Please find the most commonly asked questions about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project below. These FAQs are organized within the following topic areas. You can click on any of the topics to find the information you need.
The Virginia Avenue Tunnel must be replaced to maintain the flow of interstate commerce and improve infrastructure in the District. This project will significantly improve the integrity and safety of the tunnel by replacing it with a new modern structure.
The 110-year-old tunnel is aging and has neared the end of its useful life. The tunnel’s masonry is cracked, its drainage system is deteriorating and it still has a dirt floor. The tunnel regularly floods during heavy rains.
In addition, the current tunnel only has one track, causing a bottleneck and a serious ripple effect of rail congestion for both freight and commuter trains. By removing this bottleneck and modernizing the tunnel to facilitate the transport of double-stacked containerized freight, we will improve the flow of freight and commuter traffic, making service more reliable and timely. With the expected population growth in coming years, demand for freight rail service will only increase – with or without this project.
Until the tunnel is updated, we will continue to see bottlenecked freight and passenger service, the need for unplanned and costly repairs, and flooding during heavy rains. We are replacing this tunnel with a modern structure that has two tracks with enough vertical clearance for trains carrying double-stacked containers. The reconstructed tunnel will be safer, more reliable and will reduce rail congestion. Equipped with a concrete floor and a second track, the new Virginia Avenue Tunnel will improve efficiency and expand capacity.
This project will improve transportation in the District by eliminating a major bottleneck in the local rail system. Reconstructing this tunnel means a more fluid network, resulting in more efficient movement of both freight and passenger rail to and through the District. The project will:
- Reduce the impact of freight traffic on passenger service by eliminating stoppages at either end of the tunnel while freight trains wait for oncoming traffic to pass through.
- Reduce highway congestion and reduce highway maintenance costs. One freight train can carry the load of more than 280 trucks.
- Reduce the risk of service disruptions and future damage to one of the region’s busiest rail lines due to flooding and weather-related issues.
- Promote the fluidity of freight and passenger rail services in and around the District and the Greater Washington region.
The project will also significantly benefit the local economy. While the District of Columbia is making no direct financial contribution to the tunnel reconstruction, it will receive approximately $250 million in local benefits from direct and indirect jobs, including approximately $5 million in taxes to the District of Columbia.
Additionally, the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel team has voluntarily committed to hire workers and select contractors consistent with the spirit of the District of Columbia’s First Source and Certified Business Enterprise programs.
CSX is committed to completing this project the right way – safely, efficiently, and in a way that addresses concerns and helps leave a great neighborhood even better. CSX will work with neighbors to enhance the area surrounding the project. As part of CSX’s commitment, we will:
- Improve wheelchair access to Garfield Park;
- Build a new continuous bike path that connects Garfield Park and Virginia Avenue Park;
- Build a new community dog park during restoration of Virginia Avenue Park;
- Widen and add sidewalks;
- Create more green space and replant trees;
- Straighten community streets and improve traffic lanes to provide safer travel; and
- Enhance streetscapes and install improved street lighting, traffic signals and crosswalks.
By applying the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) rigorously examined alternatives and solicited feedback from the community. The construction plan chosen by the government agencies addresses concerns and feedback raised during more than 150 community meetings. Neighbors asked for a closed tunnel in front of residences, shorter construction time, enhanced safety measures and community benefits to offset inconvenience.
The entire process is expected to take approximately 30 – 42 months.
Tunnel construction activities will take place between 2nd Street and 12th Street along Virginia Avenue SE. The tunnel construction site will be fully enclosed by an 8-foot-tall fence.
Over the course of construction, crews will demolish the existing tunnel and build two new structures from the ground up. This will require land excavation and filling as well as track removal and installation. To ensure that construction is completed safely and with minimal disruption, crews will conduct environmental preparations, relocate utilities, and install temporary street decks as needed.
Once the area above the new tunnels is filled in, crews will restore the surrounding area, building a new street, sidewalks and bike paths, installing landscaping and taking other measures to restore and enhance the neighborhood. You can watch this short video for a look at the construction process.
CSX is committed to constructing the tunnel as safely and efficiently as possible, and we are implementing extensive mitigation measures to limit the impacts of construction activities.
To stay up to date on the latest construction activities, please visit www.virginiaavenuetunnel.com, follow us on Twitter (@VATNews), visit us at the Community Office located at 861 New Jersey Avenue SE and sign up for SMS (text) alerts.
