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Foot and bike traffic to be detoured on Rock Creek Park trail as extensive renovation project begins

The rehabilitation project will also help widen existing trails in the area, construct new trails for pedestrians and bike users, update pedestrian safety.
Credit: Rock Creek Park

WASHINGTON — Walkers and bikers who plan on using one of the Rock Creek Park trails in Northwest DC will have to find alternative routes after the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced a 1.5-mile section of Rock Creek Park’s multiuse trail will be closed for the next four months.

The closure between Broad Branch Road NW and Pierce Mill is part of a larger 3.7-mile renovation project that will consolidate the existing paths into part of the Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail and Pedestrian Bridge project, which ultimately includes the addition of a 110-foot area south of the Smithsonian National Zoo tunnel that will reroute foot and bike traffic off the existing narrow footpath that flows directly adjacent to traffic inside the current tunnel.

The rehabilitation project will also help widen existing trails in the area, construct new trails for pedestrians and bike users, update the current traffic signal system to improve pedestrian safety, improve stream banks, modernize the current storm drainage system, preserve trees and enhance current landscaping, as stated on the project’s website.

The renovation — currently in phase two out of four — will only be diverting pedestrian and bike traffic by using temporary trail mats and signs in place to detour trail users around the construction zone.

Phase three — expected to begin in fall 2021 — will close Beach Drive to thru traffic at Tilden Street NW until Winter 2022, as cited on the project’s website.

The DDOT expects the entire trail renovation to be completed sometime in spring 2023. The rehabilitation process comes nearly three years after a trail adjacent to the National Zoo collapsed following extreme flooding. Foot and bike traffic have subsequently been forced to use the narrow sidewalk in the Beach Drive tunnel.

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