(WASHINGTON, DC) – The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has released the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the H Street Bridge NE Replacement (Project), between North Capitol Street and Third Street, NE, Washington, DC. The purpose of the Project is to replace the H Street Bridge NE (Hopscotch Bridge) to address structural deficiencies, maintain modal relationships, and support the economic development within and adjacent to the Washington Union Station.

The Final EA and FONSI were prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); the FHWA’s Environmental Impact and Related Procedures (23 CFR 771); Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (54 U.S. Code §306108), as implemented by the regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) at 36 CFR 800; Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment Guidance Manual; and other applicable laws, regulations, and policies.

The Final EA responds to agency and public comments received by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and DDOT on the Draft EA, which was made available for review on September 15, 2021, until October 15, 2021. Two alternatives, the No Build Alternative and the Build Alternative (Alternative A) were analyzed for the Project in the Draft EA. After a careful review and consideration of all comments received, DDOT in conjunction with FHWA, have completed their review and selected the Build Alternative (Alternative A), as the Preferred Alternative. The Build Alternative (Alternative A) meets the purpose and need for the Project and will not have a significant environmental effect.

Alternative A was selected because it can be designed as a redundant structure without fracture critical members. Future inspection requirements will be reduced, which is important for a bridge over a railroad that has limited access and will have more constrained access once the Washington Union Station Expansion Project (WUSEP) is constructed. Alternative A is structurally independent of the WUSEP. It avoids complex agreements for designing future modifications to the bridge to provide new supports at new locations and will not result in shared responsibility for the inspection and maintenance of bridge support structures once the WUSEP project is complete. Alternative A avoids the risk of conflicting with the existing underpass abutment foundations and foundations construction in the railyard. Alternative A avoids the need to strengthen and reuse existing bridge foundations, which pose a risk because of their unknown condition. It also may not be possible to ensure a 125-year service life for the rehabilitated foundations, which may mean that, at some time in the future, DDOT must rehabilitate the foundations before any superstructure rehabilitation is needed if the WUSEP does not proceed.

The release of the Final EA and FONSI completes the NEPA process for the project. The Final EA and FONSI are available for public download at https://www.hstreetbridgeproject.com/. On the website, you can download the complete document as one file or individual sections. For further information on the Project, please contact the project team at info@hstreetbridgeproject.com.