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DC to Rebuild 11th Street Bridges over Anacostia

11th Street announcement.jpg
With bridge backdrop, Fenty was joined at Anacostia Park by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and DDOT Director Gabe Klein. Chief Engineer Kathleen Penney is at far left. (Thomson)

In Virginia, drivers can see new lanes coming on the Beltway. In Maryland, they see signs of the Intercounty Connector. On the banks of the Anacostia River this morning, Mayor Adrian Fenty announced that the District is beginning a massive road project of its own: the reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges, one of the region's major commuter arteries.

Kathleen Penney, the District's chief engineer, said the megaproject has something for everyone. It will create a seamless link for highway commuters, the type of link abandoned when the original Interstate plan for Washington was abandoned decades ago. And local travelers, including bikers and walkers, will have their own span to connect neighborhoods on both sides of the Anacostia River.

Work in the river is scheduled to begin in mid-August, so this isn't a construction project that drivers are going to encounter right away. In fact, much of the detailed plans for the three-span structure have yet to be drawn in this design-build program. When it does reach the level of span construction, there will be no interruption in access to the bridge, Penny said.

11th Street Bridges.jpg Work in river begins in summer. (Thomson)

Think Wilson Bridge on this: Build a new span next to an existing span, open that to traffic and start demolishing an old span. The $300 million project is scheduled to be done in 2013.

The two 11th Street Bridges in southeastern Washington are a vital link and an enormous frustration for travelers. 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. Now, those southbound drivers get off the Anacostia Freeway and make elaborate U-turns through neighborhood streets to reach the Southeast-Southwest Freeway.

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.

The contractor team selected for the project is Skanska/Facchina. While the District has carried out some major roadwork projects in recent years, such as the rehabilitation of the Douglass Bridge over the Anacostia, this will be the largest in at least a generation.

DDOT provides this cross section view of the new bridge, looking west toward downtown Washington.

Cross section.jpg

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By Robert Thomson  |  April 24, 2009; 10:41 AM ET
Categories:  Construction , Driving  
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It's about frackin' time that this interchange got built. Next to I-95 going through the city to College Park, the I-395/295 interchage was the biggest ommision in the DC highway plan.

I will be very excited when this link is finally completed!!!

Posted by: Russtinator | April 24, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

After all these years...thanks to the folks at the DC highway group who are finally getting this done.

Looking forward to not using Howard Road and driving by the stadium on S. Cap.

Posted by: kiddcdan | April 24, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Thank God that the I-95 through the city to College Park was never built.

If they had built that highway, than my (very livable) neighborhood would now be a Southeast-style wasteland.

(But hey, who cares about the poor rubes living in PG County...right?)

I'm wondering how the construction is going to affect those living near the Anacostia freeway.

Posted by: stuckman | April 24, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: stuckman, the impact on the neighborhoods is something I plan to follow. It's a little unclear yet, since the construction plans in this design-build project have not evolved to that point. It's reasonable to figure that the District Department of Transportation will be very tuned in on neighborhood impact, as it was during the planning for Nationals Park.

The bridge project has a clear goal of easing the commuter spillover into those neighborhoods.

Posted by: Robert Thomson | April 24, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I hope the design for this new 11th Street Bridge is of the Wilson Bridge ilk (modern and sleek) and not the TR Bridge ilk (Federal Drab). The Anacostia River and neighborhood, long the dirty, filthy, stinking ugly sister to the Potomac and the rest of DC, deserves a fresh start, and a nice looking bridge may be just that start.

I saw some designs on of a new South Capitol Street (Douglass) Bridge. Any idea when that project might get underway?

Posted by: luv2bikva | April 24, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Any images of what the re-built span will look like?

Posted by: CNY-DC | April 24, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: luv2bikva, the Douglass Bridge is supposed to be the next big thing after the 11th Street Bridges, but I don't have a timetable on that yet. DC did the rehab on the Douglass so it would last till the new bridge could be funded and built.

CNY-DC, I haven't seen any images yet of what the new 11th Street Bridges will look like. This is a design-build project, so a lot of the designing hasn't been completed. In my posting, I added in a cross section image of the new bridge, so you could see the planned configuration of the lanes.

Posted by: rtthomson1 | April 25, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

FINALLY. Can't wait until it's completed. Only issue I have now is for DC to have a numbering system that actually makes sense and doesn't confuse drivers. For example, unless the NY Avenue Expressway is still being planned on being built, does it really make sense for 395 to still be designated for the 3rd street tunnel? Wouldn't it make sense for I-395 to end at DC 295 signed towards Baltimore/ Interstate 295 signed towards National Harbor/ Richmond? The 3rd street tunnel number could be changed to 195 or something. Or, it would never happen cause Kenilworth Ave isn't interstate standards, but for 395 to cross the 11th street bridge and be designated where dc 295 currently is and end at the b/w parkway? Even if MD doesn't want to change the 395 designation in Baltimore, 395 could end unsigned at the DC line. It's not like MD 295 is signed past Eastern Avenue currently. Then, 395 would serve traffic from Springfield, VA, through DC, and end in MD for traffic heading towards Annapolis and Baltimore, and a logical exit for interstate 295 south from I-395 in both directions would occur with I-395 signed for downtown heading south and Baltimore heading north, and I-295 for National Harbor/ Richmond. I should work for DDOT.

Posted by: RedskinsFan1 | May 2, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

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