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State Highway Administration Project on River Road in Bethesda Designed to Improve Safety Is Underway; Construction Will Cause Traffic Delays

For Immediate Release: Friday, August 7, 2020

Some Montgomery County drivers will encounter traffic delays on River Road (MD 190) throughout the rest of summer and the ensuing winter as the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) works on a $1.9 million roadway safety improvement project between Braeburn Parkway and Pyle Road in Bethesda.

The project, which is underway, is scheduled for completion in Spring 2021. To perform all phases of work, crews will use temporary single-lane closures weekdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and multiple-lane closures overnight from 9 p.m.-5 a.m. the following morning. Additional work times and lane closures may be necessary.

The project aims to improve traffic operations and safety for pedestrians and motorists. The project is a continuation of collaboration between MDOT SHA and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, which has urged the State to consider safety projects in that area of River Road where a crash resulted in multiple fatalities in 2016. The changes support the County’s Vision Zero program, which is seeking to eliminate traffic-related deaths and serious injuries.

“It is great to see this safety project move forward to construction,” said Vision Zero Coordinator Wade Holland. “In the past few years, SHA has really stepped up its commitment to safe roads and working with County partners to develop effective safety solutions. We will continue to partner with SHA on implementing projects throughout the County to work toward our Vision Zero goal.”

The improvements will include:  

    Construction of a new traffic signal on River Road at Braeburn Parkway.  Installation of concrete channelized islands to prohibit through- and left-turn movements from Braeburn Parkway onto River Road. Installation of pedestrian-activated, full-color traffic signals on eastbound and westbound River Road in the vicinity of Pyle Road.    Relocation of the pedestrian crossing on westbound River Road closer to Walt Whitman High School.   Construction of a new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant sidewalk connection to the existing sidewalk adjacent to the school’s athletic fields. 

    The new signal on River Road at Braeburn Parkway will include exclusive left-turn arrows from eastbound and westbound River Road onto Braeburn Parkway. It will also include accessible pedestrian countdown equipment.  

    To learn more about Maryland Department of Transportation road projects, go to

    For ongoing updates, follow @MCDOTNow and @MCDOT_Parking on Twitter or go to the department website at

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    Release ID: 20-425
    Media Contact: Hannah Henn 240-777-8389