Memorial Bridge funding sought

Memorial Bridge is shown from the District of Columbia looking into Virginia, with Arlington House at upper left. (National Park Service)

And that’s a wrap – the National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration have substantially completed the $227 million rehabilitation project aimed at bringing Memorial Bridge up to modern standards and positioning it for the future.

The rehabilitation, one of the largest infrastructure projects in National Park Service history, aims at extending the usable life of the nearly 90-year-old bridge for another 75 years.

Since work began in the fall of 2018, construction workers methodically removed, cleaned, repaired and reinstalled more than 4,500 pieces of granite and rehabilitated the bridge’s historic structure.

During construction, workers repaired or replaced the bridge’s foundations, concrete supports, deck and sidewalks. They also installed new, fixed steel beams over the span formerly occupied by a drawbridge in the middle of the structure, and installed more than 450 pre-cast concrete panels. Engineers from the Federal Highway Administration worked with the project contractor to use innovative methods that sped up construction and lowered costs.

The National Park Service implemented recommendations from a safety study of Memorial Circle by repaving, improving crossings, adding new signage and making the area easier and safer for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists to navigate.

In the months ahead, workers will put finishing touches on the bridge and Memorial Circle areas. Workers will replant the projects’ staging areas, complete small projects on the bridge’s deck and install bird netting.

The bridge was dedicated in 1930 as not just a traffic artery across the Potomac, but also a memorial to the nation’s war dead and a symbolic link between the two sides of the Civil War. It connects the Lincoln Memorial on the Washington side with Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial, on the Virginia side.

For information on the project, see the Website at Bridge.

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

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