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District Department of Transportation

Canal Road NW Rock Stabilization Project

Project Overview:

In 2011, a rockslide occurred onto Canal Road, NW, posing a safety hazard to motorists. The District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) initiated a geological engineering study along Canal Road NW between Clark Place NW and Foxhall Road NW in 2014. The Study phase recommended several remedial actions for safety improvement. Conceptual alternatives for various treatment options included rock slope scaling, mechanical removal methods, draped or anchored mesh, rock bolts, soil nails, shotcrete treatment, and protective rockfall barriers.

In 2020, DDOT began the final design to stabilize the rock slope failure along the section of Canal Road NW near Clark Place NW based on these recommendations, utilizing anchored mesh, the preferred alternative. This project will provide permanent mitigation measures to enhance road users’ safety while maintaining the corridor’s appearance and functionality by ensuring the stability of the rock slope.

Location and Description: 

The site is located along Canal Road NW, extending approximately 450 feet west and 1,050 feet east of Clark Place NW in Washington DC.

Location Map

Current Conditions along Canal Road NW

Project Purpose and Challenges:

The project objective is to stabilize the rock slope and mitigate the potential rockfall hazard to enhance public safety along the section of Canal Road, NW. The solution to best control or contain the potential falling rocks to mitigate safety hazards was determined by considering cost, long-term maintenance requirements, and impacts to the public.

Challenges with the project are constant maintenance to clear rockfall debris. The need for maintenance to clear rockfall debris requires road closures which creates traffic congestion. DDOT is currently working with National Park Service (NPS) on a maintenance agreement for long-term care after construction has been completed.

Photo of similar mesh stabilization solution installed in Pennsylvania

Typical section of anchored mesh stabilization

Project Status:

Currently, the project is in the 90% design phase. Topographic Survey and Geotechnical Investigation work has been completed. DDOT completed a 30 percent engineering design and performance specifications for the Canal Road Rock Slope Stabilization Project based on the Preferred Alternative selected. The 30 percent design plans may be downloaded here.

Current Project Schedule:

Design Completion: Summer 2022

Construction Begins: TBD

Construction Completion: TBD

Project Contacts:

Tesfalem Aim, Project Manager: [email protected]

Karyn G. LeBlanc, Project Public Outreach: [email protected]