Southeast Freeway closure takes effect Thursday

DDOT crews began setting cones out onto the freeway after the morning rush. Photo: Brianne Carter/WJLA

Following Thursday morning’s rush hour, the westbound Southeast Freeway between Pennsylvania Avenue and 8th Street is now closed for at least a year and a half as part of the 11th Street Bridge project.{ }

The closure will be in place for 18 to 20 months while crews work on the second phase of the project.

To get around the construction, commuters will have to take I-295 to the inbound 11th Street Bridge, also known as I-695, which will lead back to the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and I-395.

Transportation officials hope the changes will alleviate congestion in the area.

Also on Thursday, D.C.’s Department of Transportation officials will open a new ramp from 11th Street in Southeast to the westbound freeway.

The ramp is expected to improve traffic flow through Capitol Hill by providing a second access point to the freeway, other than the Third Street, SE on-ramp.

Maurice Smith was using the now closed section every day to get to work.

He believes the closure will lead to confusion as well congestion on alternate routes.

“It will make things that much worse so I don't know I guess I’ll have to leave a little earlier,” Smith says.