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Details about the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Project in Washington, D.C.

A tribute to an abolitionist leader will see its resurrection in the New Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Project in Washington, D.C. The old bridge is years past its useful life, and construction is proceeding apace on the new span across the Anacostia River. The new bridge is more than just a span; it’s an essential component in a revitalization plan as pedestrian overlooks, piers, and arches are part of the project.


The work calls for replacing the 70-year-old bridge and reconstruction of the Suitland Parkway/I-295 interchange. Due to its age, condition, and functional limitations, the span itself has been classified functionally obsolete. Improvements include making the structure safer for cars and pedestrians, enhancing options for multimodal transportation, increasing access for the community, and supporting economic development on both sides of the river.

This new bridge construction project is one in a series of projects under the umbrella of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (AWI) Program. The program is transforming the shores of the Anacostia River from the Tidal Basin to the city’s northeast border with Maryland into a world-class waterfront. For more information, visit the website:

Project Start: Summer 2017
 Project Completion: Fall 2022 

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Map of Proposed Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Project


  • Building a new six-lane Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge

  • Creating a new traffic oval west of the river that connects South Capitol Street, Potomac Avenue and Q Street SW

  • Creating a new at-grade traffic oval east of the river that connects South Capitol Street, Suitland Parkway and Howard Road SE

  • Reconstructing the Suitland Parkway/Interstate 295 interchange

  • Increasing bicycle and pedestrian facilities

  • Improving drainage and storm water management throughout the corridor

About the New and Old Bridges in Washington, D.C.

The new and old bridges in Washington, D.C., are vital for carrying traffic from Prince George’s County, Maryland, and other areas of Southern Maryland into the capital. In 1950, the current Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (originally referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge) was built. Each day, it served upwards of 77,000 commuters. Now, the bridge reconstruction project is a valuable opportunity to revitalize the community.


The design of the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, which is located twenty feet away from the original one, includes three above-deck arches, four pedestrian overlooks, and two piers that will seem to float in the Anacostia waterfront. The projected opening date for the replacement bridge is late 2021. When it opens, the new bridge will have six traffic lanes and improved accommodations for pedestrians and bicycles. The bridge’s design is intended to allow the smoother flow of traffic on both sides of the river and in front of the Air Force base.


Besides serving as a fitting memorial to one of the nation’s greatest civil rights leaders, the finished bridge will better connect our community and enhance our transportation infrastructure to support continued growth and improvement in the area. Please reach out to us with any questions, and don’t forget to check regularly for construction updates.