Since January, 2003
            
 (a random before-and-after moment)
March 22, 2007
June 4, 2017
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(STOP ALL THE NEWS TODAY! I CAN'T TAKE IT!)
This afternoon--5 pm on Election Day--the Federal Highway Administration released its Record of Decision on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, which approves the chosen preferred alternative for the project, while also approving "short-term closures of I-695 ramps at 6th and 8th Streets SE" and "occupancy of a portion of the 11th Street Bridge right-of-way located on I-695."
It also brings to a close the NEPA process on the project that began a thousand years ago, give or take. (Okay, it took about three years.)
This design will replace the current tunnel with two new permanent tunnels, constructed sequentially. It is expected to take somewhere between 30 to 42 months to complete.
CSX immediately issued a press release saying that this decision will enable the company "to complete the tunnel’s design and initiate the construction permitting process" with the District Department of Transportation.
CSX's release also says that "major construction is expected to begin in the next several months, following receipt of the required permits." But somehow I am guessing that the path from this ROD to shovels in the ground isn't necessarily a smooth one, especially since the Committee of 100 has already let it be known that any decision short of an indefinite delay of the project would result in a lawsuit.
The entire ROD document is close to 300 pages long--feel free to dive right in.
I'll update as more statements, stories, and rending of garments come in.
UPDATE: Here's the Post's initial story, and a lengthy quote from it: "CSX Transportation can now move into the local permitting phase, followed by what could be about three and a half years of construction. Although the company must obtain permits from the city to move forward, there is every indication that the process will go smoothly. Even before completion of the mandated National Environmental Policy Act review, the D.C. Department of Transportation had agreed to let CSX take over the roads near the tunnel for the purpose of rebuilding it. Crews could start securing the site as early as this fall, officials said."
UPDATE II: A quote from page 3 of the ROD, about the approach to the tunnel work: "Implementation of the Selected Alternative will involve replacing the existing Virginia Avenue Tunnel with two new permanent tunnels constructed sequentially. The south side tunnel will be constructed first as train traffic will continue to use the existing tunnel. Once completed, train traffic will shift to the new south side tunnel, and the existing tunnel will be demolished. Most of the north wall of the existing tunnel will remain in place so that the structural integrity of the I-695 viaduct will not be affected. Following demolition, the north side tunnel will be constructed. At the end of construction, each new tunnel will have a single railroad track with enough vertical clearance to allow double-stack intermodal container freight trains. "
Comments (6)
   
 
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conngs0 says: (11/5/14 12:00 PM)
(Still) seems like a sensible plan to me provided CSX makes good on their proposals for community hardship compensation, noise mitigation, and the claim that the construction will not impede north/south vehicle, pedestrian or bicycle traffic.

In addition, I think the timeline is the most important part of this project. If CSX indicates that this project can be completed (along with all of the agreed-upon improvements) in 42 months at the most, then the permitting should be contingent upon completion by that date with significant penalties to be automatically imposed as a result of delay. This tunnel is going to be expanded, so let's get it done quickly with as little disruption as possible and get back to the matter of improving the neighborhood.


Andrew in DC says: (11/5/14 1:28 PM)
"If CSX indicates that this project can be completed (along with all of the agreed-upon improvements) in 42 months at the most, then the permitting should be contingent upon completion by that date with significant penalties to be automatically imposed as a result of delay"

Well that's really the biggest hole in their whole "plan". First, it's not 42 months (at least, not for the residents); CSX's plan allows for another 18 months to resurface the road and restore things back to normal: so its 6 years, assuming no delays (and in a project this size, there are always delays). Second, CSX's timelines aren't held by anything, once they have their first tunnel down and functional, they could sit on finishing off the project for years because the cost of finishing would be much, much greater than any hypothetical penalties inflicted by DDOT.

This whole project (on paper) is based on wild over estimation of Baltimore's port traffic increase. When that doesn't happen, CSX won't have any compunction about sitting on the site to defer costs. Hope you noticed they capped their mitigation efforts for the community at 42 months though. They made sure to put a timeline on that.

