Some of the most severe damage to the D.C. region’s road network in last week’s storms occurred on the bridge that takes Route 29 over the Northwest Branch in Montgomery County. The Maryland State Highway Administration has now scheduled an emergency repair program that will last through late May, and it’s likely to have a significant effect on travel along this busy commuter route through Silver Spring.
The flooding that followed the heavy rain occurred along a stream valley prone to such conditions. This time it was more so. The damage to the bridge is especially visible to drivers on the northbound side, where the right-most lane has been closed.
Starting this coming Monday, the repair program will affect the travel lanes and sidewalk along both sides of Route 29 between Southwood Avenue and Lockwood Drive. (This is the area near the shopping center with the Trader Joe’s.)
Drivers may find one or two of the right lanes closed in each direction 24 hours a day Sundays through Saturdays until the repairs are done. Work on the southbound side, which was less severely damaged, is likely to be done first, and those lanes will be reopened as soon as the workers can clear the area.
Passersby may not always see workers in the area, but SHA said the lanes and sidewalk must remain closed until the areas under repair are declared safe.
This area just north of University Boulevard and the Capital Beltway is very busy, and doesn’t need much help to get congested. Peak periods are always slow, because of the high volume of traffic and the many traffic signals. During the repair program, some drivers may find it more convenient to travel on other north-south routes, such as Interstate 95, New Hampshire Avenue or Georgia Avenue. Those alternatives also are crowded at peak periods. But with lanes blocked on Route 29, they may provide temporary relief for some drivers.