Story at a Glance
- Traffic Capacity Reduced on New York Avenue between Penn Street, NE and Florida Avenue, NE
“There’s no other way to do it – this aging structure needs to be replaced for the safety of everyone who crosses it and for the rail traffic underneath.”
— Mayor Vincent C. Gray.
(Washington, DC) Mayor Vincent C. Gray today warned District residents, workers and visitors that upcoming construction work on New York Avenue, NE could have a significant impact on traffic in this heavily-traveled corridor. On or about April 25, weather permitting, New York Avenue commuters will encounter a one-third reduction in lane capacity between Penn Street, NE and Florida Avenue, NE. The reduction from six to four lanes is unavoidable for the next two phases of construction for the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) rehabilitation of the aging New York Avenue Bridge over the railroad tracks.
“There’s no other way to do it – this aging structure needs to be replaced for the safety of everyone who crosses it and for the rail traffic underneath,” said Mayor Gray, “But I don’t want to understate the impact of taking away two lanes: there will be backups and it will take you significantly longer to get down New York Avenue until this project is completed.”
DDOT estimates commuters can expect delays of 15 to 30 minutes in the project area for the duration of the lane reductions, which are anticipated to last approximately two years.
“DDOT understands how sizeable the impacts will be in this busy corridor due to the required closures for this project. To help ease travelers’ pain, several steps have been taken, including offering real-time traffic and project updates, identifying alternate routes, and debuting a transit incentive program that will encourage commuters to try alternatives,” said DDOT Interim Director Terry Bellamy.
To help travelers cope with the change, DDOT is activating a series of tools:
- New York Avenue Bridge Bucks – DDOT is debuting a transit incentive program entitled Bridge Bucks that is designed expressly for New York Avenue commuters. The first 2,000 commuters accepted into the program will receive a monthly incentive of $50 loaded onto their SmarTrip card or other fare media for whatever transportation alternative best suits their individual commuting needs (including bus, rail or vanpool options). The program is available on a first come, first serve basis to commuters who commute over the New York Avenue Bridge, NE. Applications are being accepted now through the project website, www.FixingNewYorkAve.com .
- Real-Time Traffic Updates – DDOT provides real-time updates on Variable Message Boards within the New York Avenue corridor. These strategically placed message boards will be updated constantly to caution travelers about traffic conditions in the project area, enabling them to divert onto alternate routes.
- Project Tweets – Before hitting the road, travelers signed up to the project Twitter account, @NYAve411 , will receive regular construction alerts and updates traffic updates.
- Alternate Routes – Viable alternate routes for vehicular commuters and a pedestrian detour have been identified and are available for further exploration on the project website.
- Option 1: Montana Avenue to Rhode Island Avenue to North Capitol Street
- Option 2: West Virginia Avenue to Florida Avenue
- Option 3: South Dakota Avenue to Rhode Island Avenue to North Capitol Street
- Option 4: I-295 to two potential exits: Benning Road or East Capitol Street
- Coordination with Neighbors – DDOT is working in close coordination with transportation and emergency services in Maryland and Virginia to ensure all are prepared and aware of the impending pattern shift.
The New York Avenue Bridge, NE is utilized by more than 87,000 vehicles each day and crosses several busy commuter and freight rail lines run by Amtrak, CSX and WMATA. DDOT has worked in close coordination with these agencies throughout the planning process to ensure the safety of both those travelling the rails and road during construction. This coordination also has served to help identify the optimal time to begin construction, which takes into account all the possible impacts on the various modes of transportation in the project area. These closures are necessary to allow the start of demolition of the west-bound bridge.
For more information about the project and to apply for the Bridge Bucks program, visit the project website, www.FixingNewYorkAve.com . For construction alerts and updates, follow the project on Twitter, @NYAve411 .
DDOT’s New York Avenue Bridge Rehabilitation Project is funded fully by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). Construction is scheduled to continue into 2013. The long term benefits to be gained from the rehabilitation of the bridge will ease congestion and improve safety.
DDOT encourages all motorists to Stay Alert as they travel in this corridor.