17th Street near the National Mall closed Friday for levee testing

In the event of coastal storm surge or river flooding from the Tidal Basin and the Potomac River, the removable structure would be installed to reduce the risk of flooding downtown and in Southwest D.C. (Courtesy National Park Service)

A section of a route past the National Mall in downtown D.C. is closed Friday as the National Park Service performs a test installation of the 17th Street levee.

The annual drill means 17th Street is closed between Constitution Avenue Northwest and Independence Avenue Southwest. The closures are expected to last until 4 p.m. Friday, and the Park Service says drivers, pedestrians and cyclists should consider alternative routes.

As part of the test installation Friday, crews with the National Park Service are installing large aluminum panels between steel posts along 17th Street. In the event of coastal storm surge or river flooding from the Tidal Basin and the Potomac River, the removable structure would be installed to reduce the risk of flooding downtown and in Southwest D.C.

The annual test installation on 17th Street makes sure the levee can be erected properly in case of a high-water event.

The levee is maintained by the National Park Service.

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