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South Capitol Bridge Weekend Work

From 10 a.m. Friday until about 4 a.m. on Monday, the Frederick Douglass Bridge will be undergoing repairs. All inbound lanes of South Capitol Street across the Anacostia River will be closed, but the District says they will be reopened in time for Monday morning's rush period.

Inbound drivers will be directed to follow detours on Interstate 295 North to the 11th Street Bridge so they can continue westbound trips.

Douglass Bridge traffic.jpg Traffic heads across Frederick Douglass Bridge. (Mark Gail -- The Washington Post)

This is the fourth in a series of weekend bridge closures of all lanes in one direction. The District Department of Transportation says the work is in preparation for the really big project this summer, in which the bridge will be completely shut down for July and August.

The transportation department says that the first three closures, on the weekends of Jan. 26, Feb. 9 and March 9, worked smoothly. "As with any major traffic change, however, DDOT continues to monitor conditions through each weekend closure and make refinements as necessary," said department spokesman Erik Linden.

I know many of you who travel the bridge want that to be the case, because you say that from where you were sitting in traffic, things didn't look so smooth. So please continue to tell me about your experiences with these weekend disruptions.

The weekend closures allow workers to replace bridge expansion joints, an effort that requires long periods of uninterrupted work. Crews also are doing some steel repair under the bridge and some painting. Such efforts will continue until early June, and you also may see some single lane closures at non-peak times on weekdays.

The big deal, however, will be the complete closing in July and August. The northern part of the bridge will be lowered to become an at-grade roadway with a new intersection at South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue, DDOT says. Nearly three blocks of elevated roadway will be with intersections that will help knit the neighborhood together. In the process, the entire bridge will be paved and painted.

Here's a sampler of some of the feedback I've been getting.

From a bus rider whose route takes her across the bridge: "I'm dreading what the commute will be like when the S. Capitol St. bridge is closed for rebuilding/replacement this summer. I realize that progress comes with a price and that my inconvenience is part of that price. But it would be nice to plan my new commuting schedule."

From a worried driver: "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."

From a Jessup resident who commutes to Arlington: "The last two times they did bridge work on Fridays, southbound traffic via Kenilworth/ I-295 backed up all the way to Benning Road, sending traffic back through the Howard Street exit, back to Pennsylvania Ave. to the freeway. NY Avenue to the Third Street tunnel has poorly timed lights, so no more than 3 or 4 cars can get through the left arrow to get to the freeway.
Any suggestions?"

By Robert Thomson  |  March 29, 2007; 9:27 AM ET
Categories:  Construction  
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