We invite all community members to apply for employment opportunities related to this project. The CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel team has voluntarily committed to hire workers and select contractors consistent with the spirit of the District of Columbia’s First Source and Certified Business Enterprise programs.
To receive more information about current openings, please visit the section of this site on subcontracting opportunities.
CSX wants to limit the impacts on the surrounding neighborhood from the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. That’s why the NEPA process involved careful testing and modeling to predict potential construction impacts, such as dust, noise and vibration.
We are taking steps to limit those impacts while ensuring the safety of the community and the environment. We are customizing our construction methods to limit noise and vibration. For instance, we are drilling support piles instead of driving them. This is like using a power drill and a screw instead of using a hammer and nail – there is less noise and vibration produced by the power drill and screw.
Throughout construction, we will use state-of-the art monitoring to make sure that our plans are working. We will change our plans if we learn that they are not working. Read more about the environmental monitoring process by visiting the Environmental Reports page.
CSX is taking significant precautions to maintain a safe, secure environment. Experts applied federal standards to conduct rigorous modeling and testing to identify potential impacts and then develop plans to offset disruptions such as noise, vibration and dust. Throughout construction, we will use a comprehensive monitoring program to make sure those plans are effective and, if needed, we will adjust our approach. The project team is monitoring and recording air quality, noise and vibration conditions, and regularly posting results on the Environmental Reports page of the project website.
CSX is committed to maintaining the air quality of the area surrounding the Virginia Avenue Tunnel and federal regulations require that we control dust at the construction site. We are implementing specific measures to prevent dust from affecting areas around the construction site including setting-up windscreens, using watering trucks and sprinklers to limit dust from haul roads and other dirt-exposed areas, routinely cleaning public roads, covering all trucks during transport of fill materials and soil, and stabilizing and covering material stockpiles.
CSX understands that many construction activities cause noise, so we have developed extensive noise mitigation plans to reduce the disturbance. At sensitive locations, construction crews will set-up fencing with noise-dampening blankets to act as a noise barrier. We are also using construction methods to limit noise such as drilled installation methods for support piles instead of driving piles. Additionally, we will notify residents and businesses in advance about upcoming high-noise-producing activities and we have provided the neighborhood with procedures to address any noise complaints.
Additionally, CSX has implemented a continuous noise monitoring program. Summary reports of findings are posted monthly on the project website on the Environmental Reports page.
CSX is implementing extensive mitigation plans to minimize the impacts of vibrations. We are using construction methods that limit vibrations whenever possible. For instance, we are drilling support piles instead of driving them. This is like using a power drill and a screw instead of using a hammer and nail – there is less noise and vibration produced by the power drill and screw.
Additionally, CSX has implemented a continuous vibration monitoring program for nearby properties, installing monitors throughout the community to ensure that vibration levels do not exceed established criteria. Summary reports are posted monthly on the website on the Environmental Reports page.
Before the project started, residents were offered a pre-construction inspection to document the pre-construction condition of residences to help expedite the claims process if vibration does cause damage. In the unlikely event that any damage occurs as a direct result of construction, CSX, along with our contractor, will make all appropriate repairs after coordinating with the property owner.
CSX initiated a rodent-control program prior to the start of construction and will maintain the program throughout the duration of the project. The program has been implemented in accordance with District health regulations and combines elements of baiting, trapping, insecticides, non-poisonous trapper glue boards, and other conventional traps.
A professional vermin control company will be on-site to identify patterns of animal, vermin or insect activity. Vermin to be controlled include mammals, such as squirrels, raccoon, skunk, opossum, mice and rats; birds, such as crows; reptiles, such as snakes and toads; and insects, such as mosquitoes, ticks, spiders, bees and cockroaches.
During construction, all garbage and food debris will be stored in containers with lids, and any spilled food and garbage will be cleaned up regularly. Disorganized or cluttered debris and weedy vegetation that could harbor pests or rodents will not be allowed within the construction area or along the perimeter. Additionally, we will take action to prevent standing water and maintain a clean, organized work area. Clark/Parsons will be on-site to observe compliance with these preventative measures.
