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The latest on the rehabilitation and expansion of D.C.’s Long Bridge corridor

The project would create a new rail bridge, doubling the corridor’s capacity

A freight train crosses a bridge over a river. A person rides a bicycle in the foreground and there are tall building sin the background.
The Long Bridge
The Washington Post/Getty Images

The U.S. and D.C. governments last week published a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) detailing their preferred design for the redevelopment of the Long Bridge, currently the only rail connection over the Potomac River between the District and Virginia. The project would result in four tracks along the corridor, which already conveys both commuter and freight service, including Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express, and CSX trains. Under plans described in the draft EIS, a new rail bridge with two tracks would be placed between the existing Long Bridge and a Metrorail bridge to its north, doubling the corridor’s capacity.

A potential bike and pedestrian bridge might also be built between the proposed railroad bridge and the Metrorail bridge. Measuring roughly 2,300 feet long, it would start in Long Bridge Park; cross over the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the Mount Vernon Trail, the river, and Ohio Drive SW; and end at a parking lot in East Potomac Park. Additional bike and pedestrian routes linking any such bridge to Southwest would be considered as separate projects, the draft EIS notes. The redevelopment is set to cost $1.9 billion and take five years.

Long Bridge project map
District Department of Transportation/Federal Railroad Administration

The draft EIS, which was compiled by the Federal Railroad Administraiton and the District Department of Transportation, leaves open the question whether the bike and pedestrian bridge would be built concurrently with the new train bridge or after the latter is finished:

“The bike-pedestrian crossing could be constructed along with the railroad bridge construction contract or separately following completion of the Project. If constructed along with the Project construction contract, it is anticipated that construction would begin following completion of the project as the same space is needed to deliver equipment and materials for the railroad bridge pier construction. Therefore, the construction of the bike-pedestrian bridge piers would take place after completion of the railroad bridge piers. Construction would take approximately two additional years.”

An aerial image of a potential bike-pedestrian map over the Potomac River.
A map highlighting the potential bike-pedestrian bridge
District Department of Transportation/Federal Railroad Administration

Public comment on the project is open through October 28, with a public hearing scheduled for October 22, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., at 1100 4th Street SW. A final design decision is expected in summer 2020, and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation would administer construction on the project. Below are blueprints for the preferred design.

Long Bridge project from Long Bridge Park to the George Washington Memorial Parkway. District Department of Transportation/Federal Railroad Administration
Long Bridge project from Ohio Drive SW to Metrorail Portal. District Department of Transportation/Federal Railroad Administration
Long Bridge project from I-395 to Ohio Drive SW. District Department of Transportation/Federal Railroad Administration
Long Bridge project from Washington Channel to Maine Avenue SW. District Department of Transportation/Federal Railroad Administration
Long Bridge project, Maryland Avenue SW Overbuild. District Department of Transportation/Federal Railroad Administration