At a D.C. Council committee budget oversight hearing last week, District Department of Transportation Director Leif Dormsjo said the streetcar projects and the related bridge replacements are “a high priority, but very complicated,” so he could not yet give an exact projected start date for the Benning Road extension.
Over six years, the budget allocates $199 million for the DC Streetcar extension from Oklahoma Avenue Northeast across the Anacostia River to the Benning Road Metro Station.
That would put the city “in a solid place in terms of advancing the Benning Road extension,” Dormsjo said, ahead of the completion of an environmental review and additional public meetings later this year.
The funding is expected to cover planning, design, construction and the additional streetcar and road improvements connected to the project.
The planning process includes decisions on the locations of stops, how the streetcar crosses the Anacostia River, and any bridge improvements at intersections like Minnesota Avenue Northeast.
“That bridge is the linchpin for the eastern extension of the streetcar,” Dormsjo said.
Today, the steep slope of the bridge makes the intersection dangerous for drivers too; a rebuilt and strengthened bridge over the CSX tracks there is expected to address that.
Dormsjo hopes a clearer schedule of Benning Road extension milestones will be completed later this year.
Right now, he said, DDOT is conducting additional noise and vibration studies in the community at the direction of the Federal Highway Administration.