Cone Zone: Updates on D.C.-area work zones
D.C. 295 rehabilitation enters final phases
Posted by Dave Dildine/WTOP
Aug. 13, 2019There are several construction areas along D.C. Route and Interstate 295. Some of them are scheduled to last for years.A WTOP listener writes:"Do you know when the reconstruction of the 295 bridge over Pennsylvania Ave is expected to be completed? It feels like it's been going on forever - with no noticeable progress for the past several months."The bridge rehabilitation along Route 295 is focued on the overpasses that span Nicholson Street just south of Pennsylvania Avenue. There are actually three separate spans, one for the main lanes of Route 295 and two more for an on-ramp and off-ramp.The initial phases involved the demolition and reconstruction of the main span, work that required lane shifts and made for a very bumpy ride at times. The District Department of Transportation is now entering the latter phases of the project which involve the replacement of the southbound on-ramp from the outbound Sousa Bridge and northbound off-ramp to outbound Pennsylvania Avenue.DDOT is on track to complete the project by mid-January 2020 but the more disruptive work in the main lanes should be winding down much sooner.In the meantime, drivers would be wise to slow down in the work area. The speed limit along the corridor was lowered to 40 miles per hour in May. WTOP's Max Smith recently found a significant spike in automated traffic citations after the speed limit was lowered last spring. The tickets were generated by the speed camera located along the southbound lanes between the work zone and the ramp to the 11th Street Bridge.The listener adds:"Hopefully when they're done, they'll add a barrier or something to keep northbound drivers who don't make the turn to westbound Pennsylvania avenue from continuing straight — on the shoulder — through the short section before the drivers from westbound Pennsylvania Ave merge in. That's very dangerous, and I see dozens of drivers do it every week."If you've ever driven northbound in heavy traffic on this road, you've no doubt seen other drivers queue jumping on the right shoulder between the ramps at this interchange.A curb, or at the very least bollards, rumble strips and better stencils on the exit only lanes, would help to reduce the frequency of this behavior. But formally converting the shoulder into a third lane would likely reduce the efficiency of the merge ahead.In response to this concern, DDOT said they will be "enhancing the roadway's markings" and working with DC Police to improve enforcement but did not elaborate further.Several years ago, DDOT widened and lengthened the northbound acceleration lane from Pennsylvania Avenue to move more traffic off the outbound Sousa Bridge during peak travel periods.D.C. 295, technically an expressway, is not built to interstate standards. There are some deficiencies compared to other highways, including the abrupt lane drop that this listener points out..