During the week of July 10, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is reporting controlled excavation blasting will begin as part of the MD 355 Crossing Project construction near the Medical Center Metro Station. The blasting will initially occur up to 2-3 times per week but will increase to 4-5 times per week, through mid-2018, as they excavate the tunnel and elevator shaft included in the Crossing Project. The blasting is currently planned for weekdays only between non-peak traffic periods (9:30am – 3:30pm and 7pm – 5:30am). Important note: Most, if not all of the NIH campus, should not hear the blast or feel any vibrations. MCDOT is acutely aware that NIH and Walter Reed both have critical care patients and sensitive laboratories nearby. They anticipate individuals will only hear the warning horns prior to the blast. Warning horns will sound at 5 minutes and 1 minute prior to the blast. A final "all clear" horn will sound after the blast is finished. During the first 4-5 weeks, there will be intermittent traffic closures on Rockville Pike during the blasting periods. Traffic, including vehicles and pedestrians, will be stopped 5-10 minutes prior to the blast. Traffic will resume 1 minute after the blasting has ended.
As a reminder, the MD 355 Crossing project will include a shallow pedestrian underpass/tunnel below Rockville Pike and new high speed elevators and emergency stairs on the Walter Reed side of MD 355 connected to the Medical Center Metro Station, improving mass transit and safety and increasing capacity for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the Pike. Other improvements will be made to the roadway, intersections, traffic signals, sidewalks and bike and shared use paths. For more information about the MD 355 Crossing Project, please visit the NIH Traffic website at: https://traffic.nih.gov or http://md355crossing.com/.