D.C. closing freeway ramp near 11th Street Bridge

After rush hour on Thursday morning, the District Department of Transportation plans to permanently close the Eighth Street exit ramp from the westbound Southeast-Southwest Freeway.

This is the ramp for freeway traffic coming from Pennsylvania Avenue and heading for the Marine Barracks and Eighth Street SE. The exit to Eighth Street from the inbound 11th Street Bridge will remain open.

The area is adjacent to the 11th Street Bridge across the Anacostia River, and the changes are connected to the bridge rebuilding project. DDOT has opened two new bridge spans for highway traffic and plans to open a third span for local traffic this summer, but some key connections have not yet opened.

Drivers, who have been using the exit scheduled to close at 10 a.m. Thursday, will be diverted to a temporary detour. The detour will remain until the opening of the new ramp from southbound DC 295 to I-695. (That’s the designation for the 11th Street Bridge and the Southeast portion of the freeway. You can see I-695 on this DDOT map.) The new and long-awaited ramp should be open by July 4, creating an additional cause for celebrating the date.

Inbound traffic then will have a direct connection to I (Eye) Street at 10th Street SE.

Here’s the temporary detour: Traffic now using the ramp from Pennsylvania Avenue SE and Barney Circle will be directed north on Pennsylvania Avenue SE to a left turn at Potomac Avenue SE. Motorists will continue on Potomac Avenue, turning right onto I (Eye) Street SE. From there, they can reach Eighth Street and the Marine Barracks area.

Electronic signs will be in place to provide motorists advanced notice of this detour and to guide them along the detour route.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.

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