November 29, 1966
In accordance with the provisions of Change Order No. 2 to District of Columbia Formal Agreement No. 2224, we submit herewith our Engineering Feasibility Report which records the study of the location for the north Central Freeway within the corridor of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad between Rhode Island Avenue and the Capital Beltway.
The study, which supplements the comprehensive location studies for the Project presented in the Engineering Feasibility Report of October 1964, was conducted to determine the feasibility of constructing the freeway throughout its route in close proximity to the existing railroad and the proposed rail rapid transit line in order to minimize displacement and disruption to established neighborhoods.
As a result of the study, it has been determined that location of the Freeway within the Railroad corridor for the full length of the project is feasible and will effect the desired reduction in displacement and neighborhood disruption. It has been further concluded, after investigation of alternative alignments and concepts, that if the freeway is constructed within the Railroad Corridor, it should conform to the low level concept which is developed and described in the Report. Under this concept the Freeway would be located contiguous to the Railroad, with a grade line generally at or below the elevation of the Railroad.
The Report examines alternative alignments and concepts within the designated corridor, and presents data, drawings, and suggested design treatments pertaining to the low level concept.
We appreciate the cooperation received from the members of your staffs the staffs of the District of Columbia and Maryland Divisions of the Bureau of Public Roads and the staffs of the departments and agencies in the District of Columbia and Montgomery County who have furnished data and have participated in the review of our work.
Very Truly Yours
J.E. Geiner Company
For a number of years, transportation planning and studies in the Washington Metropolitan area have recognized the importance of the North Central Freeway as a major transportation facility to serve as an artery between the central core of the District of Columbia and the outlying areas of Takoma Park, Silver Spring and neighboring communities in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Since the facility was first proposed, consideration has been given to its location along a number of possible alternative alignments. Generally, these were contained within a wide corridor or band extending laterally from 16th Street and Georgia Avenue on the west to an irregular line situated immediately east of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in the District of Columbia and along Sligo Parkway and University Boulevard in Montgomery County.
An engineering feasibility report published in October 1964 presented analyses of a number of alternate routes for the Freeway within that wide corridor and included the selection of a recommended route which was based on considerations of traffic service; effect on residential, commercial and industrial uses in the corridor; and cost.
After considering comments on the report and reactions to the Freeway and its location which were presented at the public hearings following publication of the 1964 report, and after a review of the subject by the staffs of the District of Columbia Department of Highways and Traffic, the two highway departments determined to conduct further study on the location of the project, with particular emphasis to be placed on minimizing of displacement and neighborhood disruption and obtaining good aesthetic relationship to the surrounding areas.
The highway agencies were mindful of the disruption to established neighborhoods that can be avoided and the reduction in residential displacement that can be accomplished by constructing the Freeway in its entirety in close proximity to the existing railroad and the proposed rapid transit line. Therefore, they directed their consultant to study the feasibility of locating the Freeway within the corridor of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad for the full length of the project between its interchange connection with the Inner Loop at Rhode Island Avenue in the District of Columbia and its connection to the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County, north of 16th Street where it is situated to the west of the previous study limits. The location study and the resulting data and conclusions are the subject of this report.
The first phase of the study comprised an investigation of possible alternative arrangements of the Freeway, Railroad and transit in the single corridor, i.e., construction of the Freeway over the Railroad and transit lines, beneath these facilities, adjacent to them, or combinations thereof. The several concepts for construction of the freeway were narrowed to two which were considered practicable. One of the two schemes provides for he construction of the Freeway continuously at a high altitude above the Railroad ad the adjoining properties and the other provides for its construction immediately contiguous to the Railroad, with a grade line generally at or below he elevation of the Railroad. These have been identified as during this study as the high-level and low-level concepts respectively.
- 1966 ncf report, p 1 report in brief
Conclusions and Recommendations
A comparative analysis of the two scheme showed the low level concept to be clearly superior to the high level design, particularly from the standpoint of aesthetics. The low lying design would be unobtrusive and fit int the long established Railroad corridor without visual impact on the surrounding areas. The high level concept on the other hand because of its height and mass, would cast a shadow upon its surrounding, much of which are devoted to residential and institutional uses.
Either concept would provide the accepted traffic service and either would result in virtually the same residential displacement. The high-level concept, which would be constructed throughout its length on structure, would be the more costly of the two. The adaptability of the low-level concept to air rights construction over the Freeway for housing, commercial installations and transit facilities is also a feature strongly in its favor.
Accordingly, the low-level concept was recommended to the reviewing highway agencies as the most desirable route and design concepts for construction of the freeway with in the Railroad corridor. After approval of he recommendation, study and development of the low-level concept was carried in more detail, including the preparation of drawings, the investigation of potential urban development over and adjacent to the freeway, and the development of cost estimates and socio-economic data, all of which are represented and discussed in this Report.
The total length of the route is 7.71 miles and the estimated Project cost is $193, 574, 000. Approximately 4.33 miles of the Project are located in the District of Columbia and the estimated Project cost of this option of the freeway is $116,242,000. The remaining 3.38 miles of the Freeway are located in Montgomery County, Maryland, for which the estimated Project cost is $77,332,000. Construction of the Project will require the displacement of approximately 535 families throughout its entire length, of which 372 are within the District of Columbia and 163 in Montgomery County, Maryland.
The results of this study show clearly that the location of he North Central Freeway within the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Corridor will minimize family displacement and the division of neighborhoods, both of which have been major reasons expressed in opposition to previous alignments considered for the Project. he low-level concept, which has been selected from the several possible routes in the Railroad Corridor, provides, in addition to the above advantages, good aesthetic relationship to the surrounding areas, compatibility wit Railroad and transit operations in the corridor, and the greatest potential for urban development, including air rights construction over the Freeway for housing, commercial and transit facilities.
It would also be the least costly to construct of the several alternate routes following the alignment of the Railroad. The drawings included in this Report are presented as the basis for a design of the North Central Freeway which will not only meet the functional requirements of a major urban expressway but should also be acceptable to the community because of its favorable relationship to and impact on the neighborhoods in this transportation corridor. ncf report p2
Though the report blurs the history leading up to 1964, the 1966 design was a step in the right direction with its generally low level design.