Opened in 1906, the Virginia Avenue Tunnel is now a major thoroughfare for east coast rail traffic, running beneath the street and just south of the Southeast Freeway for 10 blocks. Construction began in spring 2015, and Virginia Avenue itself will be closed for more than two years, although CSX says that the cross streets will remain open to traffic and pedestrians.
July 19, 2010 - Looking eastward from the New Jersey Avenue overpass into the start of the tunnel at 2nd Street, with Garfield Park to the left and the now-closed horse stables to the right. The Southeast Freeway looms above.
July 12, 2015 -
Some of the first dirt moved for the tunnel project, on Virginia Avenue just east of 2nd Street, alongside the Southeast Freeway embankment.
July 12, 2015 -
One casualty for the project's duration: the closure of the route to and from Garfield Park under the freeway (though the skateboarding area is still open [yay?]).
August 1, 2010 - Third and Virginia, with the Capitol Quarter townhomes at right. With Virginia Avenue closed, the alley a few yards past the intersection would need some sort of temporary access built from 3rd Street where the grass to the right of the sidewalk. Third Street itself would remain open.
May 20, 2010 - Fourth at Virginia, with more townhouses to the right (set back farther than in the 300 block), and the 6th Street exit ramp from the freeway at left. It is possible that the exit ramp may be shifted a few feet northward (leftward). The tunnel runs on a line a bit to the left of the street footprint, under the grass embankment, to match up with the footprint of the street east of 5th.
July 12, 2015 -
The construction plan has brought about the closure of the little stub of I Street east of 4th and east of the alley on its south side. The "pocket park" in this location will be reconfigured once construction is completed, covering where I used to hook left to intersect with Virginia Avenue.
May 2007 - At 5th/6th Street, coming off the freeway exit ramp. As mentioned, the ramp may be moved northward a couple of feet, and all traffic would be diverted left under the freeway, where the northern half of Virginia Avenue could be changed to a two-way street to allow traffic to continue to head eastward.
March 9, 2014 - Eighth and Virginia. The 11th Street Bridges project gave CSX an assist by demolishing the on-ramp that was once here (where the dirt is now) and moving it slightly northward.
September 20, 2009 - Looking into the Virginia Avenue Park east of 9th Street, where the construction would cross the park on its way to 11th Street.
July 19, 2010 - The tunnel's eastern opening, at 12th Street north of M. (Hopefully there's room in the budget for a lawn mower and some landscapers.)
February 26, 2012 - Turning back and looking from Virginia Avenue Park at the iconic view westward along Virginia Avenue at 9th Street.
June 10, 2012 -
Third and Virginia, where the work done on the sidewalks and lawn of the revamped 225 Virginia/200 I
office building will be for naught, as the construction footprint will run a number of feet to the south/left of the sidewalk.
February 26, 2012 - Back to where we started, looking at the tunnel embankment at 2nd Street.