DDOT has a dedicated website for the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) Brookland to Fort Totten extension. The agency posts weekly progress reports and two-week look ahead reports on the site, so it is a good way to stay abreast of where work is being performed and will be performed in the future. At the ANC 5A meeting on November 21, I managed to catch up with DDOT Bicycle Program Specialist Michael Alvino to get an update. I left before his formal presentation to the ANC, as the discussion around Pax Liquor took up most of the meeting. We spoke separately though, and he gave me a few updates on the trail.
The project is being done in phases. Construction work is currently taking place on Phase A near the southern end on John McCormack Drive NE. DDOT is finishing up design for Phase B, the northern end near 1st Place, Gallatin Street, and Fort Totten Drive NE. Residents will start to see some construction impacts near the northern end around February/March 2019, especially those who access Fort Totten metro station from the northwest.
As the most recent progress report notes, the agency has combined Phases C & D. This is the longest and the most complicated portion of the trail, going from Bates Road to 1st Place NE. Part of it will wrap around the Fort Totten metro station tunnel. There have been some concerns that DDOT does not have approval from Metro for this part yet. That is because it is still in the design phase, and Metro is reviewing that part of the plan to make sure everything is okay. Things like what kind and weight of construction equipment will be near the tunnel, adequate plans to properly protect the tunnel during construction operation, are all things that Metro is looking at. In addition, the middle portion will be built close to the train tracks in essentially what is a ditch. That ditch apparently carries stormwater from the Aggregate Industries cement plant. If DDOT is going to cover that ditch with a trail, DDOT will need to have an appropriate stormwater plan in place, so that also needs to be addressed in the design. The design is mostly done, and DDOT does not expect issues with getting the final design approved. Mr. Alvino said he expects construction on this phase to begin around summer 2019.
Mr. Alvino noted that the contractor is behind schedule, but he did state that the project is still on track to be completed in 2020. Expect a visit from DDOT’s team to the neighborhood early next year to discuss the impacts on the northern end near Fort Totten metro station. Until then, be sure to visit the project website for weekly updates.