WASHINGTON, September 10, 2013 — As part of a $10 billion investment in the Anacostia waterfront project, Mayor Vincent Gray and Chief Cathy Lanier dedicated the local span of the 11th Street Bridge from Capitol Hill to Anacostia last Saturday, as bands from Eastern and Anacostia High Schools symbolized the connection of the two communities.
During the event, Mayor Gray dedicated a plaque naming the new local bridge as the 11th Street Officer Kevin J. Welsh Memorial Bridge.
“Since construction on the 11th Street Bridge project began in 2009, it has been our vision that it would employ local citizens, spur economic development and contribute to the overall revitalization of our Anacostia riverfront,” Mayor Gray said. “This project has exceeded our expectations by creating jobs in the District and, most importantly, connecting formerly disconnected communities.”
The local bridge is being named for Metropolitan Police Officer Kevin J. Welsh, who died there in 1986 while attempting to assist a citizen in distress. Officer Welsh, a veteran of the Special Operations Division, drowned in the line of duty during a daring rescue attempt to save a suicidal woman.
“While many people run from danger, Officer Kevin Welsh went towards it and made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Chief Lanier. “Officer Welsh was a devoted husband and father and his family legacy lives on, as his brother and his nephew are currently Metropolitan Police Department officers. We are pleased that he is being honored.”
One of the unique pedestrian features of the 11th Street Bridge Project is a number of overlooks that give citizens that walk, bike or rollerblade an opportunity to observe the Anacostia Trail that runs from Nationals Park near the soon to be replaced South Capitol Street Bridge through a series of riverfront bike and pedestrian path connecting the Navy Yard to the East-of-the-River area.
DDOT Chief Engineer and self-described ‘bridge geek’ Ronaldo “Nick” Nicholson took credit for delivering the bridge six months ahead of schedule and $100 million below the $400 million second phase budget for the local span.
He also thanked the many representatives from joint venture bridge building team of Skanska/Facchina, their construction management partner HNTB, and the hundreds of local Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and residents who worked on the project.
Also joining the celebration was the Marine Corp precision drill team from Barracks Row and the DC Rollergirls, who represented three generations of roller blade enthusiasts as thousands of walkers, strollers and residents from both sides of the bridge joined the celebration on a spectacular cloudless day last Saturday.