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Virginia Avenue Tunnel


Project Overview

The Virginia Avenue Tunnel in southeast Washington, D.C., is a crucial part of the United States’ East Coast railroad network. The tunnel lets trains move freight between key ports, manufacturing centers, and consumer markets. As of 2015, parts of the tunnel were constructed in 1872 and needed to be replaced to meet the growing demands of increased freight traffic. 

Beginning in May of 2015, CSX started construction to replace the old tunnel with two new tunnels, which allow for two freight containers stacked on each car to travel through. These double-stacked intermodal freight trains carry essential items like consumer goods and can carry twice as much freight as a single-stack train. The project allows CSX to better serve customers, bring jobs to the local community, and position the Greater Washington region for economic growth.

Construction of the project, including the restoration of streetscapes and landscapes, was completed in 42 months. Thanks to CSX’s design-build partners, Clark/Parsons JV, the project was successfully completed in the Fall of 2018.

Click to see a larger image of the map.
Construction Phases

Site Preparation:

  • Obtain construction permits including early-stage work permits 
  • Conduct preconstruction surveys 
  • Installation of Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) measures 
  • Relocate utility infrastructure 
  • Mobilize construction staging area 
  • Secure the construction site

Phase 1 Construction – First Tunnel: 

  • Implement and monitor performance of construction-related mitigation efforts 
  • Implement Maintenance of Traffic Plan
  • Install Phase I temporary street decks to maintain traffic access across construction trenches
  • Remove existing surface features
  • Demolition of existing tunnel between 2nd and 3rd Streets
  • Construction of first new tunnel and backfilling excavation to cover first new tunnel structure
  • Installation of track bed ballast, railroad tracks, railroad signals and communications equipment in first new tunnel
  • Opening of first new tunnel

Phase 2 Construction – Second Tunnel:

  • Continue to monitor performance of construction-related mitigation efforts
  • Continue to implement Maintenance of Traffic Plan
  • Install Phase II temporary street decks to maintain traffic access across construction trenches
  • Demolition of the existing tunnel 
  • Construction of second new tunnel and backfilling excavation for second new tunnel
  • Installation of track bed ballast, railroad tracks, railroad signals and communications equipment in second new tunnel
  • Provide track connections for second new tunnel at both portals
  • Opening of second new tunnel

Restoration: 

  • Remove temporary street decks 
  • Restore permanent streets and restoration of Virginia Avenue, landscaping and installation of permanent fence for the USMC installation between 6th St. SE and 7th Street SE.
  • Click here to see detailed site restoration plans
Contact Us

With the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project now completed, the VAT Community Office has officially closed. If there are any further inquiries or comments on the closing of the project, please submit inquiries to our online form below or reach us by email at TellCSX@csx.com or by phone at 1-877-TELL CSX.

For all media inquiries please call 1-855-955-NEWS (6397) and a media relations representative will respond as soon as possible or email at Corporate_Communications@csx.com.