While all work has yet to be completed on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, Monday was a hallelujah moment for commuters who have to cross the structure on a daily basis.
It was the first time that all lanes of the Inner Loop and Outer Loop of the Beltway were completely open on the bridge, including the "thru lanes."
That's five full lanes in each direction, and so far, so good.
"If today is any indication, overall I think that it's working extremely efficiently, to the point that it scares us here because we're not going to have a job if they keep doing that," Ashley Linder, a traffic reporter with Metro Network who provides reports for NBC4, told the Washington Times.
WTOP traffic reporter Bob Marbourg told the paper that the eight years of construction and delays on the bridge didn't just meet traffic expectations for today, but for the future.
"Most changes are behind the demand, but in this case, the Wilson Bridge was designed and built with forethought to provide future capacity," he said, speaking of light-rail and car-pool lane options.
Easing traffic was a main goal of the construction, but so was safety. Thru lanes and local lanes have been established to cut down on the number of accidents associated with traffic entering and exiting the Beltway.
While the bridge itself has opened all lanes, there is still some work to be done for the project:
- MD 210 and I-295 are scheduled to be completed in Spring 2009
- U.S. Route 1 will be finalized in Summer 2009
- Telegraph Road Interchange will continue until 2013