Since January, 2003
            
 (a random before-and-after moment)
February 16, 2006
January 20, 2018
South Capitol at Potomac, Looking Northwest (see more)

(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. "
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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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300 B/O VIRGINIA AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
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1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
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1100 B/O 8TH ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Theft First Degree (Stolen Auto)
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UNIT B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
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1000 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Theft First Degree (Stolen Auto)
 05/28/18
1100 B/O 10TH ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
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Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1100 2ND PL SE   
06/19/18 
CAPPER CARROLLSBURG VENTURE LLC / null
E1807795 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1018 3RD ST SE   
06/06/18 
DAVID A LEINER / SCOTT STERL
F1800474 / CONSTRUCTION
REPLACEMENT OF AN EXISTING CHAIN LINK FENCE TO A WOODEN FENCE 6FT. TALL.
1212 4TH ST SE   
06/06/18 
null / THAIS NA PEACHER
EHOP18924304 / HOME OCCUPATION
100 H ST SE   
06/19/18 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / RUSSELL COX
FD1800083 / CONSTRUCTION
Construction of foundation only
101 H ST SE   
06/05/18 
SQUARE 737 LLC / JOHN SONNER 4438727277
E1807389 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
06/06/18 
SQUARE 737 LLC / null
P1806501 / SUPPLEMENTAL
2 I ST SE   
05/31/18 
CRESCENT CAPITOL VIEW / null
E1807278 / SUPPLEMENTAL
4 I ST SE   
06/18/18 
CRESCENT COMMUNITIES / KIM MITCHELL
B1804349 / CONSTRUCTION
VELOCITY - 4 I ST SE- IS THE PHASE II OF A MIXED-USE RESIDENTIAL PROJECT LOCATED AT 2 I ST SE. IT SITS AT TE CORNER OF I ST & SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE. PHASE II CONSIST OF 184 RESIDENTIAL UNITS AND ROUGHLY 3,800 SF OF RETAIL ON 1ST FLOOR FACING I STREET. TWO LEVELS OF UNDERGROUND PARKING GARAGE SERVES BOTH PHASES OF THE PROJECT. BUILDING HEIGHT IS 130 FEET. INCLUDING 3 ELEVATORS.
202 M ST SE   
05/29/18 
null
E1807211 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
05/29/18 
null
P1806323 / SUPPLEMENTAL
100 M ST SE   
06/05/18 
SQUARE 743 INC / ROBERT L HUNTER 703-404-0303
M1802631 / SUPPLEMENTAL
202 M ST SE   
05/31/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / null
P1806387 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE   
05/25/18 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / GARY BRENT; CARLOS DIAZ
SG1800308 / CONSTRUCTION
Install 2 illuminated wall signs and 1 temporary Banner - Sprint
   
06/01/18 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / SAM HOLLEN
B1809520 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR RENOVATION TO 8TH FLOOR OFFICE SPACE. PARTITIONS, FURNITURE, MECHANICAL, ELECTRICAL AND LIFE SAFETY. NO PLUMBING OR STRUCTURAL. 860 SQUARE FEET. STRATEGIC INSIGHT
410 M ST SE   
05/30/18 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / SCOTT NICHOLS
AN1800023 / CONSTRUCTION
AT&T proposes to add three new antennas to an existing rooftop telecommunications facility.
1115 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
06/07/18 
DONOHOE REAS ESTATE SERVICES / null
E1807467 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1115 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 20003   
06/14/18 
GALLERY CAPITOL RIVERFRONT PROPERTY LLC / THOMAS P MCGUIRE 410-766-7463
E1807687 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
06/14/18 
GALLERY CAPITOL RIVERFRONT PROPERTY LLC / THOMAS P MCGUIRE 410-766-7463
E1807698 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1115 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
06/12/18 
GALLERY CAPITOL WATERFRONT PROPERTY LLC / null
P1806653 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
06/12/18 
SQUARE 742 LLC / CLIFFORD DIXON
B1807730 / CONSTRUCTION
REVISION: REVISE B1804348 5TH FLOOR OFFICE SPACE TO EXTEND THE OFFICE INTO ADDITIONAL SPACE TO CREATE A LARGER OPEN OFFICE
1200 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 20590   
06/20/18 
JBG/FEDERAL CENTER LLC / ALFRED F JORDAN 202-437-5067
E1807865 / SUPPLEMENTAL
71 POTOMAC AVE SE   
05/30/18 
FORIDA ROCK PROPERTIES INC / ANKIT K SINGH
UT1800044 / CONSTRUCTION
Removal of an Underground storage Tank (UST) 7 feet in diameter and approximately 16 feet long (approximately 6,000 gallons). Suspected Fuel Tank. Tank is filled with water and soil. Tank will be cleaned, removed and disposed off as per the appropriate standards and requirements.
221 TINGEY ST SE   
06/05/18 
GONE YARD HOTEL OWNER LLC / MITCH PERMUY 7272100491
E1807017 / SUPPLEMENTAL
227 TINGEY ST SE   
05/25/18 
FOREST CITY WASHINGTON / MELISSA DIAZ
B1801871 / CONSTRUCTION
Yards Parcel L-2. New 11-story mixed use building with residential, retail on ground level, and underground parking garage. TPR
   
05/31/18 
FOREST CITY WASHINGTON / DANIEL P. THOMPSON
P1806388 / SUPPLEMENTAL
(2) Backwater valve
   
06/07/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / MICHAEL ERIC CAMPBELL 571-229-1360
M1802664 / SUPPLEMENTAL
Equipment Manufacturer Equipment Model AAON DOAS, RTU and AHU DAIKIN VRF and split systems DESERT AIRE LC06R7NFDDMLAERD
   
06/07/18 
FOREST CITY WASHINGTON / DANIEL P. THOMPSON
P1806553 / SUPPLEMENTAL
REVISION TO P1806388. IN LIEU OF 753 SINKS SHOULD READ 264 SINKS, 489 BASINS
   
06/18/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / MITCH PERMUY 7272100492
E1807256 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 TINGEY ST SE   
06/04/18 
FC BOILERMAKER LLC / ALBERT E. WILLIAMS 443-532-0991
M1802615 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
06/04/18 
FC BOILERMAKER LLC / null
P1806437 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
06/05/18 
FC BOILERMAKER LLC / CARLOS E. MONTES
P1806464 / SUPPLEMENTAL
355 WATER ST SE   
06/14/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / EDUARDO LOPEZ 2023884000
E1807680 / SUPPLEMENTAL
355 WATER ST ST SE   
06/13/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / KIMBERLY SPEED
TN1800127 / CONSTRUCTION
The Great Lawn at Yards Park will be the site of the California State Society Annual Summer Picnic. The contract specifies the licensee to obtain permits for tents and generators on the lawn. The large tent is 100 x 40 - which I have the Certificate of Flame Resistance), as well as a generator. I have the generator specifications from the distributor.
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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