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Update on Pedestrian Gate Renovation Work for Bethesda Main Campus​​

If you frequent our main campus as a pedestrian, we feel your pain. We know access has been frustrating in the past year. Reported re-opening dates have slipped. Locations have closed without much advance notice. It probably feels like our entire campus is under construction. It's been difficult on our end too. Unexpected maintenance comes at inopportune times. The supply chain issues experienced worldwide have hit close to home, continually pushing back our completion dates. What we can do, however, is communicate to lessen the uncertainty.


The following are 5 gate locations of interest on the Bethesda Main Ca​mpus and the latest information on each entrance/exit. We have labeled the locations by number on the corresponding map:

January 6 Traffic Map.png


1 – Fire House (Old Georgetown Road) – this entrance/exit on the northwest side of campus is a pedestrian portal (two doors) that is open 24 hours a day/7 days per week and will be the primary location of use once Center Drive/Old Georgetown Road closes on Monday, January 9.


2 – Center Drive/Old Georgetown Road – this entrance/exit for vehicles and pedestrians is closing on Monday, January 9, 2023 until 2028 to be used as a construction entrance for the delivery of materials for the new 11-story Surgery, Radiology and Laboratory Medicine (SRLM) addition to the Clinical Center. If you used this entrance/exit, please use Fire House or South Drive in the future.


3 - South Drive/Old Georgetown Road – renovation work of this 24-hour standalone pedestrian entrance just south of South Drive has experienced some delays and is now scheduled to re-open by February 1, 2023. In the interim, guards at the location will use hand-held PIV card readers to allow pedestrian access while the vehicle entrance/exit is open, Monday – Friday, 6am – 7pm.


4 – South Drive/Rockville Pike – this main pedestrian entrance from the Metro next to the NIH Gateway Center has half the gates under renovation including the accessible portal. Two (2) in/out turnstiles remain open. Renovation is scheduled for completion by February 1, 2023. Until then, any employee with accessibility issues should cross South Drive and enter from the opposite side of the street.


5 – Metro - this turnstile and portal just south of the Gateway Center on the raised plaza is the main gate to enter and exit the southeast portion of campus. It has also experienced the most delays unfortunately. It is now scheduled to reopen on February 1, 2023. As a reminder, the best detour route for pedestrians entering campus is inside the Gateway Center. Simply badge in, go upstairs and exit out the back door. This helps for entry only.


As reminder, the NIH Bethesda campus also utilizes a robust shuttle system to help pedestrian get around campus. If you can't use your regular gate, consider entering from another location and using one of our shuttles.


Most of this renovation work is part of a campus-wide effort to conform with the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) standards for access by wheelchairs, those with low vision and other physical disabilities including pedestrians walking with the aid of other devices. The Office of Research Facilities (ORF) appreciates your patience and understanding during this much needed upgrade to NIH facilities.


For questions regarding this renovation work, contact the Office of Research Facilities, Project Officer Mohammed Biswas at 202-934-2138.


For questions regarding this message, please contact the ORS Information Line at or 301-594-6677. TTY is available at 301-435-1908.

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