Since January, 2003
            
 Page Through from Before to After

On Sunday I ventured out for a long overdue survey of the 11th Street Bridges project. While I know that pictures of ramps and flyovers don't elicit quite the swooning that images of new residential buildings do, the changes at street level and above since this project began in 2009 are as wide-ranging as anything else in the area short of probably Nationals Park. Here's what I saw (click on photos to embiggen):
On 8th Street just north of Virginia Avenue, the new ramp to outbound I-695 (aka the 11th Street freeway bridge) looks pretty far along, as seen at right. This ramp has an "early spring" projected opening, and it doesn't appear to be too in danger of missing that.
The lanes to the left of this new freeway entrance carry the outbound I-695 traffic, while the ramp to the right that used to lead to the old outbound flyover and bridge will now be the new exit from the freeway to an intersection at 11th Street SE north of L. You can also see this new exit ramp from 8th and Virginia (below left), running next the footprint of the now-demolished old entrance ramp. The 11th Street interchange still has a ways to go (below right), but is projected to open in early summer.
I also finally checked out 12th Street, which no longer lives quite so deeply in the shadow of the ramp from the old inbound 11th Street Bridge to M Street. The in-water piers of the old bridge are still standing, as you see at left, but otherwise the ramp's footprint has been cleared. (I kind of miss the staircase, though.)
The 12th and O intersection still needs a lot of love even with the embankment gone, but it's at least somewhat less apocalyptic now (below left)--and it will be seeing more traffic with M Street east of 13th temporarily closed, which has also moved the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail route onto its "real" Water Street path. Meanwhile, one block to the north, there's about to be an actual intersection with N Street (below right), allowing for traffic to access 11th Street in either direction without having to go up to M. (You can see the rest of the new 12th and N angles and how they've changed, too.)
So many of the new 11th Street Bridges movements are finished--the bridges themselves, the new inbound and outbound flyovers, the two-way traffic up 11th Street from the local bridge, and the on- and off-ramps at M Street. This also means that the centipede-like old inbound flyover seen in the two photos below can now be demolished like three others before it (the RFK ramps and the outbound flyover), for one final change to the skyline above 11th Street.
It's pretty hard to pull together these changes into a single page, so if you really want to get a feeling for the progression over the past four-plus years, I'd dive into these parts of my photo archive:
* 12th and M, especially looking north and northwest;
* 11th and N, looking north and south; and
I know, it's exhausting. But for someone enamored of striking before-and-after shots, it's a goldmine.
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E. Masquinongy says: (3/10/14 12:16 PM)
JD: The exit ramp ending at 11th and L should help shunt traffic away from the 6th St exit, in the impending train tunnel work. My understanding during the train tunnel reconstruction, is that cars exiting on 6th St will be directed north, into neighborhood. The new exit will relieve some of this traffic pressure.


JD says: (3/10/14 12:19 PM)
Yes, on all counts.

And the new ramp really should be an improved way for Navy Yard commuters coming from the west, instead of getting off at 6th and Virginia and winding around to 11th and N or O.

Not to mention a nice new way for folks who live closer to 11th Street to get home, rather than via 6th.



MJM says: (3/10/14 12:51 PM)
The on-ramp onto the outbound leg at 8th looks like a confusing intersection with the light since it is offset from the light/intersection. I hope someone thought about what that intersection is gonna look like once it opens.


JD says: (3/10/14 1:02 PM)
(And I'm realizing that it needs to be mentioned again that one of the other impressive portions of this project is how this new ramp to 11th Street is being built on the massive piles of dirt that have filled in what used to be the west half of the sunken freeway. Eleventh Street itself isn't a bridge anymore!)


E. Masquinongy says: (3/11/14 9:46 AM)
JD: Any word when the 11th Street northbound lanes will reopen? They have been closed for like a year.


JD says: (3/11/14 3:16 PM)
Do you mean those lanes under the new freeway flyovers? I haven't heard a thing on them. If I were to go with 100% conjecture, I would say that DDOT/Skanska are trying desperately to avoid working on that side of 11th Street until they know what the plan is for SE Blvd. And given the level of opposition that the proposals unveiled a few months ago seem to have engendered, that might be a while.


Gamble Rogers says: (3/11/14 10:29 PM)
Look, I'm tired of all this proposed destruction. Everyone living within 500 yards of the old flyover bridge will be subjected to endless noise, increased traffic, and concrete dust for months. Months! I wanna know -- what's in it for me? I call on city fathers to support the "no demo!" plan now!


JD says: (3/11/14 10:43 PM)
Maybe they could just extend the Bridge Park onto this flyover.


Gamble Rogers says: (3/11/14 10:43 PM)
Seriously, MJM hit the nail on the head -- the new 8th Street ramp to eastbound I-695 (can't we just agree to call it "Southeast Freeway?") will be great for commuters but bad for pedestrians.

If a pedestrian is walking on the east sidewalk of Eighth Street by that ramp, they better stop and look behind them before crossing the walkway. Commuters love to haul you-know-what under the bridge. With a new highway ramp, it's doubtful commuters will look carefully for pedestrians before hitting the gas. So be careful out there!

One more thing: Virginia Avenue Dog Park fans should ask if the park will be expanded once the 11th Street ramp is built. The 11th Street exit ramp will supposedly (based on JD's previous maps) have three or four lanes onto 11th Street -- one to turn north, one to turn south, and perhaps two to drive straight onto the not-yet-built Southeast Boulevard. Even with three lanes, the park should extend all the way to 11th Street, which would give pups more room to roam. Right now, all the bridge workers park on a dirt lot. But will DDOT/NPS/DPR expand the park once the ramp is built?


E. Masquinongy says: (3/12/14 12:14 PM)
JD: yes, we are all waiting for some decisions on SE blvd. The first proposal was DOA, for good reason. Thanks for all your good work!


JD says: (3/14/14 11:47 AM)
No time is being wasted on getting rid of the old inbound flyover--there are lane closures on that stretch of 11th between K and M this weekend: "Temporarily narrowing the roadway will allow crews to begin demolition of the existing inbound bridge structure over 11th Street SE."

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