BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION: Maryland board approves building Harry Nice Bridge replacement

Nov. 22, 2016

The $765 million dollar project would replace the bridge connecting Maryland and Virginia over the Potomac

A Maryland board voted Monday to build a new, $765 million Gov. Harry W. Nice Bridge over the Potomac River connecting Maryland and Virginia.

Under the plan approved by the Maryland Transportation Authority Board, construction is to begin in fiscal year 2020. The current bridge, which carries Route 301 over the river, will be torn down. The new bridge is slated to be completed in 2023.

Plans call for building a new four-lane bridge about 100 ft north of the current bridge. It will include a bike and pedestrian path. The bridge connects Charles County in Maryland and King George County in Virginia.

In this year's legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill to require the transportation authority to put aside $75 million each year from fiscal year 2018 through 2027 to pay for a new bridge. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) vetoed the bill, saying the administration already was moving forward with a plan. But the General Assembly passed the measure with enough votes to override the veto when lawmakers return in January.

On Monday, Hogan said the administration's proposal would complete the bridge seven years earlier and save about $200 million. The governor said he will be working to prevent an override of his veto. He also said he also will work to repeal another contentious transportation bill passed by the legislature, one that requires a scoring system to rank transportation priorities.

Alexandra Hughes, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Michael Busch, said the bridge project was dead, until two Democrats pushed for legislation to require the governor to pay for a new bridge.