06 Nov 2009

CSX Proposal To Tear Up Virginia Avenue

Along with the special elections to fill the seat in ANC6B-03, there will be a presentation at Tuesday’s ANC 6B meeting by CSX that anyone living in southeast, near Virginia Avenue should attend.

As part of a larger infrastructure improvement project that spans several states along the northeast corridor, CSX is proposing to modify the existing rail tunnel that runs underneath Virginia Avenue on the southeast side of Capitol Hill.  You can read more about it in this article in The Voice of the Hill.  To learn more about the full project, Greater Greater Washington recently posted a five-part series examining the National Gateway Initiative: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5.  You can also view the documents submitted to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments on here (PDF download).

This project will entail tearing up Virginia Avenue, SE to expose the train tunnel for construction as they widen the tunnel and lower the tracks to accommodate double-stacked trains.  Tearing up Virginia Avenue will mean closing the road to traffic for approximately two or more years.

CSX’s current proposal calls for closing Virginia Avenue to traffic from 2nd Street SE to 12th Street SE for the entire duration of construction, which is expected to last for two to three years.  Bridges for cars and pedestrians will be constructed on almost all north-south streets (3rd Street, SE,  4th Street, SE, and so on).

CSX has begun to meet with community groups to share information about the project, as well as hear neighbor concerns.  Tuesday night’s presentation at the ANC 6B meeting is one of these many meetings.

Concerns already raised by neighbors include noise and dust from construction, noise from the train whistles as they enter the exposed tunnel, and traffic congestion caused by the closure of part of Virginia Avenue.

CSX, working with the District Department of Transportation, has begun an initial traffic study that should be completed by the end of the month.  They are also preparing documents to begin an environmental study, pending CSX securing remaining funding.  The company’s goal is to have the project complete by 2015, in time for the widening of the Panama Canal, which is expected to result in more freight traffic along the East Coast.  CSX has shared that double-stacked trains allow twice as many intermodal containers to be hauled on a single train, reducing expected freight rail growth for this region and passing along significant public benefits.

Concerned residents are strongly urged to attend their presentation on Tuesday night to learn more and to come prepared with questions.

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6 responses to “CSX Proposal To Tear Up Virginia Avenue”

  1. Jason says:

    Would the Virginia Ave closure mean that the 6th St SE exit from 295 would have to be closed, too? That exit dumps directly onto Virginia Ave; the only thing I would imagine is that they could build some mechanism for the exiting cars to immediately turn left or right onto 6th St SE, and not continue on Virginia… but what a hassle that would be.

  2. Anon says:

    The 6th Street exit will remain open but all of the cars will have to turn left onto 6th Street.

    I am guessing that anyone wanting to go south will then go left on I and then go left on 4th, or go to G Street. Anyone going to Barracks Row will have to take G Street, which will increase traffic a lot in the evenings and weekends (the peak times for the 8th Street restaurants).

  3. Rick says:

    perhaps some of the mitigation funding could be spent on making the freeway underpasses from 3rd to 8th street more pedestrian friendly: wider sidewalks, more attractive lighting, artwork, etc.

  4. If they realigned the tunnel closer to the freeway that would create room for a new freeway tunnel eastbound and allow the lowering of the grade including that of the eastbound to southbound approach to the new 11th Street Bridge.

  5. Louisa Smith says:

    Any updates on this? Thanks!

  6. Louisa Smith says:

    Any updates on this? Thanks!

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