Since January, 2003

March 22, 2007

March 14, 2013
4th at I, Looking Southeast (see more)

In a conference room at Nationals Park on Wednesday night, a bevy of representatives from CSX, DDOT, and FHWA along with consultants galore showed the public for the first time a series of 12 "project concepts" for how to handle CSX's desire/need to expand the capacity of the 3,800-foot-long Virginia Avenue Tunnel that runs from 2nd to 12th Street SE.
The concepts are now posted on the project web site, and can be grouped as seven "rebuild" options along with four other "reroute" options that would bring about the abandonment of the tunnel altogether (and, it must be said, are probably a just smidge less likely to be one of the alternatives chosen).
Three of the rebuild options are along the lines of what's been discussed for more than two years now, which would be the running of a temporary track in an open trench while the expansion work is done on the existing tunnel. While having the trench on the south side of the tracks (Concept 2) has been the "default" discussion and has to be assumed to be CSX's preferred choice, Concept 3 shows the possibility of running the trench on the north side of the tunnel, which would be right next to the Southeast Freeway (and which I'm imagining would run into some issues with having to make sure all freeway supports are adequately protected). Concept 4 runs a "serpentine" trench both north and south of the existing tracks.
Concept 5 is an intriguing new notion, where a second permanent tunnel would be built parallel and south of the existing one. There's also the idea of just widening the current tunnel either while trains continue to use the tunnel (Concept 6) or with freight traffic temporarily rerouted either to Union Station (Concept 7A) or outside the District entirely (with a route shown that would take trains from Richmond through Ohio and up to Buffalo before turning back to the East Coast).
The "reroute" options all propose abandoning the tunnel, either building a nine-mile-long freight tunnel from National Airport to the Deanwood Metro station about 80 feet underground (Concept 8) or building other alignments proposed in recent years by the National Capital Planning Commission (Concepts 9 and 10), or running on CSX's existing tracks out to Ohio and then northward.
But of course, these are concepts, and one of the reasons for going through a NEPA process is to study the different ideas to then come up with alternatives, accompanied by scads of data on noise, vibration, pollution, traffic, and timeline impacts. And to determine how much the various alternatives would cost--because it's likely that CSX is not going to be too gung-ho on the options anticipated to run into the billions of dollars.
It's expected that the public meeting where the alternatives will be unveiled will be in February of 2012, at which point so many of the questions that residents have been asking for so long about how the tunnel construction will affect the day-to-day lives of people who live near and use Virginia Avenue will get some concrete answers.
Faisal Hameed of DDOT, who ran much of the meeting, emphasized a number of times during the Q&A that this is a unique project: a private company is doing work they are paying for themselves on a right of way that they own some (but not all) of, but the impacts on vehicle/pedestrian/bicycle transportation are expected to be extensive enough that DDOT requested this environmental assessment before getting to the point of signing off on any permits that CSX will need to do the work. (There is also apparently still some negotiating going on between CSX and DDOT about exactly whose right of way is where, but it was said that no portion of the project will enter private land, though some small incursions will happen on the Marine bachelor enlisted quarters' site west of 7th Street.)
The Q&A was a pretty peaceful one as these things go (which makes a cranky blogger so very happy!). Most of the wrangling between audience members and CSX was over the route that hazardous materials take when they are forced to go around the District because of various city laws and federal regulations; the audience members were trying to get CSX to admit that there's an existing route bypassing the city that's shorter than anything shown in the concepts, while CSX wasn't going to get anywhere near telling people where hazardous materials travel.
In response to one audience question (coming as a result of the new FAQ posted on the project web site), CSX did say that they are going to "strongly pursue" getting a waiver to stop the currently required blowing of horns anytime a train enters the tunnel, and that they think it should be a "strong possibility" that it can happen, though of course they weren't wanting to commit.
There were also questions that will be better asked when the alternatives are unveiled, about construction staging, safety during construction, noise and vibration impacts, traffic flow, emergency planning, alley access, and what CSX will do to restore or even improve the Virginia Avenue streetscape when construction is finished. (As for any historic preservation impacts, a Section 106 review of the project is being done concurrently with this NEPA assessment.)
Comments are being accepted on these 12 concepts for the next 30 days, either by using the web site or e-mailing contact@virginiaavenuetunnel.com. (About 530 comments were received after the September scoping meeting.) It's hoped the environmental assessment will be completed with a final NEPA decision by the summer of 2012; though, if there is a finding that there will be a "significant environmental impact" from whichever construction alternative is chosen, then a full Environmental Impact Study (EIS) would then have to be done.
 

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Comments

Bruce says: (12/1/11 6:28 PM)
I'm glad they showed us some concepts..it will be a long process.

F says: (12/2/11 9:39 AM)
I wonder how many of those are "serious" concepts. It seems as though CSX is presenting some so-called alternate concepts to make it look like they're considering options when they've already decided on Concept 2 or something close to it.

MJM says: (12/3/11 3:43 PM)
If Concept 5 is a dig, build, cover, repeat as you go instead of one open long trench that may be the best option of them all. Can anyone confirm that is how Concept 5 would be constructed?

Douglas Willinger says: (12/4/11 3:30 AM)
Concept 5 also preserves a wider space making it easier to construct a below ground cut and cover tunnel for replacing the elevated SE Freeway- and would even be better if the new northern tunnel was shifted closer to the new southern tunnel.

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Recent Crime Incidents Archive  
100 B/O L ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  04/05/14
1500 B/O SOUTH CAPITOL ST   THEFT /  04/04/14
330 B/O K ST SE   THEFT /  04/04/14
16 B/O M ST SE   THEFT /  04/04/14
700 B/O L ST SE   THEFT /  04/03/14

Active Public Space Permits Archive  
1011 1ST ST SE    COLIN CLARK 
Pending
excavation; new  
 03/03/14
to
05/01/14
    COLIN CLARK 
Approved (Pending Payment)
paving; landscaping; new  
 04/23/14
to
06/27/14
1331 2ND ST SE    Carlton Ray 
Assigned
paving; streetfixture; excavation  
 02/10/14
to
02/09/15
1201 M ST SE    Michael Manoski 
Pending Document
excavation  
 05/06/13
to
05/05/14
1333 M ST SE    WASHINGTON GAS 
Assigned
excavation  
 05/01/13
to
04/30/14
1111 NEW JERSEY AVE SE    NJA Associates LLC 
Assigned
paving; streetfixture; landscaping; excavation; new  
 06/03/13
to
06/02/14
301 TINGEY ST SE    Chuchart Kampirapang 
Assigned
 
 06/07/13
to
06/06/14
    Potbelly Sandwich Works LLC 
Issued
new  
 03/21/12
to
11/27/14

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1011 1ST ST SE   
04/09/14 
MILLER?LONG
AH1400386 / CONSTRUCTION
AFTERHOURS TO TAKE DOWN TOWER CRANE WITH 200 TON CRANE SAT ? SUN 4 / 12 / 2014 AND 4 / 13 / 2014 FROM 5AM TO 9PM
   
04/21/14 
TOLL DC LP / DELAWARE ELEVATOR INC
EN1401543 / SHOP DRAWING
TYPE OF ELEVATOR : ONE (1) MRL / STEEL / FRONT OF BLGD / PASSENGER. (VELOCITY RIVER PARK / PLASE 2 / CAR A)
1381 1ST ST SE   
04/07/14 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA /
SB1400233 / CONSTRUCTION
INSTALLATION OF 3 GEO SOIL BORINGS TO A DEPTH OF 30FT 4' DIAMETER USING GEOPROBE 3 OUT OF 3 ARE TMMW
1212 4TH ST SE   
04/09/14 
GSA GSA / BRIAN FREW; GSA GSA; JOSEPH RICHARDS
E37554102 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1000 5TH ST SE   
04/04/14 
DC HOUSING AUTHORITY / KIM MITCHELL CDKM CONSULTING LLC
B1404942 / CONSTRUCTION
TEMPORARY CONSTRUCTION TRAILER TEMPORARY CONSTRUCTION FENCE AROUND THE PERIMETER OF THE PROPERTY AND TWO PORTA POTTIES AND TO INCREASE TO A TOTAL OF 4 PORTA POTTIES AT THE PEAK OF CONSTRUCTION. TRAILERS WILL BE ON BLOCKED ON TEMPORARY CMU BLOCKS - POWERED FROM TEMPORARY SERVICE BY PEPCO TRAILERS WILL BE EQUIPPED WITH RESTROOM SYSTEM THAT WILL BE SERVICED - NO PLUMBING LINES AS THEY ARE SELF CONTAINED
   
