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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Douglass Bridge
See JDLand's Douglass Bridge Project Page
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In the Pipeline
1000 1st St.
Square 696
Yards/Icon Theater
1000 South Capitol
25 M
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
1333 M St.
New Douglass Bridge
More Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
SC1100
Completed
District Winery ('17)
Insignia on M ('17)
F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
Community Center ('16)
The Brig ('16)
Park Chelsea ('16)
Yards/Arris ('16)
Hampton Inn ('15)
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Cap. ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
 
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I have been intending to write more substantively about a few of these things, but now in the interest of actually getting them posted, I'll go with abbreviated versions:
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE MEETING: DDOT is holding two public meetings to "discuss the current status" of the new Douglass Bridge project. There is one in Ward 6 on Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at 1100 4th St., SW (DCRA conference room), and another in Ward 8 on Wednesday, Nov. 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Thurgood Marshall Academy, 2427 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE. See my project page and/or the official web site for details.
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE BLEATING: The Commission on Fine Arts says the new bridge design "lacks grace." (WBJ)
* 3RD STREET TWEAKING: Watch for the single travel lane on 3rd Street SE at Virginia Avenue to be moved off of the temporary deck and onto new pavement Any Minute Now. This is so the deck can be demolished and restoration work can then continue on both 3rd and Virginia. (CSX)
* BARRACKS EIS RELEASING: Remember those plans to build a new Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, which ended up deciding that the new building would be built next to the existing building at 7th and L? There's actually some movement, with the final EIS expected to be released Any Minute Now, and the Record of Decision expected to follow. I'll write more when the EIS comes out, but in the meantime here's a newsletter from last month with the latest.
* ANC REP REPPING: Read more updates on neighborhood goings-on from ANC 6D07 commissioner Meredith Fascett.
* TASTEBUDS APPROVING: Ana, the restaurant at District Winery, gets good words from the Post's food critic. (WaPo)
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More posts: Barracks, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues
 

I don't get truly surprised too often anymore after 13-plus years in this gig, but when I clicked the link for this Washington Post article, "DC Unveils Plans for New Frederick Douglass Bridge," I most certainly did not expect to see a completely new design of the bridge that has been on the boards to be replaced for well over a decade.
Gone is the arched bascule design that was chosen many moons ago, replaced with a showier look using three sets of parallel arches. (I will await more detailed renderings before assuming that the bridge has the same multi-use paths on each side of the bridge as the previous design did, though the Post article says there is at least one.)
The plans for building the new bridge immediately south of and parallel to the old bridge have not changed, and there will still be large traffic ovals on both ends.
A $441 million design-build contract has been awarded to a joint venture of Archer Western Construction and Granite Construction Company, and AECOM is the lead designer. This phase also includes the reconstruction of the interchange of Interstate 295 and the Suitland Parkway.
The Post article says that the new bridge is "projected to open in 2021."
Here's a few more graphics purloined from the Post piece--hopefully DDOT will post their video of the design soon and I'll add the link.
It'll take me a little while to update my South Capitol Street Bridge project page, but in the meanwhile it's a nice trip down memory lane and includes more information (current as of the last time the city announced information about the project) about the ovals and whatnot.
And my South Capitol Street project page explains how this bridge and the interchange project are the first of a multiphase plan to rework much of South Capitol from the Southeast Freeway to the Suitland Park.
UPDATE: There is a new URL for an official web site for the project, newfrederickdouglassbridge.com. You can see the rendering video by scrolling down a touch or clicking on "Gallery." There's a lot of additional drawings, including these two from above, which show the traffic ovals and also do show multi-use paths on both sides of the bridge. See also the siteplan to get your bearings about the new bridge and ovals and 295 interchange.
Also, the project web site says that construction is expected to begin in "winter 2017."
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More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues
 

