After years of planning, engineering and public outreach, the New Hampshire Avenue Project is now underway between H Street, NW and Dupont Circle. What started as a fairly straightforward effort to restore the roadway, evolved to address additional concerns, particularly safety and connectivity in the corridor, and to provide better pedestrian access to Washington Circle.
The project will include the complete reconstruction of the New Hampshire Avenue from M Street to the south side of Dupont Circle, and the resurfacing of New Hampshire between H and M Streets, Washington Circle, and 22nd Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and K Street.
New Hampshire Avenue, between Washington Circle and M Street, will be converted from one-way to two-way traffic, at the request of the community. The addition of a southbound lane on New Hampshire is expected to relieve some of the congestion on 23rd Street, make it easier for residents to circulate in their neighborhood and patronize local businesses. It will also allow for the addition of two-way bicycle lanes, providing a continuous link for cyclists between Washington and Dupont Circles.
The sidewalks will also be restored, including the brick sidewalks between H Street and Washington Circle, where New Hampshire Avenue abuts the Foggy Bottom Historic District.
Brick over concrete provides long-term durability similar to concrete sidewalks since the concrete slab below deters deterioration due to cracking/settling. Brick over concrete is also consistent with the sidewalks on New Hampshire from 24th Street to Washington Circle. In addition, they will match the brick sidewalks that already exist along George Washington Hospital’s frontage and those approved for the new School of Public Health and Health Services Building.
These plans were developed with community leaders and residents who have been engaged in the planning process as far back as 2005. Recommendations from the Washington Circle Pedestrian-Vehicle Traffic Study were incorporated into the project and in February 2008 DDOT and National Park Service representatives attended an ANC 2A meeting to discuss the plans. Later, in collaboration with the ANC, DDOT considered and agreed to modify the designs and restore two-way traffic on New Hampshire Avenue.
As the project engineering progressed, DDOT shared the 65% and 90% designs with ANC 2A and 2B in March 2010 and January 2011 respectively. The final plans and construction schedules were shared with the community at meetings in August, as the project neared the start of construction.
The ANCs, neighborhood residents and businesses have been great partners and DDOT feels very comfortable with the level of public outreach conducted as this project took shape, and we know the project has broad support in the community. Moreover, the plans are sound – this is a well-designed project – and it will upgrade the infrastructure of this neighborhood to the benefit of its residents. We are excited about beginning construction on these needed improvements, and when the work is done we will have a project we can all be proud of.
Ronaldo “Nick” Nicholson
DDOT Chief Engineer
For more information about the New Hampshire Avenue Project, visit www.newhampshireavestreetscape.com.