear up confusion over road signs announcing the traffic changes. “That is a major change for people between here and Charles County.”

Cavitt, president of the Riverbend Estates Neighborhood Association, was among about 15 residents who attended the meeting.

National Avenue and Harborview Avenue, which run parallel to one another on both sides of the 23-acre construction site and are now two-way, four-lane roads, will each lose two inner lanes and become one-way roads, said Arthur Horne, an attorney representing MGM with Largo-based law firm Shipley & Horne. The changes are expected to begin around Thursday and last about two years, until the casino is completed.

Accokeek resident Dennis Tozser, a board member of the Greater Accokeek Civic Association, said he was surprised officials did not have an answer to his question about how many trucks would be hauling dirt away from the construction site on a daily basis, and what impact this will have on traffic on nearby roads.

“I just find it hard to believe that they don’t have close to a number,” Tozser said. “They should have a roundabout estimate.”

Fort Washington resident Joyce Evans, who did not attend the meeting but has been following traffic issues surrounding the casino, said narrowing two taxpayer-funded roads to build a private casino is “a basic disrespect” to the community.

“With all the traffic that’s already backed up on Oxon Hill Road, it just means there’s going to be more congestion for people trying to get home,” Evans said.

She added she is concerned that all the extra traffic will lead to the widening of nearby Oxon Hill Road and Kirby Hill Road within a few years.

“Because everything is being done so piecemeal, no one is looking at the long-term ramifications,” Evans said.

Horne said crews are ready to start leveling the dirt at the construction site, but actual construction will not begin until the detailed site plan for the casino is approved by the county’s District Council. The council is scheduled to vote on the plan during a meeting on July 14.