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Gray Administration Celebrates Completion of 11th St. Bridges Over Anacostia River

Special to The Informer | 12/16/2011, 12:03 p.m.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Mayor Vincent C. Gray, D.C. Councilmembers, District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director...

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Mayor Vincent C. Gray, D.C. Councilmembers, District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Terry Bellamy, representatives from the Federal Highway Administration and community leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate the completion of the new 11th Street Freeway Bridges over the Anacostia River. The two new freeway bridges will provide a seamless connection between the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and the Anacostia Freeway (I-295/DC 295).

"Just two years after construction began, we have already arrived at this important juncture," said Mayor Gray. "This $300 million project - the largest DDOT has ever undertaken - is ahead of schedule and represents a giant step forward for our transportation system. Critical for connecting one city across the Anacostia River, these new spans will serve our residents, workers and visitors for decades to come."

Crews will shift traffic to the new inbound freeway bridge this weekend and the work will be completed in time for the Monday morning rush hour. The new outbound freeway bridge is tentatively scheduled to open to traffic next week, weather permitting.

"This is our first design-build-to-budget bridge project in the District, and so far we are extremely pleased with the results," said Director Bellamy. "The design minimized the impact to traffic by putting the new bridges between the existing spans, and the construction is proceeding rapidly and within budget."

A third bridge for local traffic - connecting Anacostia to Capitol Hill - is still under construction and is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2012. The local bridge will have a shared path for pedestrians and bicyclists and space for future transit.

The closure of the existing inbound bridge will also allow workers to complete connections to 295 that are missing from the current 11th Street Bridges:

* A ramp connecting outbound traffic on the bridge to northbound 295, and

* A ramp leading from southbound 295 to the inbound bridge

These new ramps are scheduled to open next summer as well.

New Traffic Pattern

The existing outbound 11th Street Bridge will continue to be used for local traffic headed into Anacostia, until the new local bridge is completed in 2012. To access Anacostia from the SE/SW Freeway, motorists can use one of the following detour routes:

* Continue on the new outbound freeway bridge to southbound I-295 and exit at Howard Road.

* Take the 6th Street exit off the SE/SW Freeway. Go straight on Virginia Avenue, right on 8th Street to M Street, left on M and then right on 11th Street to access the outbound bridge.

Project Overview

The 11th Street Bridge Project is one of the major infrastructure improvements included in the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative - a multi-agency effort currently underway to restore and revitalize the Anacostia River and its waterfronts.

DDOT began construction on the 11th Street Bridge Project in December 2009 to replace the two existing bridges with three new bridges and improve the related interchanges. The current bridges are functionally obsolete and structurally deficient. Close to 400 workers are working on the project each day, including many District residents.

The new bridges are projected to carry almost 180,000 vehicles per day by 2030, and will also serve as an improved emergency evacuation route from the nation's capital.

DDOT has worked closely with residents, civic associations and businesses groups throughout the planning, design and construction of the bridges and will continue to do so until the entire project is complete.

A second phase of work to improve the connections between the SE/SW Freeway and the 11th Street Bridges is scheduled to begin in 2012 and is expected to be completed in 2015.