I-295 traffic congestion causing headaches

(Photo courtesy DDOT)

A massive construction project intended to relieve traffic congestion has created a traffic nightmare for thousands of commuters along interstate 295 heading toward D.C.

Some commuters say their drive-time to work has now doubled.

Work began more than three years ago on the 11 Street Bridge replacing two old bridges across the Anacostia river with three new bridges.

The work was started to make things easier for drivers heading into D.C. and creating a direct connection with the Southeast-Southwest Highway.

And with the Pennsylvania Avenue ramp into D.C. closed, it's also diverting customers away from some family-owned businesses.

"My God, believe me, at least 45% we are losing,” says Inderjeet Rana, a gas station owner affected by the construction.

DDOT's chief engineer, Renaldo Nicholson, says the project is 75% done, with several key goals achieved.

"The good news is that we are speeding to completion in adding that additional capacity that would take away those delays that they're currently experiencing," Nicholson says. “Taking commuter traffic out of the neighborhoods, replacing the deteriorated bridges that were a real safety concern.”

But, it will be another year before construction on this project is done.