The Virginia Avenue Tunnel is located immediately beneath Virginia Avenue in southeast DC for approximately 4,000 feet and contains a single track. The tunnel is bound by 2nd Street SE near the southern portal and 11th Street SE near the northern portal. The south portal portion of the work will join with the New Jersey Avenue Track Lowering project. From the start of construction, current estimates predict that the project will take three years to complete from the start of construction work.
In addition to re-installing the second track, the height of the tunnel roof will be raised to allow for double-stack intermodal container trains. Also, there may be some lowering of the tracks as part of this project. However due to rail grade, potential water intrusion, close proximity to the Anacostia River and challenges with sewer lines that run under this area, there is a very limited distance that the tracks can be lowered.
This project may necessitate the temporary closure of a section of Virginia Avenue while the construction is underway; however, all cross streets will be open for the majority of the project to ensure the least amount of disturbance to local residents. Additionally, these improvements to the Virginia Avenue Tunnel will reduce air pollution and improve the overall quality of life for residents.