Bethesda: Montgomery County Dedicates ‘MD 355 Crossing Project’ Underpass

by Patrick Herron
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On Friday, Montgomery County officials dedicated the “MD 355 Crossing Project” in Bethesda. The new underpass provides safe crossing between the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Medical Center Metrorail station.

The underpass is named after the late Phil Alperson, a former MCDOT employee who worked for years to coordinate the project.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, Council President Gabe Albornoz, Councilmember Andrew Friedson, Councilmember Will Jawando and U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen were among those in attendance.

Per MCDOT:

The MD 355 Crossing Project was managed by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and includes a shallow pedestrian underpass below MD 355 (Rockville Pike) that will provide pedestrians and cyclists a safe means of crossing the busy roadway. The project also includes new deep high-speed elevators and emergency stairs creating direct access between the station and the east side of MD 355 and a new elevator and staircase between the existing Metrorail platform and mezzanine levels.

In addition, the project includes roadway surface improvements such as a traffic signal, pavement resurfacing, sidewalk/bike path, median work and stormwater management facilities were completed.

Naval Support Activity Bethesda and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was established in 2011 and became the second-largest employer in Montgomery County. The first largest employer is NIH, which is located on the opposite side of MD 355. Thousands of pedestrians cross 355 to get between the campuses and to the Medical Center Metrorail station, which is located on the NIH side.  Pre-COVID numbers indicate that the Medical Center Metrorail station accommodated approximately 11,000 riders daily.  About 7,000 pedestrians cross MD 355 daily to get to the Metro stop.

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