More than two years after four teams were shortlisted for the opportunity to compete for the project, DDOT announced today that it has issued the final Request for Proposals (RFP) for the first phase of the South Capitol Street Corridor reconstruction, which includes a new Douglass Bridge and approach work, plus a new interchange at I-295 and the Suitland Parkway.
The release today says that design/build proposals from the four teams are due this fall, and that DDOT expects to begin construction in the spring of 2017, and complete this first phase in 2020, but, well, We Shall See.
I absolutely cannot bear to write about this in any detail AGAIN, so if you haven't been keeping up with the plans to replace the existing 67-year-old bridge, please check out my post from August 2015, when it was announced that the project got its federal approval/record of decision, or my post from late 2014 about the supplemental EIS that presented some tweaks to the plan that had been stalled after a preferred alternative was identified back in 2011.
But if clicking on one of those links is more than you yourself can bear, I will just plagiarize the summary I wrote in August:
As you can see in the pilfered-from-DDOT graphic above, the new bridge will run immediately parallel and downriver of the existing bridge, with two new large traffic ovals on its approaches. There will also be a much-needed reconstruction of the I-295/Suitland Parkway interchange.
The bridge will have three travel lanes in each direction, along with 18-feet-wide pedestrian/bike paths on both the up-river and down-river edges of the bridge, which will be configured as one 8-foot-wide lane for pedestrians and a 10-foot-wide bidirectional bike path.
The eventual second phase of this overall "South Capitol Street Corridor Project" will be streetscape improvements to the north end of the street, similar to the spiffening that the blocks from N to Potomac received back in 2007 that give the street more of an "urban boulevard" feel. This will include a full redesign of the M Street intersection and a reconfiguration of South Capitol's interchange with I-395.
My South Capitol Street and South Capitol Street Bridge project pages are also good places to go for details.
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More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues
 

The process to build a new Douglass Bridge hasn't exactly been moving at lightning speed, but nevertheless an important milestone has been reached: on August 14 it was announced that "the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement (SFEIS) and issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the South Capitol Street Corridor Project—both indicating federal approval of the project."
And with $587 million in DC's budget already earmarked for the project, DDOT can move forward with the next big step: choosing the design-build team, presumably from among the "final four" bidders identified back in February 2014, a process that is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.
The current Douglass Bridge is now 66 years old, and has been classified as "functionally obsolete." DDOT says that if it is not replaced "within the next five years, the bridge would require an estimated $110 million in major rehabilitation work and would need to be closed for more than a year."
(And, maybe I'm just getting older and turning into even more of a fraidy cat, but holy moly is the traffic making the current bridge vibrate like crazy when you walk the pedestrian path. I just don't remember it moving that much even six months ago. Which perhaps might explain this bit of crumbling I saw on Saturday.)
This is now at least my 120th post on the bridge and the plans to replace it, so I'll go with a very quick summary (this post from last December is a good catch-up option). As you can see in the pilfered-from-DDOT graphic above, the new bridge will run immediately parallel and downriver of the existing bridge, with two new large traffic ovals on its approaches. There will also be a much-needed reconstruction of the I-295/Suitland Parkway interchange.
The bridge will have three travel lanes in each direction, along with 18-feet-wide pedestrian/bike paths on both the up-river and down-river edges of the bridge, which will be configured as one 8-foot-wide lane for pedestrians and a 10-foot-wide bidirectional bike path.
The eventual second phase of this overall "South Capitol Street Corridor Project" will be streetscape improvements to the north end of the street, similar to the spiffening that the blocks from N to Potomac received back in 2007 that give the street more of an "urban boulevard" feel. This will include a full redesign of the M Street intersection and a reconfiguration of South Capitol's interchange with I-395.
The full Request for Proposals is expected to be released in the spring of 2016.
While waiting for the new bridge to arrive, I may have to put out calls for volunteers willing to let me tether myself to them when I need to take pictures from the existing bridge, because otherwise the authorities will probably have to respond to calls of an old lady frozen in place on the pedestrian path, holding a camera but too terrified to move.
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More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge
 

