DC Route 295 upgrades underway

WASHINGTON — The aging curbs and shoulders of D.C. Route 295 are crumbling away and resemble old gingerbread more than concrete forms.

But on Thursday, the District Department of Transportation kicked off nine months of scheduled repairs, a $5.5 million project expected to “substantially improve safety,” according to DDOT spokesman Terry Owens.

The work will take place on the Kenilworth Avenue corridor, between the interchange at East Capitol Street and Burroughs Avenue. Work is scheduled for weekdays, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and overnights, between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Work zone lane closures could occur on some Saturdays, as well. Overnight detours are also possible.

Crews will replace the median — including the jersey walls and its rusty chain-link fence — and address the deteriorating curbs. The overhead lighting will also be improved.

Owens said significant attention will be given to the rehabilitation of storm drains and catch basins. The southbound underpass beneath Benning Road frequently floods during heavy rainfall.

“All of these things we think are going to help us address safety in that area, the big issue being the drainage problem that exists there,” Owens said. “So we think that once this project is complete we’re going to have a much safer roadway.”

The plans call for some new signage along the road. In late June, an over-height truck slammed into an unused CSX rail bridge north of Benning Road. There is no vertical clearance signage posted at the overpass.

Travel lanes also will be milled, paved and striped.

This stretch of Route 295 carries more than 125,000 vehicles daily, making it one of D.C.’s busiest roads, according to recent DDOT traffic counts. Recurring delays already form on the corridor most days of the week, and are typically most intense on Thursday and Friday afternoons.

Owens said DDOT will monitor congestion and make adjustments to work hours if necessary.

“Our desire is to impact traffic as little as we can and do what we need to do to get the work done,” he said. “We will be monitoring traffic throughout that area as the work begins.”

The project encompasses a portion of the roadway that is less than a mile from end to end. Owens hinted at a larger, “soon to be announced” initiative to enhance traffic flow on Kenilworth Avenue.

In 2007, DDOT released a comprehensive study on how to improve the corridor including ways to resolve bygone plans to build a complete interchange at East Capitol Street.

Dave Dildine

A native to the Washington area, Dave Dildine is no stranger to the region's complex traffic and weather patterns. Dave joined WTOP in 2010 when the station launched its very own in-house traffic service. You can hear him "on the 8s and when it breaks" from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

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