2018 | Transportation

Work Underway To Modify Entrance to Downtown Bethesda

Crews are narrowing the merge lane from Wisconsin Avenue to Woodmont Avenue near the National Institutes of Health

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Construction is ongoing at the Woodmont Avenue entrance to downtown Bethesda near the National Institutes of Health

Andrew Metcalf

Updated – April 24 – 11:45 a.m. – Roadwork is underway to modify a heavily used entrance to Woodmont Triangle in downtown Bethesda next to the National Institutes of Health.

Crews are demolishing part of the median island where Woodmont Avenue meets Wisconsin Avenue and will eventually bump out the sidewalk next to NIH to narrow the turn lanes onto Woodmont from southbound Wisconsin Avenue to one lane, according to Jeff Burton, deputy executive director of the Bethesda Urban Partnership.

The change is designed to slow vehicles as drivers make the right-hand turn from southbound Wisconsin Avenue onto Woodmont and also to make the pedestrian crossing at the intersection safer, Burton said.

Construction crews began work on the project about two weeks ago. The red “Welcome to Bethesda” sign that has long been in the median was removed and put into storage while the work is underway, according to Burton. Some of the tulips that bloom each spring were also removed when the island was reduced in size.

Burton said Bethesda Urban Partnership plans to reinstall the original sign or place a new one at the location once the project is finished. It’s not yet clear if the original sign will fit at the renovated intersection. 

The project is part of the Rockville Pike crossing project being constructed at the Medical Center Metro station and is being managed by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. Work is expected to take place through the summer and should be completed in the fall, according to Phil Alperson, who is helping to coordinate the project for the county.