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Planned Frederick Douglass Bridge deemed ‘too industrial’

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts’ disapproval may slow down D.C.’s most massive construction project

Rendering via the District Department of Transportation

Washington, D.C.’s largest construction project in history may end up needing a redesign—or at least more time to get approvals. Washington Business Journal reported that the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) questioned the designs for the planned Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, which is expected to replace the 1950-built one that crosses the Anacostia River.

According to the Washington Business Journal:

“[The CFA] questioned the appropriateness of the bridge type—a multi-arched structure rising 114 feet above a roadway deck suspended by cables—within the context of this city, whose bridges are typically supported from below, allowing expansive views of the urban context from the roadway above.”

Phrases used to describe the $441 million project included that it “lacks grace” and is “too industrial.”

The design features three above-deck arches, two piers, a new at-grade traffic oval constructed east of the river, and a new diamond interchange located on Suitland Parkway at Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. There will be a two-way crossing for pedestrians and cyclists with vehicular traffic blocked off by a median. Drainage and storm water management will also be improved.

The District hopes to begin construction by the end of the year.

Panel finds proposed Douglass Bridge span 'lacks grace,' may be 'too industrial' [Washington Business Journal]

The new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, revealed [Curbed DC]

The Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge’s potential positive impact [Curbed DC]