04/11/14 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / KIM MITCHELL CDKM CONSULTING LLC
SH1400015 / CONSTRUCTION
SHEETING ? SHORING FOR NEW COMMUNITY CENTER
1220 12TH ST SE   
04/15/14 
WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT CO / STEPHEN R. HOLMAN
P1404623 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1015 HALF ST SE   
04/09/14 
HALF ST SE LLC / SAM HOLLEN RAMCO OF DC INC.
B1405731 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR RENOVATION FOR 1ST FLOOR SERVICE CORRIDOR. PARTITIONS DOORS MECHANICAL ELECTRICAL AND LIFE SAFETY.
75 I ST SE   
04/07/14 
DRI DEVELOPMENT SERVICES LLC / JOSE S ALVARADO; DRI DEVELOPMENT LLC; JOSE S ALVARADO
E16994763 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
04/07/14 
DRI DEVELOPMENT SERVICES LLC / JOSE S ALVARADO; DRI DEVELOPMENT LLC; JOSE S ALVARADO
E10943636 / SUPPLEMENTAL
409 I ST SE   
04/07/14 
SCOTT A FAULK TRUSTEE / RALPH THREATT
E1404619 / SUPPLEMENTAL
309 K ST SE   
04/06/14 
GERRITT LANG
PC61450444 / POST CARD
REPLACEMENT OF NOT MORE THAN 1 GAS APPLIANCE ON A RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL OR INDUSTRIAL PROJECT.
306 L ST SE   
04/17/14 
MICHAEL THOMPSON
B1311538 / CONSTRUCTION
1.CRAWL SPACE FOUNDATION REPAIR CRAWL SPACE UNDERPINNING AND EXCAVATION 2. ADD CONCRETE SLAB AND EGRESS WINDOW. 3. UPGRADE EXISTING ELECTRICAL PLUMBING AND MOVE MECHANICAL CLOSET
601 L ST SE   
04/21/14 
DC HOUSING AUTHORITY / ANGEL REYNOLDS
SH1400035 / CONSTRUCTION
TEMPORARY SHEETING AND SHORING REQUIRED TO ALLOW CONSTRUCTION PF NEW BUILDING AT 601 L ST SE.
50 M ST SE   
04/17/14 
KEN FINKELSTEIN ENGLEWOOD LLC / DAVID BOOKBINDE ECS MID-ATLANTIC LLC
SB1400244 / CONSTRUCTION
A TOTAL OF 6 BORINGS WILL BE ADVANCED ACROSS THE PROPERTY WITH A GEOPROBE DRILL RIG TO A DEPTH OF 25 FEET BELOW SURFACE GRADE. THE DIAMETER OF THE BOREHOLE WILL BE 2.25 INCHES. SOIL WILL BE SCREENED THROUGHOUT THE DEPTH OF EACH BORING AND EACH 5-FOOT COMPOSITE SAMPLE WILL BE ANALYZED. GROUNDWATER WILL BE COLLECTED FROM TEMPORARY WELLS IN THREE BORINGS IF ENCOUNTERED. ALL BORINGS WILL BE GROUTED WITH APPROVED BENTONITE SLURRY UPON COMPLETION. SEE WORKPLAN FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS.
901 M ST SE   
04/14/14 
CARLTON RAY / DANIEL SCHAALE
AH1400397 / CONSTRUCTION
EXCAVATION IN ROADWAY
1201 M ST SE   
04/14/14 
CARLTON RAY / DANIEL SCHAALE
AH1400396 / CONSTRUCTION
EXCAVATION IN ROADWAY
   
