D.C. opening rebuilt freeway ramp


The ramp takes traffic to the 11th Street Bridge over the Anacostia River, leading to D.C. 295 and I-295. (DDOT image)

The District Department of Transportation plans to open the freeway ramp from Eighth Street SE in the Capitol Hill/Navy Yard area that will help drivers reach northbound D.C. 295 and southbound Interstate 295 across the Anacostia River. The ramp opening, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, is the latest piece of the 11th Street Bridge project to fall into place.

Two weeks ago, DDOT opened a third lane from the bridge’s inbound span onto the Southeast-Southwest Freeway. That looks like it has greatly eased the flow of traffic onto the bridge during the morning rush.

Tuesday’s ramp opening should aid traffic heading in the opposite direction, onto the bridge toward the freeway on the east side of the Anacostia River. Local traffic from the Barracks Row area, the Navy Yard or Nationals Park might use this route, because it will allow them to line up for the D.C. 295 or I-295 exits on the far side of the 11th Street Bridge.

The DDOT map above uses the I-695 designation on the Southeast Freeway. Drivers still ask about that. The District’s I-695 was supposed to link with Interstate 95, back a half century ago when planners thought it would be a swell idea to send north-south drivers through the middle of the city. Community opposition and the alternative of building the Metrorail system helped put a stop to that. But the official designation of 695 remained for the Southeast Freeway, despite the lack of signs.

During the reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridge, which opened up many new freeway links, DDOT got federal permission to extend the I-695 designation from the Southeast Freeway across the bridge.

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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Robert Thomson · April 8, 2014