Tips for Travelers During D.C. Area Bridge Reconstruction

Friday, May 1, 2009

Although the reconstruction of the 14th Street bridges starting this month will take two years, it's the work during the first year on the northbound span that will have the greatest impact on motorists.

WhyThe northbound and southbound bridges are safe, but the steel girders and supports need repair. Much of the work will be done out of the sight of drivers, but the northbound bridge deck is a pockmarked mess and must be redone.

Major impactsThere will always be four northbound through lanes, but the pattern will shift. Maintenance of the four through lanes requires narrowing the lanes from 12 to 11 feet and eliminating the shoulders. Single-lane closures might occur from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. On weekends, multiple lane closures may occur from 5 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday. Although behind barriers, the jackhammering, construction equipment and milling operations are likely to cause distractions.

Merging When the work closes middle lanes later this year, drivers will have shorter distances to move into their exit lanes.

Bikers, walkersThe bridge path will remain open except for temporary closures during cleaning and painting of the bridge railing.

Officials are recommending that drivers consider carpooling, using mass transit or adjusting work schedules to nonrush hours.

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