Roadwork Begins on Trolley Track Streets, O and P
Work has begun on a project many public leaders and residents thought would never happen in their lifetime. The long-desired makeover of the 19th-century tracks for O and P Streets began Feb. 28 at 36th and P, as the District Department of Transportation waved the green flag to the Temple Group project manager. The construction – road rehabilitation, track restoration and water main replacement – includes 37th Street between O and P and runs to Wisconsin Avenue; parts of 36th, 35th, 34th and 33rd Streets are also on the list. Completion is expected in late 2012 and at a cost of more than $12 million. “Over many years, O and P Streets have greatly deteriorated due to vehicular traffic and sinkholes from damaged water mains,” said Mayor Vincent Gray at a Feb. 24 groundbreaking. “Today marks the exciting start of our work to ensure public safety and repair the structural integrity of these roadways, all while preserving this neighborhood’s indelible character and history.” The tracks on O and P Streets are the last visible evidence of the District’s citywide streetcar system, which operated until 1962, according to the Mayor's office. They are set on 350-pound cast iron yokes beneath the center of the roadway, and besides a small section of conduit system streetcar track in London, the streetcar tracks on O and P Streets are believed to be the only surviving examples of this type of track system. DDOT will remove the streetcar wheel rails and slot rails and other historic elements including the granite street pavers, blue stone curbs and sidewalk brick and then reinstall them on O and P Streets. Archaeological monitoring will take place during all construction activities to ensure the historic resources are handled properly. The rehabilitation will include many other enhancements, from streetlight and drainage improvements to the installation of crosswalks, curb ramps, tree boxes and tree rails. Additionally, the effort will reinstall old police call and fire alarm boxes, while also planting new trees. Ed Solomon and Jeff Jones of the ANC will serve as neighborhood contacts.
Visit DDOT's FixingOAndPStreets.com for details and updates.