Tysons, VA

Friday Morning Notes

Maryland Rejects Beltway Widening — The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission unanimously voted against widening the Capital Beltway, which Northern Virginia leaders have been hoping will help ease congestion around McLean [Maryland Matters]

Vienna-based Parcel Carrier LaserShip Launches Hunger Relief Program — “LaserShip launched the [Time of Need] program with a $10,000 charitable donation to Food for Others, a hunger relief organization in northern Virginia. As part of the commitment, LaserShip is providing delivery services to help Food for Others transport food from its warehouse to a distribution center in Annandale, Virginia. Food for Others feeds over 2,600 local families each week.” [LaserShip]

Vienna Students Participate in Virtual Army 10-Miler — “Teachers, staff members, parents and a student from the Madison High Pyramid completed the virtual Army 10 Miler this weekend, and put an FCPS twist on their walk.” [Patch]

Photo courtesy Craig Fingar

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(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) Tysons area commuters heading to and from Maryland on the Beltway may see some relief from the constant traffic woes.

The governors of Virginia and Maryland announced an agreement Tuesday morning that would see the construction of a new American Legion Bridge.

The agreement to rebuild the bridge is being billed as “historic” and “a big win for Northern Virginia, the metro region, and our entire Commonwealth” by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

The new bridge will “relieve congestion at one of the country’s worst traffic chokepoints,” according to a press release, below. “The project is expected to cut commuting time in half for many travelers, reduce congestion in the regular lanes by 25 percent, provide 40 percent more lane capacity over the old bridge, and include bicycle and pedestrian paths across the Potomac River.”

The new bridge will be build on largely the same footprint as the existing bridge, but with two new express lanes in both directions. The initial stages of construction could begin as early as 2021.

More via a press release from the governor’s office:

Governor Ralph Northam (D-VA) and Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) today announced a bi-state, bipartisan accord to create a new, unified Capital Beltway, replace the aging American Legion Bridge and relieve congestion at one of the country’s worst traffic chokepoints. The two governors made the announcement at the annual Capital Region Transportation Forum in Washington, DC.

“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.”

“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.”

The project complements ongoing plans by both governors in their jurisdictions–advancing a region-wide vision for a seamless network of reliable travel options around the Capital Beltway, and along Interstates 270 and 95, 395, and 66.

The project is expected to cut commuting time in half for many travelers, reduce congestion in the regular lanes by 25 percent, provide 40 percent more lane capacity over the old bridge, and include bicycle and pedestrian paths across the Potomac River.

The American Legion Bridge has been operating beyond its capacity for nearly four decades. Daily traffic has grown 390 percent since the bridge opened in 1962, with 235,000 vehicles using it daily. More than 40 percent of the region’s population travels this segment of the Capital Beltway, and the region expects to grow by another 1.2 million people by 2040. Both governors have made it a top priority to identify a long-term, seamless solution for the Capital Beltway.

The project will replace the existing lanes in each direction across the Potomac River and add two new Express Lanes in each direction for approximately three miles between the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia to the vicinity of River Road in Maryland. New bicycle and pedestrian access will connect trails on both sides of the Potomac River. The project is being designed predominantly within the footprint of the existing bridge and right-of-way to minimize impact to travelers, the environment, and surrounding communities. No homes or businesses are expected to require relocation.

“This is once-in-a-generation project that will improve accessibility throughout the region,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This is a milestone in regional cooperation. We in Virginia look forward to working hand-in-hand with Maryland to deliver this transformative transportation solution.”

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