Bel Pre Road/Bonifant Road

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Bel Pre Road / Bonifant Road is an east-west thoroughfare not intended for the amount of traffic that it carries.

Route

Bel Pre Road runs from its western terminus at Norbeck Road (MD-28) eastward as the northern boundary of Aspen Hill. It crosses over the buried Sycamore Creek just east of the intersection with Arctic Avenue, and then ascends gently to its intersection with Georgia Avenue (MD-97). It continues eastward, crossing one of the eastern tributaries of the Branch of Rock Creek, past its intersection with Connecticut Avenue, crossing over a ridge and then descending to cross Bel Pre Creek, and then climbing to the intersection with Layhill Road. To the east of Layhill Road, it is known as Bonifant Road.

Circuit Route Component

Bel Pre Road / Bonifant Road is a component of several Circuit Routes.

Road Type

Bel Pre Road / Bonifant Road is a Snow Emergency Route.

Throughout most of its western third, Bel Pre Road is a residential street with two traffic lanes and two parking lanes. Between Georgia Avenue and Layhill Road, Bel Pre Road is five-lane line-divided, also known as four-lane with "suicide left lanes". From just east of Layhill Road, Bonifant Road is gravel-shouldered two lane, though in some places it is three-lane line-divided, also known as "two lane with a suicide left lane". There is no on-street parking east of Georgia Avenue.

Geography

Montgomery County is characterized by a large number of streams and stream-valleys, most of which are aligned north to south. Consequently, any east-west road is likely to be extremely hilly. Bel Pre Road west of Georgia Avenue is not particularly hilly. Bonifant Road east of Layhill Road has a rather tight switchback curve descending to the crossing of the Northwest Branch, but other than that is not particularly hilly.

History

The modern-day Bel Pre Road was built more or less on the alignment of a rather old road. In parts this was was one-lane gravelled track, but for much of its length, for most of the 20th century, this was a two-lane paved road.

Pre-1960

The original Bel Pre Road was known as the Layhill-Rockville Road. Those in Rockville knew it as "the Layhill Road", which should not be conflated with the modern-day Layhill Road, Maryland Route 182. Those in Layhill knew it as "the Rockville Road".

Through Aspen Hill east of Georgia Avenue, the two-lane route followed roughly the route of the eastbound lanes of the modern road. West of Georgia Avenue, however, the original "Layhill Road" is known in the modern day as that part of Chesterfield Road that runs through the Manor Park subdivision near the Manor Country Club.

1960s

In the early mid-1960s, the construction of the Bel-Pre Woods and Manor Woods subdivisions included the creation of the modern alignment of Bel Pre Road between Norbeck Road and Georgia Avenue.

Throughout the 1960s, work continued on Bel Pre Road east of Georgia Avenue, with final completion in the early 1970s, with work ongoing on Bonifant Road until the 1990s in some parts near New Hampshire Avenue (Maryland Route 650).

Among other things, the intersection with Georgia Avenue was improved. Georgia Avenue became a major highway with six travel lanes and left-turn and right-turn pullout lanes. Bel Pre Road at this intersection expands to become the stub of a major arterial road with four travel lanes and left-turn and right-turn pullout lanes. The expansion of the intersection required the relocation of the temporary buildings of St Matthew Presbyterian Church to the northeast to modern-day grounds.