WASHINGTON, D.C. —- Named after abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge will be open to the public on Sept. 7, months earlier than anticipated.
Protruding over the Anacostia River, the bridge is the largest public infrastructure project the district has completed. The $480 million bridge is replacing the structurally deficient existing bridge that opened over 70 years ago.
The bridge, which will aid vehicle traffic as well as pedestrian travel, features hexagonal steel arch rib sections that were fabricated by Veritas Steel at its Wisconsin and Florida plants. Veritas Steel provided all of the steel for the six-lane bridge, including 4,000 tons of structural steel plate girders and 3,140 tons of steel for the arches of the bridge. The fixed span of the bridge will allow for a vertical clearance of 42 feet underneath the structure and a horizontal clearance of 150 feet.
The bridge’s upgrade includes a reconstruction of a section of South Capitol Street, turning it into a boulevard. The project will also contribute improvements to Suitland Parkway and Interstate 295 interchanges. Two oval roundabouts, one on the Navy Yard side and the other on the Anacostia side will complete the sizable project, but these features aren’t expected to be finished until the spring.
In addition to its six lanes for vehicle travel and four pedestrian overlooks, the bridge will include a general path for bikes and walking as well as green areas on either side that can serve as space for recreation.
There will be a community celebration — including a 5k run — for the opening of the new Frederick Douglass bridge on Labor Day, Sept. 6 and a ribbon cutting on Sept. 7. Following this, the bridge will be open to public traffic later in the week.