WASHINGTON -- The massive street reconstruction project that tore up the heart of the Adams Morgan neighborhood for more than a year is officially done.
Neighborhood residents, business owners and District of Columbia officials, including Mayor Vincent Gray, gathered at the corner of 18th Street NW and Columbia Road on Friday morning to celebrate the end of the $6.8 million, 17-month project which saw the total reconstruction of 18th Street between Florida Avenue and Columbia Road, its utilities and sidewalks, plus the addition of new pedestrian friendly street crossings, bike racks, street lights and solar-powered trash compactors.
“If you have not been to Adams Morgan recently, you might not recognize it," Gray said, according to a media advisory from the mayor's office. "18th Street has undergone an extreme makeover and the results are remarkable. The new roadway, the wider sidewalks, the safer crosswalks –- all of the upgrades support the local businesses in this great community and will help attract new customers."
The construction project caused plenty of headaches for businesses, which endured limited access, closed sidewalks and reduced patronage.
"We want to thank the business community and the residents of Adams Morgan for their patience and their support before and during this project," said District Department of Transportation Director Terry Bellamy said in a statement from the mayor's office. "This was a project we all knew was going to be disruptive, but it needed to be done, and hopefully now they will reap the benefits from the improved infrastructure."
The biggest improvement to 18th Street are wider sidewalks, which will improve pedestrian flow in the neighborhood, long one of D.C.'s top entertainment and nightlife destinations.
DDOT has started a similar street reconstruction project on U Street NW, another busy corridor.
This post has been updated with comments from the mayor and Bellamy.