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Potomac River Tunnel project could impact canal

Georgetown waterfront aerial view
Georgetown waterfront (NPS photo)
July 2014

Planning has begun for a new tunnel project that could affect the C&O Canal National Historical Park.  The National Park Service and the DC Water authority are preparing an Environmental Impact Statement on the Potomac River Tunnel, a very large underground structure that will run beneath the Georgetown waterfront (including the proposed non-motorized boathouse zone) and downstream to below the Kennedy Center.  During periods of heavy rainfall, the tunnel will store contaminated runoff until it can be properly processed.   

The clean water objective of the project deserves support, but the park may be strongly affected by the tunnel’s design and such factors as the location of its construction sites and permanent access points.  It is therefore important for friends of the canal to participate in the scoping process now underway, and to attend the public meeting scheduled for July 31.  Information provided at the meeting should help shape comments, which will be accepted until August 31. 

Location of the July 31 meeting is the Lab School of Washington, 4759 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. The NPS website offers detailed about the meeting at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/meetingNotices.cfm?projectID=50548

The DC Water web page gives an overview of the project: http://www.dcwater.com/workzones/projects/potomac_river_tunnel/default.cfm. DC Water also described the project in Appendix C of the 2013 Georgetown non-motorized boathouse zone: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?documentID=55807

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     C & O Canal Association     P.O Box 366      Glen Echo, MD 20812-0366     Phone: 301-983-0825      Email: inquiries@candocanal.org