Why 17th Street near National Mall is closed


WASHINGTON — The National Park Service will perform a test installation of the levee on 17th Street Northwest. The testing means commuters who travel near the National Mall Friday should plan on taking alternative routes due to road closures and subsequent traffic problems.

From 6 a.m. to about 4 p.m., the National Park Service will close 17th Street between Constitution Avenue Northwest and Independence Avenue Southwest.

The annual test installation is done to make sure the levee closure can be erected properly in case of a high water event. The structure can be erected to reduce the risks of flooding for people and nearby infrastructure downtown and in Southwest parts of D.C.

“The area behind the levee contains more than 40,000 people and $14 billion in property, including assets and infrastructure of national importance, such as congressional offices, national monuments, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art and the Metro subway system,” said Sarah Lazo, spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The test is also a requirement of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which constructed and regulates the levee system and closure.

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