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CSX announced today that it will be investing $160 million of its own monies in its National Gateway project, with most of that money going toward the funding of the expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, the 107-year-old structure that runs beneath Virginia Avenue from 2nd Street SE to 12th Street SE. With this decision, the company will start moving toward design and construction of the project, first by going through the NEPA process of environmental impact studies, which apparently is going to be spearheaded by the Federal Highways Administration (with support and assistance from DDOT, according to CSX).
Within the next few months there will be an initial public "scoping" meeting, where the parties lay out exactly what needs to be done with the tunnel and why. After a 30-day comment period expires, an "alternatives" meeting will then be scheduled, and this will be the meeting that residents will be the most interested in, because this will be when the design options for the project will first be made public, and will be the stage where CSX will at last answer the questions that so many people who live on or near Virginia Avenue have wanted answered since this project first really hit the public consciousness in late 2009. (Will the trench be completely uncovered? Will we be able to get into our alley? How will firetrucks service our block? What about noise? What about dust? What about traffic? What about the 6th Street exit off the freeway?) And at a meeting this afternoon, representatives from CSX didn't suddenly decide to answer any of those sorts of questions, deflecting them as ones that will be addressed at the alternatives meeting.
The CSX briefers today emphasized that they feel "sooner is better" for getting the project underway, with the expansion of the Panama Canal launching in early 2015 being one of the drivers of their decision to invest their own dollars rather than continuing to search for federal or state monies to pay for the project. (And, perhaps to ward off an expected line of criticism, they also made sure to mention that using their own money was in no way an attempt to sidestep NEPA.)
There's no firm date as to when construction might begin, owing to the reality that federal reviews don't always happen on a metronome-like timetable, and that then there will be permitting processes and other agency reviews (such as going through the National Capital Planning Commission and the city's historic preservation reviews). But it would seem that spring 2012 would be a likely target time if there are no big roadblocks thrown up, especially given that Panama Canal 2015 date and that CSX says they expect the project to take about three years. With other construction happening at or near the tunnel's path, including the rehab of 225 Virginia, the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction, and perhaps the start of some portion of William C. Smith's mixed-use project at 2nd and H, the very northern portion of the neighborhood will certainly continue to be knee-deep in heavy machinery for a number of years (and CSX says that they are coordinating with those other projects).
If you are just tuning in and aren't up to speed, CSX is wanting to add a second track to the tunnel, ending its status as one of the last (if not the last?) stretch of single track in CSX's east coast operations. They also plan to lower the floor of the tunnel to allow for double-stacked trains, vastly increasing the amount of cargo they can move through their system. (You can read their press release for what they consider to be the benefits of this expansion and all of the $850 million National Gateway project.)
As I've said, there isn't much in the way of specifics as to how exactly the project will be configured, other than we know there will be a parallel track running in an open trench, and that Virginia Avenue itself will be closed, but with bridges across the construction at 3rd, 4th, 7th, and 8th to allow the movement of north-south traffic. (This would mean that vehicles exiting the Southeast Freeway at 6th Street would need to turn north under the freeway to then move toward any final destination.)
My post from a walking tour of the project last July has some of the (few) details so far announced on the project, but focus will now turn to the NEPA public meetings as the point where the real specifics of the project and its impacts will be revealed, and where residents will be able to voice any and all concerns, problems, anger, threats of litigation, etc. Until then, feel free to use the comments here for all that! You can also read my previous CSX posts for more background and details on the project up to now.
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City Government Data for Near Southeast Records added or updated recently displayed here; click the "archive" links to see additional detail and older records. All data from DC Government databases and RSS feeds. JDLand takes no responsibility for errors, omissions, etc. (read CapStat disclaimer). Data is retrieved daily.

