JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CSX applauds the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) for advancing the reconstruction of CSX's Virginia Avenue Tunnel in a way that responds to community concerns in the project's design and construction plan. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) issued today by FHWA and DDOT identifies the preferred alternative for construction, "Alternative 3 - Two New Tunnels." Specific details of the alternative are available via a FHWA/DDOT fact sheet at www.virginiaavenuetunnel.com.
CSX is proposing to spend hundreds of millions of company dollars to reconstruct this
110-year old tunnel, to move people and goods more efficiently for the benefit of commuters and businesses in the District and throughout the region. The release of the FEIS is a critical step forward to modernize the country's aging infrastructure in a way that promotes the safety and well-being of local neighbors.
"The preferred alternative is the direct result of years of community input during the environmental review process. It addresses community concerns and prioritizes neighborhood safety and security during construction. Under this plan, construction is expected to take approximately 30 to 42 months and trains will run in an enclosed tunnel in front of residences," said Louis Renjel, vice president, strategic infrastructure initiatives. "Today's announcement means CSX and the Virginia Avenue community can focus our ongoing discussions on a single potential construction plan, discuss the potential impacts of that plan, and share information about the many things CSX would do to minimize those impacts."
CSX's efforts to minimize the impact of construction would include actions that would be naturally a part of the construction plan; additional actions CSX would take during construction to minimize impacts; and actions CSX would take after construction to help enhance the Virginia Avenue neighborhood.
"CSX has a strong track record of working in a way that respects our neighbors. We look forward to continuing to talk with the Virginia Avenue community and public officials as we fulfill our commitments: to make safety our top priority during and after construction; to minimize the impacts of construction on local residents and businesses; and to collaborate with the community on enhancements that help make a great neighborhood even better," said Renjel.
Under the preferred alternative construction plan, CSX would be required to take certain actions to reduce the impact from construction, including:
- Limiting construction hours;
- Controlling dust at the construction site to maintain air quality;
- Reducing construction noise and vibration by creating physical barriers, choosing less noisy construction techniques, and doing noise and vibration monitoring;
- Working with District Department of Transportation to monitor and maintain traffic flow around the construction site as necessary to reduce impact;
- Providing compensation to the residents who are impacted the most – the residents directly next to the project – and to Virginia Avenue Tunnel neighborhood organizations, to minimize construction impacts as the residents and organizations choose.
CSX would also make enhancements to the new streetscape to complement the other development in the neighborhood. That effort would include reconstructing Virginia Avenue and other affected areas, including Virginia Avenue Park and the Marine Corps Recreation Facility, to a standard higher than before construction. In addition, the FEIS requires significant actions and investments by CSX, including:
- Improving access to Garfield Park for wheelchair-dependent individuals;
- Building a continuous bike path between 2nd and 9th Streets connecting Garfield Park and Virginia Avenue Park;
- Straightening the alignment of Virginia Avenue SE within the 400 block to be consistent with the original L'Enfant Plan;
- Improving the traffic lane configuration between 5th/6th and 8th Streets to provide safer and calmer traffic conditions; and
- Installing landscaping and improved street lighting, traffic signals and crosswalks.
The FEIS is available for review for 30 days before an official decision is released, and can be downloaded from www.virginiaavenuetunnel.com. A public meeting will also be held on July 1, 2014, at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 Eye Street SW, Washington, DC 20024. The meeting will include a presentation on the details about construction and will include a brief time to ask questions of the project team.
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For more than 185 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation's economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation's population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and small farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com. Like us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/OfficialCSX) and follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CSX).