A bridge in the Southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., is getting replaced, and the designs have never looked better. This Thursday, Mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled the new renderings for Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, a project set to be the District’s largest construction project in history.
In June 2014, when the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) revealed the renderings on the new bridge that would replace the 1950-built one, the words that were used to describe the designs included “anticlimactic” and “mundane.” Now, there doesn’t seem to be much to complain about.
In a statement, Bowser described the new designs as “tremendous,” “iconic,” and “a fitting memorial for a remarkable American icon.”
Below, see what you should know about this new project.
Where will the bridge be located?
The new bridge will be located on the same site as the old one. It will connect South Capitol Street, Potomac Avenue, and Q Street SW, while crossing the Anacostia River. Along with a new bridge, a new at-grade traffic oval will be constructed east of the river, while a new diamond interchange will be located on Suitland Parkway at Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue.
The project will be completed in two phases.
What is new about this proposed bridge?
The newly redesigned Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge will be wider and built parallel to the old one. At the end of each bridge, there will be traffic circles. Drainage and storm water management will also be improved.
According to The Washington Post, sections of South Capitol Street will be redeveloped as a scenic boulevard. The public should also expect new green spaces for community activities.
Any advantages for pedestrians or cyclists?
The designers of this new bridge took into account that there might be foot and bicycle traffic. With this, expect a two-way crossing dedicated for pedestrians and cyclists. A median will block vehicular traffic from pedestrians and cyclists.
Is a new bridge necessary?
Yes, definitely. Generally, bridges need replacing after 50 years, and the currently standing bridge is reaching its 68th year. The Washington Post further reported that the average bridge in the nation is 43 years old.
This shouldn’t be any surprise as 63.67 percent of Washington, D.C.’s bridges don’t meet contemporary design standards, according to Auto Insurance Center. Out of any other state, D.C. also has the fewest proposed bridge replacements (0.11 percent).
There are over 70,000 vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians who cross the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge every day.
When will construction begin and end?
According to the project’s official website, construction is expected to begin winter of 2017 with a delivery by the fall of 2021.
What is the expected economic impact of this new bridge?
According to The Washington Post, over 1,300 jobs will be created. The project is expected to have an economic impact of $787 million for the region.
During construction, the contractor is required to assign 51 percent of all new project-related jobs to D.C. residents.
• D.C. unveils plans for new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Take a look (video). [The Washington Post]
• Gawk at DC’s beautiful new design for the South Capitol Street bridge [Greater Greater Washington]
• Mayor Bowser Unveils Design and Timeline for New Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge [Press Release]
• The New Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Project [Official Website]
• D.C.’s structurally deficient bridges are the busiest in the nation [Curbed DC]