State Gets Federal Approval for Georgia Avenue Redesign

The State Highway Administration has received federal approval to redesign the portion of Georgia Avenue from 16th Street to Forest Glen Road, officials announced.

The work will include narrowing traffic lanes, adding a raised and landscaped median, sidewalks on both sides of the road and a two-way bike track on the west side of Georgia, along with a new traffic signal at Flora Lane.

SHA will eliminate the reversible center lane, currently used for left turns, creating three through lanes in both directions with dedicated turn lanes.

Friends of Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills is extremely pleased that the state’s proposal for improving Georgia Avenue has received federal approval,” said Geoff Gerhardt, FOFGMH co-founder in a statement to the Source.

“Plans for making this section of Georgia Avenue safer for drivers, more pedestrian and bicyclist friendly, and improving accessibility for local businesses have been around since the late 1970s,” he continued. “Federal approval is an important step forward, but our community will not be satisfied until the project is fully funded. We urge state, county and federal officials to work together to find the needed funding and make the longstanding plans for fixing Georgia Avenue a reality.”

The plans, known as Alternative 5B Modified, also call for the state to remove the southbound free right turn from Georgia onto 16th Street, directing drivers to the T intersection just south of the current turn.

In addition, the interchange for the Beltway and Georgia will also be modified to reduce the traffic weave/merge, add a double left turn to the existing ramp for inner loop traffic heading to northbound Georgia, and a new traffic signal and median break along Georgia.

“The federal approvals we received this week clear the way for significant accessibility improvements in the Montgomery Hills community,” said SHA Administrator Gregory Slater in the announcement. “At MDOT SHA, we are rethinking state roads in urbanized areas to enhance the safety for all users. We continue to work closely with Montgomery County and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, as well as the Friends of Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills and their respective communities.”

More information about the state’s project is available here.

Photo of the congested Georgia Avenue through Montgomery Hills by Earl Dotter, Photojournalist, Stock Photography Library.

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