Big changes for Monroe Ave. Bridge

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The first span of the new Monroe Avenue Bridge will open on Dec. 2, on time and on budget.

The opening of the new span will allow us to begin demolition of the old bridge and continue with the construction of the second span of the new bridge, said Kevin Hall, land development manager of Potomac Yard Development LLC. If all goes according to schedule, the second span will be open to the public at this time next year.

Several traffic and pedestrian pattern changes will take place with the opening of the new bridge span. Motorists and pedestrians will see the following changes after the switch to the new span during this next phase of construction, estimated to be from December 2007 to July 2008.

  • Traffic will be switched from the old bridge onto the eastern span of the new bridge sometime on Sunday, Dec. 2. By Monday morning rush hour, on Dec. 3, motorists traveling directly north or south on Route 1 will experience no detours but will have a straight commute using the new bridge.
  • Southbound motorists who want to access Del Ray can turn right on Monroe Avenue using the old Route 1 road alignment, at least for the next two months.
  • Northbound motorists who want to access Del Ray can turn left on either Wythe Street to Braddock Road to right on Mount Vernon Avenue or turn left on East Glebe Road to left on Commonwealth Avenue to a left on Mount Vernon Avenue. There will be no direct access to Route 1 from Monroe Avenue, Howell or Bellefonte in Del Ray.
  • Motorists who want to access Southbound Route 1 can turn right from Windsor Avenue to Southbound Route 1. Windsor Avenue will remain a right in and right out access point on Route 1.
  • On or around Dec. 17, Slaters Lane will reopen to Northbound Route 1 motorists. It will remain closed to Southbound Route 1 motorists. The slip ramp from Slaters Lane to Southbound Route 1 will be temporarily closed during this phase of construction.
    There will be only three lanes of traffic on the new bridge span, with the center lane reversible to accommodate traffic flow.
  • Monday through Friday, from 5 a.m. to noon, there will be two lanes going north and one southbound. From noon until 10 p.m., there will be two lanes going south and one north. The center lane will be closed each night from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.
  • On Saturdays and Sundays, there will be two lanes going south and one north from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For about two weeks after the new bridge span is open, pedestrians will be able to use the old bridge as a pedestrian walkway. There will be a signalized pedestrian crosswalk across Route 1 at Custis Avenue, at the intersection of the new bridge and Howell Avenue and at First Street. There will also be a walkway on the southside of Slaters Lane to Route 1. Pedestrians who need to access the west side of Route 1 should cross at either First Street or Howell Avenue access point. Pedestrians can enter Del Ray via Windsor Avenue or along the old Route 1 alignment to Monroe Avenue.

There are going to be some inconveniences for both pedestrians and motorists for a while, but in the end, when the new bridge is completed, it will be much better for everyone, said Kurt Fischer, project manager for Shirley Construction Co. LLC, the contractor who is building the bridge.

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