Reversible lane, lower speed limit coming to East Capitol St. bridge

Major changes are coming for drivers on East Capitol Street near R.F.K. Stadium, including a new reversible lane and a lower speed limit.

Starting around Aug. 29, construction on the Whitney Young Bridge will shift to completely close the part of the bridge that normally carries westbound traffic.

The change will leave East Capitol Street with three lanes, all on the side of the bridge that normally carries traffic eastbound toward Benning Road.

One lane will carry westbound traffic, one lane will carry eastbound traffic and the center lane will be reversible based on the rush-hour direction, with big orange traffic barrels separating opposing traffic.

The traffic pattern on the bridge will be similar to what drivers have seen for the last year or so on the Memorial Bridge, with the reversible lane directed traffic inbound from D.C. 295 toward R.F.K. during the morning rush and outbound toward D.C. 295 during the evening rush.

(Courtesy District Department of Transportation)
(Courtesy District Department of Transportation)

To accommodate the reversible lane in the morning, two lanes of westbound traffic will cross over onto the open portion of the bridge just after the ramp from D.C. 295 south merges onto East Capitol Street. Eastbound East Capitol Street traffic will be diverted onto what is normally the exit ramp to D.C. 295 where there will now be three options: a temporary ramp to return to East Capitol Street eastbound, the existing ramp to D.C. 295 northbound or the existing ramp to D.C. 295 southbound.

In the afternoon, westbound traffic will still cross over at the same location, but will merge into a single lane. Eastbound traffic will be able to stay in the reversible lane to go straight and remain on East Capitol Street or take what is normally the exit ramp to D.C. 295, where the options to return to East Capitol Street or take D.C. 295 north will be available on the left side and the exit to D.C. 295 will remain open on the right side.

The speed limit is also dropping to 30 mph through the area as a safety measure during the construction and related changes.

(Courtesy District Department of Transportation)

Like during the Memorial Bridge work, which is scheduled into 2021, the sidewalk on the closed portion of the Whitney Young Bridge will also be blocked. People biking or walking will only be permitted on the other side. A new trail connection will link that sidewalk to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, the District Department of Transportation said.

This is the second phase of traffic changes for rehab work on the East Capitol Street bridge over the Anacostia River. The new traffic pattern is scheduled to be in place through the end of the year.

Work on the bridge deck, concrete supports and steel girder system began in March and is due to be completed in the spring. The project also includes the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail connection, new overhead signs and drainage improvements.

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