DC Water calls them “heavy equipment pathways.” Really, they are roads, temporary ones, being built to move heavy equipment in and out of Soapstone Valley Park for the long-planned sewer pipe and stream reconstruction work.
It’s been exactly a month since the park closed for this prep work phase. DC Water’s contractor has been cutting down trees to make way for the roads, which have been established but not completed. We have requested information from DC Water about the materials and methods, which we have been told will help prevent the soil underneath from being compacted and causing damage to the remaining trees.
When I walked through last Sunday, it was clear that there had been a lot of progress in the two weeks since I had last taken a look. Extensive roadways have been established but not completed.
The first stage of building these roads is laying out a black tarp-like material and then a thick layer of mulch.
That’s followed by a layer of large gravel, then topped with wooden planks and what looks to be mud filling the spaces.
During my April 3rd walkthrough, it wasn’t clear whether DC Water had reached its tree-cutting goal by its end of March deadline, which was set for the protection of Soapstone-dwelling bats starting their mating season. DC Water’s April 4th project update revealed that 55 of the 245 trees marked for cutting had not yet come down.
The same update said “heavy equipment pathway” installation would continue into mid-April.
This is the DC Water 24/7 Project Hotline: 202-301-8058. To be added to the list for project updates, email email@example.com.