January 14, 2019
Press Releases & News

Clark/Parsons Reaches Substantial on Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction Project

Clark Civil, in a joint venture with Parsons, has reached substantial completion on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction project. Located in southeast Washington, DC, the Virginia Avenue Tunnel is a critical route for freight trains traveling through Washington, DC, to points north and south, as well as for freight traffic from eastern seaports to the Midwest. To meet the growing demands of increased freight traffic, the Clark/Parsons team designed and constructed a tunnel system to replace the more-than-a-century-old Virginia Avenue Tunnel with two tunnels that can accommodate double-stack intermodal trains. 

Delivered utilizing Progressive Design-Build delivery, the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction project occurred in two phases with no interruption to CSX’s active train operations. 

During the first phase of the project, the Clark/Parsons team relocated major utilities and demolished a portion of the existing tunnel’s south wall and roof to accommodate the new south tunnel alignment. A secant pile wall system was constructed beside the remaining section of the south wall as part of the support of excavation system.

The project team then constructed a new 4,100 foot, cut-and-cover, cast-in-place concrete structure to the south of the existing brick and stone masonry tunnel. The project team completed the first phase of the project one month ahead of schedule in December 2016 - allowing double-stack container trains to travel through DC, and locations in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland for the first time ever. 

During the second phase of the project, the team demolished the remaining sections of the existing tunnel’s roof and south wall and constructed the new north tunnel. Crews backfilled the tunnel, removed temporary bridges, and completely rebuilt ten city blocks of the Virginia Avenue roadway and cross streets, with many upgraded amenities, including a new bike path connecting the existing Capitol Hill bike network with the Anacostia River Waterfront trails. The second phase of the project was completed in December 2018. 

The Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction project is the last of 61 projects in CSX Transportation’s National Gateway Initiative, an infrastructure improvement project designed to improve rail connections between ports on the MidAtlantic seaboard and points throughout the Midwest by upgrading bridges and tunnels to allow double-stacked trains.