As a result of construction, a number of mature trees will be removed from the area; however, as part of the restoration process, new trees will be planted, following guidance from the Urban Forestry Administration. After construction, the community will also benefit from numerous enhancements, including a new community dog park, improved wheelchair access to Garfield Park, and improved street lighting, traffic signals and cross walks. Additionally, vibrations from train operations are expected to be lower than present levels due to the new concrete floor in the tunnel.
DDOT, the FHWA and other federal and local government authorities will provide continuous oversight throughout the course of the project. We expect to be held accountable by these government agencies as well as you, the local residents. CSX has a strong track record for fulfilling its commitments and we look forward to working with the community to do so again here.
We understand and appreciate how a large construction project in front of your home can inconvenience and impact your daily routine. CSX’s mitigation plans include direct payments to some residents, creates a $650,000 community fund, and provides a $250,000 grant to the Arthur Capper Senior Center. These funds are meant to compensate residents for some of the inconvenience and temporary disruptions that this project will cause.
Additionally, in the unlikely event that any damage occurs as a direct result of construction, affected residents are eligible to take part in CSX’s claims process. Please note that accepting residential mitigation funds or money from the community fund does not in any way preclude you from filing a claim for actual damages.
As part of the Residential Mitigation Plan, “Front Row” residents will receive up to $21,000, paid as $500 per month for a maximum of 42 months.
FHWA and DDOT looked at how the project could impact the community and identified the residences that are located between 2nd Street SE and 12th Street SE, south of I-695, and are directly adjacent to major construction activities as “Front Row.” The “Front Row” residences include 36 apartment units facing Virginia Avenue SE at the Arthur Capper Senior Center and nine rental apartment units within Capitol Quarters.
Major construction activities are those that would cause inconveniences and annoyances such as demolition work, structural concrete work, and excavation activities.
CSX will reimburse Front Row residents who sell their home during construction and experience a loss of market value due to construction. In such instances, CSX will provide up to $75,000 to offset the potential loss of market value. FHWA, DDOT and CSX established this payment ceiling, which is consistent with best practices among employers who provide such payments as part of their employee-benefit programs.
CSX will upgrade the Virginia Avenue streetscape and landscaping as part of the restoration process after the completion of tunnel construction. Over the past four years, we’ve collected significant input from community residents and organizations about their preferences and ideas for key features. Many of those ideas have been incorporated into the proposed future streetscape and landscape plans for Virginia Avenue, and CSX has submitted draft engineering plans for the final restoration of Virginia Avenue for technical review to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). Detailed color renderings of the proposed Virginia Avenue restoration plans are now available on the project website here. Complete plans have been provided to ANC 6B, ANC 6D, Councilman Allen’s office and the Arthur Capper Senior Center, and are also available in the Community Office (open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays, and by appointment on Mondays and Fridays).
Detailed color renderings of the proposed Virginia Avenue restoration plans are now available on the project website here. The proposed plans include a brick sidewalk, bike path, grass areas, new trees, street lighting as well as parking and travel lanes. As part of our commitment to the community, CSX will upgrade the Virginia Avenue streetscape and landscaping during the restoration process after the completion of tunnel construction. Over the past four years, we’ve collected significant input from community residents and organizations about their preferences and ideas for key features. Many of those ideas have been incorporated into the proposed future streetscape and landscape plans for Virginia Avenue, and CSX has submitted draft engineering plans for the final restoration of Virginia Avenue for technical review to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT).
Complete plans have been provided to ANC 6B, ANC 6D, Councilman Allen’s office and the Arthur Capper Senior Center, and are also available in the Community Office (open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays, and by appointment on Mondays and Fridays). CSX expects ANC 6B and ANC 6D will announce specific plans for community review and feedback. Please find additional details on the public review and comment process here. CSX looks forward to working with community members throughout the process and will post updated information as it becomes available.
We have a proven claims process to help neighbors get paid if our operations or construction projects like the Virginia Avenue Tunnel cause damage. For this project, a claims professional will be available upon request to meet with residents one-on-one, investigate claims and process claims for prompt payment for damages when warranted. Neighbors can call (800) 494-1049 or visit the Community Office to make an appointment. The Community Office hours are 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays, and by appointment on Mondays and Fridays.
The claims process is separate from the project’s mitigation programs. Residents who benefit through the Residential Mitigation Plan will still be able to file claims for actual damages. Payments made through the claims process will not be paid from the funds provided by the Residential Mitigation Plan, nor will the value of claims paid for actual damages be limited by the value of the Residential Mitigation Plan.
