Safety improvements are underway at key George Washington Memorial Parkway intersections
Motorists who commute along the southern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway will notice some significant changes at key intersections in the coming days. The National Park Service (NPS) has begun reconfiguring the intersection of the Parkway and Belle Haven Road to improve safety, and NPS plans to make similar changes at Belle View Boulevard immediately thereafter.
The intersection improvement projects may be wrapped up quickly. “Right now, the contractors are expecting to complete both intersections by tomorrow afternoon,” NPS visual information specialist Mark Maloy told On the MoVe Sept. 21.
For residents of New Alexandria and other neighborhoods in the immediate area, the changes are a welcome relief. It was one year ago this month that community members first met with NPS officials to voice their concerns about road markings and signage that had been implemented in late 2021. In November 2022, NPS met with community members to present potential solutions, and this past summer, it received approval from the Federal Highway Administration to implement its plans.
New Alexandria Citizens Association President Joan Darrah, a vocal advocate for the safety improvements, relayed to neighbors and On the MoVe what she’d learned from NPS about the upcoming road marking and signage changes at the Belle Haven intersection. Essentially, motorists planning to drive to the City of Alexandria along the northbound Parkway will have a single thru lane when they reach the entrance to Belle Haven Marina; the other lane will be used exclusively by vehicles planning to make a left turn onto Belle Haven Road. In the actual intersection, the existing stop sign for northbound drivers making a left onto Belle Haven will be replaced with a yield sign.
Once those cars making a left onto Belle Haven have cleared the intersection, drivers waiting at the stop sign on Belle Haven to make a left turn onto the northbound Parkway can proceed when there is a gap in southbound traffic. Due to the new intersection configuration, they will have a dedicated lane in which they can safely merge with northbound thru traffic.
“It should now be crystal clear who has the right of way,” said Darrah regarding the impending changes.
Darrah credited the New Alexandria community for not giving up on securing safety improvements and expressed appreciation that NPS listened and that Congressman Don Beyer’s office provided encouragement “to keep pushing.”
An NPS representative plans to attend the New Alexandria Citizens Association’s Nov. 29 meeting to hear residents’ feedback about the new intersection configuration, said Darrah.