Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia recently announced a partnership to replace the aging American Legion Bridge—which carries the I-495 Capital Beltway across the Potomac River between the two states—in an effort to relieve congestion at one of the country's worst traffic chokepoints.
The project is part of a bi-state, bipartisan accord to create a new, unified Capital Beltway (I-495) in the Washington D.C. area, and complements ongoing plans by both governors to advance a region-wide network of reliable travel options around the Capital Beltway.
The project is expected to cut commuting time in half for many travelers, reduce congestion in the regular lanes by 25%, provide 40% more lane capacity over the old bridge, and include bicycle and pedestrian paths across the Potomac River.
The American Legion Bridge has been operating beyond its capacity for nearly four decades. Daily traffic has grown 390% since the bridge opened in 1962, with 235,000 vehicles using it daily. More than 40% of the region’s population travels this segment of the Capital Beltway, and the region expects to grow by another 1.2 million people by 2040. Both governors have made it a top priority to identify a long-term, seamless solution for the Capital Beltway.
The project will replace the existing lanes in each direction across the Potomac River and add two new express lanes in each direction for approximately 3 miles between the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia to the vicinity of River Road in Maryland. New bicycle and pedestrian access will connect trails on both sides of the Potomac River. The project is being designed predominantly within the footprint of the existing bridge and right-of-way to minimize impact to travelers, the environment, and surrounding communities.
The states have agreed to a bi-state funding plan to accelerate the delivery of this project and other critical improvements, including all of the infrastructure needed for connections between George Washington Parkway and MD-190/River Road.
SOURCE: Office of Gov. Larry Hogan