Saturday, November 16, 2013

NPS EA for Memorial Bridge Rehabilitation

NPS has an Environmental Assessment open for comment until December 2 regarding the rehabilitation of the memorial bridge.  There are two concerns here.  First, when the rehabilitation takes place, a major cycling artery into DC will be closed for months.  Second, what form the rehabilitation takes - ensuring that the bridge remains a cycling artery - and perhaps improving access to the bridge on the DC and VA sides.
The National Park Service (NPS), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is proposing to rehabilitate the Arlington Memorial Bridge. The historic bridge is an important element of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and of the transportation network of the Washington, D.C. area.

Arlington Memorial Bridge is more than 80 years old and has not undergone a major rehabilitation project in many years. Several temporary repairs have kept it operational to meet the needs of the traveling public. However, like many other older highway bridges across the nation, this bridge needs comprehensive repair to ensure service for decades to come.

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act, and other laws, regulations and policies, the National Park Service is developing alternatives to be studied in the Environmental Assessment. The Environmental Assessment will evaluate potential impacts of these alternatives to the natural, cultural, and human environment. Information on the NEPA and NHPA processes can be found at:

The preliminary alternatives developed by the NPS and FHWA for the rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge represent different approaches to address issues identified by project staff, visitors, and other interested parties. Together, these preliminary alternatives represent a range of possible actions that are reasonable and consistent with other special mandates and laws such as the National Historic Preservation Act. The preliminary alternatives that follow are specific to the treatment of the bascule span:

Alternative 1A - Replace the Bascule Span with Precast Concrete Box Girders (Beams)
Alternative 1B - Replace the Bascule Span with Steel Plate Girders
Alternative 2 – Replace the Bascule Span with a Concrete Arch Span to Match the Approach Spans
Alternative 3 – Replace the Bascule Span with a Fixed Span of Welded Steel Truss Construction
Alternative 4 – Rehabilitate the Bascule Span

Each preliminary alternative involves many common elements that would occur regardless of which alternative is selected for implementation. Elements common to all the preliminary alternatives include:

- repair of the concrete arch approach spans and bridge piers;
- replacement of the existing bridge deck;
- replacement of the existing sidewalks;
- resetting of light poles and improving its wiring system;
- improvements to the existing drainage system;
- resetting or replacement of the granite curbs; and
- repairs to the existing bridge railings and stone work as needed.

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