- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 26, 2001

Some Northeast D.C. residents and a community of churches will be glad to hear that a traffic bottleneck is set for being cleared up several months earlier than expected.
The rebuilding of Michigan Avenue up to its intersection with Eastern Avenue on the Prince George's County border may be completed by late fall, almost certainly before 2002, said Dan Brown, head of D.C.'s Department of Highways.
"They're progressing pretty fast," Mr. Brown said of Fort Myer Construction, which began tearing up Michigan Avenue in April.
That's not fast enough, say some residents along the three blocks of Michigan Avenue to Varnum Place and Varnum Street. During evening rush hour, cars and trucks frequently back up across the intersection at South Dakota Avenue.
"I don't even go that way any more," said Rosemary Cale, who lives on the Prince George's side of the 4600 block of Eastern Avenue. "I go by way of the back streets."
"I tell you what, there's a whole lot of accidents occurring up there," Mrs. Cale said. Problems occur, she said, when drivers facing a red light make a right turn into the diverted southeast bound traffic on Eastern Avenue.
The $1.8 million project calls for replacing water and sewer lines, tearing up and relaying four lanes of street concrete, building a couple of new manholes, and rebuilding sidewalks and curbs, said project engineer John Polino.
Circulars describing the work were distributed to residents and businesses in the area a few weeks before the work began. The circulars said construction would be completed in about a year.
Construction officials said most accidents are fender-benders and side scrapes that occur when two lanes of Michigan Avenue are blocked for reconstruction and drivers, accustomed to four lanes, are funneled headlight-to-headlight into two lanes.
That also was a problem for the Kirkendoll family in the 1800 block. Before construction, delivery trucks stopped along the curb in front of the Kirkendoll home without disrupting the three lanes of traffic.
Brittani Kirkendoll, 15, said that delivery drivers now have to park on side streets a block away.
Traffic doesn't diminish much on Sundays as worshipers drive to-and-from Evangelical Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, Givens Bible Church and Rhema Christian Center Church, and Union Wesley AME Zion Church.
But business has dropped off a bit for six side-by-side shops at Eastern Avenue. That's probably because construction has blocked two of four entrances into the parking lot, which can contain about three dozen vehicles, said Justus Samaiye, 43, at American Warehouse Outlets.

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