WASHINGTON (WMAR) — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on Tuesday announced an agreement to rebuild the Capital Beltway's American Legion Bridge that connects the two states over the Potomac River .
The Capital Beltway Accord Interstate Regional Partnership as it's being called aims to relieve congestion along one of the nation's most traveled areas, which connects Montgomery County to Fairfax Virginia
The project will replace the existing lanes in each direction across the river and add two new Express Lanes in each direction for approximately three miles between the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia to the River Road area in Maryland.
To pay for the project, the two states plan to split the costs.
Maryland will cover 79 percent of the General Purpose Lanes on the new American Legion Bridge, 50 percent of the new Express Lanes, and 100 percent of the southbound Express Lanes and General Purpose Lanes from MD-190/River Road to the George Washington Parkway.
Virginia will cover 21 percent of the General Purpose Lanes on the new American Legion Bridge, 50 percent of the new Express Lanes, and 100 percent of the northbound Express Lanes and General Purpose Lanes from the George Washington Parkway to MD-190/River Road.
Officials say the project could cut many travelers commute time in half, while reduce congestion in the regular lanes by 25 percent, and providing 40 percent more lane capacity over the old bridge, as well as bicycle and pedestrian paths across the Potomac River.
For nearly four decades, the American Legion Bridge has been over capacity. Since it opened in 1962, daily traffic has grown 390 percent, with 235,000 vehicles traveling on it daily. More than 40 percent of the region’s population travels this portion of the Capital Beltway, not counting an expected growth of about 1.2 million more people by 2040.
“The ‘Capital Beltway Accord’ is a once-in-a-generation achievement for the capital region,” said Governor Hogan. “A bipartisan, commonsense, interstate agreement such as this has eluded elected leaders throughout the region for many decades. Together with our partners in Virginia, we are building a foundation for even greater economic growth, greater opportunity for our citizens, and advancing real, lasting, transformative improvements for the entire Washington metropolitan region,” Hogan said.
“A new bridge means commuters will get to work and back home faster,” said Governor Northam. “Our teams have identified a way to fix one of the worst traffic hot spots in the country. This demonstrates what can get done when leaders come together to find shared solutions to tough regional problems. This is about helping people see their families more, grow their businesses, and further unlock the region’s vast economic potential.”
Along with the bridge rebuild, both Governor's will continue on with other existing plans and projects around the Capital Beltway, and along Interstates 270 and 95, 395, and the George Washington Parkway, to relieve even more traffic.
No homes or businesses are expected to require relocation as result of the project.