The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced the next phase of the planned eight-mile Metropolitan Branch Trail to connect Union Station with Silver Spring, Md.

DDOT issued the Potomac Construction Company a Notice to Proceed for the design-build construction of the next phase of the Metropolitan Branch Trail on Tuesday. The new trail will connect the existing trail from John McCormack Drive in Brookland to the Fort Totten Metro Station.

Using a design-build process for construction of the Metropolitan Branch Trail streamlines the final design process and construction, which is expected to be conducted, weather permitting, within the next 18 months, DDOT said in a statement.

The new trail segment will provide a direct off-street route for bicyclists and pedestrians traveling through the Fort Totten area. Planned features include LED lighting, security cameras, way-finding signage and permeable pavement.