Since January, 2003
            
 Sliding from Before to After

The District Department of Transportation will be hitting a big milestone in the $300 million, four-year project to build three new 11th Street Bridge spans, as the new inbound "freeway" span will be opening by Monday morning, Dec. 19.
Mayor Gray will be participating in a ribbon cutting ceremony on the new span Friday morning, then there will be a weekend's worth of lane closures on I-295 and associated roads as the switch takes place, but DDOT expects to have traffic running on this new span by Monday's morning rush hour.
The new outbound freeway span is "tentatively" scheduled to open next week (Merry Christmas, commuters!).
There are still numerous flyovers and ramps that will need to be completed in order to add the highly anticipated new movements between the bridges and the Southeast Freeway and I-295, but that work can't be completed until traffic is moved to these two new spans.
The separate "11th Street Local Bridge" that will connect downtown Anacostia with 11th Street by the Navy Yard (and will include pedestrian/bicycling pathways) will open probably next summer. The entire project is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.
For far more information, check my 11th Street Bridges page and DDOT's official project page. You can also see the photos I took back on Nov. 1 of the progress on all three spans.
And here's the information on this weekend's road closures and detours in advance of the lane switches, which hopefully will also be posted on DDOT's web site soon:
· A single lane will be closed on northbound I-295 between Howard Road, SE and 11th Street from 12 am to 10 pm on Saturday, December 17.
· All I-295 northbound lanes between Howard Road, SE and 11th Street, SE will be closed at 10 pm on Saturday, December 17 through 9 am the following morning.
· The ramps from northbound I-295 (Exit 4) and 13th Street, SE to the existing 11th Street inbound bridge (Exit 4) will be closed from 9 am to 5 pm on Sunday, December 18.
· The ramp from the existing 11th Street inbound bridge to the westbound Southeast/Southwest Freeway will be closed at 10 pm on Saturday, December 17 through 5 pm the following day.
· Starting at 9:00 am on Sunday, December 18 one northbound lane on I-295 will be reopened to traffic and starting at 11 am a second northbound lane will also be reopened to traffic.
During the lane and ramp closures, signed detours will be posted.
Detours:
· During the closure of the northbound lanes of I-295, motorists traveling on northbound I-295 will be detoured via the ramp from northbound I-295 (Exit 4) to the existing 11th Street inbound bridge and M Street, SE to access the eastbound Southeast/Southwest Freeway using the 9th Street, SE entrance ramp. From eastbound Southeast/Southwest Freeway, motorists will access northbound DC 295 via eastbound Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.
· During the closure of the ramps from northbound I-295 and 13th Street, SE to the existing 11th Street inbound bridge (Exit 4), motorists will be detoured onto South Capitol Street to access the westbound Southeast/Southwest Freeway, Interstate 395, and destinations located via M Street, SE.
UPDATE, 12/19: At 11:38 am on Sunday, Dec. 18, the inbound span opened. Here's coverage from NBC4, and DDOT's own blog. And in all of this I should have mentioned that this opening included the new ramp down to M Street, bypassing the old 12th Street ramp/approach to M. There's now a new light at M for the two lanes of freeway-exiting traffic to turn left.
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dcbrewer says: (12/15/11 2:20 PM)
So, I guess this doesn't include the inbound span from I-295 South? Having that connection finally established will be SUCH an improvement, in my opinion.


JD says: (12/15/11 2:26 PM)
Not yet. Like I said, those additional movements will be coming by the end of 2013, but are ramps that they can't continue building until they move traffic away from the existing bridge.


Froggie says: (12/15/11 3:38 PM)
This explains the variable message signs I saw on I-295 last night warning of a "New Traffic Pattern" between "Dec 16-19"...


Peter Ansoff says: (12/19/11 1:01 PM)
Our office in Maritime Plaza overlooks the new M Street offramp, so we've had a birds-eye view of the construction and the traffic pattern. A problem we're noticing today (12/19, the first day that the ramp is open), is that the "left turn only" sign on the left side of 12th Street is causing some confusion. The sign is visible from the new ramp, and apparently some drivers are assuming that they can't make a right turn from the ramp onto M.

Many folks here commute via I-295, and currently use the 11th Street ramp to get onto the existing outbound bridge. From the published drawings and the current state of construction, it's not clear how one will access the new outbound bridge from M Street. I guess we'll find out next week!


JD says: (12/19/11 1:10 PM)
If you look at this graphic ( link ) you can see the new ramp to the outbound freeway bridge from M Street just east of 11th. Guess they think they'll have it done by the weekend!


Peter Ansoff says: (12/21/11 8:36 AM)
That new ramp is just a pile of dirt at the moment -- I don't think that they'll have it done by this weekend. My guess is that they'll have to route outbound traffic up 8th Street to the freeway ramp, and then back over the existing approach to the new bridge.

The good news is that they have removed the confusing sign from 12 Street, and added a "No Turn on Red" sign at the bottom of the inbound ramp.


Froggie says: (12/21/11 4:16 PM)
link

DDOT's December 2011 project newsletter here suggests that the existing ramp will remain for the time being, as it will become part of the detour for outbound SE Fwy traffic to access Anacostia when the new outbound bridge opens up.


Peter Ansoff says: (12/22/11 8:02 AM)
Hmm. That graphic is puzzling, because it seems to show the detour going over the *old* outbound bridge. I don't see how the 11th Street ramp could be connected to the new outbound bridge without additional construction. We shall see!

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