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Six Lanes Reopen on Arlington Memorial Bridge

Thursday, December 10, 2020

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After a two-year-long, $227 million rehabilitation project, six lanes of traffic were reopened slightly ahead of schedule on the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C.

Originally, traffic was expected to resume to normal operations sometime in early 2021.

About the Project

The 1932 bascule bridge, built of masonry, steel and stone, connects Arlington National Cemetery with the National Mall and Memorial Parks, serving as a symbolic connection between the district and the state of Virginia.

Back in 2015, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Virginia) pointed out that the Arlington Memorial Bridge was starting to corrode and was touted by area officials as an example of “failed leadership.” Around the same time, the National Park Service warned that if the bridge didn’t receive funding for repairs, it would be deemed unsafe and would have to close by 2021.

Once plans started developing for the rehabilitation project, Kiewit Infrastructure was awarded a $192 million design-build contract in 2017, funded largely by NPS transportation and construction funds and a Department of Transportation FASTLANE Grant.

By May 2018, the NPS announced that preparatory work in advance of the rehabilitation project had begun. At the time, crews started work on the staging area, which will shore up the historic structure that’s been under weight restrictions for three years.

Additionally, crews were also expected to reinforce some of the bridge’s steel structure (primarily the bascule span), reinforce the bridge deck and pour new concrete on the roadway in order to prepare for the start of major construction, which was to start later that same year.

The agency said that when the contract was issued, the design-build model would save $35 million and cut 18 months off the project’s duration. The NPS expected the job would be done in about 18 months, completed in one phase.

The rehab job is expected to add 75 years to the structure’s service life and is scheduled to have its steel painted every 25 years following the project’s commencement.

Operations Resume

On Dec. 4, all six lanes of traffic returned to normal operations on the Arlington Memorial Bridge after completing what NPS called “one of the largest transportation projects in National Park Service history,” noting that the rehabilitated bridge will “will give new life to our capital’s ceremonial entrance while respecting its character, history, and national significance.”

Over the course of the project, crews replaced the bridge’s drawbridge portion with fixed steel girders, shored its concrete approach spans, replaced the concrete deck, and also took steps to preserve the bridge’s historic character, removing, restoring and re-installing the stone curbs and street lights along the bridge.

“Memorial Bridge is now fully operational, and stands not only as a historic and functional monument, but also as a symbol of the kind of progress that is possible on rebuilding key transportation infrastructure through smart government investment,” stated a group of Northern Virginia congressional leaders.

While traffic has returned to normal for its roughly 68,000 daily commuters, workers are still expected to continue putting final touches on the bridge and the Memorial Circle, replanting staging areas, completing small projects on the deck, installing bird netting and some various landscaping work.

“In 2015, we were warned that Memorial Bridge — a critical artery between Virginia and the nation’s capital — was literally falling apart,” said Sen. Mark Warner. “Today’s reopening is a testament to years of work by the region’s congressional delegation, our local partners, and the National Park Service. Commuters can now rest easy knowing that this nearly 90-year-old landmark will carry them safely over the Potomac for years to come.”

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Bridges; Completed projects; Historic Preservation; Historic Structures; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair

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