CSX is committed to doing this project the right way and we will take full responsibility to protect nearby buildings from damage. Residents were offered a pre-construction inspection to document the pre-construction condition of residences and help expedite the claims process if damage does occur. In the unlikely event that any damage occurs as a direct result of construction, CSX, along with our contractor, will make all appropriate repairs after coordinating with the property owner.
All residents have access to a dedicated claims process to address unforeseen impacts on buildings, businesses or individuals. The process is described in detail on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project website. If a resident decides not to accept CSX’s proposed resolution of a claim, they can resubmit the claim with any additional information that may help CSX re-evaluate the claim. CSX has found that this is an effective process for satisfactorily resolving the vast majority of claims.
In the event of an emergency during construction, the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project team will work closely with local first responders to coordinate an effective response, regardless of the type of event that might occur.
Emergency-service providers and first responders have full access to all residences and businesses and will be able to enter the construction site in order to respond to an emergency. CSX created an Emergency Access Plan for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel area, which will be updated in close coordination with the District Department of Transportation and the District Fire Department and Emergency Management Services throughout the construction period. To support this plan, CSX and the Clark/Parsons design-build team have instituted a robust communications program with local first responders, maintaining an open dialogue and offering onsite training.
Safety is CSX’s highest priority. Our goal is zero accidents and we strive to achieve that goal every day through appropriate training of our crews and contractors, investment in our infrastructure, compliance with all Federal safety regulations and communication with first-responder organizations along the routes we use. We continuously work to develop strong relationships with emergency responders across our network, including the District of Columbia. As part of those efforts, CSX provides a variety of training opportunities, using skill- and knowledge-based programs that provide insights on how rail cars work, how to respond to rail-related incidents and how to make fact-based decisions to help better protect the public.
As a reminder, if you observe an emergency situation onsite, please call 911 immediately. To learn more about our emergency plans and preparations, please see our Emergency Access Plan fact sheet.
Trains passing through the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction site operate under the control of an on-site railroad “Employee in Charge” whose primary responsibility is to oversee the safe movement of trains through the site.
- Each train will require explicit permission to enter the site, and permission will only be granted when the site is confirmed safe for passage of trains
- All train crews operating in the area will receive alerts explaining construction-related restrictions
- Dedicated radio channels will be used for communication between the Employee in Charge and active trains
- Track-side signs will alert crews that they are approaching the control zone
- All operations will be conducted in accordance with Federal Railroad Administration rules and requirements
In addition, throughout the construction process, trains will operate in completely enclosed tunnels in front of all neighborhood residences.
The Virginia Avenue Tunnel team will also implement a proactive strategy to help ensure safety on the construction site, including the following measures:
- All workers receive site-specific safety briefings before being allowed access
- All trackside workers required to pass “Roadway Worker Protection Training” program annually
- An Onsite Safety Officer is required to be present during any construction activity, monitoring for compliance with all relevant safety practices
- 8-foot perimeter fencing, security lighting and regular CSX Police patrols will help protect the public and workers
- Tunnel safety will be monitored through extensive camera and electronic security systems
In the unlikely event of an emergency during the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction, CSX will work closely with local first responders to coordinate an effective response, regardless of the type of event that might occur. Throughout the project period, the Clark/Parsons design-build team also will have a robust communications program with local first responders, maintaining an open dialogue and offering onsite training. Emergency-service providers and first responders will have full access to all residences and businesses and will be able to enter the construction site in order to respond to an emergency.
If you observe an emergency situation onsite, please call 911 immediately.
Safety is CSX’s highest priority. That includes protecting the residents of communities where we operate. This commitment to safety includes the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. We are taking special safety measures to protect workers and the public while trains operate near the construction zone. For example, we are:
- Installing extensive security fencing, barricades, signage and lighting to prevent unauthorized access to construction zones and train operations.
- Using perimeter fencing that is at least 8 feet tall and provide high fencing at cross streets.
- Employing remotely monitored closed-circuit cameras and motion detectors throughout the VAT project site.
- Assigning railroad police officers to the project.
- Ensuring a safety officer is present during all construction activities to oversee safety protocols.