Recent Crime Incidents Archive  
200 B/O VIRGINIA AVE SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT /  07/10/14
900 B/O HALF ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  07/10/14
100 B/O M ST SE   THEFT /  07/09/14
4TH ST SE AND L ST SE   ROBBERY /  07/08/14
800 B/O POTOMAC AVE SE   THEFT /  07/07/14
300 B/O K ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  07/07/14
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT /  07/05/14
100 B/O L ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  07/04/14
1100 B/O 2ND PLACE SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  07/03/14
2ND PLACE SE AND I ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  07/02/14
70 B/O I ST SE   ROBBERY / GUN  07/02/14
200 B/O I ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  07/02/14
400 B/O M ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT /  06/30/14
UNIT B/O M ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  06/30/14
70 B/O I ST SE   THEFT /  06/29/14

Active Public Space Permits Archive  
1011 1ST ST SE    Pepco Holdings Inc 
Issued
excavation; new  
 06/26/14
to
08/26/14
1331 2ND ST SE    Carlton Ray 
Assigned
paving; streetfixture; excavation  
 02/10/14
to
02/09/15
804 3RD ST SE    Maximiliano Villagra 
Issued
streetfixture; new  
 08/05/14
to
08/06/14
904 3RD ST SE    Janel Fitzhugh 
Issued
streetfixture; new  
 07/01/14
to
08/14/14
908 3RD ST SE    Rachel Frankel 
Issued
streetfixture; new  
 07/24/14
to
09/21/14
1026 3RD ST SE    Wash Gas & Light Co. 
Issued
excavation; new  
 06/26/14
to
09/04/14
1331 4TH ST SE    Forest City Forest City 
Issued
excavation; new  
 01/10/14
to
02/10/15
913 5TH ST SE    Wash Gas & Light Co. 
Issued
excavation; new  
 06/26/14
to
08/28/14
1100 - 1199 BLOCK 1ST ST SE    tom cash 
Issued
excavation; new  
 06/27/14
to
08/25/14
410 M ST SE    Pepco Holdings Inc 
Issued
excavation; new  
 07/11/14
to
09/08/14
800 NEW JERSEY AVE SE    Pepco Holdings Inc 
Issued
excavation; new  
 06/20/14
to
08/22/14
880 NEW JERSEY AVE SE    WASHINGTON GAS 
Issued
excavation; new  
 06/17/14
to
08/17/14
    WASHINGTON GAS 
Issued
excavation; new  
 07/28/14
to
09/26/14
1105 NEW JERSEY AVE SE    Wash Gas & Light Co. 
Issued
excavation; new  
 06/13/14
to
08/11/14
301 TINGEY ST SE    Potbelly Sandwich Works LLC 
Issued
new  
 03/21/12
to
11/27/14

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1025 1ST ST SE   
07/26/14 
NA NA NA
EHOP1490737 / HOME OCCUPATION
1100 1ST ST SE   
07/15/14 
NA NA NA
EHOP1490710 / HOME OCCUPATION
1212 4TH ST SE   
07/11/14 
FC 1212 LLC /
P1406926 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
07/14/14 
MIKE LENARD / BHAR; W. SAKIE BHAR
SG1400363 / CONSTRUCTION
INSTALL ONE SET OF BUILDING SIGN ON TO EXISTING BUILDING
1331 4TH ST SE   
07/09/14 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / RONALD C. CAYTON
E1406628 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1103 9TH ST SE   
07/25/14 
ICP PARTNERS POTOMAC 810 LLC / TALBERT DOWLING
E1407537 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1220 12TH ST SE   
07/16/14 
FAIRBANKS MORSE ENGINE / EVAN O'BRIEN/ D MCKEEVER SERVICES
B1409041 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR ALTERATION TO EXISTING 2578 SF OFFICE SPACE. AFFECTED AREA LESS THAN 1000 SF TO CREATE DEMISING WALL AND MINOR ALTERATIONS TO PARTITION PLAN IN CONFERENCE AREA. MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL WORK INCLUDED.
326 L ST SE   
07/17/14 
NA NA NA
EHOP1490715 / HOME OCCUPATION
55 M ST SE   
07/16/14 
HINES GLOBAL REIT 55 M STREET LLC / TYRAN D. BRANNUM
E1407255 / SUPPLEMENTAL
20 M ST SE   
07/17/14 
SOUTHEAST REALTY LLC / JOHN GIUSEPPE-RAMCO
TL1400132 / CONSTRUCTION
FIRST TIME TENANT BUILDOUT FOR FAST FOOD ESTABLISHMENT - SUBWAY SANDWICH SHOP SEATING 41 AS SHOWN ON THE ATTACHED ARCH. MECH. PLUMB. ELECT AND FIRE PROTECTION DWGS. INTERIOR WORK ONLY.
55 M ST SE   
07/15/14 
HINES
B1409693 / CONSTRUCTION
INSTALL 6 AUTOMATIC DOOR OPERATORS LOCATED AT THE ELEVATOR LOBBIES BETWEEN THE 4TH-7TH FLOORS
901 M ST SE   
07/15/14 
CARLTON RAY
AH1400584 / CONSTRUCTION
TO PERFORM TEMPORARY LANE CLOSURES
1201 M ST SE   
07/15/14 
CARLTON RAY
AH1400585 / CONSTRUCTION
TO PERFORM TEMPORARY LANE CLOSURES
800 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
07/14/14 
NEW JERSEY AT H LLC / COLIN CLARK
B1409654 / CONSTRUCTION
REVISION TO PERMIT #SH1400039 FOR A OWNERSHIP CHANGE
   
