Monday, April 11, 2011

Constitution Avenue construction begins today

From time to time, we post about street closures in and near Penn Quarter that may affect your commute or daily life.  But today, starts the ultimate construction project: Constitution Avenue.

Constitution Avenue is long overdue for a facelift, and that facelift begins today.  It has been delayed because of the headaches it is so likely to cause.  The road is a mess to begin with - over travelled with busy intersections, buses, and tourists who slow down to take in the sights.

The District will be closing four lanes at a time on the eight-lane road.  This may not be as drastic as it seems, as often a couple lanes are taken by parking and by people backing into parking spots.  They will do construction on one block at a time, starting at 23rd Street and moving to 15th Street.

Your best bet if you have to get to Virginia is to take I-395 South to Virginia Highway 110.  It's usually faster than Constitution Avenue anyway.

If you're heading to the West End, go north instead of south.  H Street is the first street north of Penn Quarter that is not interrupted by the White House Complex, though I Street is one-way in that direction and usually less busy.

If you're heading to the Lincoln Monument or something in that area, you may be best-served going north and then coming south on a numbered street.  Particularly as construction moves toward 15th Street, you can avoid it altogether.


  1. This is unfortunate for me. I ride my Vespa to work in Rosslyn from May to November. Constitution to the Memorial bridge is by far the best route for me. I-395 is not an option on a Vespa and K Street to Key Bridge is a traffic nightmare.

    While I agree that 17th street to 23rd NW could use repaving I don't see the need for a complete "overhaul". I'm also astonished that it should take until early 2012 to complete.

  2. There is no easy route. However, one advantage of your Vespa is you can cut through the White House Complex. We suggest going down E street or a parallel street, through the White House Complex (on Pennsylvania Ave), then take a left on 23rd Street and go down to the Memorial Bridge. Construction will gradually move east, making this commute easier as time goes on.