What to Know
- $4 million emergency project began after officials found the bridge's secondary load-bearing beams were corroding faster than expected.
- The closure affected two curbside lanes and four feet of the adjoining sidewalk.
- The bridge still needs $250 million in repairs or it could be closed in five years.
After about a year of emergency repairs, two lanes on the Arlington Memorial Bridge reopened, the National Park Service said.
But an even bigger rehabilitation project is still needed.
The $4 million emergency project began after federal highway officials found the bridge's secondary load-bearing beams were corroding faster than expected and didn't meet highway standards. The bridge's concrete deck was deteriorating, too.
The closure affected two curbside lanes and four feet of the adjoining sidewalk.
The temporary repair project added support beams to reinforce the deck and help reduce vibration, which played a major role in the deterioration. Several sections of the concrete deck and sidewalk also were patched.
The bridge still needs $250 million in repairs or it could be closed in five years, according to NPS.
The steel supports of the 84-year-old bridge are rusting through, and its concrete decking has been reduced to gravel.
NPS and Washington, D.C., applied for a U.S. Department of Transportation FASTLANE grant that -- with contributions from D.C. and Virginia -- would be enough for the reconstruction.
The NPS has a $3 billion annual budget, and only $268 million is currently budgeted for transportation infrastructure projects across the country. In addition to the bridge, the NPS has another 5,000 miles of paved roads to maintain.
The bridge connects the Lincoln Memorial with Arlington National Cemetery and the Robert E. Lee Memorial and was built to commemorate the reunification of the United States after the Civil War. It also figures prominently in some major events on the Washington calendar: The "Rolling Thunder" tribute to missing soldiers, the July 4 celebrations on the National Mall and the Marine Corps Marathon.