The Washington Post published a recent article about the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project and its negative effects on surrounding residents: “Virginia Avenue Tunnel project advances in D.C. amid neighborhood disruption.”
“Midway to completion of the $250 million project, neighbors in the 11-block construction zone see no benefits. Virginia Avenue is closed to motor traffic and is fenced-in for bulldozers and other heavy machinery; crews have removed 20,900 truckloads of soil and poured 50,000 cubic yards of concrete. Residents at the Arthur Capper Senior Center say they have more difficulty getting around with the road closures, makeshift pedestrian bridges and longer walks to the bus stop. “The noise and the dust and the smell — sometimes it gets so bad in my apartment that I have to leave,” said Delores Rhodes, 71, who lives in the senior apartment building fronting the project at Fifth Street SE….
Most recently, residents’ complaints have centered on shaking they experience throughout the day. Tremors that feel like mini earthquakes cause water to ripple in glasses, they say. And residents say no, the rumbling is not being caused by trucks traveling on the nearby Southeast Freeway/I-695, as some officials contend.
Residents say the vibrations are coming from the new tunnel — which was built closer to their homes — and is caused by the trains, which they contend are traveling faster than they did before. “I assume it is because of the trains,” resident Jesse Skidmore said at a recent meeting with CSX. “I assume we are not just having earthquakes that are happening a few times a day.”
…But with about 20 more months of construction left, there is also still a lot of pain left to endure, said Maureen Cohen Harrington, who owns a townhouse near the tunnel. Construction is about to enter its most disruptive phase, she said, which involves demolishing the original tunnel.
Neighbors are trying to adapt, but they do not plan to stay quiet, having put up with too much for too long, she said.
“Uber can’t find us. Even Waze can’t keep up with it,” Cohen Harrington said, referring to the ride-hailing service and a navigation app for smartphones. “We have lost all our beautiful trees. We had a beautiful view and a beautiful courtyard. Now we have what feels like a war zone.”