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CSX is alerting nearby residents and businesses that it will soon begin demolishing a 370-foot section of the existing Virginia Avenue Tunnel between the tunnel's west entrance and 3rd Street, SE, a process expected to take several months and one that will include early morning starts, the intermittent stoppage of train traffic, and the use of excavators equipped with hydraulic hammers.
"Based on the railroad’s network-wide operational constraints, including consideration for maintaining scheduled commuter operations, the demolition work must occur during the early morning hours of each weekday: workday preparations and safety inspections will start as early as 4:30 a.m. and actual demolition activities will start as early as 5:30 a.m., continuing to late morning. This work is planned to begin on Monday, January 18, 2016, and is estimated to continue into late March or early April." There may also be overnight work on Sunday nights in late January and early February, beginning between 7 and 9 pm.
As one might imagine, this is not expected to be a quiet process.
In its newsletter about the demolition, CSX says that it has "coordinated extensively" with DDOT to optimize when the work will occur in order to "limit the impact on the community to the greatest extent possible." Mitigation measures to be deployed include installing "noise-dampening blankets" on perimeter fencing and at "appropriate locations north, south, east and west of the demolition site."
The closest buildings to the demolition site are the DC government's 200 I Street office (known to some as the renovated old Post Plant), which as you can see in the photo will have a front-row seat to the work. Then there are some Capitol Quarter townhomes only a little further away, at 3rd Street.
The company also says it will be using "best-in-class demolition equipment to minimize mechanical noise generated from the equipment itself," and that the plan is to have the demolition debris collected by trucks operating within the tunnel itself that will then haul the material westward along the path of the tracks to the open yard at New Jersey Avenue.
In addition, construction crews and vehicle operators are being directed "minimize travel near adjacent residences and businesses and restricting all possible site access to only the western entrances from H Street and 2nd Street before normal project hours, limiting or avoiding entirely any traffic at the 3rd Street entrance to the work area before 7 a.m."
And because the work can't be done in the dark, there will be temporary lighting erected as well, which is supposed to be "directed away from adjacent properties."
With good timing, the next quarterly open house on the project is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Courtyard Marriott, but CSX is also ready to answer questions on the work through its web site or the project's toll-free number, 800-494-1049.
Would it make you feel any better to know that in the same newsletter CSX says that the project is "on schedule" to be completed in 2018? The company says that "significant progress" was made in 2015, and that "more than half of the necessary support pilings have been drilled, 4,500 truckloads of soil have been excavated, [and] 4,400 cubic yards of concrete have been poured[.]"
Yeah, I didn't think so.
In the meantime, here are two photos I took earlier this month that don't really have to do with the demolition itself, but do show the progress of excavation along Virginia Avenue west of 7th Street, and then peering down into the hole west of 5th Street to see just how far down they've gotten.
Comments (6)
   
 
 More About CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

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Andrew in DC says: (1/11/16 10:18 PM)
Their blankets are a joke. "Here, let me hang a sack-cloth over a rail at 8-feet. Don't you feel better?" No. I feel like I'm being blasted with your noise in direct line-of-sight to my living quaters. Thanks, CSX.


CHTexpat says: (1/11/16 10:50 PM)
It's a shame folks fruitlessly opposed this project instead of getting some neighborhood benefits when CSX was in the earlier stages... Now it looks like the neighborhood gets nothing, but a new alarm clock


dude says: (1/12/16 8:37 AM)
It sounds like the 3rd ST onramp to 695/395 will stay open. Do I have that right? Hope so.


JD says: (1/12/16 8:41 AM)
This is all happening south of the freeway, west of 3rd, so, yes, no impact to the 3rd street ramp.

(Though this is a good time to again tell the story for the younguns who weren't around that back in 2000-2001, that on-ramp was closed for *15 months* when they rebuilt the flyover there.)


JD says: (1/12/16 9:07 AM)
.... I did fix my somewhat sloppy map of the demo area, though.


conngs0 says: (1/12/16 9:10 AM)
It actually does make me feel a little better to know that the project is proceeding according to schedule. That the project was going to be painful for the neighborhood was abundantly clear for the years leading up to its commencement, so the only solace to take is that it's completed properly and on time (or early!).

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1300 4TH ST SE 1001   
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AP BOWER RETAIL LLC / null
E2104231 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1346 4TH ST SE APT 1M   
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null / NA NA NA
EHOP21945129 / HOME OCCUPATION
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GREYSTAR GP LLC 809-853 NEW JERSEY AVENUE ACQUISITION LLC / null
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861 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
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GS CSX HOTEL OWNER LLC / null
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FC 1275 NJ LLC / null
E2103662 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
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FC 1275 NJ LLC / null
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848 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
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CXS TRANSPORTATION INC / VICTORIA STEINHOFF; TBD
SB2100111 / CONSTRUCTION
Installation of up to six (6) 3-inch diameter direct-push Geoprobe borings to depths of up to 30 feet below grade as part of an environmental assessment.
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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