Years of traffic impacts in Northeast DC for tunnel project
Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
June 14, 2019
Drivers and walkers along Rhode Island Avenue in Brentwood and Bloomingdale are bracing for years of lane and occasional sidewalk closures related to a subterranean tunnel project underfoot. Traffic impacts are likely to become more pronounced later this summer as the utility work intensifies.
DC Water's tunnel boring machine is still miles from its final destination but preparations for the Northeast Boundary Tunnel, infrastructure aimed at reducing stormwater flooding, are well underway.
Several construction areas mark the sites of future pumping stations and diversion chambers that will send stormwater through the tunnel toward the Blue Plains Treatment Plant, instead of into the Anacostia River.
In order to resolve chronic sewer flooding in Brentwood, DC Water will construct a diversion facility near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station. The removal of the median along Rhode Island Avenue will block a lane each way for several weeks.
Additional sections of the concrete median will be removed closer to Bloomingdale, including near the 4th Street NE and 6th Street NE intersections.
Near North Capitol Street, DC Water's contractor will begin a process known as jet grouting. The injection of cement and water into the ground at high velocities will stabilize the soil for future excavation. The work is expected to take place through August.
A separate tunnel near the work site will eventually send runoff from a temporary pumping station along 1st Street NW into the Northeast Boundary Tunnel.
Traffic is expected to be impacted along Rhode Island Avenue for several years.
Sidewalk and crosswalk closures have been taking place at various intersections along Rhode Island and Florida avenues. Crews are expected to preserve at least one sidewalk and temporary ADA ramps have been installed as needed.
Round-the-clock parking restrictions have been posted on many blocks near the project. Drivers seeking parking spaces are urged to pay close attention to the white signs posted near the curbs.