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Gridlock continues where D.C. 295 and I-395 meet

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It will be another year before the 11th Street Bridge project, which finally connected D.C. 295 with Interstate 395 through downtown Washington, will be completed.

The multi-year project finally connected D.C. 295 with Interstate 395 across the Anacostia River. Photo: DDOT

At this point, most commuters have experienced the new overpasses that linked two major highways which, for decades, were not connected at all over the Anacostia.

It was a feat of infrastructure work, several years in the making, that was designed to allow traffic to flow more easily in the area. Despite time passing, though, the construction and orange cones that still litter the maze of new ramps has drivers growing impatient.

"(It's) critical infrastructure to move traffic out of the neighborhoods," Nick Nicholson, the District Department of Transportation's chief engineer, says. "Deteriorating bridges were a major concern."

Now, though, for drivers, the time they're spending in the car is still a concern as well. As a test, we drove south on 295 from U.S. Route 50 to the 11th Street Bridge during the peak of the morning rush three times.

On average, it took 25 minutes to drive those four miles, driving at an average of about 10 miles per hour.

Meanwhile, in the other direction, the gridlock wasn't even better. Comparable delays going northbound on the same route are commonplace. On a bad day, some commuters say that four-mile trek takes up to an hour.

DDOT says the construction and current delays will be worth it once the project is fully completed.

"I emphatically say that we are not done," Nicholson says.

While there are not many feasible alternatives to DC-295 to head into DC from points to the north—Kenilworth Ave. may be one option. Another option is to use the Beltway, coming into the east side of DC via Suitland Parkway/South Capitol Street (on the Douglass Bridge).

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