- Following all Federal Railroad Administration safety procedures and regulations to protect construction workers and the general public and ensure the safety of trains moving through the construction site.
CSX has an excellent record of safety around construction projects in the District of Columbia, and we plan to complete the tunnel project with the same level of safety.
The construction plan calls for trains to run in a fully enclosed tunnel for almost the entire length of the project area, including the area in front of residences. Due to the area’s physical constraints, including existing highway support columns and a large sewer tunnel, there will be an approximately 230-foot uncovered section in the 200 block of Virginia Avenue SE – spanning roughly half the block.
The temporary open trench will be contained entirely within a secured construction zone. We will fully secure the area using perimeter fencing and other security measures, such as assigning a railroad employee to oversee the safe passage of trains through the work zone. This railroad "Employee in Charge" will control all train movements through the work area, making sure conditions allow the safe passage of trains before granting approval to the train operator to pass through. Because this short open trench is located entirely on CSX property, no public access to the uncovered section of tunnel will be possible.
CSX created an Emergency Access Plan for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel area. Emergency-service providers and first responders have full access to all residences and businesses and will be able to enter the construction site in order to respond to an emergency. The VAT Emergency Access Plan will be updated in close coordination with the District Department of Transportation and the District Fire Department and Emergency Management Services throughout the construction period. To support this plan, CSX and the Clark/Parsons design-build team have instituted a robust communications program with local first responders, maintaining an open dialogue and offering onsite training.
In the event of an emergency during construction, the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project team will work closely with local first responders to coordinate an effective response, regardless of the type of event that might occur. As a reminder, if you observe an emergency situation onsite, please call 911 immediately. To learn more about our emergency plans and preparations, please see our Emergency Access Plan fact sheet.
Emergency-service providers and first responders will have full access to all residences and businesses throughout construction. To learn more about our emergency plans and preparations, please see our Emergency Access Plan fact sheet.
Additionally, all cross streets will be open during the construction period.
The Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) plan during construction will ensure motor vehicles and pedestrians will retain access to every residence and property along the project limits, including garages and alleyways. To ensure continuous access, some properties will require the construction of temporary driveways; however, existing driveway access will be restored at the conclusion of construction. The traffic plan will be updated in close coordination with DDOT and the District Fire Department and Emergency Management Services throughout the construction period.
We know that this is a vibrant neighborhood and residents need to be able to move around with minimal disruptions. To minimize traffic disruptions and address accessibility concerns, we worked with DDOT to develop a construction plan that maintains access to all residences, businesses and properties as well as keeps cross streets open.
Virginia Avenue SE between 2nd and 9th Streets SE will be closed during construction but detours will be established and all available cross streets (3rd Street to 8th Street) will remain open. These cross streets will only be closed for short intervals – less than two weeks – when the temporary bridges are installed and removed. While initial plans called for short-term closures of I-695 exit ramps, revisions will allow at least one lane of the 6th Street exit ramp to remain open at all times during construction. Plans for the 8th Street ramp will be finalized at a later date; if a closing is required, every effort will be made to minimize the duration. To view street closure plans, please view the most recent meeting materials from “Coffee with Chuck,” a monthly informational meeting where VAT project team members share construction updates and answer residents’ questions.
We will provide advance notice of street closures so that residents can plan accordingly. We will provide updates via email blasts, the project website, Twitter and SMS (text) alerts. Neighbors are encouraged to visit www.virginiaavenuetunnel.com, follow @VATNews on Twitter, and sign up to recieve email updates. We are also working with neighbors and emergency responders to maintain emergency response access at all times.
Following construction, Virginia Avenue SE will be restored to its pre-construction condition including improvements. CSX will make additional enhancements to bike and pedestrian facilities. (Updated August 2016)
Decisions about parking are made by DDOT. CSX is taking proactive steps to minimize parking impacts. For instance, construction workers will not be allowed to park on public streets or in areas covered by the DDOT public space permit. CSX is providing about 90 parking spaces within the west staging area (New Jersey Yard) for construction workers, and giving preference to workers that carpool. We will also install temporary way-finding signs to direct drivers to available parking.
