Contact (Media Only): Erik Linden (202) 671-2004 and Karyn LeBlanc (202) 671-3490
(Washington, DC) As previously announced by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge will be closed to traffic for two months starting July 6 for a major renovation.
Travelers are advised to make alternate travel plans for getting in and out of the District of Columbia this summer, as the two-month closure of the Douglass Bridge (also known as the South Capitol Street Bridge) is set to begin July 6.
In the early morning hours of Friday, July 6, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will shut down all lanes in both directions on the Douglass Bridge to motorists and pedestrians (closure will be in effect for Friday morning’s commute). The bridge is scheduled to remain closed for two months—through July and August—to safely accommodate a major renovation or “extreme makeover” of the bridge.
During the closure of the Douglass Bridge, the 11th Street Bridges will serve as the main detour routes for motorists. Northbound drivers will follow signed detours to the I-295/11th Street Bridge providing direct access into the District. To increase capacity and help keep traffic flowing, DDOT recently paved an additional travel lane on part of this northbound detour route—the stretch of I-295 between Suitland Parkway and the 11th Street Bridge.
Southbound drivers will follow signed detours to the Southeast Freeway to the 11th Street Bridges. Due to added volume on the 11th Street Bridges, drivers should expect delays and plan accordingly. Traffic engineers estimate that morning commutes may take an additional 20 minutes and afternoon commutes could take between 20-30 additional minutes.
Bicyclists and pedestrians will be directed through Anacostia Park, located east of the Anacostia River, and then to the 11th Street Bridges. Bicyclist and pedestrian access to the southwest area will be via M Street, SW to Half Street, SW and Eye Streets, SW and SE.
Extensive coordination with DC, Maryland and Virginia traffic operation centers is ensuring that highway message signs listing the bridge closure and alternate routes are strategically placed along all major roadways leading to the Douglass Bridge. These signs are being activated well in advance of July 6 to ensure all affected motorists are notified of the bridge closure.
To help keep traffic moving as safely and efficiently as possible, DDOT will continuously monitor traffic conditions on the detour routes and will quickly deploy motorist assistance patrols if needed. Extensive coordination with emergency response agencies will help ensure that incidents are rapidly cleared and that distressed motorists are quickly assisted.
To avoid the stress of driving altogether during the bridge closure, drivers are urged to switch out of their cars and into Metrorail, bus service or an organized van- or carpool. Drivers considering Metrorail or bus as a commute alternative should be aware of the following helpful options:
- Available commuter parking exists at the Anacostia Metrorail Station and RFK Stadium Lot—both of which offer easy access to Metrorail.
- Reduced rates are being offered on Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrobus routes that travel through the affected area.
- Increased rail capacity is available on the Green Line, which travels through the affected area, by WMATA’s recent addition of rail cars.
During this summer’s bridge closure, DDOT will be lowering approximately 200 feet of the bridge’s northern approach, which currently is a major barrier to pedestrians and cyclists. This portion of the bridge will be lowered by up to 10 feet from its current elevated position to create an at-grade roadway with a new intersection at South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. Crews are scheduled to spend the initial weeks demolishing the existing structure, and are aiming to lower the bridge portion in late July.
Crews are slated to work seven days a week to effectively and efficiently complete the work.
The bridge makeover is needed to extend its lifespan and viability as a major entrance into Washington, DC. The renovation will significantly improve access for motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and commercial vehicles heading to and from new development and major employment centers that are being built along the Anacostia Waterfront.
For more information see the fact sheet* on the two-month closure.