$1.3 billion Capitol Crossing construction project breaks ground in DC

In just a few years, the District will have three new city blocks. But it is not land taken from Virginia or Maryland. Instead, it's restoring land taken away many years ago.

However, the major construction project could slow down traffic in the area.

This huge Capitol Crossing project is already underway. You can see the work already taking place around I-395 and the 3rd Street Tunnel. The plan is to create lots of employment and tax revenue.

Some have called this area an eyesore while others say it is wasted land. Many have been upset since the 1960s when I-395 sliced open this part of downtown D.C.

"This project will finally erase that gap and reconnect two very vibrant parts of our city," said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Capitol Crossing will not only reconnect and conform to Pierre L'Enfant's original plan, but it will grow into five buildings and 2.2 million square feet of retail, office and housing development.

But the project will take years and building over a busy traffic corridor won't be easy. Commuters already complain about the backups around here.

District Department of Transportation director Leif Dormsjo said the thousands of people who use this route each day should prepare for delays, but he promises traffic will continue to flow, especially during weekly rush hours.

"We're really trying to make sure that we have as many lanes open during the day, during the commuting periods, and concentrating the construction work that require some lane closures overnight and on the weekends," he said.

District officials say this project is in high demand. Mayor Bowser said she is already trying to pitch the project to major employers.

Because this project is taking place over so much traffic, there are efforts underway to make sure those traveling are safe. Even steel plates will be put in place to make sure no debris falls onto traffic and inspections will take place each day.