The American Legion Bridge will be widened and replaced, the governors of Maryland and Virginia announced Tuesday morning.
Work on the bridge will replace existing lanes in both directions and add two new express lanes in each direction, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said at a surprise news conference.
The project aims to reduce traffic in one of the most backed-up stretches of the Capital Beltway. Officials said the work will cut commuting time in half for many drivers and reduce congestion by 25 percent.
"A new bridge means commuters will get to work and back home faster," Northam said.
Hogan called the "Capital Beltway Accord" between the governors a "once-in-a-lifetime achievement" for the region.
New express lanes will extend for about three miles, from George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia to River Road in Maryland.
Officials say the expansion will occur "predominantly within the footprint of the existing bridge and right-of-way to minimize impact to travelers, the environment, and surrounding communities." They do not expect that any homes or businesses will need to be demolished or moved.
Both states will fund the project, which could begin as early as 2021.
Officials say the bridge has operated beyond its capacity for nearly four decades. Daily traffic has grown 390 percent since it opened in 1962, with 235,000 vehicles using it daily.
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