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11th Street Bridge Plans Gets Go-Ahead

By Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer

The D.C. Council approved a plan Tuesday to accept property from the federal government so the city can begin construction of the 11th Street bridge.

The project, slated to cost $365 million, will be the largest capital improvement project ever undertaken by the D.C. Department of Transportation, Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) said today.

"This project will help the traffic nightmare that exists for people who commute every day from the east to west side of the (Anacostia) River," Gray said. "And for those who travel west to east going down the Southeast/Southwest Freeway, this will be a major step forward."

Dr. Gridlock, Washington Post reporter Robert Thomson, explained the project in a recent column this way: "Drivers heading southbound on the Anacostia Freeway don't have a direct link to the bridges, which connect with the Southeast-Southwest Freeway. A direct link would ease travel to downtown Washington, Georgetown and Northern Virginia. ... The new bridges will connect the two freeways. They also will connect local traffic to the Navy Yard, the Marine Corps Barracks, Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Anacostia Park, and Historic Anacostia."

But environmentalists remain concerned about the effects on Anacostia Park. Under the resolution taken up by the council today, the National Park Service is transferring the parcel at the park to the city for construction, but the federal government will maintain ownership.

One opponent, Christopher Herman of Southeast Washington, said the bridge will worsen traffic in Anacostia. "The project relocates existing PM rush hour freeway bottlenecks and congestion from the west side to the east side of the river," Herman testified.

He also said the new bridge's $365 million price tag will "preclude or postpone" other, more important, highway projects.

Construction on the project begins next month.

By Washington Post Editors  |  September 22, 2009; 1:39 PM ET
Categories:  City Life , D.C. Council , Tim Craig , transportation  | Tags: 11th Street Bridge, Christopher Herman, Vincent C. Gray, d.c. council  
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Budget crisis? What budget?

Posted by: forgetthis | September 22, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Largest capital improvement project ever for DC DOT? Sounds like a record amount of opportunity for mismanagement, theft, etc.

Posted by: shanks1 | September 22, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

It's about time! 395 and 295 need to be connected. Why not 40 years ago?

Posted by: fiencke | September 22, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

So is this a direct connect to 295 NORTH?
Is this eliminating the Howard Road exit?
if so, this is long-long overdue. i still think SE-SW freeway should be extended to East Capitol Street to further reduce traffic.

Posted by: whomp1 | September 22, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh praise Jesus! I hope this makes going eastbound over the Sousa/Penn Ave bridge less of a nightmare in the evening. I hate how they dump all the interstate traffic in with the local traffic: it can take fifteen minutes to get across that bridge (unless I ride my bike).

Posted by: monongahela79 | September 22, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we can tear down Nats stadium and use it for the bridge--its not really being used and it cost taxpayers about the same price!

Posted by: lovinliberty | September 22, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Some art would have been nice. How about posting a graphic showing where the bridge would be?

Posted by: ygbrown2001 | September 22, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree with ygbrown2001---can we please exactly what this bridge is, where it will be located, and what ramps connect what roads? I am not sure what "11th Street Bridge" means....

Posted by: DouginMountVernon | September 22, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

It's certainly not going to relieve congestion on the SE/SW Freeway leading to Pennsylvania Ave or RFK Stadium. Instead of going under 11th Street as the freeway does now, there will be an at-grade traffic circle.

Posted by: jeadpt | September 22, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Picture here on this long link.

Posted by: idiparker | September 22, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

It's about time. This should have been done 40 years ago when the freeways were constructed.

Posted by: 8-man | September 22, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

What the Barney Circle Freeway connector was supposed to do decades ago.

Posted by: TC14 | September 22, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow....thank God. Nothing like for the light to turn green at Howard Road at 11:00pm at night.

And, if you want to blame somebody, you can point the finger at Eleanor Holmes Dorkman for pulling the funding on a similar project 10 years ago and the the DC City Council for asking her to do so.

Posted by: SwellLevel5 | September 22, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Finally. Despite being surrounded by Maryland on 3 sides, there has never been a good way to get into downtown. Not everything can be done on Metro. Now all they need to do is get the Anacostia Freeway (DC-295) up to Interstate grade and get rid of that confounded 45 mph speed limit. What kind of "freeway" has a 45 mph limit anyway?

Of course, doing so would mean getting rid of a lucrative speed camera.

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | September 22, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"so the city can begin construction of the 11th Street bridge."

Call me stupid, but I though there was already a bridge (actually 2) there!

Flashback 1998:

They just completed renovation of the 11th st bridge--remember all those jersey walls and ugly traffic patterns for nearly 4yrs?? The renovation made driving smoother (less potholes :) and more lanes), but no effective as it didn't expect the congestion levels of today (what else is new--mixing bowl and WW bridge comes to mind).

Flashback 2003:

Remember the repaving of the 11st bridge(s), which ended up with a nice into DC paved road, and a pot-hole fested, no-banked ramp, "tear your suspension out from rump-strips" onto MD I-295 south?

Flash forward 2009:

A new bridge? Considering there's already 2 bridges and they need to just build ramps and 1 bridge, being the "largest" project in history of DC DOT, I'm shocked. Only benefit IS the Howard street exit removal!


I agree, traffic will be offloaded from NY ave/Route 50, but traffic will increase on 295, which will require a re-pave of 295 between 50 and the 11st bridge--and that's already a heavy gridlocked section--not to mind that's usually where the car fires and shootings occur and where more accidents occur for reckless speeding. 295 will need to goto 4 lanes there. And it's still 1 of 2 routes out of the city--yes no solution here, just a little bit more traffic into Anacostia. Expect more accidents on the 295-50 exit and Benning Road area. This project will be DOA, though the most expensive yet.

Posted by: recharged95 | September 22, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Is this bridge going to be north of the Sousa Bridge, connecting 295 w/ 395 around Barney Circle? This will make commutes much easier for people heading into the District from s/b 295 or heading home from 395 to n/b 295.

Posted by: carusocm | September 22, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

About time!

The route via PA. Ave. is a stupid nuisance that never should have been allowed to happen.

And to he!! with the "environmentalists". Thanks to them, hardly any major roads have been built in this region for over 40 years, resulting in the bad traffic congestion we now have - the nation's worst.

Posted by: ceefer66 | September 22, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I also want to say that this article was poorly conceived!

It is impossible to tell what effect the bridge would have without seeing a map of where the proposed bridge would be built. As one commenter points out, there are already two bridges at 11th Street so where would this one go? Were the WaPo editors asleep at the wheeel on this?

Posted by: ThePoliticalObserver | September 22, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

If it gets some of the evening commuter traffic off of INDEPENDENCE AVENUE SE I say, bring it on!

Posted by: wanker96us | September 23, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Some photos can be obtained on this site

Posted by: patio100 | September 23, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

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