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New DC-VA Bridge to Add Train Capacity

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

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In a move to lessen congestion for D.C.-area commuters and those traveling in from farther away, the Department of Transportation for Washington, D.C., recently announced a preferred layout to double the number of tracks running to Arlington, Virginia.

The plan, revealed late last month, would see the repair of the already-in-place two-track Long Bridge, which was originally built in 1904 and is currently owned by CSX. A new two-track bridge, which would take five years to complete, would also be built just north of the existing span.

Long Bridge Project

According to news station WTOP, though the study was partially funded by a federal grant, funding for actual bridge construction remains unclear. There also remains the question of if the bridge would be publicly or privately owned.

District Department of Transportation

In a move to lessen congestion for D.C.-area commuters and those traveling in from farther away, the Department of Transportation for Washington, D.C., recently announced a preferred layout to double the number of the number of tracks running to Arlington, Virginia.

With the implementation of the new bridge, congestion for both freight and passenger rail will lessen, as currently there is limited service between Richmond and D.C.’s Union Station. According to the plan, more than double the amount of trains could run through the area each weekday by 2040. (This totals 92 VRE trips, 8 MARC tips, 44 Amtrak trips and 48 freight trips each day by 2040.) The addition of the new rail line would also assist with the expansion of Amtrak service in Virginia and allow for more VRE commuter rail service.

Plans also include a separate bridge for cyclists and pedestrians 25 feet upriver from the new tracks. This span is also intended to mitigate any lost Arlington park and National Park Service that would be used for the new bridge project.

According to WTOP, completely rebuilding the existing bridge would have added another three years to the construction time, along with more construction needed along the George Washington Parkway and another $500 million in funding needed upfront.

The current rail bridge was renovated in the 1940s to allow for heavier trains. The structure’s center piece, which once spun to open to allow boats through, has not been used since 1969.

Final federal approvals are currently slated for early 2020. If funding is available at this time, contracting can begin.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Rail; Urban Planning

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