WASHINGTON — Northern Virginia commuters may be eager for another Potomac River crossing to smooth the way into D.C., but a key regional transportation leader is dumping cold water on the notion.
“Look at the map,” said Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn. “What you find is a place [where] it would be good for Maryland to cross is totally unsuitable in Virginia. A good location in Virginia would be totally unsuitable in Maryland.”
Rahn says the die was cast more than 30 years ago, when no provision was made in upper Montgomery County to save a corridor for a bridge from Virginia.
“A new bridge across the Potomac is, I don’t think, in the immediate future,” Rahn said, although he added that Maryland remains open to any ideas from Virginia.
What’s the best hope of improving the commute over the Potomac River?
“I believe we can make the crossing at the American Legion Bridge better, and capable of handling the kinds of traffic that we see there,” Rahn said.
The American Legion Bridge, described as the area’s worst choke point, is currently the subject of a $6 million environmental study.
“That will narrow down what are the possibilities for the American Legion Bridge,” Rahn said.
Virginia wants to extend high-occupancy lanes across the bridge to Interstate 270 in Maryland. There also are calls to expand the bridge, built in 1962.