Dear PoPville – Sherman Ave Construction Frustration

Dear PoPville,

I am floored by progress that I see on new constructions like the one across the street from me (I live at City Vista on L and there is a building that has gone up in less than a year.) Why is it that buildings can go up, get furnished and be done what seems like 100 times faster than road fixes (i.e. Military road 1 block, Sherman ave: the whole thing.) Who do we need to complain to?

Anticipated completion is not until July 8, 2012. I think it takes so long because the have to block traffic and do it one small section at a time as opposed to a building that doesn’t face the same obstacles. Hopefully it’ll be done by July!

15 Comment

  • Road construction is one thing. Why does it take 9 EFFING months to fix a bank of escalators in the Dupont Circle South Entrance?

    • from what i understand it has alot to do with the space and length of the elevators – they need to be custom made and given the tight fit, installation and removal is really tough.

  • I kind of like it all bumpy and out of whack. We should have all roads such as this dedicated exclusively for Maryland and Virginia Commuters, and keep them in such disrepair until Congress enables the District to start collecting more taxes from all these out of state drivers clogging our roadways. Limit the nice smooth well paved roads to DC-tagged vehicles and bicycles only.

  • They could have easily just blocked off one side of the road until the project is complete, the way they did it, both sides are screwed up and they switch the traffic pattern every day. This road has more lumps on it than Mike Tyson. ಠ_ಠ

    • That would work if all they were doing was road work…but given the sewer, electric, and other utility work…they are doing a pretty damn good job.

  • The difference in the time it takes is because one is a private (for profit) entity the other public (the we didn’t give a fuck DC gov’t). It’s the same reason that all the commercial properties have their sidewalks and parking lots cleared of snow long before the city has the streets cleared.

  • Does ‘complete’ include smoothing those roads…The lumps and bumps is messing up my car.

  • The construction crew is also changing out lead pipes in people’s yards as they go along. It’s a time consuming process.

  • I’ve actually been pretty impressed by the progress lately – they’ve made good time on the last couple blocks and there are really only a few blocks away from completing the eastern side. I may be overly optimistic, but I feel like they’re poised to keep up the pace through July.

    That said, I’d love for them to be more communicative. We’re one of the houses having lead service pipes swapped out and I’ve got absolutely no clue when they’re going to do it, or how for that matter since the pipes are apparently under the concrete stairs and walkways on our block.

  • Yeah, almost 2 years for one mile of road is pretty much par for public works projects, more so in DC.

    There are a few reasons why public works projects in general take forever.

    1. Starting before the entire thing is designed and permitted: This is done primarily for two reasons.

    A. Public money, federal/state and local is allocated on a fiscal “use it or lose it” basis. So Project typically start long before they are ready so the money isn’t lost. So they get the basic grading and traffic control permits done and go to town. They spend 2 weeks tearing everything up and then come to a standstill while they do the design and permitting on their wet and dry utilities, so on and so forth…

    B. Administrations, like to give people the impression things are getting done as in “look at all the construction projects we started this year”.

    2. No rush or incentive to finish faster. It isn’t uncommon to go a week or more without seeing one contruction guy onsite with projects like these because civil infrasture contractors use city jobs to fill the gaps in their more profitable, yet more rigid private jobs. Basically, they show up when they have space to fill in their schedules and while heavy highway contractors typically work on weekends for their private contracts, they don’t for public contracts. Most weekends you could shut Sherman down completely without making traffic a mess on sidestreets and contractors could have the full run of the road, but silly me, no.

    The attitude then snowballs more delays. Now that 3 week delay doing “X” means the weather is too cold and the asphalt plants have shut down for the winter and you have to wait until spring to get your final top course.

  • 18th Street has been even slower in Adams Morgan…

  • What can we do to fix this? I’m angry and I want to mobilize.

  • The better question is why does it take 4 months for you and your colleagues to sit behind your desks and right that ‘analysis’ that no one gives a hoot about. What I’m trying to say is, a lot goes into construction projects that you may not necessarily see above ground and until you work in construction it’s hard to understand.

  • austindc

    They talked about this at a meeting of the ANC 1B Transportation Committee meeting, and DDOT was very nice and had two folks there to talk about the various street projects in the neighborhood. It sounds like some of the delay is because it’s not just the road that’s getting fixed. Utilities are also getting replaced while they have the thing torn up. That means coordinating with the good folks at Pepco, and sometimes Pepco’s work and the city’s work don’t always run at the same schedule. There are also the other factors that other people have already mentioned: having to work in small areas so that some of the road stays open, making sure that funds are available, and navigating around interruptions like weather or neighborhood events. From the presentation that DDOT gave to the committee, it sounds like they are very aware that the work is an inconvenience to residents, and they are doing everything they can already to speed things along. I think the final product is going to look great!

  • I’ve lived on Sherman for over a year now, and I can tell you that there is absolutely no way, given the progress I’ve seen in one year, that the work will be finished by July 2012. There is no way. I understand they are replacing a lot of infrastructure and re-desingning it from a commuter to a residential road, which I really appreciate, but I just wish they would take a little time to at least pass the roller over the blacktop bumps that rattle the muffler off of every single car using the road. THAT is ridiculous. Hopefully it will be worth it when the project is finished.

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