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FHWA 26-10
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Contact: Nancy Singer/Kelly Hanahan
Tel.: 202-366-0660

FHWA Administrator Mendez Gets Update on Eastern Avenue Bridge Recovery Act Project in Washington, D.C.
Innovative Technology Saves Time, Reduces Congestion and Improves Safety

WASHINGTON - Drivers in northeast Washington, D.C. will soon have a safer commute over the new Eastern Avenue Bridge, thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and innovative construction techniques, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez announced today.

"Recovery Act transportation improvements are making it easier and safer to travel," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We're rebuilding the nation's infrastructure while putting Americans back to work."

The new bridge is being funded with $9.6 million in Recovery Act dollars and a $1 million Federal Highway Administration program grant for innovative approaches to reduce congestion and improve safety during construction. Known as "Highways for LIFE," the program encourages states to build roads faster, while also making roads last longer and less costly to maintain. For the Eastern Avenue Bridge, the technology is helping complete the project in less than half the time it would have taken using traditional methods.

"The project combines Recovery Act dollars and innovation to improve our quality of life by creating a safer and stronger community," Administrator Mendez said. "We are helping to deliver transportation projects more quickly and seamlessly, which minimizes daily disruptions."

The Eastern Avenue Bridge, which carries traffic over Kenilworth Avenue (DC-295), is being rebuilt using prefabricated bridge decks and piers so that traffic lanes are not closed down for long durations. The segments of the bridge are built off-site and assembled together on location similar to building blocks. The use of this technology will decrease project construction time from potentially two years to less than one year.

The existing structure has a clearance height of 14 feet and has been the site of numerous accidents over the years. The reconstruction of the bridge will increase the clearance height to 16 feet, which should significantly reduce the number of clearance-related accidents. The new bridge will include a dedicated truck turn around lane to separate truck traffic from vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

It will also provide safer access for communities on both sides of DC-295 with improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities and include planters to create green space.

Of the $26.6 billion in ARRA highway funds available nationwide, the District of Columbia's share is $123 million. To date, the District of Columbia has obligated the full amount for 15 projects. One project has been completed and 14 are under way.

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