Metropolitan Branch Trail – construction progress

This past weekend, I walked along the Metropolitan Branch Trail route from T St NE up to Franklin Street in order to gauge its construction progress.  As you can see, a finished Trail by the July 22 contract deadline appears to be questionable.

MBT at Franklin Street overpass

MBT at Franklin Street overpass

MBT - Looking South (Capitol hovers over the tracks)

MBT - Looking South (Capitol hovers over the tracks)

The work on the Trail began at the Franklin Street overpass with what appears to be an 18-ft wide path.  A 150-200ft ramp is to be built to connect the Trail to the roadway.

The narrow gravel base does not yet extend to the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station (see image) and the cleared pathway ends just after the station.  After which the propose route is littered with large debris piles and Fort Myer equipment and materials.  And this just gets you to T Street.

End of gravel bed

End of gravel bed

This does not give me great hope that the Trail will be completed by July 22nd as stipulated in the contract.  My guess is that the DDOT and Fort Myer Construction’s work on past and future projects will persuade DDOT from enforcing any penalties or pressuring the contractor to expedite the work.

An email has been sent to DDOT for their comment, but I do not expect a reply.

That being said, however, it is still inspiring to walk along the route, see an area ignored by the city for so long, and envision what IS going to be here in the coming months.  There will be an uninterrupted path from Franklin Street to L Street with views of the elevated Metro track, at-grade rail tracks and our nation’s Capitol. Let’s hope it is done right.

MBT - Looking North

MBT - Looking North

MBT - view of elevated tracks

MBT - view of elevated tracks

MBT - View of Capitol and NoMa tower cranes

MBT - View of Capitol and NoMa tower cranes

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5 thoughts on “Metropolitan Branch Trail – construction progress

  1. While the progress isn’t great I’m still very pleased there is progress. Thanks for the photos, I have yet to check it out but the trail is wider then I had imagined. I pictured being sandwiched between metro tracks and roadway.

  2. I was surprised that the Draft Plan for Rhode Island Avenue NE, which came out today only briefly mentioned the bike trail once. I hope that even if they don’t make the 7/22 deadline, it is still close to this date. It would be so aggravating if the motivation to finish starts to really fizzle.

  3. I agree that FMCC probably won’t hear any serious squawking from the city. They seem to pretty much be the city’s official concrete-pouring appendage. Besides, they can justifiably claim this year’s return to historical weather patterns (lots of rain toward the end of April, all through May, and a lot of days during June) delayed their work. But with luck, maybe the trail will at least be finished before school reopens.

    Last week, I noticed what looked like two professional women taking a mid-afternoon stroll on the trail where it IS open, alongside the NY Metro tracks. This made the whole thing finally feel “real” to me. I look forward to the day when it’s so well utilized that people start thinking of ways to improve the properties adjacent to it.

  4. Great photos. Great watchdogging. Keep it up. Can’t wait for this to be open. Also, I hope that kid belongs to somebody and he isn’t just being raised by that dog.

  5. Every Saturday I’m inspecting the Met Branch Trail for progress. After a long hiatus it seems that more progress is being made. SLOWLY… ever so slowly and way behind schedule. It’s like watching the Würm Glacier melt. Still not a drop of asphalt laid down. When will they make an end?

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