Throughout the duration of the project, parking will be impacted at several areas in the VAT area:
- Virginia Avenue S.E. between 2nd Street and 11th Street (restricted)
- East end of the 1000 block of L St (restricted)
- Virginia Avenue, S.E., and on cross streets between 2nd and 11th Streets (parking spaces reserved during work hours in accordance with DDOT-approved Maintenance of Traffic plans)
CSX appreciates that this creates inconveniences for some of our neighbors and we are committed to keeping as much parking as possible available to neighbors.
We’ve been asked several questions about why parking spaces are reserved but then remain unoccupied during the work day. Those spaces are left vacant by design, either because of upcoming work or to ensure the free flow of traffic around work spaces and to accommodate the potential movements of ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency response vehicles. Fire trucks in particular require wide turning and maneuvering spaces, and leaving parking spaces unoccupied helps ensure that they will have the room they need in the event of an emergency.
CSX is committed to minimizing the impact of this project on nearby residents and others who enjoy the community. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and the Federal Highway Administration Record of Decision (ROD) recognized the short-term impact to parking that would occur during construction. To mitigate the effects, CSX is required to install temporary wayfinding signs to direct motorists to available off-street parking, provide 90 parking spaces in the New Jersey Yard for construction personnel, and coordinate with the pastor of St. Paul AUMP Church to ensure congregants are able to find on-street parking near the church to attend Sunday services. In addition, Front Row residents who opt to accept payments from the Residential Property Mitigation program can use those funds to pay for parking or the use of public transportation.
This project will require temporary use of a portion of Virginia Avenue Park during construction. The construction area will not include the community garden. Garfield Park will remain open during construction; access at 2nd Street will be blocked off. A portion of the ad hoc recreational space under the I-695 freeway will be demolished. At the conclusion of construction, affected areas of Virginia Avenue Park, Garfield Park and the ad hoc space under I-695 will be fully restored.
Only freight trains run through the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, so passenger service will not be impacted during construction. The project will reduce the impact of freight traffic on passenger service by doubling the capacity of each train transporting intermodal containers and allowing two-way traffic through the tunnel.
The fenced-off area is needed to provide general access to the central portion of the project. It also provides space needed to work around the protected National Park Service property (Reservation 122) and accommodates the ultimate reconstruction of the Virginia Avenue realignment. The location of the fencing along I St. will be evaluated as the project progresses and adjustments may be made if practical and safe to do so.
CSX is committed to minimizing the impact of this project on nearby residents and others who travel through the community. A detailed Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) plan to alleviate issues associated with the transport of materials to and from the site has been developed and will be approved by DDOT. DDOT will monitor the effectiveness of the MOT plan and will direct modifications if warranted. CSX is open to feedback from the community and will share comments like these with DDOT as part of its ongoing evaluation of the MOT plan’s effectiveness.
CSX is committed to maintaining access to all residences and businesses throughout the Virginia Avenue Tunnel reconstruction project, including ADA-compliant facilities and access for emergency services. Special attention has been paid to the needs of the residents of the Arthur Capper Senior Center and is reflected in the current project plans.
We understand that this is your neighborhood and you have a vested interest in making sure CSX completes this project the right way. We’ve actively engaged with the community throughout the pre-construction phase and we intend to continue that level of engagement throughout the construction period with a robust two-way communication program. This includes a new website, email blasts, flyers, community meetings and regular hours at the CSX Community Office as well as a robust social media presence and SMS (text) alerts. Please find additional details on the Community Resources Info Sheet.
Specific details about construction activities will be available on the homepage of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project site, www.virginiaavenuetunnel.com. Regular updates will also be sent out via email (sign up here) and SMS (text) alert. In some instances, flyers will be distributed about upcoming activities. You can also visit our Community Office at 861 New Jersey Avenue SE from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays, and by appointment on Mondays and Fridays. Neighbors can also call (800) 494-1049 to request an appointment to meet with a project representative outside these hours. Please check the project website, follow @VATNews on Twitter and sign up for SMS (text) alerts for the latest information about office hours.
We want to work with you throughout the entirety of the construction process, and we welcome your questions and input. Please visit us at our Community Office at 861 New Jersey Avenue SE (open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays, and by appointment on Mondays and Fridays), contact us at (800) 494-1049, or connect with us through our online contact page. If your message is urgent or time-sensitive, please call (800) 494-1049 to reach a member of our team.
Each month, Chuck Gullakson, CSX assistant vice president – National Gateway and chief project engineer for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project, hosts amorning meeting called Coffee with Chuck to share project updates and answer questions from community members. All community members are invited to attend.
CSX also hosts quarterly public open house meetings where members of the CSX project team and representatives from our design and construction partner, Clark/Parsons, are available to answer questions and to provide project updates. There is no formal presentation and all community members are invited.
To learn more and find a full list of upcoming Coffee with Chuck and open house meetings, please visit the Community Bulletin on the project website. You can also visit our Community Office at 861 New Jersey Avenue SE from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays, and by appointment on Mondays and Fridays to meet with project representatives and ask questions.
While no two projects are exactly alike, CSX has successfully completed similar projects while working in a way that respects the community. For instance, just in 2013, we safely increased the vertical clearance of a 130-year-old tunnel running through Pittsburgh’s SouthSide Works, a mixed-use residential and commercial community. The reconstruction of that 2,000-foot tunnel occurred as close as 25 feet from residents, retailers and restaurants. The project required us to work closely with public officials, residents and local businesses to promote safety and minimize noise and disruption during construction.
CSX has also brought in partners on this project that have extensive experience working on similar projects in and around the District. Clark Construction has worked on a number of large-scale projects in D.C., including the Washington Convention Center, Nationals Park and currently the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It has also completed complex excavation and underground Metro projects such as Petworth Metro Station.
CSX trains carry a wide variety of freight, ranging from cars to carpets, through the tunnel, and we will continue to carry these items during and after construction.
In compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, CSX does not route some types of materials through the District of Columbia. CSX does not route crude oil trains through D.C.
As part of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction Project, CSX is providing a one-time sum of $650,000, known as the Supplemental Community Mitigation Fund, to offset temporary inconveniences resulting from the project and to support neighborhood enhancements. In accordance with the Federal Highway Administration’s November 2014 Record of Decision, eligible parties include residents or community organizations that promote community enhancements. More information is available in the Record of Decision.
Members of the local community decide how the Community Fund is allocated. A Community Committee, comprising individuals from ANC 6D and 6B, representatives from community associations, local environmental groups, local elected officials, and businesses in the area developed evaluation criteria. The criteria was also informed by community feedback. The Community Committee makes all funding decisions. To learn more, please visit the CSX VAT Community Mitigation Fund Committee Final Criteria & Application Page (http://www.nscpartners.org/#!fund-criteria/c12u1).
Residents that are temporarily inconvenienced by the project and community organizations that promote community enhancements are invited to apply for funding. As outlined in the Record of Decision, Front Row residents and residents in the Arthur Capper Senior Apartments, who are eligible to participate in other mitigation programs, are not eligible for funds from the Supplemental Community Mitigation Fund. Please visit the CSX VAT Community Mitigation Fund Committee Final Criteria & Application Page (http://www.nscpartners.org/#!fund-criteria/c12u1) to learn more.
Near Southeast Community Partners, the third-party administrator chosen to manage the Community Committee’s activities and the Community Fund will be responsible for keeping a record of all documentation, including payments and financial records. Additionally, they will prepare an annual report that details applications received and funding granted. CSX will have access to these records.
Near Southeast Community Partners and the Community Committee announced awardees for the first phase of funding in October Applications for phase two of funding will begin in February 2016. For more information about applying for the Supplemental Community Mitigation Fund, please visit: http://bit.ly/21wnUmv.
Near Southeast Community Partners was chosen based on its level of experience, track record of success, familiarity with the local area, and understanding and alignment with the goals of the Community Fund as described in the Record of Decision.
The Third Party Administrator organized a Community Committee, will work with the Community Committee to establish criteria to evaluate applications, develop and release the application form, disperse the funds, and maintain all financial records and documentation for the Community Fund.
The Community Committee is open to elected officials and other individuals in ANC6D and ANC6B as well as representatives of community associations, local environmental groups and businesses in the area surrounding the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
NSC Partners received a tremendous response from well-qualified applicants, and after careful consideration, selected a group of individuals who represent the diversity of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel neighborhood. Please find a full list of Committee members here.
Near Southeast Community Partners carefully reviewed the applications and appointed a balanced committee from the qualified applications received that represents the many interests of the community. In appointing a Community Committee, NSC Partners gave careful consideration to selecting individuals who represent the diversity of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel neighborhood. For a full list of Committee members, click here.