News) - The 17-year wait for restoration of Klingle Road through
Northwest D.C. may finally be coming to an end, as
Mayor Adrian Fentys proposed 2009 budget includes $2 million to
jump-start the controversial project.
D.C. Councilman Jim Graham, who represents the eastern side of
the shuttered three-quarter-mile link between
Mount Pleasant and
Woodley Park, said Sunday he and Fenty had agreed to finance the
$11 million project with D.C. money instead of federal funds
reducing delays caused by the lengthy federal authorization process.
The mayor and I are determined to fund the Klingle Road
reconstruction through local capital dollars, Graham said. We want
to reconstruct it and by avoiding federal funding we will hopefully
minimize these federal approvals.
But Ward 3
D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh, who represents
Cleveland Park, called the allocation unfortunate and the
project an environmental mistake.
That area is a gorge subject to very serious flooding and we can
expect to spend millions more to prevent the road from eroding yet
again, Cheh said in an e-mail.
The short stretch of road was damaged by flooding and closed in
1991, shutting off a bypass used by some 3,200 cars a day. An ugly,
years long fight later ensued over reopening the byway, pitting
environmentalists and a vocal group of wealthy residents on the west
end of Klingle against commuters who used the road to cross town.
The council voted in 2003 to press forward with restoration of
the road and installation of a storm water management system. The
project was to commence in mid-2004, but the only work undertaken so
far has been a yet-unfinished environmental study that requires
Federal Highway Administration approval.
The $2 million allocation is slated for infrastructure, cleanup
and working toward completion of the [environmental impact
statement] process, a D.C. transportation department spokeswoman
Any kind of movement is good movement, said
Laurie Collins of Mount Pleasant.
Sierra Clubs D.C. chapter has lobbied to maintain Klingle
Valley, including the road, as a park off-limits to motor vehicles.
The ravine, which sinks under Connecticut Avenue, is really one of
the jewels of the [National Park] system, said
Jim Dougherty, the environmental groups legal chairman. The
club is strongly considering legal action, he said.
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