The Nixon Memorial?

Do you know what this structure is? The Nixon Memorial bit is tongue-in-cheek of course.

A Capitol Trick

Below is what I found on DCist (dated March ’05):

DCist reader asks:”A LONG time ago, some one told me that the large concrete air shaft for I-395, just north of Massachusetts Avenue, is jokingly referred to as the ‘Nixon Memorial.’ (It is a large obelisk looking concrete rectangle, with a mural painted on the side.) Do others refer to it as the Nixon Memorial? Or was that just one person’s joke? It seems sort of appropriate…”

DCist responds:The concrete-column air shaft serves as ventilation for the I-395/Center Leg Freeway/Third Street tunnel, a project that got its start in 1955. The first portion of the project was built 1966-1973 and the second 1979-1982. The project was originally designed to connect all the major highways surrounding D.C., but ended up only connecting I-395 to New York Avenue (Route 50), leading to some of the lovely beach traffic entanglements we experience every summer.

The air shaft was probably part of the 1973 completion, or at least the project is heavily tied to the Nixon’s administration residency in our fair city, so that is where DCist would assume the Nixon reference comes in to play. We’re guessing the person who told you this was not a Nixon fanboy.

Question: Will further development over the freeway require more of these gigantic air shafts?

Photo from flickr user Kyle Walton

UPDATED (8/13/2008 10:30PM): An old WaPo article on the airshaft

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  1. 2

    fourthandeye says

    Yeah, Willinger (Trip within the Beltway) certainly is the anti-Layman/Alpert. He comes off in a unibomber “read my manifesto” kind of way with his constant harping on evacuation routes trumping any counter argument to more freeways inside the district. I’ve even read him cite Boston’s “Big Dig” as a success story. Nevermind it came in 250% of budget… That said the internet has room enough for all kinds of voices…

  2. 3

    Douglas A. Willinger says

    Last I checked, Richard Layman favors extending I-395 as a tunnel.

    Alpert however prefers to truncate I-395 at the off ramp to Mass. Ave.

    Evacuation routes apparently do not matter to our ‘government’, only the far more expensive police state of cameras and illegal surveillance of the general public- issues addressed by commuter Outrage, but apparently no other transportation related bloggers.

    You don’t think that the Big Dig cost estimates were deliberately underestimated for political reasons?

    You do believe though that the DC WMATA system was not either?