New Joint Plan for the American Legion Bridge

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam made an announcement in a surprise joint appearance this morning.

Maryland and Virginia will partner to widen and rebuild the American Legion bridge in order to relieve congestion in a multibillion-dollar project. The new bridge is planned to have four express toll lanes, in addition to eight free lanes as on the current span with tolls fluctuating based on congestion.

From Washington Post’s coverage:

“A new bridge means commuters will get to work and back home faster,” Northam said in a statement, noting the agreement is a path to fix one of the worst traffic hotspots in the country. “This is about helping people see their families more, grow their businesses, and further unlock the region’s vast economic potential.”

Calling it the “Capital Beltway Accord” and a “once-in-a-generation achievement” for the region, Hogan said “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.

The American Legion bridge connects Montgomery County, Maryland to Fairfax County, Virginia. The plan also provides for Maryland to speed up the addition of express toll lanes on the Capital Beltway stretching from the bridge northeast to the I-95 intersection in Prince George’s County. This announcement veers from Hogan’s original plan of limiting the widening of the Beltway to the southern part of I-270.

Currently, the American Legion bridge caries over 230,000 vehicles daily. According to officials, the project will cut commuting time in half for many travelers, reduce congestion in regular travel lanes by 25 percent and add 40 percent more lane capacity.  The plan will utilize new bicycle and pedestrian access to connect trails on both sides of the Potomac.

Want to learn more about transportation issues in Maryland? Don’t miss MACo’s Winter Conference session on transportation alternatives.

Details follow:

  • Title: Contemplating Our Congestion Crisis
  • Description: Everyone can agree that there is an issue with traffic congestion in Maryland. With new plans and projects being revealed every year, what transportation alternatives should be considered? Join this panel for a discussion on what the future holds. Panelists will discuss transit options and solutions such as telework, bikes, complete streets, and mass transit.
  • Speakers:
    • Dan Reed, Planner, Toole Design Group
    • Graham Young, Complete Streets Manager, Baltimore City
    • Travis Johnston, Director of Locally Owned Transit, MDOT MTA
    • Mark Belton, County Administrator, Charles County
  • Moderator: Delegate Robbyn Lewis (D- Baltimore City) invited
  • Date/Time: Wednesday, December 4, 2019; 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
  • Location: Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort, Cambridge, MD

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: