14th Street Bridge Work Beginning Soon

by Lee Hernly, Editor

The D.C. government will soon launch a two-year effort to renovate the 14th Street Bridge spans which carry traffic in both directions. If you drive into D.C., you may want to consider changing the way you travel into D.C. from Virginia. Mayor Fenty said recently at his news conference that drivers can expect “major traffic impacts” during the extensive rehabilitation project, which is estimated to cost around $27 million dollars.

Once work starts in mid-May, those most affected by this project will be drivers crossing the northbound span into D.C. which was recently ranked the region’s worst traffic bottleneck. Southbound and High Occupancy Vehicle spans will have work done mostly during nights and weekends.

The five 14th Street Bridge spans comprise some of the busiest routes in and out of D.C., carrying roughly 200,000 vehicles a day. Three bridges carry vehicular traffic, one carries Metrorail and the fifth carries freight rail. Wear and tear on the bridge spans has taken a toll over several decades, officials said. The bridge suffers from “surface distress,” which includes potholes, as well as degradation of the piers and bascules driven into the Potomac River.

Work northbound is slated to take place between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays, at nights and on weekends. D.C. leaders pledged to maintain four lanes of traffic during the morning and evening rush hours, but lanes will be narrowed, merging distances will be shortened and there will be no shoulders — measures likely to slow already congested traffic to a crawl.

I don’t think anyone wants a repeat of what happened in Minnesota. I take the rail and it is pretty good.


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