My controversial two-mile section of[WORD ILLEGIBLE] of the bicycle trail [WORD ILLEGIBLE] George Washington Memorial Parkway north of Fort Hunt will be relocated by this fall [WORD ILLEGIBLE] and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] path in [WORD ILLEGIBLE] the parkway.
the relocation was announced by the National Park Service this week, after two years of study, a [WORD ILLEGIBLE] public hearing in March and detailed discussion of [LINE ILLEGIBLE] of the Park Service's national capital region.
Fish said the major decision was to take the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] route off Fairfax County and Park Service roads, a move urged by [WORD ILLEGIBLE] the public hearing, but [WORD ILLEGIBLE] the west side of the parkway through Collingwood [WORD ILLEGIBLE] of west-side [WORD ILLEGIBLE] consider the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] consider the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] route, currently [WORD ILLEGIBLE] on narrow public roads for about two miles through the Wellington-Collingwood area, a nuisance and obstruction to auto traffic.
"It will not be a popular decision and I'm going to hide for a few days," said George Berklacy, chief of local Park Service public affairs. "But we felt to build a new trail along the narrow strip of parkland on the east side would have been an ugly intrusion on the parkway. And our surveys showed that many bicyclists using the trail come from the populous subdivisions on the west side of the parkway," Berklac said. There are only about $100 [WORD ILLEGIBLE] the small roads in the Collingwood section east of the parkway.
The new route not only will separate most of the bicycle-auto traffic but will create a [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] for bicylists through the built-up areas north of Fort Hunt.
The popular 14-mile, Washington to Mount Vernon [WORD ILLEGIBLE] route, which was built in 1974 and now attracts more than 200,000 bicyclists a year, is located on public roads as it passes through downtown Alexandria and the Collingwood-Wellington area. In 1975 Congress authorized $450,000 to relocate the bike route through the area after citizens complained that they were being innundated by bikers and hikers.
The new 9-foot wide paved bike path will cost an estimated $306,000 and will extend about 1.8 miles from the Alexandria Avenue Bridge in Wellington Villa to Waynewood Avenue. It will be built between the parkway and West Boulevard Drive, the narrow and Park Service, part-county read the hike route presently follows. Part of the cost will be for extensive landscaping along the new section of trail.
There will be no bicycle bridges or tunnels under six paved roads and one dirt road the bike trail will cross on the west side - "we probably will install four-way stop signs for both bike and auto traffic," Berklacy said - and the new route also will avoid the obstructive and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] e and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] the [LINE ILLEGIBLE]
Construction ie expected to begin by July with cpmpletion of the new trail after Labor Day, according to Berklacy.