Construction work began at the trestle on October 28 2002, and heavy equipment can be seen preparing the railbed to make room to bring in the prefabricated bridge spans when they are delivered. The cancellation of the 26 October groundbreaking ceremony (due to the sniper attacks in the Washington area) is having no effect on the construction schedule. The trestle is expected to be open next Spring.
Workers have removed the chain link fence and some of the berm at each end of the trestle. Piles will be driven into the berm at each end to stabilize the berm to support new bridge abutments. A pile driver has begun its work at the west end.
Construction activity has continued through December. A new concrete abutment has been built at the west end of the trestle. Workmen are currently installing steel braces to reinforce one of the existing main steel support trusses. A prefabricated bridge section that is being built off-site will span from the western abutment to this reinforced truss. Another prefabricated bridge section will span from a new eastern abutment to the next main support truss in the same manner. The observation deck will be built in the approx. 30' long gap between the two main support trusses, to connect the two prefabricated bridge spans.
Workmen on-site continue to believe the trestle will be open on time, early this spring.
On the Friday after the snowstorm that buried Silver Spring under 25 inches of snow, steel piles are being driven into the berm on the east side of Rock Creek. The piles will stabilize the berm to prepare a solid foundation for a new bridge abutment. Another abutment has already been prepared at the west end of the trestle. When this east abutment is completed, all of the major structures needed to support the two prefabricated bridge sections will be ready.
Now that the trestle substructure and new abutments are ready, sections of the prefabricated bridge spans are being brought to the east side of the trestle. Some final on-site assembly of the spans is required, then they will be slid out onto the substructure and secured in place.
Even though the contractor worked steadily on-site through the winter, the heavy weather has slowed progress. DPWT has recently estimated that the trestle will likely open for trail traffic sometime after mid-May.
March 25, 2003
The sections of prefabricated trail bridge have been joined and pushed onto the trestle substructure. The bridge is resting on blocks and rollers about 18" higher than its final position. Jacks will be used to remove the blocks and rollers, and lower the bridge into its final position on the new bridge abutments. The final height of the bridge deck will be about two feet higher than the railroad tracks.
Photo courtesy Ernie Brooks.
It took 10 hours to push the bridge out over the reinforced trestle substructure. The Rock Creek Hiker/Biker Trail was closed for safety for this period, and trail users were directed onto a bypass along E-W Highway and Jones Mill Road.
Remaining work includes building the observation deck and grading the berm to match the height of the bridge deck.
On April 19 workmen put the last pieces of wood deck in place to complete the observation deck. The observation deck is 30' long and 22' wide, and is approx. 70' above Rock Creek.
Rough grading has been done along the 1475' feet of trail east of the trestle to Grubb Road. Grading must be completed and safety fencing installed along the trail on both sides of the trestle before it can be opened. The contractor hopes to open the trestle before Memorial Day weekend.
The Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) has begun to install new crossing lights at Jones Mill Road so that trail users can go straight across in a new crosswalk, without having to 'jog' up to the existing crosswalk. DPWT intends to have the new crossing open when the trestle opens.
May 9, 2003
Workmen have spent much of May finishing the grading, installing the safety fence, and removing debri from the sides of the berm. The weather has not cooperated, and the trestle did not open to trail traffic in the week of May 19 as had been hoped. On Saturday a.m. May 24 the trestle remained closed.
DPWT has announced that the opening ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 31 at 12 noon.
May 25, 2003
Barriers to the trestle were removed without fanfare sometime after Saturday a.m., and the trestle was unofficially opened to trail users on a wet Memorial Day weekend. The official opening ceremony is scheduled for the following weekend, on Saturday, May 31.
May 31, 2003
On Saturday, May 31 several hundred people gathered at the trestle for a ribbon cutting ceremony. Speakers included County Executive Doug Duncan, Ernie Brooks for the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail (CCCT), and John Warnock for the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Coalition (GB-CCC). GB-CCC presented Doug Duncan with a symbolic golden spike to mark completion of the trail link midway between Silver Spring and Bethesda.
The trail has not been built into Silver Spring and there is no safe access to the trestle from most neighborhoods east of Rock Creek. The CCT and its trestle will principally serve only those communities west of Rock Creek until the Interim CCT is completed into Silver Spring. See my CCT webpage to see what must be done to finish this trail.