In your concluding sentence, you may as well have wished for Santa to bring you a pony. It won't be done quickly. It will disrupt the community substantially and it won't improve the neighborhood.


conngs0 says: (11/5/14 4:23 PM)
Andrew, I don't disagree with anything you say here. Indeed, the devil is in the details with projects such as this one.

According to my admittedly limited understanding, the city has relatively little leverage to demand additional concessions or commitments from CSX because CSX has held the right-of-way all along. So my hope is simply that CSX is obligated to pay significant fines if they deviate from the commitments that they've made so far. And I don't see how the permits can't be contingent on such a schedule with pre-established penalties for non-compliance.

The example you give regarding the possible overestimation of cargo moving through this area is a good one. Is there a way to guarantee that CSX does not stopping construction mid-project? Probably not, but there are definitely ways to affect and perhaps alter their calculus if/when they have to make a decision like that. It's not so much that I think this solution will cure all ills so much as I think it's the best possible solution at this stage of the game.


Andrew in DC says: (11/5/14 8:25 PM)
"Is there a way to guarantee that CSX does not stopping construction mid-project?"

Actually yes - you construct the permits such that you refuse trains to run through the construction area. Once suitably incentivized, you'd be amazed at how fast they get done and how rigidly they stick to the timetable.


ben says: (11/6/14 12:37 AM)
I agree that the construction permits should be structured two that everything is compmeted as quickly as possible to minimize the impactto the community.

As far as benefits to the community go -has anyone thought about hurrying the freeway while they're digging tunnels in that area? It would be great if the community could be better connected to the rest of the city. And if a trench/deck is built like the plans for 395 near union station, the city could get some more parks or buildable space in a desireable neighborhood....


Andrew in DC says: (11/6/14 11:46 AM)
"As far as benefits to the community go -has anyone thought about burying the freeway while they're digging tunnels in that area?"

It was brought up by one of the earliest commentors on the project, but DDOT never gave it serious consideration.

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700 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 10/10/18
50 M ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 10/08/18
1100 B/O 10TH ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 10/07/18
100 B/O M ST SE   ROBBERY  10/05/18
700 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft First Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 10/04/18
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 09/28/18
1100 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 09/27/18
100 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 09/26/18
100 B/O L ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 09/26/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 09/26/18
1100 B/O 5TH ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 09/24/18
150 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
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 09/22/18
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Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1100 2ND PL SE   
10/12/18 
null / DONNA G GRAHAM
AH1900071 / CONSTRUCTION
WR #3585809 - M.ALLEN / A.PRICE - 1100 2ND PLACE SE - PEPCO CREWS WILL BE SPLICING CABLES AT NIGHT STARTING 10 / 15 / 18 UNTIL 11 / 2 / 18 FROM 10:00 PM TIL 7:00AM MONDAY THROUGH SUNDAYS
1346 4TH ST SE   
09/28/18 
ALAN OWINGS / ROBERT HENRY
AH1801345 / CONSTRUCTION
After Hours Permit for 10 / 08 / 2018 to perform construction work with the below activities: Interior Operations: 7AM - 7PM - ADVANCED NOTICE TO RESIDENTS, OPERATION CONTACT PERSON ON SITE TO ADDRESS ANY UNEXPECTED NOISE ISSUES BEFORE 9:00AM WITH CONTACT NAME AND TELEPHONE. Exterior Operations: 9AM-7PM - NO EXTERIOR ACTIVITY, TRAFFIC, NOISE GENERATION BEFORE 9am WITH ON SITE OBSERVANCE. ...
   
