Finally “Beach Drive Rehabilitation” But Prepare for Pain

beach drive
Photo by PoPville flickr user Lauren Parnell Marino

From the National Park Service:

Project Description

The Beach Drive rehabilitation project will begin after Labor Day and is projected to last three years. The project is broken down into four segments. Each segment of Beach Drive will be closed in both directions 24/7 during work. Prior to work beginning on each segment, the National Park Service will post upcoming road work and road closure information on this webpage, so drivers, cyclists and pedestrians can plan their trip through, and around Rock Creek Park. The project includes full depth pavement reconstruction, which requires excavating the entire area and placing a new gravel base before new asphalt paving; improvements to pedestrian and bicycle trails in collaboration with the DDOT; DC Water storm drain rehabilitation and improvement projects; installation and upgrades of raised pavement markers, centerline rumble strips, guardrails and road signs to provide safer road conditions for drivers; parking area reconstruction and rehabilitation; traffic signal and streetlight replacement; and the rehabilitation of six bridges.

Sign up for Project Updates

Nixle is a free tool that allows information to be sent through text, email, social media, and the Nixle mobile app. You can register by using either your mobile phone or by going online. To receive alerts about the Beach Drive rehabilitation project, text BEACHDRIVE to 888777. To register online, visit www.nixle.com and create a user profile. After you register, you will receive information about the Beach Drive rehabilitation project including upcoming closure and detour information. You can opt out any time. Standard carrier data or messaging rates may apply.”

52 Comment

  • Dear God

  • That seems comprehensive and well thought out. And interagency cooperation all over the place! What could possibly go wrong?

  • That’s great news for those who run or bike along Beach! Too bad it’s gonna take so long, but like Metro, it sounds like they just waited too long and will have to start from scratch.

  • This is sorely needed and long overdue. It’s going to be nightmarish for those of us who use Beach Drive regularly, but I’m glad it’s happening.

  • maxwell smart

    I totally get how large the scope of work is – biking Beach Drive lately is an exercise in not blowing out a tire – but 3 years!? The Empire State Building was built in less than half that time!

    • The work on bridges is probably a big driver of the duration. OTOH–just incredible whining here–there are alternative routes through and along the park. I used to drive it everyday when I lived here before. I think people can survive.

    • justinbc

      People weren’t constantly trying to access parts of the Empire State Building while the rest was being constructed.

  • Great planning to have this overlap with the 23 day Red Line shutdown in October. So no Metro and one of the main thoroughfares downtown could also be closed. Nicely done, NPS and Metro.

    • Main thoroughfare? It’s a road through a park with a 25 MPH speed limit. Sure, RCP is a main road but Beach drive was never intended as a commuting route, take Connecticut down to RCP from Maryland.

      • It may not be intended as a commuting route, but it certainly used as one. I don’t normally drive to work, but on the days I have to Beach makes the most sense for me. A large amount of MD plates on there at rush hour.

      • Connecticut is way out of the way for residents east of the park – especially those who will be affected by the October Red line shutdown – Fort Totten to NoMa. The traffic on 16th and Georgia will be terrible during the shutdown already; closing RCP will make it infinitely worse.

      • It’s totally a major thoroughfare: it’s the only realistic way to access Rock Creek Parkway from Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Petworth, and neighborhoods east. I used to take it every day when I worked in Arlington, and this would be a nightmare for my commute if I still worked there. This will push all of that traffic onto 16th, which is already a mess in the mornings.

  • Can they also put bathrooms down there at every 5-6 mile mark? It’s really distressing to have to walk down there and see someone with their junk out while I’m just trying to take a hike, :l

  • man, i hope everyone realizes we can live without this as a thoroughfare for automobiles, then we decide just to keep it car free in the end.

    • Please no. Beach Drive and Rock Creek/Potomac Parkway are one of the few ways to get from (parts of) D.C. to Virginia in a short amount of time.
      .
      IMO… parkways good. Neighborhood-destroying freeways (like 295 through D.C.) bad.

      • #101 i live in 16th St Heights and work in Alexandria. W/o the Mem Bridge to GWParkway to Beach Drive route, I’d probably have given up and moved to Virginia (gack) years ago.

      • Thanks Textdoc.

      • I agree with textdoc. I live right by it. I use Rock Creek Park regularly for driving, biking, running, and hiking. All those uses are important.

