A years-long road realignment project is finished in the Pike District, marking a step toward leaders’ vision for the area.
The White Flint West Workaround Project is a key step to putting North Bethesda at the front of economic development in Montgomery County, said County Executive Marc Elrich during a press conference Thursday at the corner of Grand Park and Banneker avenues.
The first construction phase was in Nov. 2016-2017, according to a release from the county Thursday.
The $74 million construction project reconfigured the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Executive Boulevard, so Towne Road now continues into Old Georgetown Road. Part of Executive Boulevard was realigned to connect with Grand Park Avenue. Plus, a new street was created, called Banneker Avenue, which intersects with Grand Park Avenue in front of the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.
There are now “city blocks,” said Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Director Chris Conklin. The county is creating a “framework for an urban neighborhood,” he said. The construction included wider sidewalks.
A future Bus Rapid Transit network will be mere blocks from the new grid, County Council President Evan Glass said.
“More people will walk,” shop and go to jobs when the county does such projects, Glass said.
Part of the jurisdiction’s plan for the Pike District includes a new research institute in coming years, called the University of Maryland 3 – Institute for Health Computing. The facility will conduct research in artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual and augmented reality.
The White Flint West Workaround Project “supports the future development plans of the Pike District as a walkable, bikeable, public transit-focused epicenter for health computing,” per the county’s release.