Virginia studies multimodal options to address congestion on I-495 bridge

Oct. 23, 2020

Study aims to identify a range of multimodal solutions to enhance mobility and connectivity

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) in Virginia was recently updated on the I-495 American Legion Bridge Transit and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Study, which aims to identify a range of current and future multimodal solutions that can be implemented to reduce congestion, improve trip reliability and regional connections, and enhance existing and planned multimodal mobility and connectivity.  

The study is being conducted jointly by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and the Maryland DOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA). 

“This study demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to deliver network options that offer more seamless mobility throughout the region,” Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine said in a statement. “Identifying multimodal opportunities is integral to addressing congestion, maximizing reliability, and creating a sustainable transportation network.”  

The American Legion Bridge provides the only direct connection between the region’s two most populous counties, Fairfax County in Virginia and Montgomery County in Maryland. In 1965, the American Legion Bridge carried 48,000 vehicles daily, while today, pre-pandemic daily traffic averaged 235,000 vehicles. By 2040, traffic is projected to increase to 280,000 vehicles per day. 

The unique recommendations from the I-495/American Legion Bridge Transit/TDM Study are aimed to work in concert with both Virginia’s I-495 NEXT project and Maryland’s Managed Lanes Study for a region-wide, seamless network of reliable travel options around the Capital Beltway, I-270, I-95, I-395, and I-66. Draft recommendations will be available mid-November for public input and the final report is scheduled to be complete in January 2021.

In November 2019, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the Capital Beltway Accord to rebuild the American Legion Bridge and help address growing demand and congestion. 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. 


SOURCE: Virginia DOT

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