Despite The Streetcar, D.C. Plans To Replace H Street Bridge | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Despite The Streetcar, D.C. Plans To Replace H Street Bridge

The Hopscotch Bridge connects H Street NE to North Capitol Street while crossing over Amtrak tracks behind Union Station. D.C. officials say it will have to replaced within five years.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/44144211@N07/5147592328/
The Hopscotch Bridge connects H Street NE to North Capitol Street while crossing over Amtrak tracks behind Union Station. D.C. officials say it will have to replaced within five years.

It was two years ago that D.C. officials decided to route a planned streetcar line over the H Street Bridge, allowing for a connection to Union Station. But now they say that the bridge will have to be fully replaced within five years, likely forcing the city to reroute the H Street streetcar line it hopes to start running this year.

The 2.4-mile streetcar route runs up and down H Street and Benning Road NE, and in 2011 city officials decided to run streetcars up and over the bridge — colloquially known as the Hopscotch Bridge — in order to connect to Union Station. But officials with the D.C. Department of Transportation say those tracks will be temporary, and will come down when the city starts replacing the bridge within the next three to five years.

"We always knew that this would be a temporary entrance into Union Station," said Nic Nicholson, DDOT's chief engineer, at a D.C. Council hearing on Friday. "At such time as we could coordinate and replace the bridge, we would have a temporary measure for streetcar as we replace the Hopscotch Bridge."

"We're doing the minimal in that track placement to get service going with the full intention of coming back within the next three to five years and replacing the bridge," he added.

According to DDOT, the replacement would take two years.

During the hearing, Council member David Grosso (I-At Large) worried that the eventual replacement would only lead to more frustration among H Street residents, who have dealt with streetcar-related construction since 2008.

"My feeling and my fear with this project is that if we don't do it in a systemic, laid-out and planned way, I'm afraid that we're going to lose the faith of the people in getting this done right. This is not a great start," he said.

Nicholson said Amtrak's changing plans for an expanded Union Station and a new high-speed rail line complicated DDOT's original expectation that it could punch a hole through the base of the bridge and avoid running the streetcar over it.

"Once Amtrak started planning and revising its master plan to accommodate that, what came into conflict was our initial plans for our connection of streetcars to Union Station," he said.

The DDOT officials said that the Benning Road Bridge over Kingman Lake and the Anacostia River will also have to replaced, but no streetcar tracks have been placed on that portion of the road for a planned connection to neighborhoods east of the river.

NPR

'F' Is For Fraudster In A Family Novel For Our Modern Times

Daniel Kehlmann's F, about three brothers abandoned by their father, examines the detail of lives lived without integrity. It is brilliantly translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway.
NPR

No. 1 Most Expensive Coffee Comes From Elephant's No. 2

A coffee entrepreneur claims his brew is different — and better — than the trendy civet poop coffee. And it starts with the idea that elephants, unlike humans or civets, are herbivores.
WAMU 88.5

Maureen McDonnell Didn't Give Special Treatment To Star Scientific, Witness Testifies

A defense witness in the corruption trail against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, says the former first lady often traveled the state promoting state businesses, countering the notion she gave special treatment to the company at the heart of the corruption trial.
NPR

The Momentum Of The Ice Bucket Challenge — And What It Means For ALS

A recent fundraising challenge has gone viral on social media, calling attention to research into Lou Gehrig's disease. Forbes contributor Dan Diamond discusses the state of that research.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.