Mayor Muriel Bowser broke ground on construction of the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge on February 13. The new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge is the largest facet of the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) South Capitol Street Corridor Project, the largest public infrastructure project in the history of the agency. It’s also the biggest step that DDOT is taking to improve the District’s bridge network, which has a far smaller percentage of structurally deficient bridges than the nation as a whole.
In a recent analysis of the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) 2017 National Bridge Inventory database, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) found that 11.3 percent of bridges (54,259 out of 612,677) in the nation are rated structurally deficient. By comparison, 2.39 percent (5 out of 209) of bridges that are maintained by DDOT in the District received the same designation. (Three other bridges in the District that were rated structurally deficient fall under federal jurisdiction.)
The South Capitol Street Corridor Project also includes the reconstruction of the I-295 (Anacostia Freeway) Bridge over Suitland Parkway, one of five bridges maintained by DDOT that is categorized as structurally deficient. The bridge, which was built in 1964, carries over 80,000 vehicles each day. Construction is scheduled to start this Spring and last until in December 2021.
DDOT knows that doing better than average isn’t enough when it comes to the structural integrity of our infrastructure so it also has plans to repair the other four structurally deficient bridges in the next four years:
- Pennsylvania Avenue SE Ramp to Southbound DC 295 – The ramp from Pennsylvania Avenue SE to southbound DC 295 (Anacostia Freeway), which crosses over Nicholson Street SE, was built in 1963. It carries an average of 62,500 vehicles per day. Construction of the new ramp is scheduled to be completed by 2019.
- Northbound DC 295 Ramp to Pennsylvania Avenue SE – The ramp from northbound DC 295 (Anacostia Freeway) to eastbound Pennsylvania Avenue SE, which crosses over Nicholson Street SE, was built in 1963. Construction of the new ramp is scheduled to be completed by 2019.
- 31st Street NW Bridge over the C&O Canal – The 31st Street NW Bridge over the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal was built in 1929. Construction of the new bridge is scheduled to start in November and be completed by 2021.
- Ramp from Eastbound Benning Road NE to Northbound DC 295 – The ramp from eastbound Benning Road NE to northbound DC 295 (Anacostia Freeway) was built in 1955. DDOT plans to start construction on a replacement ramp in 2019; the project is scheduled to be completed by 2022.
For a more detailed, map-centric look into DDOT’s plans to repair structurally deficient bridges in the District, please visit a Story Map on the topic.