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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 recommends several remedial actions for safety improvement.

Based on these recommendations DDOT is providing a geological mapping and a final design solution to stabilize the rock slope failure along the section of Canal Road NW near Clark Place NW. This project will provide permanent mitigation measures and improve the corridor’s appearance and functionality by ensuring the current slope at this location is stabilized.

Conceptual alternatives for various treatment options include rock slope scaling, mechanical methods of removing rock, draped or anchored mesh, rock bolts, soil nails, shotcrete treatment, and protective rockfall barriers. Anchored mesh, the preferred alternative, is advancing to the final design.

Stakeholder coordination includes the National Park Service, Pepco, DC Water, WSSC, and Washington Gas.

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:

To provide preliminary and final design for stabilization of Rock Slope Failure along the section of Canal Road, NW by determining the most practical design while considering cost, long-term maintenance requirements, and impacts to the public; and controlling or containing the potential falling rocks to mitigate safety hazards.

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 30% 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: Winter 2021

Construction Begins: Summer 2022

Construction Completion: Fall 2023

Project Contacts:

Tesfalem Aim, Project Manager: [email protected]

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

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