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Major Construction Project To Begin On Parkway Bridge

George Washington Memorial Parkway

National Park News

Officials from the Federal Highway Administration and the National Park Service joined a northern Virginia Congressman on Friday to announce a road construction project designed to improve motorist and trail use safety on the Boundary Channel “Humpback Bridge.” Work on the bridge, which is located just north of Interstate 395 and south of the Columbia Island Marina, is expected to begin in early January.

Federal Highway Administrator J. Richard Capka, Virginia Representative Jim Moran (D-8th) and George Washington Memorial Parkway Superintendent David Vela announced the $35,296,000 project. The project is located entirely within Representative Moran’s district. 

During the project, both northbound and southbound lanes of the parkway will be under construction during non-rush hour times.  The Federal Highway Administration and the National Park Service urge motorists to seek alternative routes to avoid delays during non-rush hour periods.  

The project will include replacing the historic “Humpback Bridge” using similar materials and configuration of the existing bridge while adding a new acceleration lane for northbound traffic from the I-395 on-ramp and a separate, wider path for users of the Mount Vernon Trail.  The road grade will be adjusted to improve sight distance over the bridge. 

The pedestrian crosswalk will be replaced with tunnels under the parkway for safe access between the Columbia Island Marina and the Mount Vernon Trail and Potomac shoreline. A new barrier will separate users of the Mount Vernon Trail from parkway traffic.  Additional safety improvements include closing the northbound vehicle entrance into the Columbia Island Marina and Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove parking areas.  The project, when completed, is also expected to improve traffic flow.

“This project requires a strong partnership between the National Park Service and the Federal Highway Administration and a strong partnership is what will see this project through to completion,” said Capka.  “This is the most dangerous point on the entire George Washington Memorial Parkway.” 

“This bridge has not kept up with the growth in traffic and is the site of some of the most serious traffic accidents in the greater Washington area,” said Moran.  “The bridge is in desperate need of improvement.”  

“We ask for your patience and understanding of the short-term inconvenience to the driver in order to provide a long-term benefit in safety and reduced traffic congestion,” said Vela. 

The average daily traffic count on the bridge is 75,000 vehicles. Construction signs will be posted during the entire construction period to notify the public of the lane and ramp closures.  Pedestrian and bicycle access will be maintained at all times.

Weather permitting, the project is slated to be completed spring 2010. The media will continue to be informed of any adjustments in the work schedule.  Every effort is being made to minimize traffic delays and finish the work in a timely manner.
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