By Mark Boyle


For The Diamondback

After a year-long wait, the Berwyn Bridge reopened on Saturday, connecting College Park and Berwyn Heights through a pedestrian overpass.

The overpass had been out of service since April 2015, when a construction crane collided with the stretch of the bridge that stood between the 5100 block and the 5400 block of Berwyn Road, causing the bridge to collapse onto the Metro tracks.

Workers had been building a set of test tracks to run parallel to the Green Line between the Greenbelt and College Park Metro stations at the time of the crash, but no one was injured, according to The Washington Post.

“I was amazed,” said Mark Shroder, a resident of North College Park. “It seemed like a pretty solid structure.”

Before the bridge’s collapse, Shroder ran and biked across the bridge from College Park to Lake Artemesia several times a week in Berwyn Heights, a destination that was no longer easily accessible after the collision. After that, biking was difficult due to heavy traffic, he said.

College Park District 2 Councilman P.J. Brennan said a year of building time was “not too bad,” and the delay in rebuilding was an “exercise of patience” for the community, noting the challenge of constructing a large project in a short amount of time.

Bridge-building standards have also changed since the bridge was built in the early 1990s, leading to more significant reconstruction being needed, College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn said.

There are very few east-west corridors in the area, all of which are spread out, College Park City Manager Scott Somers said.

When installation took place in the spring, it was a relief and “a neat thing to watch,” Wojahn said.

The D.C. Metro completed the project, and the walkway was open for pedestrians in June.

Teachers living in Berwyn Heights who work at Holy Redeemer School — located on Berwyn Road in College Park — now have a connection to bike to work, which is an asset, said Brie Hall, the school’s secretary to the principal.

Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheryl Jewitt said she was “overjoyed” that the gateway between these communities is active again.

“I love knowing that [College Park residents] want to see Lake Artemesia and all that Berwyn Heights has to offer,” Jewitt said.

In addition to offering a more attractive, cleaner steel framing, the newly reconstructed segment has also been designed to stand for a longer period of time, Berwyn Heights Councilman Christopher Rasmussen said.

Metro officials will consider renovating the entire bridge with the same design within three to five years, according to the City of College Park’s website.