Bethesda’s Woodmont Avenue Could Remain Closed Until 2015
The road closure in downtown Bethesda that was supposed to be reopened in 20-24 months could continue into 2015.
Montgomery County spokesperson Sue Tucker said the county has determined that Woodmont Avenue between Bethesda Avenue and Miller Avenue is not safe enough to reopen because of the ongoing construction activity.
The section of road was closed in September 2012 to allow for construction of a new underground county parking garage, an apartment building and a condominium building from developer StonebridgeCarras.
After a visit last week by Montgomery County Chief of Parking Management Rick Siebert, the county determined the street will not reopen until the underground parking garage is ready to open, which could be January, Tucker said.
“They’ve determined the road is going to remained closed due to safety factors to pedestrians,” Tucker said. “The county went out there and decided they had concerns about the safety, so for safety’s sake they have decided not to open it.”
In July, StonebridgeCarras Principal Jane Mahaffie said the stretch of road would reopen by Friday, Aug. 22, on the weekend before the first day of the 2014-2015 MCPS school year. Mahaffie also said the garage, which will include 970 public spots to replace Lot 31, would open by or around Dec. 1.
Mahaffie didn’t return a request for comment.
The apartment and condo buildings (known as The Darcy and The Flats) will include ground-floor restaurants and retail and are set to be completed by May 2015.
The Darcy and The Flats are still under construction on either side of Woodmont Avenue. The section of road was repaved and marked in the last few weeks, though it became clear there would be no space for pedestrians until the buildings were closer to completion.
Earlier this month, electronic signs indicated the road would be reopened by or on Friday, Aug. 15 and then by or on Friday, Aug. 22. Those signs went dark over the weekend.
Last week, crews installed signs that read “No Pedestrian Access” and “Not Publicly Maintained Roadway.”
That apparently wasn’t enough to assuage concerns from the county, which joined StonebridgeCarras in a public-private partnership to build the new parking garage and buildings on the former site of Lot 31 near Bethesda Row.
Tucker said she wasn’t sure if the sides entered into an agreement that stipulated timeframes for the reopening of Woodmont Avenue.