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Weekend Work at Douglass Bridge

The Frederick Douglass Bridge, which takes South Capitol Street traffic over the Anacostia River, will be under repair again this weekend.

The inbound lanes will remain closed from 10 a.m. Friday to as late as 4 a.m. Monday, but will be back in business for the Monday morning rush period.

Driver heading toward downtown Washington will be directed to follow detours on Interstate 295 North to the 11th Street Bridge.

This is the third in a series of weekend closings of all lanes in one direction. The main event in the rehabilitation program won't come until July and August, when the bridge will be completely shut down. That's when the northernmost portion of the bridge will be lowered to become an at-grade roadway with a new intersection at Potomac Avenue. The plan is to open up the neighborhood, where the new Nationals stadium is being built, and create a better looking gateway to the nation's capital.

The District Department of Transportation says that so far the detour has worked well, but promises to monitor conditions through each weekend of work and make whatever adjustments are necessary before the big shutdown this summer.

The travelers who have written in to me have expressed a very different opinion about how well it has gone. They say the traffic on the eastern side of the river has been pretty well jammed up, and they're asking for suggestions about how to get around this summer without using the 11th Street detour, which they suspect will be a mess.

I know the District has done a lot of planning for this, but I'd like to hear more from you all about your experiences with the weekend lane closures and your own suggestions about detours, either for travelers heading downtown or for those using I-295 and commuting between Maryland and Virginia.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 7, 2007; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Construction  
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I have a good suggestion...BUILD a ramp from southbound DC 295 to Pennsylvania Avenue westbound so I don't have to turn around at Howard Road and go back up north the 11th St Bridge. But no then our commutes would become too straightforward.

Posted by: Michael | March 8, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse


Problem there would be that it's easy for you to then go from I-95 to I-395 back to I-95 and do the same in reverse, thus essentially creating a straight line for I-95 to run through the city and we all know that's not what DC wants. Besides, after they knock down RFK, you could build the south bound ramp a little further north and use existing roadways.

Now why would DC and the DOTs want to go and do something stupid as make something easy for everyone.

Personally, I exit at Pa. Ave. go up to Minnesota, take a left and then another left to go around that triangle/median. Then right back onto Pa.

Posted by: Jarrod | March 9, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I drove through it this weekend. A few silly things I saw.

1) The tow truck to save people on Suitland, etc, was stationed all the way down by the bridge on Howard Road, not over by Suitland or 'Firth Stirling' where it might urgently be needed.

2) Southbound folks on 295 occasionally get a moron who gets takes the loop off and then tries to cross 3 lanes (of crowded traffic) on South Captiol so they can make a left on Firth Stirling and get back on 295 N to head to the 11th Street Bridge. If they just stay in the exit lane they can loop back up on 295 and accomplish the same thing.

3) On this same point, it might really be worth consider NO LEFT TURN on Firth Stirling from South Bound South Capitol during the morning rush. This would allow more time for the inbound Suitland Parkway to make the turn onto Firth and upto 295.

4) My old recommendation of closing one lane of 295 to allow unhindered merges from Firth Stirling still stands.

Posted by: Andrew | March 12, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

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