Chevy Chase Valley could get enhanced access
Road would improve access to neighborhood near future Walter Reed Military Medical Center
A road that would create an extra outlet from the Chevy Chase Valley community, east of the future Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, got a push after the Montgomery County executive recommended $3.7 million for it in the county's six-year capital budget.
The extension of Platt Ridge Drive would improve access to Chevy Chase Valley, a community of 60 homes and a recreation center in the crux of Jones Bridge Road and Connecticut Avenue. Getting in to and out of the community is expected to become more difficult when the merger of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center is complete in September.
The project would create a two-lane road with guardrails that connects the end of Montrose Road, in Chevy Chase Valley, to the intersection of Platt Ridge Drive and Jones Bridge Road by cutting through a corner of North Chevy Chase Park.
"It's a commitment that the county executive has made to do whatever we can to address the situation," said Phil Alperson, the Base Closure and Realignment Commission coordinator for Montgomery County.
County Executive Isiah Leggett's recommendation for the capital improvements program, which must be approved by the county council, would give $170,000 in fiscal 2012, $960,000 in fiscal 2013 and $2.57 million in fiscal 2014 as part of the capital improvements program. Designing and planning would take place in fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013, with construction completed in fiscal 2014.
Leggett's proposals will reach county council committees next month.
Walter Reed's move to Navy Med is expected to increase by one third the number of employees, to 10,500, and is expected to double the number of annual visits to the campus to 1 million.
The first phases of construction at three intersections surrounding the Bethesda campus, including Jones Bridge Road and Connecticut Avenue, are scheduled to begin in this summer.
The Maryland Department of Transportation decided in late 2010 to move forward with early stages of construction for projects with money that is available $38 million in state and federal funds rather than waiting for enough to pay for the projects in whole.
On Capitol Hill, a $300 million appropriation for road projects in communities with BRAC impacted hospitals remains the most promising option for federal funding, even though previous efforts to secure that money have failed.
"The House is on record in support of this mitigation funding, and, with the consolidation deadline arriving later this year, the time to act is now," said Bridgett Frey, a spokeswoman for Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (D-Dist. 8) of Kensington.
U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) of Baltimore said BRAC funding is her top transportation priority.
"[W]hen Rep. Van Hollen called last year asking for my help in the Senate on this additional $300 million, I jumped into action and Team Maryland got it done. We've been working ever since to resolve technical problems with how the House appropriated the funds last year," Mikulski said in a statement.
"And we will keep fighting to meet these transportation needs for Bethesda."
Alperson said the county could also choose to go to the source the federal Department of Defense and apply for grants.