‘Roads Flooded Ahead’ – “Seems odd they put up permanent signs when they are supposedly fixing the problem now”

Rhode Island Ave NW and North Capitol Street, NW

A reader writes in:

“Just noticed these new flashing FLOODING signs in Bloomingdale at the intersection of Rhode Island Ave NW and North Capitol Street. Seems odd they put up permanent signs when they are supposedly fixing the problem now.”

Post Express reported:

“Soon, Lucy [1,582-ton tunnel boring machine] will begin boring a tunnel deep under First Street NE, which will, hopefully, solve a longstanding flooding problem in the neighborhoods of Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park.

When completed, the 2,700-foot tunnel will hold excess rainwater and sewage and then slowly pump it back into the treatment system after a storm has passed.”

12 Comment

  • Keyword is ‘hopefully’
    The permanent signs may be an indication of the level of hope or the length of time this will take.

  • The project won’t be finished quickly, so it’s actually good that they installed these. Getting your car stuck in flood waters leads to a total loss. Such signs will hopefully save local car owners a lot of money and headaches.

  • A lot of conspiracy talk about the timing of these signs as some political motivation to justify the 1st St tunnel, but I think it’s just part of a larger flood warning system that is being implemented city-wide. The exact same types of signs just went up on Broad Branch just north of Beach Drive where the bridge/culvert washed out a few years ago.

    • brookland_rez

      I agree. They have one at RIA NE under the metro tracks too. This is another spot prone to flooding.

  • My guess is DDOT takes 8 years to approve a sign. Apparently a tunnel can be built faster than DDOT putting up a sign.

  • They never intended to do major infrastructure work to fix the flooding issue in Bloomingdale. All of the construction they are doing isn’t for flood control, it’s to prep for the MacMillan project. They will be turning one of the most beautiful things in DC into the equvalent of Reston Town Center. As soon as that goes down i’m moving from Bloomingdale because that traffic is going to suck.

    • “one of the most beautiful things in DC”

    • houseintherear

      Yes, exactly. This project has been justified as being a flood-prevention project so that funding was able to be manipulated and the project was able to be started right away without public hearings. Anticipate a big huge lawsuit coming to DCWater and the DDOT in coming years.

      • That’s not true. The tunnel they’re currently digging is a part of the DC Water Clean Rivers Project. It has been planned since at least 2002, and was included in a consent decree in 2005. It has nothing to do with the McMillan development. It has been planned for well over a decade now.

        • Here’s the DC WASA Bloomingdale 2006 Flooding report:


          In 1998, WASA initiated a study to control combined sewer overflows to improve the quality of the receiving waters in the District. In 2002, a final plan for controlling CSOs (called a Long Term Control Plan or LTCP) was completed and was subsequently approved by the D.C. Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Among other performance features, flood relief of the NEB area was a principal component of the plan.
          The LTCP was selected to provide a significant improvement in the quality of receiving waters of Anacostia River, Rock Creek, and the Potomac River. The recommended LTCP consists of a number of elements and program components. The principal activities of LTCP include rehabilitation of pumping stations, construction of storage tunnels, consolidating and closing of some of the Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs).
          One of the components of the LTCP is the construction of a tunnel in the Northeast Boundary area and along the Anacostia River waterfront. During moderate rainstorms, the tunnel will store combined sewage that would normally overflow to the receiving waters. During intense rain events, the tunnel will act like a pipeline and will convey storm water runoff and captured combined sewage out to the Anacostia River. The tunnel will be sized to convey the 15-year return frequency storm without causing flooding in NEB areas that have suffered longstanding flooding. In essence, the tunnel will act like a relief sewer to control flooding in the NEB area.
          The schedule for implementation of the tunnel project is governed by a consent decree between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and WASA. The schedule calls for completion of the tunnel in phases with the complete tunnel in service by 2025. The schedule is dictated by the large cost of the project ($1.9 billion) and the need to mitigate the impact on sewer rates.

          • houseintherear

            This tunnel project was introduced too residents of north Bloomingdale less than 2 years ago. It was not planned to go under 1st St NW in such a highly populated area. The appropriate studies to the affects on the environment were not completed. It is now going on a direct route south from the McMillan sight, so anyone can do the math there. I don’t understand the need to defend this… I’d guess that you do not live in the area..?

    • Also the Old Soldiers Home development. Look at the sewershed for Bloomingdale from DDOE https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?dg=feature&msa=0&mid=z7aCcmZk_iH4.kwE_7ZsUWMRo

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