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Author Topic: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open  (Read 8051 times)

oscar

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DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« on: December 19, 2012, 06:24:52 PM »

I just drove the new ramp, connecting the Southeast Freeway to northbound DC 295.  The ramp reportedly opened earlier today.  Also, overhead signs on the Southeast Freeway confirm that you now can take the southbound 11th St. Bridge to both southbound I-295 and northbound DC 295. 

At least one overhead sign indicates you can still stay on the Southeast Freeway to connect with northbound DC 295 via the Sousa Bridge on Pennsylvania Ave. SE.  But I expect that will not last as DDOT gears up to tear up the eastbound lanes of the freeway east of the 11th St. Bridge (for reconstruction as an "urban boulevard"), now that through traffic in both directions can use the 11th St. Bridge for a full freeway-to-freeway connection between the Southeast Freeway and DC 295.

No photos, since I didn't have my camera with me and it was nighttime in any case.  I did the trip spur-of-the-moment after a holiday party at my old office near Union Station.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 08:48:08 PM by oscar »
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1995hoo

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 06:27:51 PM »

That segment east of the bridge is supposed to close in January according to the Washington Post.
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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2012, 01:53:38 PM »

I'm suspecting that once the ramp leading from DC 295 to the 11th Street Bridges opens, the westbound lanes of the Southeast Freeway that lead from Pennsylvania Avenue will be torn up as well.
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oscar

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2012, 05:48:12 PM »

I'm suspecting that once the ramp leading from DC 295 to the 11th Street Bridges opens, the westbound lanes of the Southeast Freeway that lead from Pennsylvania Avenue will be torn up as well.

The ramps from NB and SB DC 295 to the 11th St. Bridge opened several months ago.  And I think the westbound Southeast Freeway lanes between Pennsylvania Ave. and the 11th St. Bridge are already closed; only the eastbound lanes are still open (for now).
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 05:50:27 PM by oscar »
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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2012, 10:05:07 PM »

Correct.  Already closed.
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oscar

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2013, 04:38:54 PM »

That segment east of the bridge is supposed to close in January according to the Washington Post.

DDOT just made it in under the wire -- per the Washington Post, eastbound lanes east of the bridge were closed yesterday evening (the westbound lanes have already been closed for some time).

1995hoo already has a comment on the WaPo article, about how this could throw off some Capitals hockey fans who depend too heavily on their GPS nav systems. 
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1995hoo

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2013, 05:26:06 PM »

I posted something about it in a Caps forum too. I'm en route to the game now (waiting outside my wife's office for her to get off work), but we go the other way on I-395 so I won't get to witness the fun at the bridge.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 06:26:50 PM »

That segment east of the bridge is supposed to close in January according to the Washington Post.

DDOT just made it in under the wire -- per the Washington Post, eastbound lanes east of the bridge were closed yesterday evening (the westbound lanes have already been closed for some time).

Happened to drive by there when DDOT contractors were re-arranging things.  they first shut-down the access to the eastern end of the S.E. Freeway, then moved traffic from the old flyover ramp that carries traffic from the S.E. Freeway to the 11th Street Bridge to the new one.  I believe the plan  is that this ramp, which is now carrying southbound traffic, will eventually carry northbound traffic - but for now, that flyover that was closed will be demolished and replaced with a new structure. Then the southbound movement will be put on  the (still to be built) new flyover and northbound traffic will be rerouted to the flyover now in use by  southbound traffic.

1995hoo already has a comment on the WaPo article, about how this could throw off some Capitals hockey fans who depend too heavily on their GPS nav systems.

It was pretty ugly last night, even with  light traffic.  A lot of motorists have continued to use the breezewood route via Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E. and the ramp to northbound D.C. 295, even though the right-side ramp on the 11th Street Bridge to northbound D.C. 295 has been open for a while now.
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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2013, 08:16:25 AM »

They're conditioned for that movement.  So when something interrupts that conditioning, they all go into a panic.
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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2013, 12:15:46 AM »

They're conditioned for that movement.  So when something interrupts that conditioning, they all go into a panic.

