The 9th Street Bridge is a successful effort for Mayor Vincent Gray to ease the traffic and the congestion on New York Avenue. The frustration of DC residents who tried to navigate the maze of traffic lanes at New York Avenue and Mount Olivet Road has been resolved.
Looking at the bridge from Mt. Olivet Road and New York Avenue drivers will witness a marvel compared to the mass of construction that existed only a few months ago. During the Great Depression the WPA created transportation projects that gave jobs to thousands of workers who fed their families. As Radio One founder Cathy Hughes reported in 2010 the economy in America never turned around for many workers. They have experienced three years of depression that has left their finances in ruins.
The 9th Street Bridge was reconstructed by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in cooperation with the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The project created jobs for DC residents from the beginning of the project in April of 2009 until Mayor Vincent Gray attended the ceremony to celebrate the completion of the project on July 22nd, 2011. “Shoring up our roads and bridges is essential to the nation’s economic competitiveness,” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said. “The more we can improve our infrastructure, especially in busy metropolitan areas, the more we’ll help move economic recovery along,” Mendez said.
The work on the bridge caused lane closures and detours on 9th Street and New York Avenue; however for those DC residents who have travelled the route for decades it was well worth the wait. The 9th Street Bridge was originally built in 1940 during the aftermath of the Great Depression and at a time when Americans needed help from the federal government to get back to work. “This new bridge demonstrates how we’re proactively continuing to address the nationwide issue we face today with aging infrastructure. Together with our federal partners we are moving swiftly to ensure our bridges in the District are safe and will serve our needs for decades to come,” Gray said.
DDOT estimates that the 9th Street serves an estimated 26,000 cars and trucks every business day. The estimated cost for rebuilding the bridge was $50 million dollars. The 9th Street Bridge connects New York Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue, NE. The Brentwood Post Office, Social Security Administration, and the Black Entertainment Television Network are all served by the 9th Street Bridge. The Brentwood Shopping Center which houses both Giant Food Store and the Home Depot are also served by the new bridge. Mount Olivet Road that lead to the new bridge were redesigned to create a much safer and more functional traffic pattern for motorists and pedestrians
The DDOT closed two southbound lanes on the bridge; however, the two northbound lanes were split into one northbound lane and the other southbound lane. The completion of the project has not only created a beautiful structure and architectural asset for the city; it has also kept the city’s promise to ease the traffic congestion and overcrowding that had plagued New York Avenue for decades. Having served as Dean of Students at Ruth K. Webb Elementary School in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002, your customer service reporter can attest to the improvement in traffic as a result of the new bridge.