Volunteers to the Rescue

Volunteers to the Rescue

Bridge out of network for a short while, volunteers to the rescue.

Car left the parkway and hit bike trail bridge #21.

Car left the parkway and hit bike trail bridge #21.

In early April, an errant driver left the northbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and hit two trail bridges on the bike trail, damaging the guard rails and leaving the trail with damage that went unrepaired for a period of time.

The location of this accident was at bike trail bridge #20 and #21 just south of the Dyke Marsh area. The accident scene has been cleaned up a bit by the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail. They made a time lapse video of the clean-up, which is on their Facebook page here The Nextbase 322GW Dash Cam (youtube.com).

The National Park Service had to replace four sections of railing on this bridge and 25 deck boards, “The Park has begun work on the railings in the shop and will continue to replace the damaged bridge components which may take a few weeks to complete. It is currently on the top of our list of projects,” the NPS reported.

A few car parts fell off too. 


The bridge remains functional and safe for public use and will remain open throughout the repair process, they added.

“Thank you for putting in the time to start cleaning this up. It takes volunteers to actually get work done,” Lindsey Miller said in a comment following the video.


There are a few set of eyes on the trail in addition to the National Park Service and that includes the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail group. After the car hit the bridges, they were on the scene cleaning up and then spent Earth Day cleaning up a lot more in that area. One of their earth day pictures shows a car tire, a big plastic container and many trash bags full of trash. 

"Every little bit helps to make the trail a better place," the Friends wrote.

Right next to the damaged bridges, the NPS recently replaced another trail bridge that was not built to current standards when it was built back in 1986. According to the Mount Vernon Trail Corridor Study, it did not meet current design standards, particularly the railing which consisted of just a board at the bottom and a chain for a barrier. It also sustained some damage during Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Isabel that caused some unevenness on the deck. Many of the piles had signs of deterioration from a long life outdoors, the NPS said.

The new bridge is 14 feet wide and has metal helical piers which should be much more durable and decay resistant than the previous wooden piers. A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for this bridge, Bridge 23, on May 19 at 10 a.m.

Bike to Work Day is coming in a few weeks and the Mount Vernon Trail is always busy at that time. The trail is a good link to bicyclists on their ride to their job whether it’s in Alexandria, Arlington or Washington, D.C. One of the biggest pit stops is on Market Square on King Street in Old Town.

Bike to Work Day

Fri, May 17

This year, Fairfax County has 27 different pit stops for bicyclists. To register for a pit stop and reserve a t-shirt, go to https://www.biketoworkmetrodc.org/