Building and Construction

Arlington Memorial Bridge Rebuild Is Set to Begin

04 December 2017
Bridge under construction. The Lincoln Memorial is at left center of the photo and the Washington Monument is at the top. Credit: Wikimedia

Arlington Memorial Bridge under construction. Arlington National Cemetery is in the background. Source: WikimediaArlington Memorial Bridge under construction. Arlington National Cemetery is in the background. Source: WikimediaA $227 million project to rehabilitate Arlington Memorial Bridge, a historic and critical transportation link in the nation’s capital, is expected to begin in 2018.

Over the past six years, the National Park Service (NPS) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have made emergency temporary repairs while planning the larger rehabilitation. Without a complete rehabilitation, the continued and accelerated deterioration of the bridge’s concrete deck would have required it be closed by 2021.

The NPS, with the District of Columbia as co-signer, received a $90 million FASTLANE grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Senator Mark Warner secured an amendment to the fiscal year 2017 Appropriations Act (P.L. 115-31), which directed $30 million to the project.

In order to complete the project in a single phase, the NPS will invest $107 million of its annual transportation and construction funds.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded and will manage the $192 million contract with Kiewit Infrastructure Co. Around $35 million of the total project cost is for engineering, construction management, wetlands mitigation and contingency.

Major construction will start in fall 2018. It will replace the drawbridge span, rehabilitate the concrete approach spans and replace the concrete deck. Workers will use accelerated bridge construction techniques, including using prefabricated concrete deck panels. They will reset the stone curbs and light posts and restore the historic stone and metal cladding.

The structure of the existing bascule span will be replaced with variable depth steel girders, which will extend the useful life of the bridge while reducing maintenance costs. The NPS will begin minor repairs to the bridge by the beginning of 2018.

Designed by the prominent architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, the low, Neoclassical bridge is 2,163 feet long and 60 feet wide. Except for the bascule (drawbridge) span in the bridge’s center, which is clad in metal, it is constructed from reinforced concrete faced with dressed North Carolina granite ashlar. When it opened in 1932, the bridge was the longest, heaviest and fastest opening drawbridge in the world; the drawbridge last opened in 1961. Today, it carries 68,000 cars per day.

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