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Chain Bridge fix to take longer

The District Department of Transportation announced Friday that it will take almost three more months to get all lanes reopened on the Chain Bridge.

Since the bridge rehabilitation started in June, its three lanes have been reduced to two, slowing travel for thousands of drivers as they cross the Potomac River. Work on the bridge deck originally was scheduled to be done in January and then slid a bit to late February. But months of severe winter weather have pushed the target date to May 31. Additional work beneath the bridge is scheduled to continue through August.

"The unprecedented adverse weather conditions put us further behind schedule than we wanted," District transportation director Gabe Klein said in a statement. "We recognize that this project is an inconvenience to our residents who travel into Virginia as well as commuters coming into the city and we apologize for the continued delays. That being said, DDOT crews need the additional time to make sure we are able to complete the necessary bridge repair and maintenance work as scheduled."

DDOT announced this week that the first of two weekend closures on the bridge will take place March 12-15. The closures were originally scheduled for December but put off to allow for minimal disruptions during holidays and then rescheduled but canceled several times because of freezing temperatures and snowstorms.

The weekend work includes pouring new approach slabs, replacing expansion joints, installing a catcher beam system and upgrading streetlights on the bridge, DDOT said. That will require a complete shutdown of the bridge. Canal Road on the D.C. side will remain open.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 5, 2010; 5:25 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting , Congestion , Construction , Driving  | Tags: Chain Bridge, Dr. Gridlock  
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I hope this construction means it can go both ways all the time instead of the reversible highway. Is this third lane new and this is jsut further maintenance? Two lanes one way during rush hour while always one lane to go the other way would be optimal.

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | March 6, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: SusanMarie2, at the end of the rehabilitation project, the bridge will be restored to the original configuration: A total of three lanes, two heading in the rush-hour direction. The rehab wasn't done to expand the bridge, only to make it last longer.

Posted by: Dr_Gridlock | March 6, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock, thank you! I love it over there and have thought about moving there but want to be able to drive out to Virginia in the morning and back in the evening if necessary. Will there be at least one lane open in both directions at all times? I've tried to research this but all I get are blogs on people in NW upset that they are locked in or out.

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | March 6, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, you already answered that! Thanks...

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | March 6, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

It has been about 2 months since any work has been done on this project, yet the lanes blockage continues. Their original end date was Jan 19, before any severe weather issues. It seems more about poor planning, not the weather. This is the same DDOT that started the project with little warning last summer. This is a terrible, daily situation

Posted by: welchw | March 11, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

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