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D.C. to close and replace 1867 Georgetown bridge over the C&O Canal

A public meeting on the project is scheduled for March 14

The C&O Canal in Georgetown
Lux Blue/Shutterstock

On Thursday, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will hold a public meeting on the planned closure and replacement of the 31st Street Bridge, which stretches over the scenic C&O Canal in Georgetown. Having stone walls and a cast iron pier, the 1867 bridge is “structurally deficient” and limited in how much weight it can still hold, according to DDOT.

The agency’s plans call for the historic pier to be removed and refurbished. In a release this week, DDOT says the project will force vehicular traffic to detour around 31st Street NW at the canal. Officials will present a detour plan at Thursday’s public meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Grace Episcopal Church (1041 Wisconsin Ave. NW), located near the bridge.

The 31st Street Bridge
D.C. government

The project will also entail installing a temporary pedestrian bridge to maintain pedestrian access over the canal, and putting in lateral supports for the canal’s existing walls. The new 31st Street Bridge will have new railing and ADA-compliant sidewalks and ramps, per DDOT.

Later this month, the department is scheduled to hold a separate public meeting on safety improvements to New Jersey Avenue NW between H and N streets NW. That meeting is set for March 28 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Northwest One Neighborhood Library (155 L St. NW). “DDOT representatives will present an overview of the project, the construction schedule[,] and what to expect during construction at this meeting,” according to a release.