07/28/14 
WC SMITH CO. / COLIN CLARK
FD1400040 / CONSTRUCTION
FOOTINGS AND FOUNDATIONS TO GRADE FOR A FUTURE APARTMENT BUILDING
1000 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
07/11/14 
CAPITOL HILL TOWER HOUSING COOPERATIVE INCF / RICHARD G. FINFROCK
P1406902 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
07/11/14 
CAPITOL HILL TOWER HOUSING COOPERATIVE INCF / BRANDON K VIERNES
M1402531 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
07/22/14 
CAPITOL HILL TOWER HOUSING COOPERATIVE INCF / DONALD R. MCGLYNN
E1407426 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1236 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
07/11/14 
1244 SOUTH CAPITOL RESIDENTIAL LLC / GEOCAPITOL ENGINEERING LLC
SB1400340 / CONSTRUCTION
WE PROPOSE DRILLING THREE SIX-INCH DIAMETER GEOTECHNICAL TEST BORINGS USING THE HOLLOW STEM AUGER METHOD TO EVALUATE THE SUBSURFACE CONDITIONS. THE PROPOSED TEST BORING DEPTHS WILL BE 80 FEET BELOW THE EXISTING GROUND SURFACE. DRILLING EQUIPMENT WILL BE DECONTAMINATED BETWEEN EACH HOLE TO AVOID CROSS CONTAMINATION THROUGHOUT THE SITE. UPON COMPLETION THE GEOTECHNICAL TEST BORINGS WILL BE BACKFILLE...
1244 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
07/11/14 
1244 SOUTH CAPITOL RESIDENTIAL LLC / GEOCAPITOL ENGINEERING LLC
SB1400341 / CONSTRUCTION
WE PROPOSE DRILLING TWO SIX-INCH DIAMETER GEOTECHNICAL TEST BORINGS USING THE HOLLOW STEM AUGER METHOD TO EVALUATE THE SUBSURFACE CONDITIONS. THE PROPOSED TEST BORING DEPTHS WILL BE 80 FEET BELOW THE EXISTING GROUND SURFACE. DRILLING EQUIPMENT WILL BE DECONTAMINATED BETWEEN EACH HOLE TO AVOID CROSS CONTAMINATION THROUGHOUT THE SITE. UPON COMPLETION THE GEOTECHNICAL TEST BORINGS WILL BE BACKFILLED ...
300 TINGEY ST SE   
07/23/14 
CM-YARDS LLC / DWIGHT SMITH
B1408815 / CONSTRUCTION
INSTALL OUTSIDE SEATING SUMMER GARDEN.
201 TINGEY ST SE   
07/11/14 
JBG COMPANIES / GEORGE DELGADO
B1409541 / CONSTRUCTION
ONE DAY SPECIAL EVENT FOR BMW SHOW--150 OCCUPANTS EXTERNAL GENERATOR RESTROOMS AND LIGHTING BAY DOORS TO REMAIN OPEN DURING FUNCTION
   
07/22/14 
JBG/SEFC 170 LLC / MICHAEL B. BELL
E1407422 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 TINGEY ST SE   
07/10/14 
FORREST CITY AT THE YARDS / CRIS FLACK
TL1400123 / CONSTRUCTION
REVISION TO B1402734 FOR REVISIONS TO MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS.
AH = After Hours; B = Alteration & Repair; D = Demolition; E = Electrical; FB = Boiler; M = Mechanical; P = Plumbing and Gas; PC = Post Card; R = Raze; SG = Sign; TL = Tenant Layout; TN = Tent; RW = Retaining Wall;

Real Property Sales Archive  
No commercial transaction records added or modified in the past two weeks.


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