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This is a little bit out-of-boundaries, but people who drive into Near Southeast (and Capitol Hill, and Southwest, etc.) may find it of note. Signage first hinted at it earlier this week, and now WTOP reports (and DDOT confirms via e-mail) that on Monday afternoon, July 30, the new ramp will open from southbound DC-295 to inbound I-695, i.e., the 11th Street Bridges' freeway span that feeds into the Southeast/Southwest Freeway. WTOP quotes DDOT deputy chief engineer Ravindra Ganvir as saying, "This piece has been missing for about 50 years. We're very excited about it."
WTOP got a sneak preview, and made it from Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue in Northeast to 6th Street SW in about 10 minutes, while another driver at the same time going the old way, via Pennsylvania Avenue, needed 19 minutes.
Of greater interest might be the next big piece of the reconstruction: the new ramp from the outbound freeway bridge to go northbound on DC-295, negating the need for either the ghastly left turn on Pennsylvania Avenue or wandering through Capitol Hill to get on DC-295 at RFK.
UPDATE: The second I posted this entry, I got an e-mail from DDOT with this announcement of the public event opening the span at 10:30 Monday morning, and this flyer explaining the new traffic movements.
UPDATE II: Here's the post about the opening on the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative web site, in case you don't believe me.
UPDATE, 7/30: Aaaand, it's open.
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Shogungts says: (7/29/12 10:13 AM)
"Of greater interest might be the next big piece of the reconstruction: the new ramp from the outbound freeway bridge to go northbound on DC-295, negating the need for either the ghastly left turn on Pennsylvania Avenue or wandering through Capitol Hill to get on DC-295 at RFK."

That will be very very very welcome not only for the occasional times I have to go that way, but b/c it will (hopefully) help with the traffic that goes all the way into Virginia on 395 b/c cars are backed up waiting to make that turn during evening rush hours.

The WTOP article says that is expected to open in the Fall, is that correct? I dont drive that way a lot, but when I have been over there recently, I can't recall seeing any infrastructure that would make this possible. Is the plan to still have cars drive over the existing bridge and then get onto 295N via an on ramp on the right side of Penn Ave?


JD says: (7/29/12 10:18 AM)
Yes, it's opening in the fall, and the ramp is clearly visible on the outbound 11th Street freeway bridge (not Pennsylvania Avenue, which I think is where you were looking?). It's to the right on the freeway bridge, you can already see the right exit lanes already, and the girders swooping across the outbound traffic to head northbound.



Shogungts says: (7/29/12 10:24 AM)
Ok, now I think I get it... Like you said, I was looking at the current entrance onto 295 via Penn Ave. In my 5+ years on the Hill, I have never taken the freeway towards 11th st bridge so I am not familiar with the setup, but now that I know where to look on your 11th st bridge page, I see where it links up. Thanks for the clarification. Exciting times!


KLB says: (7/30/12 11:39 AM)
I've been confused about exactly where the 295N traffic will split off from the 295S traffic. It looks like everyone will have to take the current 2 lane bridge off 695 to the outbound bridge before the 295N lanes will have access to the ramp on the right. Is that right? Is this something that is addressed in the second phase?

Seems like it might create some new traffic problems with all traffic going to the right off 695, instead of splitting the traffic that was going right, and the remaining traffic that would stay straight to Pennsylvania.


JD says: (7/30/12 1:09 PM)
There isn't really going to be a "straight to Pennsylvania Avenue" much longer, not as a freeway. (Eventually the sunken Pennsylvania Avenue approach is going to be filled in/replaced with "Southeast Boulevard.")

All this 295 NB/SB ramp stuff is all *east of the river*, once you cross the 11th Street Bridges. So people wanting to go northbound on 295 will take the freeway's bend to the right, across the Anacostia, staying in the right lane to then take the exit for DC295 Northbound.



KLB says: (7/30/12 1:26 PM)
Correct, but I guess my question was verifying that, at least temporarily (?), all outbound cars going east on 695 who want to get to 295N or 295S will be taking the two right lanes that split off from 695 approximately around 7th St SE. (I don't really know what the road is called at that point until it reaches the 11th St bridge.)

Thus, there may be some new back-ups with all those cars fitting into the two lanes (assuming that is correct?) to get to their respective routes east of the river where 295 N splits off to the right.



Maelstrom says: (7/30/12 1:29 PM)
KLB: The short answer to your question is - yes, it's phase 2.

The long answer is: According to the current phase 2 plan (concept only - needs rework), the old 2 lane flyover from 695 to the bridges will be replaced with a three lane flyover. This flyover will be positioned next to the new inbound flyover and the SE/SW boulevard, as JD mentioned, will be on the outside of the flyover (where the current ramp to the old flyover is). The end result is that the two freeway flyovers and the SE/SW freeway are basically swapping positions (from flyover outside, freeway inside to flyover inside, boulevard outside.) The three lane flyover will lead into the four-lane bridge, with the fourth lane feeding from the M and 11th onramp (so you can get on at 11th and M and go straight up the northbound exit). Most likely, people going north will get in the right lane of the new three lane flyover once completed. What will happen in the interim has not been publicly released.


Maelstrom says: (7/30/12 1:44 PM)
And (sorry for the double post), KLB, you are right that the existing two lane flyover may cause get congested by up to three things: The bridge size itself, the M and 11th merge as people fight to get over two lanes and go south, and the merge into DC295N on the east side of the river. However, I personally think the congestion will decrease overall since you still have the PA avenue route (up to a certain point in phase 2) if the bridge starts to get too full. Also the bridge is not a stop-lighted route with a left turn in it - so it should flow more freely.


KLB says: (7/30/12 2:28 PM)
Thanks for the information! Extremely helpful, and I'll be looking out for phase 2 designs.

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