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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.
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
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.