Some brief links, because I think I've used up my allotment of words over the past few weeks, but also because the continuing web site problems have just utterly worn me down. (Reminder: if you get a 503 Service Unavailable error, or the site is loading but with all sorts of formatting problems, just count to 10--or maybe 20--and reload. They are supposedly investigating, but I may have to be committed before they manage to fix it.)
* RAMP CLOSURE SATURDAY: The ramp from M Street at 11th to the outbound 11th Street freeway bridge will be closed for "pavement striping modifications" on Saturday, April 11, from 7 am until 5 pm. The local bridge will be the detour. (DDOT)
* NO HOLIDAY FOR METERS: If you are thinking that you can park for free in metered street spaces near Nats Park on game days that fall on Sundays and holidays, you would be wrong. (DDOT)
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE $$$: Mayor Bowser's proposed FY16 budget includes $512.7 million for the new Douglass Bridge. (WBJ)
* BEST BAR BLUEJACKET: Esquire's "Best Bars in America" visited Bluejacket, among other spots, calling it the "Willy Wonka of beer breweries." (HillNow)
* FAIRGROUNDS LAMENT: "The Fairgrounds is a dying breed of the Nats fan experience." (WaPo)
* BREAKING ICE CREAM NEWS: Ice Cream Jubilee has added "Chocolate Matzo Crack," "Fig, Port, & Goat Cheese," and "Cherries Jubilee" as springtime flavors. And milkshakes!
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More posts: icecreamjubilee, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues
 

* HOMEWOOD SUITES: The planned 195-room Homewood Suites hotel on the northeast corner of Half and M streets SE now has an approved shoring/sheeting/excavation permit, which means they can start digging whenever the mood strikes. (Foundation and above-grade permits are still in process.) Now the question is, which project with okayed excavation permits will get in the ground first--Homewood or Ballpark Square (which has its own 170-room hotel with an as-yet-unnamed operator, alongside a 325-unit residential building)?
* FITNESS FAIR: On Wednesday, Jan. 28, VIDA Fitness will be hosting a free "Fitness Fair" from 5 to 7 pm at all six of its locations, including Tingey Street, with information about the programs and classes available as well as "complimentary fitness consultations, health screenings and nutritional counseling."
* 1244 SOUTH CAPITOL: I have been remiss in not mentioning sooner that JBG's designs for a 290-unit residential building on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N received a 5-0 final action vote from the Zoning Commission earlier this month. The building, just north of Nats Parking Lot B on the old BP Amoco site, will also have 26,000 square feet of retail. Next step: the building permit gauntlet.
* SOUTH CAPITOL STREET MEETING: I didn't make it to last week's meeting on the latest plans for the new Douglass Bridge and other South Capitol Street improvements, but here are the presentation slides and display boards.
* MONTADITOS'ED: Mr. JDLand is within striking distance of completing his quest to eat all of the sandwich offerings on the 100 Montaditos menu. (You really have to admire the man's commitment.) It's looking like Thursday (Jan. 29) at lunchtime may be when he crosses the finish line, if anyone wants to be there with me to toast his accomplishment. I'll update with actual times here and on Twitter. (And yes, the blog about the quest is only at #45.)
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More posts: 1221 Van, Homewood Suites, montaditos, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, vida
 

