D.C. Roads - US 29



The above reassurance is on Rhode Island Ave. heading southwest at 10th St.; US 29 SB turns left one block later, though signs at the Dupont Circle to the west have US 29 on New Hampshire Ave. somehow. If you think US 29 is muddled in DC, this sign proves it.


US 29 SB briefly faces due north, as it turns from the Whitehurst Freeway's end to M St. NW. It then passes the little shield in the first photo and comes to the unusual white-background sign in the second photo, turning again onto the Francis Scott Key Bridge into Virginia.


Speaking of which, the Francis Scott Key Bridge into Virginia. First I'm on it at dawn, then I'm up above on some super-secret vantage point just to the west near sunset, then I am artistically leaving you in awe post-dusk. Theodore Roosevelt Island (called ol' Teddy by those who read this page and don't know any better) is in the background, connected to Virginia by a footbridge and to both shores by I-66/US 50.


I left this one out intentionally, because you can see not just the Key Bridge, but the last remaining pier and the southern abutment of the former Aqueduct Bridge, which was taken out of service well before US 29 was designated (1923) and then demolished in 1933. The original Aqueduct Bridge was actually an aqueduct, linking the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (still partially preserved in Georgetown) to the short-lived Alexandria Canal. Intended to get Alexandria in on the booming canal trade, it took long enough to build that rail was all the rage, but at least it could be retrofit as a pedestrian bridge after some retrofitting. The first bridge lasted just 43 years before needing to be replaced, and then the new bridge lasted even less, only 34 years in service, before the wider, roadway-ready, ice-resistant Key Bridge was opened. Remaining piers were only taken out of service in the 1970s when global warming eliminated the annual ice problem along the Potomac, but one was left on the far shore as a memorial to the bridge. I'm glad someone had his head in the right place for that decision.


Okay, there's more. The Georgetown canal stub, which led onto the first bridge and then supported the abutment of the second bridge, is still visible just west of the end of the Whitehurst Freeway and a popular recreation spot. I never realized it, but the arch at the very end of K St. after it finally peeks out from under US 29 is actually the bottom of this stub. Since I don't seem to have a photo of it, I have a project for next time I'm in DC.


On the side of the beginning of Whitehurst Freeway at M St.


This may be M St. NW westbound at the Francis Scott Key Bridge, US 29. What I do know is that it should be cut out, and that it comes to me courtesy Lou Corsaro.


The Key Bridge taken from the Whitehurst Freeway WB, or US 29 SB.


The Whitehurst Freeway taken from the Key Bridge (US 29) NB.


Northbound and southbound (EB and WB, in freeway terms) on the Whitehurst Freeway, which is elevated above K St through (really around) Georgetown. The Whitehurst is a short but well-traveled elevated freeway, used as a commuter alternative to I-66. It was meant for something better, namely I-266, which would have crossed the Potomac west of downtown (in the vicinity of Spout Run Pkwy. in Alexandria), picked up the Whitehurst a little west of where it now ends, and ended at I-66 again (where that Interstate now officially ends, as does the Whitehurst). 66 would have taken traffic into the city to meet I-95, which is what I-395 would have been had it been completed to the north. Since DC doesn't know how to finish its freeways, it's considering tearing this one down in favor of a boulevard, similar to the state of Washington's (yes, coincidence) plans with SR 99, in order to reunite Georgetown with the river.


Click for some smooth jazz stylings as I drive the Whitehurst Freeway westbound (US 29 SB) in the early morning. (The sun's behind me, it's totally good.)


Facing west on K St. underneath the Whitehurst. It's not terribly pretty, but no one can argue Georgetown isn't connected to the waterfront under the Whitehurst (the C&O Canal does more to separate the town than does the freeway). K St. ends at the canal stub arch in the background of the second photo (okay, so I sorta almost got a photo of it, but hardly worth mentioning), and the only way out is backtracking to Wisconsin Ave.


This sign isn't terribly old, but it's terribly strange. The font used is similar to the New England font used in Massachusetts and Maine until the early 1970's, though the backgrounds of these signs aren't faded enough to be quite that old. The DC atop the US 29 shield would also date the signs to about that time period, further baffling me. On the right, "Frwy" has been mostly greened out, which isn't necessary because even though it's a stub, the E Street Freeway still exists. Finally, with the periods after "K" and "E," someone tell me what those letters stand for?


RIDOT shields at the beginning of the Whitehurst Freeway, US 29 SB at 27th St. NW. Small state, wide range of influence. (Actually, Rhode Island is merely the only state to want these signs, as opposed to tolerating them once they're already out.)


This is on the US 29 SB (K St. WB) ramp to Rock Creek Parkway... northbound. Much good it does to say that the road is one-way SB in the morning. By the time you see this sign, there's no recourse but to bite the bullet and drive against traffic until you die. (Presumably, in the 30 or so years since this sign was erected, someone has figured out how to avoid this problem.)


Washington pulled a Philadelphia and miniaturized all of the shields on the US 29 corridor. These are a southbound progression, courtesy Lou Corsaro.


And now, a northbound progression from me. The one big sign in the bunch is on 11th St. NW just after turning left from K St.


Florida Ave. EB at Georgia Ave./7th St., which is US 29. Since this part of Florida Ave. is a continuation of New Hampshire Ave., this makes the 29 signs on the latter street even more out of place.


Instead of all the too-wide I-495 reassurance shields inside the city (such as the one three photos up), this one is too narrow. Northbound above all the other photos on this page.

Into Virginia on US 29
Into Maryland on US 29
To I-66
To I-495 in Maryland
The Whitehurst Freeway (US 29) on Steve Anderson's dcroads.net
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