Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The $47-118 million interim project accomodation for the April 2008 opening: temporary ramps and shortening the existing viaduct 5 years or so before it was going to be demolished anyway

Official planning was already active on an upcoming project to replace the existing South Capitol Street Frederick Douglass Bridge, when the Nationals Stadium was publicly announced in September 2004, with the South Capitol Gateway Corridor and Anacostia Access Studies. October 2004

Parsons Brinkerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc.Frank Lohen McCrery, Architects Justice & Sustainability Associates, L.L.C. Joseph Passonneau & Partners

This October 2004 report includes a ballpark addendum.

Previously, traffic would continue to be routed on the existing bridge until the completion of the new bridge built alongside to the south that would touchdown to the surface at the intersection of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue, to direct traffic to Half and 1st Streets SE, allowing the existing viaduct to be then removed. Placing the stadium between South Capitol and 1st Streets, Potomac Avenue to N Street, with its location where the existing South Capitol Street Bridge land viaduct touches down to the surface at N Street, will be particularly vunerable potential traffic clot. This is especially so prior to the completion of the replacement bridge which would add connections to disperse traffic. However, the stadium’s scheduled April 2008 opening, 6 years prior to that if the replacement bridge was completed in 2014: hence creating a 6-7 year period of a stadium event traffic knot at the northern end of a stadium that would abut the viaduct.

The ballpark addendum changes this by adding an interim project that would re-route traffic via demolishing the northernmost portion of the South Capitol Street Bridge that runs along the South Capitol axis, and reconstructing its connection to the surface with new elevated ramps to 1st Street via Potomac Avenue, with two additional options for a connection to South Capitol Street touching down either just north or south of Potomac Avenue.

The estimated costs of these 3 options, the first estimated to take 3.2 years, the others 6 years, are

$47.1 to $73.6 million: Touchdown to 1st street SE only:

$56.4 to 107 million: Touchdown to 1st Street SE and South Capitol Street to the north of Potomac Avenue

$85 to 118.9 million: Touchdown to 1st Street SE and South Capital Street south of Potomac Avenue.

With these ramps to be demolished within 3 years of their completion, they would cost an upwards of $6.3 million per year (6 lanes divided by $119 million equals $19 million per lane, divided by 3 equals $6.3 million per year of use), owing to their short life span.

Funding for this interim project, would come from its inclusion within the broader South Capitol Street reconstruction, and hence, come from taxpayers.

Here’s one for Taxpayers for Common Sense: has anyone crunched the numbers for this interim project and compared them to others?

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