If you are looking for some light Christmas reading, you can sit down by the fireplace with all 335 pages (plus appendices!) of the newest revision to the plans for reconfiguring much of South Capitol Street, including the construction of a new Frederick Douglass Bridge.
This document, technically known as the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS), describes the new "revised preferred alternative" (RPA) design that tweaks the original preferred alternative in the Final EIS released back in 2011.
The bullet points for what the project plans are north/west of the Anacostia River are in the graphic at right (click to enlarge). The changes in this new RPA include:
* Changing the design of the bridge from a moveable span to a fixed-span bridge, which would save approximately $140 million in construction costs;
* Shifting the orientation of the new Douglass Bridge to an alignment parallel to the existing bridge, 30 feet down river, which avoids the need and lengthy process to acquire some land from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling as well as a number of expensive relocation and reconstruction issues that a new alignment avoids (see page 2-91 of the SDEIS for details);
* A slight reduction of the size of the traffic oval on the western side (at Potomac Avenue):
* Replacing the previously designed circle on the eastern approach with an oval, located entirely in the DDOT right-of-way;
* And several other changes on the east side of the project that I will leave to others to discuss in detail. (See page ES-6 of the SDEIS.)
The initial design of the ovals and of the bridge itself were met with some consternation during this revision process. The SDEIS notes that in response to these concerns, DDOT has created a "Visual Quality Manual" for the project, which identifies design goals that are to "reflect the vision of providing a grand urban boulevard, which will be a gateway into the nation's capital, an iconic symbol of the District's aspirations in the 21st century, and a catalyst to revitalize local neighborhoods and the Anacostia Waterfront." (page 2-26).
As for the bridge itself, the version in this RPA will support three travel lanes in each direction, along with 18 feet of bicycle and pedestrian paths on *both* sides of the bridge--an 8-foot lane for pedestrians and a 10-foot birdirectional bike path. (Enlarge the image at right to see that I'm not lying about the bike/ped stuff.)
And the design of the bridge is to "make its primary aesthetic impact through its position (alignment), and the shape and sizes of its structural elements" and is to " aesthetically appear to be part of a continuous urban corridor." This includes the avoidance of "using elements, solely for aesthetic effect, which do not contribute to the support of the bridge." (page 2-28)
Plans for the reconfiguration of South Capitol Street as a "grand urban boulevard" have all along called for changing the intersection of South Capitol and M streets to an "at-grade intersection" (page 4-79), which would also mean that K and L would have signalized four-way intersections with South Capitol, unlike today. The wide median seen south of N would be established on the north end of the street as well, now all the way to D Street SE in the RPA. Also changing in this new plan are a few new left-turn options at I Street SE/SW and L Street SE.
Revisions have also been made to the ramps from South Capitol Street to I-395 and I-695, but the basics from the original plans remain, most notably the demolition of the existing suspended ramp from northbound South Capitol to the SE/SW Freeway.
Even with the revisions made to cut the costs of the new Douglass Bridge, this isn't a cheap project. The five phases together are anticipated to cost over $1 billion, with Segment 1, including the new bridge and traffic ovals, estimated at $480 million. The "grand boulevard"-izing of South Capitol Street is estimated at $153 million, and planned streetscape improvements to New Jersey Avenue between D and M streets SE at $42 million, plus another $358 million in east-of-the-river improvements (page 2-11).
Worn out yet? I sure am! (I've mostly lost track of how much of this is truly even "new" news at this point.) But perhaps you can regain your strength by Jan. 22, 2015, when the public meeting on this SDEIS will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Matthews Memorial Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 2616 Martin Luther King Ave., SE. The public comment period is running until Feb. 2. DDOT is also still amidst the design/build proposal process, with proposals expected sometime in the spring.
The SouthCapitolEIS.com web site is now focused mainly on this SDEIS, of which clearly I've just scratched the surface; you can slog through my piles of posts on all of this over the years for the historical rundown.
UPDATE: Here's the WashCycle take on the latest plans, from a bike/ped perspective.
 

Goodness, these piled up all of a sudden. Let's start with the food and drink-related items:
* Strolling by the long-in-the-works Willie's Brew and 'Que at the Boilermaker Shops over the weekend, I saw that flat screen TVs are now up on the walls. I imagine they are dreaming of being open by Opening Day.
* Ice Cream Jubilee at the Lumber Shed now has its tenant layout permit approved, so work should be underway there.
* PoPville reports that Hill Country's attempts to open a temporary location on Tingey Plaza behind USDOT haven't worked out.
And, on the non-digestible front:
* SWill reports on ANC 6D's newest commissioner, Stacy Cloyd, who is filling the 6D02 vacancy left by Ed Kaminski. A resident of Southwest, Stacy will also be representing areas east of South Capitol, including Velocity, Capitol Hill Tower, and Nats Park (and River Parc, before long).
* DDOT has released its draft Request for Proposals to the short-list finalists for the first two phases of the South Capitol Street project, which include building the new bridge and also rebuilding the interchange of I-295 and the Suitland Parkway.
* The new owners of the lot at South Capitol and N just north of Nats Park have withdrawn the pending zoning case for the site, which predated the property's recent sale. The previous ownership group had long been working on an office project, but in its withdrawal letter 1244 South Capitol Residential LLC says it is "studying development of the property for residential uses," and that it plans "to submit a new application for Capitol Gateway review in the near future."
* Outside the boundaries, but Near Southeast residents may still be interested in the looming start of the huge Wharf project on the Southwest Waterfront, with a ceremonial groundbreaking scheduled for March 19. Here's the Post's story on the new development, along with a photo gallery (which might seem to have a somewhat familiar style) of the current waterfront, before it's gone.
 

