The Arlington Memorial Bridge will get its repairs after all.
Engineers said the Memorial Bridge is structurally deficient, so this grant is a much-needed step in the right direction to making the bridge safer for everyone who crosses it.
On Tuesday, the bridge was selected for a $90 million FASTLANE grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, D.C. and Virginia Congressional representatives announced.
The scenic Memorial Bridge is a vital artery for commuters and a popular route for early morning joggers and bikers, but the bridge is in bad shape; crumbling even. It’s a concern for many of the 68,000 people who cross it each day.
This funding will go toward Phase 1 of the Arlington Memorial Bridge reconstruction plan, which will focus on repairing the approach spans.
“While additional federal resources will be needed to complete this $250 million project, this funding will allow NPS to move forward with planning and contracting immediately so that construction can begin early next year,” the representatives wrote in a statement.
However, the National Park Service specified Wednesday that bridge repairs likely won't begin until 2028. Officials said they need to work with the state and local partners to secure matching funds as part of the grant process.
The bridge was constructed in 1932 and exceeded its 75-year design life. Officials said it is now “structurally deficient,” having never undergone a major rehabilitation.
A total cost of $166 million, Phase 1 will allow the bridge to remain until 2030 while actions are taken to complete Phase 2.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments would cost local governments a projected $75 million per year in transportation outlays alone. Traffic studies suggested bridge traffic would have spilled over onto other area bridges, like the 14th Street Bridge and the Roosevelt Bridge.
The NPS has said the Memorial Bridge would need to be shut down and made into a pedestrian-only bridge by the year 2021 if the repairs were not made.