Eight months after it was closed for demolition of a pier and widening of the roadway, the pedestrian bridge over Interstate 295 re-opened this week, restoring important links to the Anacostia community.

Completion of the project – DDOT’s largest bridge re-design to date at a cost of $300 million – marks another milestone in the 11th Street Bridge Project’s progress, District Department of Transportation officials said. “This is another exciting step toward completing the new 11th Street Bridges,” DDOT Director Gable Klein this week in a statement announcing the re-opening. “We appreciate the community’s understanding during the work and are very proud to have successfully minimized its impacts, by providing shuttle service and partnering with other District agencies and the community to help keep children safe this summer.”

The reopening has also ended the temporary shuttle service that carried children between Anacostia High School and the community’s pool fitness center, where in addition to swimming, they participated in summer jobs and feeding programs. The shuttle service had been in service since late June when schools closed for the summer break. It operated between the high school and pool/fitness center every 30 minutes. However, due to high usage, service was soon extended to weeknights and weekends.

The 11th Street Bridge serves as a major connection to Interstates 295 and 395 into the District.

“It’s an older bridge and because of the way it was constructed, has a lot of ramps that created disconnects in the neighborhoods,” DDOT spokeswoman Karen LeBlanc told the AFRO. “ it difficult for people to move around, and over the years they’d figured out how to go around through the neighborhoods to get to other ramps.”

LeBlanc added that the 11th Street Bridge project is scheduled for completion in 2013, and that the current bridges are being replaced with three others. “One for inbound and one for outbound traffic and then a center bridge that’s really more for residents only,” Le Blanc said.