The governors of Virginia and Maryland announced on Oct. 28, that they will conduct a pair of matched studies ways to ease traffic congestion on the Capital Beltway and two major bridges between their states, the Washington Times reported.
Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. and Virginia Gov. Mark Warner made the announcement at a meeting of regional leaders, including District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams. The 18-month study will focus on the I-495, commonly referred to as the Capital Beltway, and the Woodrow Wilson and American Legion Bridges, which are Potomac River crossings and both part of the Beltway.
“Our public knows that transportation problems don’t end at these bridges and that these are essential transportation corridors,” said Warner. The point is to “have a coordinated approach to how we make the necessary improvements on the Capital Beltway to ease congestion.”
Options to be explored may include express-lane tolls and mass transit over the Potomac River bridges.
Virginia will conduct the study regarding the Wilson Bridge and 14 miles of highway on either side. Maryland will lead the study focused on the American Legion Bridge and surrounding Beltway mileage. Each study is expected to cost about $1 million.
Other topics on the day’s agenda were provision of security and against terrorism, environmental issues affecting the Chesapeake Bay, improvements in air quality and promotion of regional tourism.