Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

Clara Barton ramp to close temporarily

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A portion of Clara Barton Parkway in Cabin John will close this summer for roadwork to fix a 45-year-old bridge, according to the State Highway Administration.

A ramp that carries traffic from westbound Clara Barton Parkway to southbound Interstate 495 will close temporarily for renovations. The ramp should re-open in the fall, according to the administration.

The concrete bridge deck, which was installed in 1963, will be replaced, said project manager Moj Izadi. Construction will also include the cleaning and painting of steel beams, along with minor work on the approaching road.

Traffic will be re-routed by way of Forrestat Road, said Kellie Boulware, a spokeswoman for the highway administration. Drivers will continue past the ramp heading west on Clara Barton Parkway, turn left on Forrestat Road, and make another left onto Clara Barton Parkway to head east. Drivers will then be able to access southbound I-495 from the eastbound direction.

The State Highway Administration will host a public information meeting from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday in the cafeteria of the Carderock Springs Elementary School, 7401 Persimmon Tree Lane, Bethesda. At the meeting, the highway administration will accept public input and inform community members about plans to reroute traffic.

The State Highway Administration usually solicits input from the community before major road projects, said highway administration spokesperson Chuck Gischlar. Gischlar said closing the ramp, rather than allowing a reduced amount of traffic to pass, should allow for quicker construction time.

“Obviously [the project] will impact motorists, but we want to keep it as minimal as possible,“ Gischlar said.