NJ Ave Bridge

DDOT seeks funding for SE/SW Freeway bridge repairs

Bridges on the I-695 SE/SW Freeway need repairs, but residents can expect to see construction begin in 2026 at the earliest.

The Southeast/Southwest Freeway bridges are suffering from deterioration, but construction cannot begin on a District Department of Transportation plan to fix them until funding is secured.

DDOT initiated the to repair and improve bridges across I-695, as well as providing better lighting, signs, and drainage alongside the freeway. The most important aspect, however, involves the repairs made to the bridges’ infrastructure.

A close-up photo of rusting steel on a bridge.
Steel corrosion on the New Jersey Avenue Bridge

The New Jersey Avenue Bridge, in particular, suffers from steel corrosion and concrete deterioration of its pilings. The deterioration is notable, but not so severe that the bridge must be shut down.

According to the DDOT Freeway Rehabilitation project overview, the damage comes from the natural wear and tear of age and exposure to the elements. The bridges were originally built in the early 1960s and were last updated in 1991.

Construction on the Southeast/Southwest Freeway Bridges is still a few years to come, according to the District Department of Transportation.

DDOT Public Information Officer German Vigil said that the project is still in its design phase, but that the department expects to see construction begin in three years, if all goes well.

“We are currently at that 65% design development milestone,” Vigil said. “Construction is projected to start in 2026 depending on funding availability.”

Vigil emphasized that work can only begin when the project’s funding is secured.

“The project is estimated to last two to three years from its start date,” Vigil said. “This is all dependent on funding and procurements. Once that is confirmed, we can provide a construction schedule with more details, which will all be posted on our website.”

Since the project is still in its earliest stages, many residents of neighborhoods surrounding the freeway bridges are unaware of the potential construction.

“I haven’t heard anything,” said Navy Yard resident Justin Purvis. “Not at all.”

According to the project overview, DDOT expects to see an increase in traffic and a decrease in parking availability as construction begins.

An aerial view of Southwestern D.C., with a portion of the I-695 freeway highlighted in red
An overhead view of the section of the freeway bridges that will undergo repairs.

Vigil said that, as of now, residents should not expect any immediate road closures due to construction on the project, but that DDOT will continue to update surrounding communities with information about how they will be impacted.

“DDOT is conducting robust traffic analysis and will conduct extensive public engagement with ANCs and members of these communities, which will inform residents of the traffic management plan,” Vigil said. “Residents are encouraged to visit and sign up for project updates.”

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Matt LaFortune, who is the chair of ANC 6B’s Transportation Committee, said that the ANC was in communication with DDOT to plan for any future road closures.

“We are expecting them,” LaFortune said. “We asked [DDOT] a number of questions at our meeting where they presented this project about their plan for road closures. They’re expected to keep at least one lane both ways going throughout, but we ask that they communicate with us if there’s going to be any impact on traffic in the neighborhood.”

LaFortune also said that DDOT had spoken to ANC 6B about the necessity of securing funding for the project, while also assuring them that any minor delays they encountered would not represent a danger to the bridges.

“It didn’t seem from DDOT that if [construction] got pushed back six months or even a year, that that would be critical,” he said. “But we were hearing from them that they did want to move, move on this. The sooner the better, I guess.”

Madeleine Sherer

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