04/14/14 
SAMUEL PAXTON
PC81065987 / POST CARD
REPLACEMENT OF NOT MORE THAN 1 PLUMBING FIXTURE ON A RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL OR INDUSTRIAL PROJECT.
86 N ST SE   
04/17/14 
BELFAST VALLEY CONTRACTORS / KIM MITCHELL CDKM CONSULTING LLC
TC1400011 / CONSTRUCTION
ERECT TEMPORARY TOWER CRANE AT 1ST AND N ST SE
1000 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
04/14/14 
PHILIP BROWN
PC47087282 / POST CARD
REPLACEMENT OF NOT MORE THAN 1 GAS APPLIANCE ON A RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL OR INDUSTRIAL PROJECT.
1500 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
04/07/14 
WASHINGTON NATIONALS STADIUM LLC / FRED GRIFFITH; WASHINGTON NATIONALS STADIUM LLC; JAY LIVESAY
E53144683 / SUPPLEMENTAL
301 TINGEY ST SE   
04/11/14 
NA NA NA
EHOP1490466 / HOME OCCUPATION
   
04/11/14 
NA NA NA
EHOP1490467 / HOME OCCUPATION
301 WATER ST SE   
04/04/14 
FC LUMBER SHED LLC / RICHARD V CAREY
P1404549 / SUPPLEMENTAL
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.


Projects Underway
Twelve12/Yards
Park Chelsea
Southeast Blvd.
River Parc
  
Nationals Park
Visiting Nats Park
What's New Around the 'Hood
Food Options Map
Parking/Transportation
Ballpark Construction Photos
Stadium Event Photos
In the Pipeline
Hampton Inn
1111 New Jersey
800 NJ/Whole Foods
Lofts at Capitol Quarter
Ballpark Square
New Douglass Bridge
Yards at DC Water
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
99 M St.
Monument/Half Street
Community Center
Capper Apartments
250 M Street
Florida Rock
909 Half Street
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
SC1100
New Marine Barracks
Factory 202/Yards
Nat'l Comm. Church
Completed
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts/Yards ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 NJ Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Seniors Bldg Dem. ('07)
400 M ('07)
SoCap Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Overviews
Capper/Carrollsburg
Ballpark District
New Jersey Ave.
M Street
South Capitol St.
WASA
The Yards
Lower 8th Street
East M Street
Boathouse Row


Links of Interest

JDLand.com Wins 2008 Knight-Batten Citizen Media Award
As part of the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism, JDLand was given the 2008 Citizen Media Award. Read all about it.

Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District
Covering Near Southeast & Buzzard Point.

Studies/Initiatives/Government Documents:
11th Street Bridges EIS
South Capitol St. Bridge EIS
South Capitol Gateway Corridor/Anacostia Access Study
Anacostia Riverwalk Trail
NCPC's New Vision for South Capitol Street (2005 Update)
Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (2005)
Near Southeast Draft Urban Design Framework (2003)
Urban Land Institute South Capitol Street Corridor Report (2003)
Neighborhood Strategic Action Plan (2002)
DC Streetcars (may run down M Street SE someday)

Capitol Gateway and Southeast Federal Center Zoning Overlays
Two documents that spell out in extreme detail exactly what the requirements are for developments along South Capitol, M, in the Ballpark District, and at "The Yards". Read also my short explanatory treatise on these two overlays.

Pre-Redevelopment Media Overviews:
A Transformed Neighborhood Awaits Stadium (WP, 8/15/05)
      includes huge map of development plans
The Morphing of a Forgotten Neighborhood (WP, 9/2/2004)
      A brilliant take on the neighborhood!
Betting Big on Near Southeast (WP, 7/15/04)
Hope for the Waterfront (WBJ, 01)
Seeking a Better View On the Waterfront (WP, 3/8/98)
 

DC Government
Mayor's Office
Planning/Economic Development
   Office of Planning
DC Consumer & Regulatory Agency
DC Office of Zoning
DC Municipal Regulations | Zoning
DC Dept. of Transportation

DC City Council
Tommy Wells

ANCs: 6D | 6B
David Garber (6D07)
Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04)
Police: MPD-1D | PSA 105

Other Organizations
National Capital Planning Commission
Earth Conservation Corps
Capitol Hill Restoration Society
Barracks Row Main Street
Marines Community Integrated Master Plan
 

 

News Publications
The Hill Rag
The Southwester

Other DC Neighborhood/City Blogs
SW DC - The Little Quadrant That Could
The Hill is Home
Congress Heights on the Rise
Greater Greater Washington
WashCycle
Penn Quarter Living
Frozen Tropics
The Triangle
14th and You
The 42
Beyond DC
Richard Layman
 




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