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.
Feb. 28, 2016 - A zoomed view of the same spot, showing not only the demolition around the mouth of the tunnel entrance, but the vast amount of construction materials above and eastward on Virginia Avenue.
May 29, 2016 -
The state of Virginia Avenue west of 8th Street, one year into the project.
May 29, 2016 -
And the view eastward on Virginia from 8th.
May 29, 2016 -
The excavation for the second tunnel in the 300 block of Virginia, the block where private homes are within a few yards of the open trench.
Feb. 28, 2016 - The current view out the front doors and windows of those homes.
Feb. 28, 2016 - The 200 block of Virginia Avenue, with infrastructure being put in place as a long portion of the old tunnel's southern wall is demolished.
Feb. 28, 2016 - One half of the temporary bridge/deck that will allow traffic to cross Virginia on 4th Street while construction continues beneath the street is now in place, though it hasn't yet been activated. This will be done at every cross street from 3rd to 8th Street SE.
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.
August 1, 2010 - Third and Virginia, with the Capitol Quarter townhomes at right.
June 9, 2016
- The same location, with trees cut down and awaiting its closure. At right is the prep work for a temporary driveway that will allow residents of this block to access their alley.
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. 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.
February 28, 2016
- The same location. (Note my slight move to the left, to better approximate where Virginia Avenue will run once the project is completed.)
July 12, 2015 - Another view of the 4th and Virginia intersection, this time looking north. This street, with one-way traffic coming underneath the freeway from Capitol Hill, is a major north-south route into and out of the neighborhood.
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.
Jan. 24, 2006 -
A not-properly-positioned photo looking east on Virginia Avenue near its intersection with 5th Street, back when Capper Seniors #1
was under construction.
October 5, 2015
- The same location, now a sea of construction barrels.
Nov. 11, 2007 - The terribly exciting stretch of Virginia between 5th and 7th, running just north of the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters.
November 8, 2015
- The same location, showing the loss of the rightmost of the block's three lanes.
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.
Sept. 6, 2015 - Looking east on Virginia to its now-closed intersection with 9th Street, and getting a peek at the amount of space taken by the project from Virginia Avenue Park.
Jan. 25, 2009 - Looking west on L Street at 11th, back in 2009. (The old outbound flyover to the 11th Street Bridge is visible at upper right.)
August 29, 2015
- The same location, with the tunnel construction visible at right (and not all that long after it had finally been all cleaned up from the 11th Street Bridges construction.)
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?]).
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.
February 26, 2012 - Back to where we started, looking at the tunnel embankment at 2nd Street a few years before the start of construction.