Lawmakers sound alarm over decaying Memorial Bridge


Washington-area lawmakers are ramping up their efforts to secure funding for the deteriorating Arlington Memorial Bridge, which will be forced to close in the next five years if it is not repaired.

{mosads}Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), along with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, are calling for $250 million to improve the bridge. The trio took a tour of the bridge on Monday, where they were able to see its decaying steel, crumbling concrete and peeling paint. 

The National Park Service has warned that the bridge — which spans the Potomac River from D.C. to Arlington, Va., and is considered one of the most vulnerable structures in the federal system — will be closed by 2021 if it is not soon reconstructed. 

“We’ve got to act,” Warner said at a press conference after the tour. “This is a bridge that was built for a 75-year life span. The bridge is 84 years old.” 

About 68,000 vehicles pass over the bridge every day. Park service officials have emphasized that the bridge is continually checked and is currently safe to drive on.

Lawmakers helped the National Park Service meet an April deadline to apply for federal funding grants through the Department of Transportation, which could provide millions to start incremental work on overhauling the bridge this year.

But the bridge will close without significant additional funding, which would cost local governments $168,000 per day, or $75 million per year, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Tags Arlington Memorial Bridge Mark Warner Tim Kaine
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