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$250 Million Sousa Bridge Traffic Plan

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Guest DC Government Worker   
Guest DC Government Worker

Mayor Anthony A. Williams on Monday, May 16, announced the East Washington Traffic Relief Project plan to relieve traffic congestion on the Sousa Bridge and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, and on local streets on both sides of the Anacostia River. He was joined by Councilmembers Carol Schwartz and Vincent Gray and members of the East Washington and Capitol Hill communities at the foot of the Sousa Bridge at Fairlawn Avenue, SE.

 

The East Washington Project, developed by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and endorsed by the affected communities, calls for building new ramps to and from the 11th Street Bridge on the east side of the Anacostia to directly connect the Southeast Freeway and Kenilworth Avenue/DC-295. This will divert traffic from congested local streets in communities along the Anacostia to the interstate/regional network.

 

“The East Washington Project will move traffic out of our East Washington, Capitol Hill and Anacostia communities on both sides of the Anacostia,” said Mayor Williams. “This is a key goal of my Anacostia Waterfront Initiative – to restore and reconnect our neighborhoods to the river by moving people most efficiently, whether by car, bicycle, light rail or on foot.”

 

These new freeway connections and reduced local traffic are projected to have a host of benefits, including:

Reduce substantially the 90,000 vehicles on the Sousa Bridge and Pennsylvania Avenue by eliminating the need for vehicles to cross over from one side of the bridge to the other to access northbound 295.

 

Return two-way traffic to Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue at the foot of the 11th Street Bridges, with curbside parking supporting community-based economic development and a new main street for downtown Anacostia.

 

Remove the need for Minnesota Avenue and Good Hope Road, SE, to carry cut-through traffic, thus fostering their transformation to tree-lined neighborhood connections and the possibility of a new light rail line for local needs.

 

Reduce freeway-oriented traffic on 17th Street and Potomac Avenue, SE, on the west side of the river.

 

Allow demolition of existing ramps and underused parts of the Southeast Freeway built for the now-abandoned Barney Circle Freeway and reconnect the eastern end of Capitol Hill with the river.

 

Accommodate the traffic generated by various economic development activities projected for the East Washington communities.

The East Washington Project complements the Great Streets program by reducing regional traffic volume, allowing the streets to return to their roles as community connections and retail corridors. The traffic relief will be combined with a nearly $100 million program to upgrade roadways, sidewalks, lighting and trees – similar to the award-winning 8th Street Barracks Row project on Capitol Hill.

 

The cost for the EWP is projected at roughly $250 million over five years and will be financed by dedicating half of the proceeds of the off-street parking tax charged to vehicles that park primarily downtown, in addition to some federal funds. The environmental analysis will begin this summer with site preparation and demolition possibly this fall.

 

The East Washington Project was conceived as part of DDOT’s Middle Anacostia Crossing Study that is working with community groups and individuals, including the Pennsylvania Avenue Task Force. The Middle Anacostia study is part of Mayor Williams’ Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, the multi-agency project to restore the river. AWI engages the affected communities with agencies from the federal and District governments and Maryland and Virginia.

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