Yeah, there are a lot of people out there that take the same route every day, no matter what.

Wonder what they do if they encounter a total closure of their normal route?
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cpzilliacus

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 10:36:52 AM »

1995hoo already has a comment on the WaPo article, about how this could throw off some Capitals hockey fans who depend too heavily on their GPS nav systems.

I recently checked the Navteq "Map Reporter" site and discovered that none of the changes associated with the DDOT 11th Street Bridge project have been reflected on their site (and maybe not in the GPS files that they market), so I submitted two reports to them (with copies of press releases from DDOT's Web site) describing the changes.   
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1995hoo

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 10:48:39 AM »

They're conditioned for that movement.  So when something interrupts that conditioning, they all go into a panic.

Yeah, there are a lot of people out there that take the same route every day, no matter what.

Wonder what they do if they encounter a total closure of their normal route?

Same thing some GPS users do if they can't follow the route it recommends: They slow to a crawl, or a full stop, and stare. Then afterwards they complain that they weren't informed properly.

I got stuck at 17th & Constitution during rush hour one night on the way to Verizon Center behind some tourist with Alabama plates and the tell-tale glow of a portable GPS on his windshield. He had his left-turn signal on and couldn't seem to understand the huge light-up sign displaying a "NO LEFT TURN" symbol. Evidently his device was telling him to turn left and he was determined to follow its instructions. Too much traffic for me to get out from behind him, but thankfully all the horn-honking by the long queue stuck behind this guy attracted the attention of a nearby police officer, who came over when the light was red and rapped on the guy's window and gestured at him to go straight. Crap like that is why the sat-navs all have those annoying "nag screens" (legal disclaimers) when you first turn them on.

But at least in that case it was a red light on a surface street. I shudder to think of what might occur when people come to a dead stop to stare at the barriers on a route like the Southwest–Southeast Freeway. That road can be nerve-wracking enough with the level of aggressive driving and weaving in and out that occurs, and throwing in lost or confused drivers just makes it worse.

I haven't heard much coverage of how the traffic has been over the 11th Street Bridge since they closed that segment aside from cpzilliacus's comment above about it being ugly. But I expect last night was a big mess (I assume traffic on Friday night was lighter because it usually is) and that today will be similar. It doesn't matter how many signs are put up: People go on autopilot and they never expect there to be any changes to anything, even in an obvious work zone. You could put up a massive lit-up blinking sign along the lines of that massive HD video screen Jerry Jones hung over the field at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium and drivers would STILL fail to comprehend the message.

What it really comes down to, in my mind, is that there's only so much you can do to inform people who do not want to be informed, and at some point drivers need to take responsibility for themselves. (We saw this with the 495 Express Lanes last fall. A lot of the comments you find in places like the Washington Post blogs or online discussions portray almost an intentional ignorance on the part of many drivers. I'm not terribly sympathetic because, you know, if the road's been under construction for four years or more, it seems to me that if you drive through there every day sooner or later you'd at least do a Google search to try to find out what they're doing.)



BTW, another local example of this sort of thing where, as froggie aptly put it, drivers' conditioning is interrupted has been along Telegraph Road just south of the Beltway in Fairfax County. It's now been several years since left turns from Telegraph to Huntington Avenue and Kings Highway were banned in favor of right-side exit ramps. U-turns are also illegal in front of the Bestway Latin American supermarket. Yet I still see lots of people making the illegal U-turn to access Kings Highway; others go through the Bestway car park, which has an exit onto Kings Highway at the far end. I understood the initial confusion, especially because the changes were poorly-posted when they occurred (example: All the signs about the changes were on the right, presumably because the new ramps are on the right, but when people have been turning left for over 30 years, you need to have the signs on the left because that's where those people are looking!), but at some point it becomes ridiculous for people to continue to refuse to obey the new traffic pattern.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 10:53:05 AM by 1995hoo »
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 11:23:53 AM »

He had his left-turn signal on and couldn't seem to understand the huge light-up sign displaying a "NO LEFT TURN" symbol.
These are usually used when left turns are only prohibited for short periods (such as when a train is present). I would probably do as he did and wait for the sign to turn off.
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andrewkbrown

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2013, 11:49:01 AM »

He had his left-turn signal on and couldn't seem to understand the huge light-up sign displaying a "NO LEFT TURN" symbol.
These are usually used when left turns are only prohibited for short periods (such as when a train is present). I would probably do as he did and wait for the sign to turn off.

