The trial is open, no more detour. The Plaza itself is not yet open as of 12/14/2019.
About 300 feet of the Trail near Bethesda Ave was closed for construction of the Ourisman Plaza described here. This extended from near Bethesda Avenue south to the Wiener Plaza, where the water fountain is located behind Ourisman Honda's garage. A detour for bicyclists led behind the "Flats at Bethesda Avenue" apartment building just east of the trail, where there is an existing wide curving path to Woodmont Avenue. There is a separate narrower path for pedestrians to walk on next to the Flats apartment building, which this project extended south to Wiener Plaza. The detour was predicted to last until late August to early September 2019, but finally ended by November 28. The overall construction was predicted to end in late October 2019, but it's unclear how much of the remainder will be completed in 2019 and how much will wait for spring 2020.
In mid-March 2019, Ourisman Honda began work on a triangular public plaza next to the Capital Crescent Trail where it meets Bethesda Avenue. The land will come from the Ourisman property, and will be freed up by moving their vehicle entrance farther west along Bethesda Avenue. The plaza will thus adjoin the trail, and the trail will also be widened to 16 feet or wider from the Bethesda rest plaza (located behind Ourisman's garage) up to Bethesda Avenue. This widening will be achieved by taking land both from Ourisman on the west side, and on the east side where the existing benches and tables will be set farther back.
The project includes constructing a wrap that will will cover the full height of the Ourisman garage, on the front, trail side, and back. This wrap is not opaque and is designed to be aesthetically pleasing - see the early design image at the bottom of this page.
Status as of December 14: The trail has been repaved from Wiener Plaza (in back of the Ourisman garage) up to Bethesda Ave. Construction cones and barriers have been removed, except right around the Plaza. Along the trail and Plaza, much of the landscaping has been planted - there will be additions in the spring. A tree has been planted in the sidewalk between the Plaza and Bethesda Ave. The benches for the Plaza appear to have been delivered and are awaiting installation. Signage and other elements will come later.
Status as of November 28: The trial is re-opened, no more detour. Fabric wrap installation on the garage is complete. Installation of the HDPE panels on the fence and at ground level on the garage is complete. On the Plaza, a first round of landscaping has been planted, mostly trees and grasses with a few shrubs. The Plaza is awaiting installation of benches, signage, and other elements.
Status as of November 16: Fabric wrap installation on the garage appears complete, although construction equipment remains in the trail and the detour is still in place. Installation of the HDPE panels on the fence and at ground level on the garage is complete. There has been no progress in the Plaza itself since late September. It is awaiting installation of benches, signage, other elements, and landscaping.
Status as of October 15: The schedule currently is: Fabric wrap installation on the garage may begin October 25-26 and should take approximately two weeks to complete. The detour point will move back south before wrap installation begin. Installation of HDPE panels on the fence and at ground level on the garage should begin the week of October 22. Plaza benches and other elements should begin arriving at the end of October. Plant selection and installation should be underway by early November.
Status as of October 6: Ourisman says that progress on the garage should resume soon: "Fabric wrap installation should begin mid October and take approximately two weeks to complete." Installation of an HDPE fence to block the view into the garage should begin the week of October 7, starting at the plaza and working south. The brick plaza surface was laid in mid-September, with gaps left for the plantings. The landscaping is scheduled to happen from late October into November. The southern detour point was temporarily moved north to connect directly to the path in back of the Flats apartment building, so the asphalt surface of the detour bypass could be replaced with a permanent surface of pavers. The detour point will move back south before garage wrap installation begins.
Status as of September 10: The steel framework to mount the wrap on the garage is completed, but putting up the "tensioned, perforated polyester fabric" wrap has not started. Ourisman's old vehicle entrance ramp has been removed and the sidewalk relaid, and re-configuring their front parking is done. The concrete base to support the brick plaza surface has just been poured, with holes left for the planters. A large white on blue HONDA sign is installed next to the sidewalk and plaza, where the "MONUMENT SIGN" is shown in the planning diagram below. It is very visible, roughly 10 ft high by 5 ft wide, and lights up brightly after dark.
Status as of August 8: The steel framework to mount the wrap on the garage continues moving along gradually - see photo below. Adding triangular extensions is about 2/3 done, to produce the shape shown in the early design image below. Ourisman's new vehicle entrance on Bethesda Avenue is now in use, and re-configuring their front parking is mostly done. The first phase of plaza construction has begun with pouring the plaza's concrete border - see photo below.
Status as of July 16: The steel framework to mount the wrap on the garage is moving along. A vertical support frame is up, and adding triangular extensions has begin, to produce the shape shown in the early design image below. This has gone slower than first hoped, due to the tight workspace and complexity of the wrap framework design. Construction of Ourisman's new vehicle entrance on Bethesda Avenue is complete, so re-configuring their front parking should start soon, which will allow switching traffic to the new entrance, and then plaza construction can begin.
Ourisman generously agreed to build the Plaza as part of the settlement of its encroachment upon the Trail right-of-way, rather than engage in potentially protracted litigation. CCCT has provided input about the configuration of the Plaza and the overall plan for the area south of Bethesda Avenue, aiming to reduce congestion on the Trail at this very busy location. There will be additional room for pedestrians, added seating, and more space for cyclists. CCCT will provide updates as this project progresses.
Below is a planning diagram of the plaza area. The plaza is the triangular area near the center of the dashed rectangle, with the trail shown immediately below it with light diagonal lines. The sidewalk and then Bethesda Avenue are to the upper right, and the reconfigured Ourisman Honda driveway and parking are to the upper left. The plaza will have seating, plantings, and some signs. Note that Bethesda Avenue runs East-West, so North is towards the upper right in this diagram.
The Plaza benches appear to have arrived and await installation. Taken December 14.
The repaved widened trail, looking north towards Bethesda Ave. Taken December 14.
The repaved widened trail, looking south towards Wiener Plaza. Taken December 14.
Completed decorative Ourisman garage wrap as of December 14.