Friday, November 07, 2014

Federal Highway Administration Approves Construction Alternative for CSX’s Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project

Received the following via email.

Federal Highway Administration Approves Construction Alternative for CSX’s 
Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project
Final action on Federal environmental review allows CSX to complete design work 
and seek construction permits
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Nov. 4, 2014)– The Federal Highway Administration has 
approved a preferred construction alternative for CSX’s Virginia Avenue Tunnel 
project, enabling CSX to complete the tunnel’s design and initiate the 
construction permitting process. The decision marks the completion of an 
extensive environmental review of the project conducted jointly with the 
District of Columbia Department of Transportation, which incorporates three 
years of input from residents, businesses and government agencies in the 
southeast Washington, D.C., neighborhood around the tunnel. 
The Federal government approved a proposal to modernize the 110-year old tunnel 
which will improve the flow of freight traffic through the District of Columbia 
and eliminate a rail-traffic bottleneck that also impacts commuter and 
passenger trains in the region. The new structure will accommodate trains that 
can carry enough freight to remove the equivalent of 280 trucks per train from 
the nation’s highways. 
“The Virginia Avenue Tunnel is a critical piece of our national and regional 
transportation infrastructure,” said Louis E. Renjel, Jr., vice president of 
strategic infrastructure initiatives for CSX. “Reconstructing the aging 
tunnel will eliminate a long-standing rail bottleneck that impacts freight and 
commuter rail, and it will increase the network’s capacity ahead of anticipated 
growth in freight-rail traffic. Through CSX’s commitment to the community, 
neighbors will enjoy improved streetscapes, additional green spaces, a new bike 
trail and other improvements as part of the project.
“While this decision is the end of the Federal environmental review process, it 
is just the beginning of a new phase of CSX’s relationship with the community,” 
Renjel said. “Input from residents shaped many features of this project and we 
are appreciative of their involvement.  We are committed to doing this project 
the right way; safely, respecting our neighbors and working closely with 
residents and businesses to minimize impacts and to ensure that they are 
informed about construction plans.”
CSX plans to use a new website, social media, events, briefings and other tools 
to maintain the flow of information to area residents and businesses. The 
company has an established community office in the neighborhood that is staffed 
during regular hours to allow visitors to learn more about the project and ask 
specific questions of company representatives. 
CSX and its design/build contractor, Clark/Parsons, will now finalize the 
tunnel design and begin applying for construction permits in compliance with 
D.C.’s established construction-permitting process.  Following the initial 
permitting process, utility relocations and other preliminary efforts will 
begin. Major construction is expected to begin in the next several months, 
following receipt of the required permits. 
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.
In response to feedback from nearby residents, the alternative selected 
through this process has the shortest construction timespan (30 to 42 months) 
of any of the construction alternatives considered and ensures that trains 
will always operate in enclosed tunnels in front of nearby residences. The plan 
includes significant measures to reduce the construction impacts on nearby 
residences and businesses, including dust, noise and vibration monitoring and 
control plans; limited construction hours; and maintenance-of-traffic plans 
that ensure continued pedestrian access and vehicle mobility for all essential 
services throughout the process. 
The Virginia Avenue Tunnel is part of CSX’s National Gateway, an initiative to 
improve the flow of rail traffic throughout the nation by increasing the use of 
double-stacked intermodal trains and creating more efficient rail routes that 
link Mid-Atlantic ports with Midwestern markets for domestic and imported 
products. It is one of several infrastructure investments CSX is making to meet 
the growing demand to move more freight by rail across its network. The 
Virginia Avenue Tunnel, one of the largest components of the National Gateway 
program, is receiving no Federal funds.
The record of decision is available for review and downloading at
About CSX
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It 
provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to 
customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, 
construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For more than 185 years, CSX 
has played a critical role in the nation's economic expansion and industrial 
development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern 
United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation's population resides. It 
also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and 
lake ports with major population centers and small farming towns alike. More 
information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at Like us on Facebook ( and foll
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Rob Doolittle