WASHINGTON — Now that Metro’s maintenance plan has begun to put more cars on the roads, some commuters may wonder: whatever happened to the idea of building another bridge across the Potomac River?
Virginia transportation planners say a new bridge should be part of the region’s future considerations but it’s Maryland, not Virginia, that must make the first move.
“It would have to be initiated from Maryland because Maryland controls the Potomac River,” said Aubrey Layne, Virginia secretary of transportation.
The stretch between the American Legion Bridge and Point of Rocks, Maryland — north of Leesburg, Virginia — has been discussed over the years as an area that could have a reasonable place for crossing.
But in the past, Maryland has expressed no interest in building another bridge — especially into rural areas of northwestern Montgomery County.
“We’ve had discussions with Maryland and I think certainly, in terms of planning, it’s got to be looked at,” Layne said.
Despite growing traffic congestion and the disruption of ongoing Metro track work, no one on either side of the river is renting any pile drivers any time soon.
Not only would a bridge project require approval of both states, but it would also need firm backing of local leaders on both sides of a proposed span.
“Unless the locals from both sides, the local politicians, support the project then it would be difficult to get it through that process,” Layne said.