Officials Push for Funds to Repair D.C.'s Memorial Bridge | NBC4 Washington
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Officials Push for Funds to Repair D.C.'s Memorial Bridge

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    Arlington Memorial Bridge is in desperate need of $250 million in renovations to keep it open. Sitting in the doorway to the nation's capital, it's a constant reminder to some lawmakers of the money that's needed to reinvest in the nation's infrastructure. News4's Tom Sherwood reports. (Published Monday, June 20, 2016)

    The Arlington Memorial Bridge is one of D.C.'s most famous entryways, a grand connection between the monuments in D.C. and Arlington National Cemetery.

    It's also rotting and rusting, in desperate need of $250 million in renovations to keep it open. Sitting in the doorway to the nation's capital, it's a constant reminder to some lawmakers of the money that's needed to reinvest in the nation's infrastructure.

    If the money isn't found, officials say, the bridge could shut down by 2021.

    "This is the most vulnerable, threatened bridge in the entire federal inventory," said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. 

    He toured the bridge on Monday, joined by Va. Sen. Mark Warner, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Bob Vogel, regional director of the National Park Service's National Capital Region.

    Warner said the bridge was expected to have a lifespan of 75 years when it was built. It's currently 84 years old.

    Area leaders say the bridge, which carries 68,000 vehicles a day, is vital to the whole national capital region.

    "it's not just a matter of convenience," Bowser said. "It's also about safety. How do we get people in and out of the city safely and around the city safely?"

    The problem is that the bridge belongs to the federal National Park Service, which can't afford to fix it. Local governments are contributing their federal funds to help win more federal dollars for repairs that could start late next year or 2018.

    The money would ensure "that we don't end up with a bridge closure, which would be an economic and traffic nightmare," Warner said.