Last week, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced that the Authorized Vehicle Only access road at Barney Circle will be permanently closed as the completion phase of the 11th Street Bridge Project begins.
As early as today, DDOT will barricade the entrance to the road to begin the process of converting the eastern end of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway to an at-grade boulevard (aka the “Southeast Boulevard”) that will connect to neighborhood streets and provide access to the freeway at 11th Street SE. According to DDOT, the project will take 18-20 months.
The closure of the Barney Circle access road will certainly change traffic patterns in Hill East. Hundreds of commuters, including many locals, illegally take the left turn at 17th Street SE and Barney Circle daily for easy access to the Southeast/Southwest Freeway. Neighborhood residents will now have to use I Street SE to access the freeway at 3rd Street SE until DDOT opens the westbound entrance to the freeway at 11th Street SE (around Thanksgiving). Commuters will hopefully stay on I-295 and access the SE/SW Freeway using the new 11th Street Bridge.
Once the Southeast Boulevard is completed, DDOT is scheduled to construct a full traffic circle at Barney Circle. I hope to have DDOT representatives out to the neighborhood soon to discuss the Barney Circle project. You can read more about the 11th Street Bridge/Southeast Boulevard Project on the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative website and at the JDLand blog.