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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

Tuesday, November 21, 2000
Contacts: Karen Whitney, (202) 366-0660
FHWA 126-00

U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Downey Announces Completion of E Street Improvements in D.C.; Street to Reopen Today

U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Mortimer L. Downey, joined by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, today announced the completion of improvements to sections of E Street and 17th Street Northwest to restore westbound traffic to the E Street corridor and improve traffic flow in downtown Washington, D.C.

The reopening follows completion of improvements there, which were funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration with $1.7 million in public lands highways funding. Two-way traffic will begin in time for rush hour this afternoon.

"As part of President Clinton and Vice President Gore's pledge to be a good neighbor to the District, we are pleased to restore two-way traffic to this vital thoroughfare to help ease congestion for District residents, commuters and visitors to the nation's capital," U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater said.

In addition to funding the E Street improvements, the U.S. Department of Transportation, also in the spirit of that good neighbor pledge, 18 months ago provided $500,000 in federal funds to study this issue, and in February 2000, Secretary Slater announced a $600 million loan guarantee for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to begin a $2.3 billion capital improvement program.

In partnership with the District of Columbia's Public Works Division, FHWA is administering four federal-aid construction projects valued at $31.6 million. In addition, FHWA has awarded a $2.3 million public lands highway-funded project to reconstruct the Independence Avenue Bridge over Maine Avenue, located east of the Tidal Basin.

The E Street project is part of a multi-agency initiative to improve roads in the National Mall Monument area. This effort has resulted in $66 million in road infrastructure improvements.

Construction began this spring to reconfigure E Street and eliminate parking to return E Street to four-lane, two-way traffic between 15th and 17th Streets. These improvements will essentially double the current carrying capacity of the corridor to approximately 25,200 vehicles per day. The project also includes new crosswalks, sidewalks and signal adjustments to enhance pedestrian safety.

All public vehicular traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue was restricted between 15th and 17th Streets and E Street was limited to only two east bound lanes as a result of the May 1995 decision to restrict traffic adjacent to the White House for security purposes. The E Street improvements are part of a joint effort among the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Park Service, the Treasury Department and the D.C. Department of Public Works.


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