Friday, March 5, 2021

Embassy Row Roadway Rebuild - A Test for Green Infrastructure in DC

DDOT starts $23 million road rebuilding on Embassy Row

Kickoff The “Massachusetts Avenue NW Rehabilitation Project” we call MARP will begin March 1, according to DC Department of Transportation (DDOT). The $22.9 million contract is with Milani Construction LLC. DDOT says the project will take 18 months and end in December 2022. More from DDOT's pre-construction briefing on Feb 23 is here.

Who/Where This project will affect everyone along and near Mass Ave from 20th Street out to Waterside Drive. Also those in ~27,600 vehicles every day who use the Avenue to go in and out of town.

What The MARP main objective is to replace the 70-year old roadbed. Digging to replace roadbed, gutters, drains, sidewalks will put at risk 200 street trees along the curbs. Some of these are very large, signature trees. Our expert’s review of the first plan warned of grave impact on canopy.

RMA Experts reviewed of the final MARP plans. These are ~300 page pdfs of engineer drawings. They have been revised by DDOT planners four times since 2017, in many ways responding to comments by RMA and other interested parties. 

Our Takeaway: We have grave concerns that the iconic large trees of the Grand Avenue may be compromised, medium and long term, by construction activity around their roots. The plan has palliative measures near them like Flexi-Pave sidewalk and hand-digging around their roots.  As for new and some present trees, improved soils and more porous space could help them grow better.

Our Map of the MARP route is below.

Consider Joining RMA's  Campaign for Shade response team if you live, work, or regularly pass any of these locales. Join to learn a lot about city trees. Join to help the city address "green" challenges!

See our post Gas Pipeline Job for pictures and story about Washington Gas's ProjectPipes which has been replacing gas lines on the Avenue for nearly a year. The MARP had to wait until this project was done.

The gas pipeline job was a "little dig" compared to the MARP!

Our community must be engaged to save Embassy Row's wonderful wealth of trees!

 Washington Gas "ProjectPipes" slows traffic at Massachusetts and Florida Avenues, November 2020. Photo: RMA.

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