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D.C. Ready to Rebuild Pedestrian Bridge Over I-295 Following June 2021 Collapse

Thu March 02, 2023 - Northeast Edition #6
Washington Post

Rendering of the proposed Lane Place Pedestrian Bridge. (Courtesy of The District Department of Transportation)
Rendering of the proposed Lane Place Pedestrian Bridge. (Courtesy of The District Department of Transportation)

The District of Columbia is preparing to begin construction of a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 295 in northeast Washington, replacing a span that collapsed over the highway in June 2021 after it was struck by a truck.

The work to rebuild the Lane Place bridge is set to begin in March and will last about a year, according to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). The bridge will be taller, wider and include access ramps that follow federal accessibility requirements, DDOT officials told the Post.

The replacement project is estimated to cost $22 million.

DDOT Director Everett Lott said the bridge will be part of investments to build a more connected city.

"For the past several months, we have been very intentional and committed to working alongside the community throughout the design process," he explained in a statement.

Lane Place Bridge a Key Connection in NE Washington

The collapse shook residents in the northeast Washington neighborhood, separating them from businesses and churches across the six-lane highway while causing alarm about bridge safety. Some city officials worried that the lack of a pedestrian crossing would leave the community increasingly isolated from the other side of the highway, the Post noted on Feb. 22.

The Lane Place pedestrian bridge, connecting the Kenilworth and Eastland Gardens neighborhoods to Deanwood, collapsed June 23, 2021, after a Mack truck — traveling southbound with its subframe raised — struck the footbridge, causing the structure to come loose, officials later explained. The wreckage left the truck trapped beneath the structure and led to a chain of crashes involving three other vehicles.

A routine inspection earlier in 2021 rated the bridge as "poor," or a "four″ on a zero-to-nine national scale — citing the condition of the two concrete T-beams — and noted that "consideration should be given to replacing the bridge."

The Lane Place span, built in 1956, had a clearance of 14 ft. 4 in., and did not meet current standards for pedestrian bridge heights. The DDOT's current policy calls for overhead structures across roadways to be a minimum of 17 ft. 6 in. tall.

DDOT received $1 million in federal emergency funds to cover costs associated with the demolition, cleanup and repair work of the bridge after the collapse. Washington Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) also ordered the use of $1.5 million to hasten the design work for a new bridge, which officials said will meet standards for height clearance.

Once built, the pedestrian crossing's users will see other improvements, including enhanced lighting, access ramps that meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, and stairs that provide an alternate method of accessing the bridge.

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