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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 03:54 PM ET, 04/04/2011

New challenge for D.C. drivers

The National Park Service today detailed plans for yet another construction project that will slow commuting this spring and summer. To the list that includes major work on Constitution Avenue, Rock Creek Parkway and the George Washington Parkway, add the 17th Street levee project.

Park service projects aren’t the only ones causing difficulties for drivers in the D.C. region’s core this year. The D.C. Department of Transportation continues to work on the northbound span of the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River, a project scheduled to be done in fall. Reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridge now has traffic impacts on both sides of the Anacostia River. A much smaller bridge, the New York Avenue Bridge over the railroad tracks north of Union Station, will have a big impact on commuters when the reconstruction project there reduces the avenue by two lanes starting April 25.

Here are the details from the park service about the 17th Street levee project:

The park service and the Army Corps of Engineers will start to build a levee across 17th Street NW just south of Constitution Avenue next week. The project, funded by federal stimulus money, is designed to provide protection against flooding.

The end result won’t close 17th Street. Rather, it will create the structure for a barrier that can be put in place quickly in the event of flooding and removed when the danger has passed.

Project managers estimate that the work will be done late this year, but any delays caused by weather could push it into early 2012. The traffic impacts are likely to begin right away and continue through late summer.

The work will begin on the east side of 17th Street. That should be done about July 1, and there will be no work between July 3 and July 7, the Independence Day period. Work on the west side of 17th will start about July 15. That’s scheduled to be done about Oct. 1.

At least one lane of 17th Street in each direction will be open to traffic at all times, the park service says.

Constitution Avenue

While the levee project proceeds, drivers also will be affected by lane restrictions on nearby Constitution Avenue NW, between 15th and 23rd streets.

The major work, scheduled to start next week after the Cherry Blossom Festival ends, will include rebuilding sections of avenue, replacing storm drainage and installing granite curbs and new sidewalks, and replacing lighting. Watch for construction signs and variable message boards, warning about the lane closings.

By  |  03:54 PM ET, 04/04/2011

Categories:  Construction

 
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