These particular No Left Turn signs are lit from 7:00-9:30am and 4:00-6:30pm Monday through Friday.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2013, 12:38:08 PM »

He had his left-turn signal on and couldn't seem to understand the huge light-up sign displaying a "NO LEFT TURN" symbol.
These are usually used when left turns are only prohibited for short periods (such as when a train is present). I would probably do as he did and wait for the sign to turn off.

These particular No Left Turn signs are lit from 7:00-9:30am and 4:00-6:30pm Monday through Friday.

The ones at U.S. 50 (New York Avenue, N.E.) and U.S. 1 Alt. (Bladensburg Road, N.E.) that deny left turns in both directions for Bladensburg Road traffic are supposed to be on 24/7.

I don't know why DDOT does not just install static signs showing that those left turns are forbidden.
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1995hoo

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2013, 12:52:12 PM »

I can't picture the ones you reference because I seldom drive through there. On Constitution Avenue, though, there have long been fixed metal signs with the "no left turn" restriction and the hours, but the light-up signs were added a few years ago to augment them. It made sense to me—the metal signs aren't the easiest to see and the hours are hard to read, especially during the winter when it's dark for much of the hours when the restriction applies, because the signs are posted on the far side of the intersection and across four lanes of traffic coming the other way.

This is the closest you can get on Street View at 17th and Constitution. Notice where the metal sign is across the intersection. The illuminated sign is the black box above the traffic light.


I clicked over to Bladensburg Road on Street View and it appears there is indeed a metal sign, but it's very hard to see—look behind the Metrobus.

I rather like the light-up signs at larger intersections like that, especially at night. I've always found it mildly amusing how a poorly-illuminated little sign hanging from span wire or attached to a mast arm on the far side of an intersection with a road having a total of nine lanes is supposed to be visible, especially at night.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2013, 10:02:11 PM »

I can't picture the ones you reference because I seldom drive through there. On Constitution Avenue, though, there have long been fixed metal signs with the "no left turn" restriction and the hours, but the light-up signs were added a few years ago to augment them. It made sense to me—the metal signs aren't the easiest to see and the hours are hard to read, especially during the winter when it's dark for much of the hours when the restriction applies, because the signs are posted on the far side of the intersection and across four lanes of traffic coming the other way.

This is the closest you can get on Street View at 17th and Constitution. Notice where the metal sign is across the intersection. The illuminated sign is the black box above the traffic light.

Yeah, I am pretty familiar with  17th & Constitution, N.W., and I know that sign.

I believe there is also a sign that denies left turns to southbound traffic on 17th (look on the southeast corner of the intersection), which I think is only lit part of the day.

I clicked over to Bladensburg Road on Street View and it appears there is indeed a metal sign, but it's very hard to see—look behind the Metrobus.

I rather like the light-up signs at larger intersections like that, especially at night. I've always found it mildly amusing how a poorly-illuminated little sign hanging from span wire or attached to a mast arm on the far side of an intersection with a road having a total of nine lanes is supposed to be visible, especially at night.

Yep, that's one of them.  If you look to the right, on the same signal pole that has the NO TURN ON RED and the National Arboretum signs, you see the back of the variable (but always lit) NO LEFT TURN sign for traffic coming south on Bladensburg Road, N.E.

This is a rare D.C. intersection that actually has some traffic enforcement by regular Metropolitan Police Department officers, but I believe it's only because the Fifth District Station ("5D" in MPD-talk) is located  about a block and a half south of this intersection on Bladensburg Road. So when 5D officers have some time to kill, they will often sit in one of the Exxon stations (there are two, diagonally across the intersection from each other) and look for vehicles violating those NO LEFT TURN signs or running the red light.

