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Traffic Alert for Douglass Bridge

It may seem odd to be thinking of mid-summer traffic when you're trying to crank up a cold engine in February, but for some readers, it's not too early to be planning for the big summertime shutdown of the Douglass Bridge on South Capitol Street. The District Department of Transportation plans to divert traffic up to the 11th Street Bridge during July and August.

That's by no means the only part of its strategy for easing congestion. There will be a campaign to get drivers to park at the Anacostia Metro station and take the Green Line downtown, park up at RFK and take a shuttle bus and take commuter buses. Plus, the work on the Douglass Bridge will occur during the lightest possible travel months.

Still, drivers are concerned. How would you advise this traveler from Prince George's County?

Dear Dr. Gridlock:
The July and August closing of the Douglass Bridge, with traffic diverted to the 11th Street Bridge, will cause major congestion for drivers traveling to and from southern Prince George's County.

In addition, construction for a new government building has already begun on one entire block of Good Hope Road between the on and off ramps to the 11th Street Bridge and a previously one-way street leading out of Anacostia is now two-way, which is backing up traffic coming off the 11th Street Bridge.

Are there any alternative routes in and out of downtown Washington that will bypass the Southeast/Southwest Freeway bridges?
Sherri Sujai

Alert for the weekend: DDOT again will close the inbound lanes of the Douglass Bridge for the weekend, starting right after the Friday morning rush period ends. This is for some rehab work before the summertime shutdown for the major work. The inbound lanes will be shut from 10 a.m. Friday to as late as 4 a.m. on Monday. Detour goes to the 11th Street Bridge. For travelers, this is a mere test driver for the summertime experience.

By Robert Thomson  |  February 8, 2007; 6:03 AM ET
Categories:  Construction  
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I know some will hate the idea but I think the right lane of 295 North should be coned off during the repairs so that cars coming off of the Suitland on the I-295 on ramp have an unobstructed entrance onto 295. Otherwise you are going to have one ugly merge at Suitland/Firth Stirling and 295 which is bound to have accidents daily (it almost does daily without the added South Capitol Street traffic.

Posted by: Andrew | February 8, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

This will be a true mess. I'm amazed that there aren't more comments on this board about it.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

For the original poster commuting from Clinton, I'm thinking she (and others) ought to stay as far as possible from the work zone. To the north, try coming in on Central Avenue/East Capitol Street. Or from the other direction, dare I say it, it may be worthwhile to consider Route 210 to the Wilson Bridge and then up the GW Parkway to the exits for the big bridges.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I too am surprised there aren't more comments about this. The bottleneck at these two bridges is already a daily war in the world will this work? My wife and I are moving out of this area this spring after 13 years here...we've had enough. Too many people, poor infrastructure to handle all those people, and no will to cap development or at least keep pace with investment in infrastructure. Thank goodness we'll be gone before this summertime mess.

Posted by: Waldorf, MD | February 8, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

People are driving way too much. Nobody ever looks in the mirror and says:'s me causing this mess. Maybe I am driving too much. Maybe I should change my habit. Maybe, just maybe, I could ride in the car with just one other human being to work. People can always justify why they can't change one single thing. Well, I have news that you can use: China and India are growing exceptionally fast and they don't just want some of the oil we are used to getting. They want all of it. Enjoy this temporary lull in gas prices because all of us can expect to see gas selling for a minimum of $5 per gallon in the not so distant future. Keep buying those big, lonely trucks that the majority now drive to work...alone. Good luck with all your forward thinking.

Posted by: Davito | February 9, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Will the sidewalks on the Douglass Bridge be closed this summer too? Will there be an alternative Anacostia River crossing for bikes and pedestrians? I often bike across the Anacostia to NRL on that bridge.

Posted by: Tom | February 9, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

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