* CSX NEAR: The Kojo Nnamdi Show hosted on Monday a roundtable on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, with David Garber and others. You can listen to it here.
* CSX FAR: Heads will explode, but I will pass along that CSX's J&L Tunnel Modification project has recently won two engineering awards. What is this tunnel? "The J&L Tunnel was constructed in the 1880s as part of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad to allow trains to run beneath the former J&L Steel Company’s Pittsburgh Works Southside facility." And what was the project? CSX "increased the vertical clearance of a 130-year-old tunnel running through Pittsburgh’s SouthSide Works, a mixed-use residential and commercial development. CSX worked closely with public officials, local businesses and residents to minimize noise and disruption during construction. Upon completion of the tunnel work, CSX restored trees and plantings, and invested in landscaping improvements that left the overlying Tunnel Park a more usable recreational space."
* HAMPTON: The building permit has been approved for the 168-room Hampton Inn just north of Nats Park. (The shoring permit was approved back in December.)
* THE MASTER PLAN: DDOT has officially released its update to the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Master Plan. This covers projects like the new Douglass Bridge and South Capitol Street makeover, the Barney Circle/Southeast Boulevard redo, the M Street SE/SW transportation study, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, and all other manner of projects and studies for infrastructure updates and improvements in the area. (Though, at 194 pages, maybe the Executive Summary will be a good place to start.) If I were a good blogger, I'd write a big in-depth entry about this, but, well, we know the answer to that these days....
* POLITICS: The Post grades the recent Southwest/Near Southeast Mayoral Forum, and the Hill Rag looks closely at the Ward 6 council race. Primary day is now less than a month away, on April 1. And note that tonight (March 4) there is a forum with the candiates at 7 pm at Westminster Church at 400 I St. SW, and there will be a Ward 6 candidate forum on education issues on Thursday, March 6, at 6:30 pm at Stuart-Hobson Middle School.
* DE-W'ED: Have you noticed that the Curly Ws are gone from various freeway signs? Here's why.
* PASTOR MILLS: Unfortunately, a sad piece of news to mention is that Karen Mills, pastor of the St. Paul's church at 4th and I SE, passed away on Feb. 21. I only met her a few times, but she was a very welcoming and pleasant presence, and condolences go out to her family, friends, and members of the church.
Anything else catching peoples' eyes?
 

Last week DDOT announced the four teams that have been chosen to advance to the next round and battle it out for the grand prize of being able to design and build the new Douglass Bridge and its approaches as well as reconstruct the Suitland Parkway/I-295 interchange, a prize package worth at least $608 million.
These four teams will now have the opportunity to respond to DDOT's Request for Proposals on the project, which should be released at some point in the not-too-distant future.
The two reconstruction projects are officially known as Segments 1 and 2 in the two-phase/five-part South Capitol Street Corridor Project, which will also eventually extend the "grand boulevard" feel from a reconfigured M Street intersection north to the Southeast Freeway, build a new on-ramp there, and throw in some streetscape enhancements along New Jersey Avenue as well.
I missed out on a fair amount of discussion of this project last year, including the mayor "announcing the new design" of the bridge that was only marginally different than the design that's been on the boards for a number of years (though the announcement did include a cool video). The announcement was followed by some controversy over the size and necessity of the traffic ovals and even the bridge design itself. (But some cyclists seem okay with it.)
I also didn't get the chance to note that the position of the bridge has undergone some alteration, in that the new bridge's footprint is now designed to run completely parallel to the current bridge, instead of a more diagonal alignment from the original EIS, which you can see compared on pages 11 and 12 of this October 2013 project update.
In the fall, both the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts looked at the project, with the latter pooh-poohing the "uninspired" bridge design and calling for a the design-build process to come up with a "more innovative proposal" instead of the Memorial Bridge-like arched bascule design that DDOT has chosen. Both commissions are generally supportive of the two ovals, though NCPC's comments after a November review of the project notes that more discussions of the western oval (just southwest of Nationals Park) "will need to occur to help further the ideas of creating a vibrant destination."
While waiting for the RFP to be released and for the designs of the bridge and the ovals to be "refined" for NCPC/CFA approval, you can check out my Douglass Bridge project page, my South Capitol Street page, and the reams of words I've written about both over the years.
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More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge
 
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