10/09/18 
FC 1346, LLC / null
E1900300 / SUPPLEMENTAL
2 I ST SE   
09/25/18 
MCDONALDS CORPORATION / TAMIKA STATON; OTIS
EN1802612 / SHOP DRAWING
Install 1 New G2S Elevator - 4000LBS @ 350FPM
   
09/25/18 
MCDONALDS CORPORATION / TAMIKA STATON; OTIS
EN1802611 / SHOP DRAWING
Install 3 new G2S Elevators - 3500LBS @ 350FPM
   
09/26/18 
MCDONALDS CORPORATION / null
E1811060 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/09/18 
CRESECENT CAPTIAL VIEW / null
P1900223 / SUPPLEMENTAL
4 I ST SE   
10/09/18 
CRESCENT COMMUNITIES / null
P1900221 / SUPPLEMENTAL
328 K ST SE   
09/27/18 
MARK BARRETT / null
E1811075 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/04/18 
MARK BARRETT / BJORN FALK
SOL1800999 / CONSTRUCTION
Installation of a 5.559kW solar PV system. Roof mounted, 17 panels with integrated microinverters.
401 L ST SE   
10/11/18 
MICHAEL R BRICKMAN / FLOYD H. FURR
P1900299 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/11/18 
MICHAEL R BRICKMAN / DARIUS LYVERS 703-491-1234
M1900108 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE 1ST 20024   
09/21/18 
ELLEN OPDYKE / null
P1809360 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE 3   
09/21/18 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
P1809359 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE 8 20024   
09/24/18 
BARBARA D HAMLETT / null
P1809404 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE   
09/25/18 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
E1811000 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/25/18 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
E1811001 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/25/18 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
E1810999 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1111 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
09/20/18 
GALLERY CAPITOL RIVERFRONT PROPERTY LLC / null
E1810877 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/21/18 
GALLERY CAPITOL RIVERFRONT PROPERTY LLC / null
P1809362 / SUPPLEMENTAL
79 POTOMAC AVE SE 1ST FL   
10/03/18 
RIVERFRONT HOLDINGS I LLC / null
P1900101 / SUPPLEMENTAL
71 POTOMAC AVE SE   
09/28/18 
FORIDA ROCK PROPERTIES INC / BARR CONCRETE
AH1801325 / CONSTRUCTION
After hours to pour concrete with pump truck 9 / 28 / 2018 to 10 / 28 / 22018 from 11pm to 7am
   
10/04/18 
FORIDA ROCK PROPERTIES INC / BARR CONCRETE
AH1900029 / CONSTRUCTION
Afterhours to pour concrete with pump truck saturday 10 / 06 / 2018 from 12am to 7am
79 POTOMAC AVE SE   
10/04/18 
RIVERFRONT HOLDINGS I LLC / null
M1900054 / SUPPLEMENTAL
201 TINGEY ST SE   
10/09/18 
JBG/SEFC 170 LLC / DONNA G GRAHAM
AH1900051 / CONSTRUCTION
WR #3566756 - M.ALLEN / BRUNO - 201 TINGEY ST SE - PEPCO CREWS WILL BE INSTALLING NETWORK TRANSFORMERS AND INSTALLING CABLES - PEPCO WILL HAVE TO SHUT DOWN 3RD ST BETWEEN WATER ST & TINGEY ST SE TO SET TRANSFORMERS ONLY - WORK WILL BEGIN 10 / 12 / 18 THROUGH 11 / 30 / 18 - MONDAY THRU FRIDAYS FROM 10PM TIL 8AM AND SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS FROM 6AM TIL 6PM
227 TINGEY ST SE   
10/09/18 
FOREST CITY WASHINGTON / DFM DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, LLC
AH1900056 / CONSTRUCTION
Yards Parcel L-2. Afterhours permit for follow-up test run of the precast concrete façade panel installation. Work to take place 7pm on 10 / 10 to 7am on 10 / 11.
   
10/15/18 
GONE YARD HOTEL OWNER LLC / MICHAEL ERIC CAMPBELL 703-631-2711
FB1900011 / SUPPLEMENTAL
NO. TO BE INSTALLED (2) GROSS RATING: 999999 BTU / HR NATURAL GAS STEAM PRESSURE 160 PSI OUTPUT: 960,000 BTU / HR
   
10/15/18 
GONE YARD HOTEL OWNER LLC / MICHAEL ERIC CAMPBELL
UP1900012 / 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;

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