The high-impact construction project that will eventually put a lid on the urban grand canyon created by Interstate 395 in the District is about to enter its next phase.
The District Department of Transportation announced Thursday that it will start closing lanes most days on H Street NW and Massachusetts Avenue NW near the Third Street Tunnel. The closings, which will occur between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, are scheduled to begin next week.
The lane closings, between Second and Fourth streets in that area, will continue for one-and-a-half to two years, DDOT said. The lane closings clear room for workers to relocate and upgrade underground utilities.
This work is occurring at an important junction of commuter routes that don’t need any help to get congested. The lane closings increase travel times through the area. Commuters should consider alternative routes. Closings of lanes and crosswalks also affect pedestrians in this area.
The project’s borders are Massachusetts Avenue to the north, E Street to the south, Third Street to the west and Second Street to the east. After the long phase of utility relocations and road work throughout the zone, a platform will be built over the exposed part of I-395 south of the Massachusetts Avenue bridge. That will become the site for the Capitol Crossing, a private development. One benefit to travelers is that the platform over I-395 will allow DDOT to reconnect the east-west street grid at F and G streets NW. The canyon above I-395 is a vast waste of urban space.