Anyone working in the DMV area will tell you the worst part of their day is the commute, but over 77,000 of those commuters are about to get an upgrade—at least when it comes to crossing the Anacostia River.
Mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled design plans for the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, which will become Washington, D.C.’s largest public infrastructure project in history.
The existing Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge dates back to the 1950s, characterized by its deteriorating infrastructure and uneven, sloping lanes. But the Nation’s Capital has plans for a new scenic boulevard bridge that will not only increase pedestrian and vehicular safety, but also showcase the new waterfront developments on both sides of the river, including Nationals Park. “Today, we are taking a huge step toward improving the District’s infrastructure and building a safer, stronger DC,” said Mayor Bowser.
The record-breaking $441 million dollar design-build contract was awarded to South Capitol Bridgebuilders – a joint venture of Archer Western Construction, LLC, and Granite Construction Company, with AECOM as the lead designer. The new fixed span, six-lane bridge will be constructed a mere 100-feet from the existing bridge.
According to the District Department of Transportation, the bridge will have an estimated economic impact of $787 million for the Greater Washington, D.C., region – most of which, will go directly back to the city. “The Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge and the entire South Capitol Street Corridor Project will create jobs for District residents and provide an iconic gateway between Anacostia and Downtown DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “When completed, this will be a tremendous structure and a fitting memorial for a remarkable American icon.”
Spanning across the Anacostia river, the new bridge will improve the daily mobility of over 70,000 vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. “The new bridge will simultaneously enhance the District’s transportation infrastructure, boost the local economy, and support the ongoing revitalization of the Anacostia Waterfront and development on both sides of the river,” said DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo at the public unveiling on August 10.
The new project, according to the DDOT, will also help improve drainage and stormwater management, and create new traffic ovals east and west of the river. Part of the project also includes restoring part of the Suitland Parkway/1-295 interchange, which thousands of commuters, particularly from Southern Maryland and Prince George’s County, use daily.