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The New Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Project Provides On-The-Job Training Opportunities
The New Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Project in Washington D.C. provides on-the-job training opportunities aimed at transitioning individuals to journeyman. Located across the Anacostia River, the new bridge has been a long time coming.
Published On: Friday, March 29, 2019

AUTHORED BY: SCOTT BRUMBAUGH, PRESIDENT, KEYSTONE+MOUNTAIN+LAKES REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS LOCAL 197

The New Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Project in Washington D.C. provides on-the-job training opportunities aimed at transitioning individuals to journeyman. Located across the Anacostia River, the new bridge has been a long time coming. 

Classified as functionally obsolete due to condition, age and limitation, the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Project brings together the need for skilled laborers. The Keystone+Mountain+Lakes Local 197 answered the call and have been onsite since the beginning. Over 100 members from Local 197 have been an integral part of the project, specifically when it came to laying concrete forms and pile driving.

“Over $600 million dollars in work has been done by our union workers. But that’s not all. Our union carpenters have also played a big part in training, providing union pre-apprentices the opportunity to grow within the industry,” said Raul Castro, Team Lead for Local 197.

Built in 1950, the nearly 70-year-old bridge is used by more than 77,000 commuters daily. Now past its lifespan, the new bridge will support the reconstruction of the Suitland Parkway/Interstate 295 Interchange. Creation of a new traffic oval will also be developed west of the Anacostia River. As a result, it will connect three of D.C.’s major roadways: South Capitol Street, Potomac Avenue and Q Street SW. Additionally, another oval will reside on the eastside of South Capitol Street, connecting the road to Suitland Parkway and Howard Road SE as well.

Not only will the new Frederick Douglass Memorial bridge be more functional, it will also offer new amenities that include four distinct overlooks with benched seating, three above-deck arches, and two piers that will appear to float on the river. Once complete, the bridge will sit roughly 100 feet away from the existing bridge, enhancing the area’s transportation infrastructure and supporting ongoing efforts to revitalize the Anacostia waterway.

The overarching goal of the bridge is to increase pedestrian and vehicular safety, improve modes of transportation, increase community accessibility and support economic development on both sides of the Anacostia River. Construction began in the Summer of 2017 and is projected to be completed by the end of 2021.



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