The street's western terminus is at the "Starburst intersection" in the northeast quadrant of the city at Bladensburg Road, Florida Avenue, Maryland Avenue, H Street and 15th Street. It passed over the Anacostia River via the Benning Bridge into the neighborhood of Benning. It continues southeast across East Capitol Street into the southeast quadrant, crossing Southern Avenue and the D.C.-Maryland boundary into Maryland, ending at an intersection with Marlboro Pike (a former alignment of Maryland Route 4).
In the late 18th century, "Captain" William Benning came from Virginia and purchased 330 acres (1.3 km2) in the area. Around 1830 (though not all sources agree on the date), he built the Benning Bridge as a toll bridge, one of the earliest crossings over the Anacostia River. "Benning's Road" appears on maps as far back as 1861, and with the bridge was an important eastern route in and out of the District. An 1886 U.S. Geological Survey map shows Benning's Road ending at "Bowen Road", which was later named Marlboro Pike in Maryland (and routed as Maryland Route 4 through about 1960).
In 2009, work commenced on a $38 million improvement project for the road which included adding streetcar tracks. The DC Streetcar line was anticipated to open in 2014, but it did not actually open until February 27, 2016.
A Metro station was opened at the intersection of Benning Road and East Capitol Street in 1980 but this is not within easy walking distance of the local facilities as the neighborhood has a suburban style with access mainly by automobile.
- Ashley Halsey III (December 14, 2009). "Renovation of Benning Road in NE D.C. nears completion". Washington Post.
- Neibauer, Michael (September 29, 2014). "New Gateway to H Street NE? Mixed-Use Building Proposed for Site Next to Starburst Intersection". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- Linda Wheeler (October 25, 1997). "Benning Heights' Twists and Turns". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- "Local roads scholars give streets'history". The Washington Times. June 25, 1992. Retrieved May 7, 2010.("Benning Road, for example, was named after the late William Benning. He was responsible for constructing the Anacostia toll bridge in 1805...."
- Lapp, Joe. Kenilworth: A D.C. Neighborhood by the Anacostia River (Humanities Council of Washington D.C. 2006), Accessed May 7, 2010
- Joe Lapp (November 2005). "Kenilworth: A Northeast Neighborhood by the Anacostia River" (PDF). East of the River. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- Upper Marlboro-East Washington, DC Quadrangle, Northwest Quadrant, USGS (1886)("Benning's Road" appears on 1886 USGS Map)
- Benning Road Corridor Redevelopment Framework Plan (District of Columbia Office of Planning, 2008)("Benning Road has historically been a significant thoroughfare in the District")
- Di Caro, Martin (July 15, 2014). "DDOT Best-Case Scenario Targets November Opening For D.C. Streetcar". WAMU Radio. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- Washington at home: an illustrated history of neighborhoods in the Nation's capital, Columbia Historical Society (Washington, D.C.), 1988, p. 225
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