At this point, the only alternatives remaining are:The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) invite the public to an informational meeting to present the Preferred Alternative for the Long Bridge Project. FRA and DDOT are preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for the Project to consider alternatives and evaluate the potential impacts of those alternatives on the environment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. This meeting is also a part of the concurrent consultation for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
WHEN: Thursday, November 29, 2018
Open House format from 4PM to 7PM
Formal presentations at 4:30PM and 6:00PM (same presentation at both times)
WHERE: DCRA Building, Room E200, 1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024. Room E200 is located on the second floor of the DCRA building adjacent to the elevators. Bring an ID to show at the entrance in order to access the building.
Access via Metrorail: Waterfront Station – Green Line. Take the escalator/elevator to the ground level and walk straight; the building will be on your right. Note, there will be no Yellow Line service on November 29th, so please plan accordingly.
Access via bus: Metrobus routes 74, A9, P6, and V1; Circulator Eastern Market-L’Enfant Plaza route.
(1) Build a new bridge upstream of the current one and keep the old one, or
(2) Build a new bridge upstream of the current one and then tear down and replace the old one.
If the existing bridge is in decent shape (good enough to last another 40 years or so) I see nothing wrong with keeping it around for now. It was last overhauled in the 1940s which is not too old by railroad bridge standards. The Potomac River at Washington DC is tidal but has low salt content; I am not sure what implications that has regarding bridge materials. Really to me, it is inconsequential which alternative is chosen.
However, you review the EIS appendixes, there is one very consequential matter that apparently has not been decided, although I'm not sure if it is even within the scope of the EIS at all. That is, whether to build the overland alignment within DC with 13' or 15' track centers. 13' centers can fit neatly under the Maryland Avenue deck and use all the existing underpasses and overpasses from there to the tunnel portal - all that is required is a very modest relocation of a single retaining wall.15' centers will require reconstructing all of the above which would be expensive and disruptive - probably more expensive than building the bridge over the river itself. I am not sure what the implications of 13' vs 15' would be as far as operations is concerned, but it seems to me that the decision to go with 13' should be obvious. I am not sure what has caused the 15' option to even be on the table. If it is CSX trying to accommodate wider loads, I hope they will pay the difference in cost. If it is for a modest speed increase for passenger trains my feeling is they should just forget it and deal with slightly slower trains, at least until all those bridges age out and have to be replaced anyway.