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New flyover ramp connects 11th Street Bridge and SE-SW Freeway

Thursday - 3/6/2014, 2:57pm  ET

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DDOT says crews will open a high-capacity flyover ramp that connects the 11th Street Bridge to the westbound Southeast-Southwest Freeway early Friday. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

WASHINGTON -- After enduring years of painful morning delays along D.C. 295 and Interstate 295, a new connection for inbound drivers is expected to open at the 11th Street Bridge.

The District Department of Transportation says that construction crews will open a high-capacity flyover ramp that will connect the 11th Street Bridge to the westbound Southeast-Southwest Freeway early Friday.

On Thursday night, all access to the inbound main span of the 11th Street Bridge will be blocked to tie the new ramp into the westbound Southeast-Southwest Freeway. All lanes are expected to be open in their final configuration in time for the Friday morning rush hours.

The new ramp is expected to greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the recurring rush-hour delays that are the result of a temporary traffic pattern put into place to accommodate work on the $390 million bridge improvement project. The traffic pattern reduced from four to two the number of lanes able to cross over M Street SE, crimping the traffic flow.

Drivers had been using an old, structurally deficient flyover bridge to access to freeway. The old bridge connection will be closed permanently and scheduled for demolition after the new bridge opens to traffic.

Drivers destine for Capitol Hill and downtown areas will be able to use three of the four travel lanes on the 11th Street Bridge to access the Southeast-Southwest Freeway (I-695/I-395).

The new connection will further reduce delays resulting from vehicles weaving from lane to lane by splitting the right-center lane, allowing those drivers to either continue onto the freeway or take the ramp to M Street SE. A fourth lane will bear directly onto M Street SE.

In February, crews set the eastbound freeway into its final alignment by opening a brand new connection to outbound drivers.

Along with the inbound connection, both of these ramps will mark the first time all of the freeways linked by this pair of ramps will be able to travel at their full capacity.

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