At a public meeting organized by the MCA on September 10, Charles Cuvelier, Superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway for the National Park Service, provided updates on repairs to the GW Parkway and discussed prospects for more permanent improvements of the Parkway and connecting roads affecting traffic in the McLean area. Mr. Cuvelier was appointed as Superintendent in November, 2018.
On the transportation aspects of managing the GW Parkway, the primary issues Mr. Cuvelier addressed were the Dead Run sinkhole, reconstruction of the North Parkway (from Spout Run westward), and the Parkway’s relationship to the potential extension of express lanes from their current terminus to the American Legion Bridge. Mr. Cuvelier advised that there is a significant backlog of maintenance work that is needed for parkway-related projects due to inadequate funding.
The sinkhole work is nearly complete. The principal work remaining is back-fill and reestablishment of the roadbed. Although Mr. Cuvelier advised that there are some technical uncertainties with the completion of the work, if all goes well, work should be complete by the first part of October.
$1.1 million is available for repaving and regrading the North Parkway. However, this section needs virtual reconstruction, which could cost between $150 and $170 million. Accomplishing this work depends on the availability of federal grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the GW Parkway has to compete with other entities for these funds. The Parkway was not selected for a grant the last time one was available, but it will apply for two grants that will be available this fall. Once funds become available, it would take one year for the design and one more year for the construction. However, funds may be available piecemeal rather than all at once.
The NPS Office managing the GW Parkway is working with both VDOT and the Maryland DOT on the proposed addition of express lanes on, and on both sides of, the American Legion Bridge. The GW Parkway is not anticipating any grant to other agencies of federal lands for this purpose. During this process, it will be trying to determine whether managed lanes are appropriate. Mr. Cuvelier stated that NPS has yet not made a decision on the ramps, and advised that the best place to get information about the status of the project are the VDOT and MDOT Websites
. (The link is to the VDOT Website for the 495 NEXT project with a link to the MDOT website.)
The NPS Office managing the GW Parkway (both sides of the Potomac River) has an annual budget of about $13 million. However, it also had $717 million in deferred maintenance in 2018, $293 of that in Virginia.