DC’s new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge is slated to open to traffic on Friday, September 10, following three years of work.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the bridge took place on Tuesday with the attendance of Mayor Muriel Bowser and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Acting Director Everett Lott.
The event’s attendees included Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and other officials, along with descendants of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the bridge’s namesake.
“The new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge is a fitting tribute to an iconic Washingtonian, a forefather of Black excellence who we continue to emulate and who helped build Washington, DC into the city we are today,” Bowser said during the ceremony.
“This project was never just about getting people from Point A to Point B, it was about building a more connected DC – connecting Ward 8 and Ward 6, connecting residents to jobs and prosperity, and connecting our entire community to the future of multi-modal transportation,” she continued.
The $480 million project started in February 2018 to replace the 70-year-old bridge of the same name. Bowser broke ground on the project on the 200th anniversary of Douglass’ birth.
The two-day celebration of the new bridge kicked off on Labor Day featuring a 5K with the participation of around 4,000 residents.
“Washington, DC has been a very special place for the Douglass family since Frederick Douglass moved his family here nearly 150 years ago,” said Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., great-great-great-grandson of Frederick Douglass and Co-Founder & President of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives.
“We are thrilled that this magnificent bridge will educate the public about his legacy, connect DC neighborhoods where he worked and lived, and inspire future generations to agitate for change. My mother, Nettie Washington Douglass, represented the family when the original South Capitol Street Bridge was renamed for our great ancestor in 1965, and I’m honored to carry on that tradition and represent her and the entire Douglass family at the dedication of the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge,” Morris, Jr. added.
Approximately 200 DC residents worked in the construction of the bridge, and at least 45 minority and women-owned businesses were part of the project, accounting for $91 million worth of contracts, according to the Mayor’s Office.