New pedestrian bridge crossing DC 295 to include safety improvements

The pedestrian bridge that was hit by a truck before collapsing on D.C. 295 on June 23 will be replaced by a still-in-design bridge that includes safety improvements for pedestrians, and will tweak a hard-to-navigate merge for drivers using the busy commuter route.

In a virtual public meeting Monday, the District Department of Transportation provided updated information about the Lane Place Pedestrian Bridge.

Engineer Jason Cawrse said the new pedestrian bridge in Ward 7 will be located about 220 feet north of the previous bridge and span D.C. 295, which is known as Kenilworth Avenue.

lane pedestrian bridge rendering
An artist rendering of what the new pedestrian bridge spanning DC 295 will look like upon completion. The previous bridge collapsed over the summer when a truck hit it while its lift was elevated. (Courtesy DDOT)

Placing the bridge in the new location, near Lane Place NE, will allow it to cross the both Kenilworth Avenue and the northbound and southbound service lanes that run parallel to the highway.

“The previous bridge forced pedestrians to cross the service road at grade, at unsignalized locations,” said Cawrse.

The previous bridge, which was hit by a truck with its lift elevated, had a vertical clearance of just over 14 feet. Cawrse said the new bridge will measure 17 1/2 feet from the bottom of the bridge to the road surface.

The bridge span for pedestrians, joggers and scooters will be 12 feet wide — 5 feet wider than the previous bridge. Mesh screening on the bridge will provide safety for people walking across the bridge, and reduce the likelihood of items falling onto cars traveling below the bridge.

Cawrse said the new bridge will be more accessible than the previous one, with gradually sloped ramps for those with mobility challenges, as well as better stairs.

The previous bridge had poor lighting, with just a single light on either side of the bridge.

“The new bridge will have multiple light poles along the ramps, stairs, and the span itself,” making it safer to use at night, said Cawrse.

In moving the bridge 220 feet north of the existing bridge, Cawrse said the design calls for the improvement of the southbound access ramp onto 295. Currently, the short ramp requires a quick and risky acceleration for drivers trying to enter the main traffic flow.

“The design provides for a longer access ramp on 295, increasing the acceleration lane and merge distance,” said Cawrse.

The design process is expected to be complete in summer 2022, said Cawrse. Once a contract is awarded, construction of the pedestrian bridge is expected to last about a year.

Coverage of the bridge collapse:

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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