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D.C.'s Department of Transportation recently opened another portion of the new 11th Street Bridge, allowing eastbound traffic to cross the Anacostia River. DDOT's John Lisle says the project is unprecedented for his agency, at least in recent history.
"We're about to come up on our 10-year anniversary as an independent agency at DDOT, and certainly, during that decade, this is the largest project we've ever done," he says. "So it's the largest project we've ever done at DDOT. It's also the first complete river-bridge replacement in approximately 40 years in the District."
The old 11th Street Bridge, which is actually two bridges, is being replaced with three new bridges: two freeway bridges, and one local bridge for local traffic. Perhaps most importantly, the project will also provide the missing connections between Interstate 295 and downtown.
"Those are movements that you just cannot make today," Lisle says.
He says DDOT is hoping the new bridge will help remove commuter traffic from Anacostia.
"I've seen estimates all the way from 40 to 70 percent of the traffic that comes through Anacostia is commuter traffic," says Lisle. "It's not generated in that neighborhood. If we can reduce that, that will be one of the success stories of this project."
[Music: "A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads / "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" by Paul Desmond from Bridge Over Troubled Water]
Photos: 11th Street Bridge