Rail expansion proposal along Virginia Avenue SE

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- Residents say no to a proposed CSX railroad expansion in Southeast D.C.

Residents of Capitol Hill and the Navy Yard are doing what they can to stop a project from going full steam ahead. A DC resident says, "This would amp up the noise, pollution, traffic congestion."

But it is not just the years of construction that worries residents. A derailment in Quebec last year killed nearly 50 people.

Just hours ago in Lynchburg Virginia, a CSX train derailed in downtown causing an inferno along the James River. It is the exact type of accident that brings fear to residents along Virginia Avenue in Southeast.

CSX wants to expand its rail operation and widen a tunnel bringing trains within feet of people's front doors. It would reroute trains through a trench to move double stacked rail cars.

Residents spoke up at a D.C. Council hearing on the matter this afternoon.

CSX says the century plus-old narrow bridge needs repair and currently prevents two-way traffic.

Louis Renjel with CSX says, "Freight rail is the safest way to move hazardous material and CSX voluntarily restricted the most hazardous material through the District." Renjel says crude oil would be transported but says the project in no way moves more hazardous material.

One mother says closing nine blocks of Virginia Avenue for the 3-5 year during construction would affect her daughter's health and emergency response times. Her daughter suffers from a rare respiratory syndrome.

"My family could be affected with more seizures and allergies," says one mother.

The issue goes before the full City Council in the coming weeks for a vote to urge Congress to hold a hearing, but the federal government and DDOT could give the okay and go ahead with the project in the meantime.

If the project moves forward residents are hoping D.C. City Council, would delay issuing permits.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment