Contact (Media Only): Erik Linden (202) 671-2004 and Karyn LeBlanc (202) 671-3490
(Washington, DC) Improvements to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge) will continue this weekend, as crews begin repairs on the southbound or outbound lanes. Previous recent weekend closures affected inbound lanes only.
Following the evening rush hour on Friday, May 4 at 10 pm, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will temporarily close the southbound (outbound) lanes on the Douglass Bridge.
All lanes will be reopened in time for the Monday (May 7) evening rush hour. Outbound bridge drivers will be directed to follow signed detours to I-395 South across the 11th Street Bridge to I-295 South. Drivers also may consider taking either New York Avenue or Benning Road as alternate routes.
Following this weekend’s closures, the outbound lanes on the Douglass Bridge again are scheduled to close on the weekends of May 19 and June 2. Closure of the bridge’s outbound lanes follows six previous weekends of closing the bridge’s northbound or inbound lanes.
The off-peak weekend closures and repairs are needed to prepare for a major rehabilitation that will take place on the Frederick Douglass Bridge in July and August—at which time all lanes on the bridge will be closed in both directions.
The inbound weekend lane closures, which began in late January 2007, worked smoothly with minimal impacts to the traveling public. As the outbound closures also are occurring over the weekend, when traffic volumes are generally lighter, DDOT again expects minimal impacts to travelers. As with any lane closure or traffic change, however, affected drivers should plan accordingly and allow extra time in their travel schedules.
The one-direction-only weekend closures on the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge are necessary to allow workers to safely replace bridge expansion joints with new joints (joints allow a bridge to flex when temperature changes occur). Joint replacement work requires extended periods of uninterrupted work hours, as it involves removing existing joints from the concrete bridge deck, making necessary repairs, installing new joints and placing concrete to reconnect the existing bridge deck to the new joints. Under-the-bridge steel repair work and painting also will occur.
During the July-August complete closure of the bridge, the northernmost portion of the bridge will be lowered to become an at-grade roadway with a new intersection at South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. Nearly three blocks of elevated roadway—which currently act as a barrier to access across South Capitol Street—will be removed and replaced with at-grade intersections that will help knit the neighborhood together. Additional improvements will occur such as paving and painting the entire bridge.