Added note regarding Metrobuses:  There is a huge amount of Metrobus traffic through this intersection seemingly at all hours of the day and night, because WMATA's biggest bus garage, the so-called Bladensburg Division, is located "officially" on 26th Street, N.E. (a section of street that is closed-off to all except WMATA employees), but should have an address on Bladensburg Road.  Not only are many buses parked here when  they are not in use, but  this is also, by far, WMATA's biggest bus maintenance and repair facility, so even buses belonging to garages as far away as Montgomery Division (off of Md. 355 (Rockville Pike) near the White Flint Metrorail stop) and the West Ox Division (located in Fairfax County off of West Ox Road north of U.S. 29 (Lee Highway)) are brought there for certain types of work.
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1995hoo

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2013, 03:28:59 PM »

I finally went over the new ramp from outbound I-695 to northbound DC-295 today. I observed a fair number of brake lights coming on approaching the new ramp to the bridge, no doubt due to people being unfamiliar with the new traffic pattern. The new ramp is a bit of a sharp curve, but I understand in the future it's to be the inbound ramp and for that purpose the curve won't be as bad. It's certainly a better road surface than the bumpy old ramp (and I felt that even more since I was driving the RX-7 due to the nice weather). On the bridge itself there's still a lot of weaving back and forth. People simply don't read the signs and don't seem to think "EXIT ONLY" applies to them until the last minute.

The new ramp is such a simple and positive addition that you have to shake your head at why it wasn't built years ago.

Northbound DC-295 is now posted with a 50-mph speed limit. Big improvement—although the signs are massively fugly. There are a number of new speed limit signs on I-295 and DC-295 that use this strange computerized-looking typeface.

Traffic on DC-295 was a bit of a mess. Thru traffic coming from I-295 now has to move left north of the 11th Street Bridge complex because the two right lanes (coming from I-295) are now exit-only onto Pennsylvania Avenue—the two lanes that come down the new ramp from I-695 are now the thru lanes on DC-295. Problem is, a lot of the drivers think "EXIT ONLY" means "shortcut lane to race ahead of everyone else and then stop to force your way in." Lots of slow traffic that broke loose immediately after Pennsylvania Avenue; meanwhile, if you wanted to exit to inbound Pennsylvania, you got stuck behind the "shortcut lane" crowd. My gut tells me this problem isn't going away any time soon because I found it to be typical of the general rudeness I usually see on I-295, the PG County portion of the Beltway, and Indian Head Highway. A lot of the people who drive on those roads seem to think they can intimidate you by tailgating, cutting you off, or generally acting like assholes.

Interestingly, I noted a number of I-695 trailblazers and LGSs on the streets in the area around the Navy Yard. Those are the first I-695 signs I've seen in DC other than the ones on the bridge itself.

Few pictures, but none from the bridge itself (not enough space to get a picture while operating a 5-speed, and I didn't have the belt clip with me to let me shoot video):

Eastbound I-695



Eastbound I-695 again



Last overhead prior to the bridge



Ugly speed limit sign on southbound DC-295—I'll try to get a picture of the one near Blue Plains next time I'm on that road, as it's easier to get a good picture there. Problem is, I tend to forget it's there until it's too late.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2013, 06:29:40 PM »

Yeah, I noticed the ugly speed limit sign near Blue Plains for the first time a few months ago driving to my firehouse one morning.
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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2013, 06:54:51 PM »

That typeface has been on speed limit signs near Blue Plains for at least a year, if not longer.
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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2013, 07:13:06 PM »

Clearly I have not been paying attention then. I thought they appeared only in the past 2-3 months.
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1995hoo

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Re: DC: New ramp from 11th St. Bridge to NB DC 295 now open
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2013, 08:59:16 PM »

I've noticed it before, I just always forget until it's too late for a picture.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

 


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