Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge

Design Challenges:

The existing Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge is located on South Capitol Street over the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. It is a very busy bridge carrying an average of 77,000 vehicles per day, and it connects I-295 to the center of Washington, D.C. The structurally deficient bridge was 71 years old, with the bridge deck having been replaced in 1974, again in 1988, and a third time in 2007 to extend the life of the bridge. This was the biggest infrastructure project handled by Washington, D.C. Department of Transportation in its history.


Construction began on the new bridge in 2017, and R. J. Watson was selected by the joint venture team to design and manufacture 12 high load multirotational disc bearings to support the bridge structure. The R. J. Watson Disktron bearing was chosen for its long term durability, design versatility, low maintenance, and cost effectiveness. The bridge was completed, and recently opened to traffic on Labor Day Weekend, 2021.