Traffic Concerns Remain as BRAC Nears - NBC4 Washington

Traffic Concerns Remain as BRAC Nears



    The federal government's BRAC project could cause gridlock on your commute. (Published Monday, March 7, 2011)

    Beginning this September, the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., will absorb patients, doctors and staff from Walter Reed Army Medical Center; Fort Belvoir will have 18,000 new employees reporting for duty; and the Mark Center in Alexandria, Va., will be the work site for 6,400 Department of Defense employees.

    Now, it looks like Congress is cutting spending on road improvements and the result could be gridlock.

    Maryland's elected leaders are worried Wisconsin Avenue traffic will crawl come fall when BRAC takes affect in Bethesda.

    "Without an infusion of federal funds, it will be a nightmare all along Route 355," Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said.

    Neither the state of Maryland nor Montgomery County have the money to make road improvements to avoid overwhelming traffic tie ups on Wisconsin Avenue spilling over to Old Georgetown Road, which both serve the National Institutes of Health.

    "The state is happy to be home to so many federal facilities, but the state needs federal help to pay for necessary infrastructure improvements," Gov. Martin O'Malley said.

    In northern Virginia, traffic on the Interstate 95/395 Corridor is already bad, and despite 18,000 new jobs heading to Fort Belvoir in the fall, there have been no improvements to Route 1, which is two lanes in each direction.

    At the Mark Center, the addition of 6,400 additional jobs could cause substantial delays on Seminary Road and traffic trying to get onto I-395.

    "I don't know where they are going to put all the cars," Virginia resident Sandy Francis said.

    The BRAC traffic increase is going to hit at the worst time possible, just as everybody returns from vacation and kids are going back to school.

    Fan, Follow and Text: Get the latest from anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Sign up for our e-mail newsletters and get breaking news delivered right to your mobile phone -- just text DCBREAKING to 622339 to sign up. (Message and data rates may apply.)