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Posted at 8:00 PM ET, 02/24/2011

Lights out on 14th St. Bridge

By Washington Post Editors

[This post has been updated]

Power to the sign lights on the 14th Street Bridge will be turned off Thursday night from 10 p.m to 5 a.m., according to the District Department of Transportation. Crews will be working on utilities on the bridge.

DDOT said a portion of the far right lane on the northbound span will be closed to give crews access to a manhole.

Here is is the plan:
-- Two sign lights prior to entering the District will be out.
-- A water navigational light on the northbound span will be out.
-- An aviation navigation light will be out.

DDOT says there should still be enough lighting in the area that overhead signs will be visible but urges drivers to use caution through the area.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 24, 2011; 8:00 PM ET
Categories:  District, Driving  | Tags:  14th Street Bridge  
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I find it hard to believe that nobody at DDOT has noticed that the street lighting on a lengthy stretch the SE-SW Freeway has been out since early November. The section I refer to is east of South Capitol St. up to and including the westbound ramp from the 11th St Bridge. A significant portion of the area in darkness is in the bridge project construction zone. This is a very unsafe situation especially since during these winter months a large part of both am and pm rush hours are in darkness.

Last summer I exchanged several emails with Fenty's bicycle boy, Gabe Klein in which I pointed out that there were chronic problems with entire circuits along DC's highways especially along I-295 where it crosses the Anacostia River and proceeds along the SE-SW freeway. I suggested that it may be necessary to detail someone to monitor the lighting in the areas and to provide for a prompt response when there were problems. Other than to blame Pepco and the series of thunderstorms we experienced lastsummer, Mr. Klein failed to take any discernable action to address what has been an ongoing failure to perform on the part of DDOT leadership.

While the fact that highway safety is compromised in the areas of darkness should be reason enough to take action, it should be also noted that street lighting is non-metered power consumption. This means that Pepco bills the city for power consumption based on the number of street lights rather than actual power used. When large numbers of lights are out for long periods of time the result is waste of thousands public dollars. This is money that could be put to much better use than this. Such as paying for Kwame's SUV's.

Posted by: 10Percenter | February 22, 2011 11:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm PRETTY sure the lights out on the SE-SW Freeway were planned. It's really no different than not having lights at all on the BW Parkway. Just drive like a sane person with your lights and keep your eyes open.

Posted by: crzytwnman | February 23, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that this item merited a story. Hundreds of streetlights have been out for a year along major stretches of I-395, including some very dark entrance and exit ramps. And also on the SE-SW expressway as noted above. Local governments are broke, but I wonder if they have really made a risk assessment of the consequences of all the deferred maintenance. Just one accident on the SE-SW expressway during rush hour comes with an economic cost that far exceeds the maintenance cost for years!

Posted by: va62 | February 23, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

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