      • I agree about the Southern end, but I think it could easily be closed North or Broad Branch (as it is on weekends). Given the curving road and the 25 mpd speed limit taking Beach Drive can only possibly be faster if you are speeding substantially.

      • yup, i agree that is currently the case. but parks should be car free, and alternatives exist. free rock creek park!

        • Look at a map. If cars were banned from RCP you would be unable to cross by car from the Zoo to Gaithersburg. Federal parks need roads because they are huge. Very few people would ever see the Grand Canyon if not for roads in federal parks.

          • yes, but this is an urban park, not the grand canyon. and there’s are things called bridges to facilitate movement (e.g., instead of piney branch and porter or to upgrade military). and finally, there is an middle ground in between having what is effectively a highway running down the park vs. having a few small roads to facilitate movement between to a few sights contained within the park.

    • No way. This is such an enjoyable ride from uptown DC to Georgetown, Connecticut Ave and the surrounding areas

    • This, one hundred percent. Beach Drive was never designed to be a major arterial road into and out of the city. Removing it will shift traffic a bit, but I think it would be better used as, well, a park, where pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers, et al, have the run of the roads. Sure, allow cars in to access the picnic sites, but keep the speeds low, put in speed humps and the like – create disincentives to using Beach and RCP as a commuter thoroughfare.

  • Wish they would at least hint at which section is up first on the schedule

  • Great timing! Now that the metro is severely handicapped we should consider closing down as many arteries into and out of the city as possible. Maybe the 14th street bridge, memorial bridge, BW parkway also need repairs in the next few years?

  • Considering the ongoing Safe-Track initiative, is there any way of stopping the Beech Drive project until Metro gets its act together?

  • Jerry Grundle

    If this project turns out to be anything like the Rock Creek Parkway rehab project that took place a few years ago, expect it to take longer than projected, and expect lots of screw ups. The new lights they installed still don’t work properly on a consistent basis. So much incompetence.

  • This is long overdue but does this also include Piney Branch to Arkansas? That is even worse than Beach Drive. Or maybe they are just considered one in the same?

    • west_egg

      It doesn’t look that way. The link below has more information (including a link to a presentation from NPS) but it sounds like it’s been revised — the presentation mentions five segments whereas NPS is now reporting only four. My guess would be that they’ve consolidated (as opposed to given up on a section).
      .
      http://www.foresthillsconnection.com/news/beach-drive-and-trail-reconstruction-starts-spring-2016/

    • I was thinking the same thing. It keeps getting worse.

      • Wait, Piney Branch is a road? I thought it was a dirt bike trail that cars had colonized.

        /snark

        I have found alternate routes to Piney Branch. Most of them are in pretty bad shape, too, but they’re at least still recognizable as roads.

    • Not sure, but they are rehabbing / extending the paved trail the entire length of Piney Branch from Arkansas Ave to the Rock Creek Trail so it would be silly to not do the road as well…

  • It would be good to know if Piney Branch Pkwy between Arkansas Ave and Beach Dr is part of this effort. The condition of that road alone seems much worse than any area along Beach Dr., and that is quite bad too.

  • Has anyone ever used Nixle? I just signed up hoping for some information on the project, and either I’m slow, or this site is atrocious.

  • The problem is that Beach Drive was never designed as a commuter thoroughfare…when it was built it was intended to be a “scenic drive”. That’s why it’s in such rough shape. With that being said, I use it a lot to access 66 from Petworth, so this will be annoying.

  • What about the rest of Rock Creek? The whole thing needs a repaving.

  • The one thing I’d like clarified is whether a connection between Porter Street and Piney Branch Road will be left open during all phases of construction. This would only require about 100 feet of Beach Drive to be made available, and it would allow traffic to pass between the Petworth area and Connecticut Avenue.

    • Granted the phases have changed from 5 to 4, so perhaps some of the plans have changed as well, but the powerpoint west_egg linked above shows proposed closures/detours.

      Stage 2 shows a closed Piney Branch. The proposed detour is 16th to Park to Klingle.

  • Excellent. Plenty of time for people to totally forget how to use the park. It’ll be easy traveling for at least a year or two after the construction ends.

  • Piney Branch is in desperate need of repair. When is it going to be fixed?

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