Monday marked the first day that DDOT is closing two lanes of the New York Avenue bridge. The associated construction work is expected to last two years.
The bridge will lose about a third of its capacity, with both inbound and outbound directions narrowing from three lanes to two.
"Our program is to demolish the north bridge first," says Ali Shakeri, program manager with the District's Department of Transportation. "Today we start closing the north bridge so we put all of the traffic on the south bridge so ... we lost a huge amount of capacity of New York Avenue."
DDOT spokesman John Lisle says people should add extra time if they have to take the New York Avenue bridge, but if there are other options, commuters should definitely take them, he added.
One way DDOT is encouraging commuters to stay away is its "Bridge Bucks" program.
DDOT is offering 2,000 commuters who use the New York Avenue bridge $50 per month to use toward bus, rail, or van pool options.
"We want to give people an incentive to try one of these alternate forms of transportation and hopefully it will stick," says Lisle. "So if we can get those 2,000 drivers off of New York Avenue, it will help."
Lisle says about 400 people have signed up so far –- the application is at DDOT's website dedicated to the bridge project.
Commuters who apply will be vetted to make sure they actually use the New York Avenue bridge on a regular basis, says Lisle.