WASHINGTON — Plans for badly needed repairs on the Arlington Memorial Bridge, a landmark built in 1932 that has been deteriorating significantly over the past several years, have taken a step forward.
The National Park Service has completed its planning process for a rehabilitation of the bridge, and the next steps will be to design and implement the project to “preserve the character and defining features of the bridge by replacing and refurbishing the original bridge components,” the service said in a statement.
The plan selected “includes the repair of the concrete arches and stone facades on the 10 approach spans, the replacement of the bascule span’s steel superstructure, the reconstruction of the bridge deck and sidewalks and the resurfacing of all travel lanes,” said the NPS.
Over the past six years, the park service has made emergency temporary repairs while planning a larger rehabilitation. The Federal Highway Administration has said that without a rehabilitation project, the continued and accelerated deterioration of the concrete deck would require a full bridge closure in 2021. A 10-ton load limit was implemented on the bridge and will remain in place until the project is complete.
The transportation project, one of the largest in NPS history, is going to cost an estimated $250 million.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser made a plea for federal money during a January news conference, saying she hopes the Trump administration will take notice.
“Let me use this as an opportunity to focus the incoming administration’s attention to the Arlington Memorial Bridge,” Bowser said. “It is an important connection, of course, between our city and our workforce and the workforce in Virginia.”
The NPS was awarded a $90 million federal grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation. It has applied for an additional $60 million and “is actively working to secure the remaining funding needed,” the agency said.
The Arlington Memorial Bridge carries an estimated 68,000 vehicles each day from Maryland, Virginia, D.C. and from people visiting from out of town, according to the NPS.
The park service says it hopes to get the work started by late fall or early winter.