Wednesday, November 19, 2008

11th Street Reconstruction Set to Start

Any day now, the construction vehicles are going to set up shop and the long-awaited reconstruction of 11th Street between L and O streets is set to begin. A website,, has been set up to alert the public to construction milestones and progress on the project, which will feature a complete reconstruction of the street, landscaping improvements, and the installation of a traffic signal at 11th and O streets.

You can read all of the details about the project at the website, but we thought it would also be helpful to highlight the project phases, so that those of you who either live along and/or frequent 11th St. know what's in store. The project will be broken up into four phases, as follows:

Phase 1 of the construction is between L St. and N St. on the northbound side of the street. Phase 2 is construction between N. St. and O St. on the same side. Phase 3 is construction between L St. and N. St. on the southbound side of the street, and phase 4 is construction between N. St. and O St. on the southbound side.

At the public meeting, there were some pertinent questions asked which are not answered on the website, so we're sharing a couple of them here.

Question: Why only between L and O streets? Why not reconstruct 11th street up to Rhode Island or beyond?
According to DDOT officials, it's an issue of funding. The DDOT budget, like most other city and governmental agencies, has seen their budget cut significantly, leading to the scaling back of some projects, and the indefinite delay of others. It seemed as if the DDOT officials would have liked to gone ahead and reconsruct 11th Street farther north, but the budget simply wouldn't allow it.

Question: What assurances are in place that the project isn't going to run months over schedule?

Many of you probably remember the Q Street reconstruction project and the significant delays that were incurred there--taking the project over 6 months over its projected end date. The biggest impediment to completing the Q Street project in a timely manner was the accidental severing of PEPCO service lines that were buried under the street. Whoops. DDOT officials assured us that there were ongoing communications between the DDOT contractor and the utility companies, and that there would be no repeat of the problems that delayed Q St. Additionally, the DDOT contractor is penalized $1,100 per day for every day the project runs over its projected end date. that may sound like a lot of money, but a $30,000 penalty for running a month over on a multi-million contract doesn't strike us as particularly foreboding. We shall see.

So, get ready for some significant road upheavals over the next nine months. Hopefully the finished project will be worth the wait.

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