14th Street Bridge Rehabilitation to Begin

14thstbridge_bgEarlier today, DDOT issued an announcement that a two-year rehabilitation of the 14th Street Bridges will begin. The job involves major repairs to the northbound bridge and minor repairs to the southbound bridge (no work will occur on the HOV bridge).

The work with the greatest impact on the public is repairs to the deck of the northbound bridge. While four lanes will be maintained during morning commuting periods, resurfacing the deck during the next year is anticipated to impose significant delays on northbound morning commuters.

Overnight lane closures in both directions are anticipated to start in early May.

The release, in its entirety, is after the jump.

Mayor Fenty Announces Major Rehabilitation of 14th Street Bridge

Necessary Repairs to Northbound Bridge’s Surface and Structure Will Impact Drivers for the Next Year

Motorists Urged to Use Alternate Routes or Modes of Transit to Avoid Potential Delays; Email Alerts and Twitter Feed Updates Available to Commuters

 Washington, DC – Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Gabe Klein today announced the beginning of a necessary two-year, $27 million rehabilitation project on the 14th Street north and southbound bridges that will entail not only structural work, but resurfacing and painting.  While the $27M bridge project is scheduled to be carried out over the next two years, major traffic impacts to morning in-bound commuters are only expected in the first year, as the replacement of the surface of the northbound bridge portion of the project is carried out. 

“There is no good time to perform major work on busy bridges, but wear and tear on the 59-year-old structure make these repairs essential at this time,” said Mayor Fenty.  “With 200,000 daily users, we recognize the 14th Street Bridge is the most heavily traveled route into and out of the District, and we are making every effort to keep traffic moving as efficiently and safely as possible.”  

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will maintain the current four lanes of traffic on the northbound bridge into the city during morning commuting periods by shifting lanes (the HOV bridge will not be affected and any temporary lanes closures will occur during off-peak hours).  However, construction activities are anticipated to create additional delays and backups.  Surface construction will require narrowing traffic lanes, removing the shoulders, frequently changing traffic patterns and shortening merging distances. 

 In February 2009, INRIX, a leading provider of traffic information, ranked northbound I-395 at the George Washington Memorial Parkway to be the single most congested location in the greater Washington, DC region.  With the forthcoming construction expected to exacerbate stop-and-go conditions, motorists are urged to consider: 

1.         Ride-sharing across the HOV bridge – With no work occurring on the HOV bridge, form a carpool or take local or long-distance commuter buses.  

2.         Taking Rail or Transit – Avoid highway congestion by taking Metrorail or the Virginia Railway Express.  Commuters can go to http://www.godcgo.com for information on alternative modes of transportation and trip planning.

3.         Adjusting work schedules – Use flex-time or compressed work weeks, if practical. 

4.         Using another route – While other alternative bridges are congested during morning commute periods, the new Wilson Bridge, though six miles south, is usually free of congestion.   

 “The northbound bridge deck has exhibited surface distress from the wear and tear of large volumes of traffic.  Without the bridge deck rehabilitation, isolated deck potholes will give way to extensive deck failures and enormous traffic interruptions,” said DDOT Director Gabe Klein.   “In addition, the deterioration of the structural steel in the bridge’s supports and cracks in the piers makes this work a first-order priority.”   

The northbound bridge deck repairs and repaving, barring any unforeseen issues, will be completed in eight phases in approximately one year.  Most of the structural repairs to the piers and the bascule will be done from barges tied to the bridge piers with no direct impact to commuters.  This portion of the work is scheduled for completion in spring 2011. 

 Major efforts are being taken to prepare motorists for the new travel patterns and changes.  A host of information about the work, including detailed graphics illustrating what commuters can expect, are available at http://www.ddot.dc.gov/14thstreetbridge.  Additionally, the public can sign up for email or Twitter updates which will notify commuters when the project shifts to a new phase of work.   

During the next year, northbound bridge travelers can expect:  

               Changing Traffic Patterns:  Phase One will take approximately three months but lanes will shift approximately every month thereafter to accommodate construction.  During several phases of the construction, lanes will be split and traffic will be routed on both sides of construction barriers. 

               Shorter Merging Distances: When the center lanes of the bridge are under construction, motorists will have significantly shorter distances to move across lanes to get to their exits.  This will particularly affect those entering from northbound George Washington Parkway and exiting onto 14th Street.

               Narrower Lanes: Lanes will be narrowed (from 12 ft. to 11 ft.) to maintain four lanes.

               Elimination of Shoulders:  The two shoulders will be taken away during construction.  A tow truck will be stationed near the site during rush hours.

               Off-Peak Lane Closures: On weekdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the contractor may impose a single lane closure.  On weekends, from 5:00 a.m. Saturday to 5:00 a.m. Monday, the contractor may impose multiple lane closures.

               Distractions: Barriers will border travel lanes and construction involving jack hammering, large machinery, milling and construction workers will be in close proximity to traffic.  In addition to visual distractions, periodic loud noise, vibration and dust also may distract drivers. 

The Operators Tower on the northbound bridge will also be given a much needed facelift.  In addition to general refurbishment, a dynamic light feature will be added making the tower’s six windows act as a colorful beacon into the city.  

Repairs to the southbound 14th Street Bridge will be performed simultaneously with northbound bridge work during overnight periods and is not expected to impose major impacts to commuters.   

Cyclists and pedestrians will experience some temporary closures primarily due to construction and staging activities.  More details will be provided when schedules are confirmed.  Work under the bridge will be conducted from barges tethered to piers, allowing ample space for boaters to get around construction.  

Up-to-date information will be provided on DDOT’s website www.ddot.dc.gov/14thstreetbridge

 

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6 Responses to “14th Street Bridge Rehabilitation to Begin”

  1. […] its many bridges. So far, work has been begun or scheduled on the 9th Street, 11th Street, and 14th Street […]

  2. […] to Begin on 14th Street Bridge Following up on the April 30th announcement that DDOT was planning to start construction on the 14th Street bridge is the release below that […]

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