Riverfront Park Design (Rosalie Island)

JMT led the design of a unique new park on both sides of - and over - I-95/I-495 at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. 


Prince George's County, MD


MDOT Maryland State Highway Administration

JMT led the team that prepared the schematic design for the creation of a new waterfront park on the Potomac River as part of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement project. This unique park was designed as mitigation for impacts to other Section 4(f) properties as a result of the bridge construction, and part of the park would arch over 12 lanes of I-95/I-495. Pedestrian trail systems were proposed to connect areas that offered spectacular views of the Potomac, the National Mall, and the surrounding landscape.

While the design concept dictated that a portion of the park be elevated over the 12-lane roadway as a connector, limited land on Rosalie Island created many challenges. Retaining walls were needed in order to implement the complete trail network, and a bridge design over the roadway was developed to facilitate the installation of the formal landscape and plazas. The structural components of JMT’s design also required extensive geotechnical engineering to ensure the stability of the design elements. Large quantities of fill material needed to be installed on the island to achieve the elevational modifications.

The unique character of the site required plants that were able to withstand the microclimate. JMT landscape architects selected plantings to enhance the qualities of the island and also to provide an inviting environment. The portion of the park over the roadway was reserved for more formal landscape plantings and pedestrian plaza areas. Existing wooded areas were protected along with other environmentally sensitive areas to maintain the island’s native flora and fauna.

The complex nature of the overall Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement project and its proximity to the Potomac River required coordination among several agencies, including the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission. The JMT-led design team worked closely with the Commission to ensure that the design met or exceeded all requirements for construction within the critical area while fulfilling the design intent of the waterfront park.