Beach Drive Rehabilitation

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A recent three-year project to completely rehabilitate Beach Drive is done! Enjoy this smooth surface for scenic drives, walks, bicycling, skating, etc.


What did we do?

Over the last three years, the National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration have:

  • Resurfaced 6.5 miles of road.

  • Installed new pavement markers, center-line rumble strips, guardrails and road signs along the whole road.

  • Repaved parking lots along the full length of Beach Drive.

  • Improved safety markings and crosswalks throughout Beach Drive.

  • Replaced traffic signals and streetlights.

  • Rehabilitated or repaired six bridges.
  • Protected Rock Creek Park's ecological resources and historic landscape by working within the existing road's footprint.
Slide to see before and after
Road with patches and potholes Smooth, resurfaced road.
Beach Drive in 2016 NPS / Marcey Frutchey
Beach Drive in 2019 NPS / Rachel Hendrix
Low area with some large rocks next to resurfaced road and near large bridge.
New bio-retention ponds help improve water quality in Rock Creek Park by reducing stormwater runoff from Beach Drive.

NPS / Jonathan Shafer

How did we do it?

The rehabilitation project involved full-depth pavement reconstruction. This means we dug out and recycled whole sections of road and put in a new, gravel base before we put asphalt on top of it. In all, we:

  • Recycled more than 23,000 tons of asphalt.
  • Recycled more than 110,000 square yards of concrete from of the former road's surface and foundation.
  • Installed 6.5 miles of new pavement.

We also installed a barrier to keep bamboo from damaging the Rock Creek Trail next to the Smithsonian National Zoo.

Sapling trees next to resurfaced multi-use trail next to road in Rock Creek Park
New trees planted during rehabilitation project next to resurfaced Rock Creek Trail.

NPS / Mike McMahon

Besides replacing the road surface, we also worked with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and DC Water to coordinate construction on roads and pipes in and near Rock Creek Park. The National Park Service values our partners' contributions to this project.

Workers planted more than 300 new, native trees along Beach Drive. They also worked to resurface parts of the paved, multi-use trail that runs next to the road. When you want to go for a hike or bike ride, be sure to read up on tips to plan your visit.
Beach Drive near Joyce Road NW
Potholes and patches on road near US Park Police Station in Rock Creek Park Smooth blacktop and new curbs near US Park Police Station in Rock Creek Park
Beach Drive near US Park Police Station in 2016 NPS / Marcey Frutchey
Beach Drive near US Park Police Station in 2019 NPS / Rachel Hendrix
New pavement, railing and signs near the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway
Road with potholes under bridge with footpath nearby. Smooth road beneath bridge with footpath nearby
Beach Drive before rehabilitation in 2016 NPS / Marcey Frutchey
Beach Drive after rehabilitation in 2019 NPS / Jonathan Shafer
Project Schedule

The Beach Drive rehabilitation project began on September 22, 2016, and ended on-time on September 27, 2019. The four segments of the project were:

  • Segment 1 (Red) - Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW to Park Road/Tilden Street NW - 1.82 miles (September 22, 2016 - August 27, 2017).
  • Segment 2 (Green) - Park Road/Tilden Street NW to Broad Branch Road/Blagden Avenue NW - 0.34 miles (August 28, 2017 - January 8, 2018).
  • Segment 3 (Yellow) - Broad Branch Road/Blagden Avenue NW to Joyce Road NW - 1.59 miles (August 28, 2017 - July 9, 2018).
  • Segment 4 (Black) - Joyce Road NW to DC/MD border - 2.70 miles (July 9, 2019 - September 27, 2019).

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