$2.4B Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project Steams Ahead

Fri October 11, 2002 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero



One of the worst bottlenecks in the country will be unclogged upon completion of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project in the Washington, D.C. area.

The entire project involves a 7.5-mi. (12 km) corridor that begins in Maryland and continues over the Potomac River into Virginia. Four agencies are sponsoring the job: the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA), and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). The overall cost is estimated at $2.44 billion, and includes replacement of the main bridge and four interchanges.

Potomac River Bridge

The bridge is the centerpiece of the project and is located approximately at the mid-point of I-95, or the Capital Beltway, which is one of the busiest interstate highways on the East Coast. Originally completed in 1961, the four-lane bridge was designed to carry 75,000 vehicles a day for 20 years. However, that volume was reached in only eight years, and the current daily volume is nearly 200,000 vehicles a day. Adding to the problem is the fact that the eight-lane Capital Beltway narrows into six lanes on the bridge.

The new drawbridge is designed to be 20 ft. (6.1 m) higher than the old bridge, with a 70-ft. (21.3 m) total clearance. This increased clearance allows for 70 percent fewer bridge openings and traffic interruptions (a reduction from 260 openings per year to 65 per year).

The bridge will consist of 12 lanes: eight general purpose lanes to match the number of lanes on the Beltway, two merge/diverge lanes to allow for safe acceleration and deceleration of vehicles traveling between the adjacent Maryland and Virginia interchange, an express/local configuration to balance through and local traffic, and HOV/Express Bus/rail transit lines.

The bridge design will use 17 V-shaped piers, offering the look of arches but enabling a more open appearance with smaller foundations. The design was the result of a year-long competition held by the Maryland State Highway Administration in 1998.

Construction of the bridge replacement began in October 2000 with dredging, which was completed in January 2001, by Weeks Marine Inc., Cranford, NJ. Foundation work began in May 2001 and is expected to be complete by mid 2003 with a total cost of $125 million. The foundations are being built by the joint venture of Tidewater Construction Corporation/Kiewit Construction Company/Clark Construction Group, Virginia Beach, VA.

The MSHA reported that, originally, the final contract for the superstructure of the bridge was advertised as one large contract with an estimated value of $450 to $500 million. A single bid was received, totaling more than 75-percent over the estimate. The bid was rejected, and the SHA then decided to divide that portion of the project into three separate contracts to generate more competition. The first, for construction of the pier supports, the bascule span, and the new operator’s house, was advertised on July 2, 2002, and bids are due by Nov. 7, 2002. Estimates for this contract are between $140 and $170 million. The two remaining bridge contracts are scheduled to be advertised in October, with bids due in mid-February 2003.

Currently, the southern bridge span is scheduled to be open to two-way traffic in 2005/2006. Full completion of the bridge is expected by late 2007 or early 2008.

The Section Design Consultant for the bridge replacement is Parsons Transportation Group, Baltimore.

MD 210 Interchange

The MD 210 Interchange project involves the complete reconstruction of the interchange that begins west of the existing Bald Eagle Road bridge and extends 1 mi. east.

Currently, the budget includes funding for approximately two-thirds of the interchange. If full funding is provided, the project will involve 14 lane mi. of mainline pavement for the Beltway and 10 lane mi. of pavement for the interchange ramps — a total of approximately 141,000 sq. yds. (117,894 sq m) of pavement area. The overall project also will include nine new bridges encompassing nearly 200,000 sq. ft. (18,581 sq m) of bridge deck, retaining walls covering approximately 252,000 sq. ft. (23,412 sq m) of surface area, and approximately 136,000 sq. yds. (113,713 sq m) of sound barriers.

The Section Design Consultant for the MD 210 Interchange is KCI Technologies Inc., Baltimore.

I-295 Interchange

The I-295 Interchange project involves reconstruction of the existing interchange beginning at the Maryland abutment for the Potomac River Bridge and extending east approximately 1 mi. The project will result in a total of 12 lane mi. of new mainline pavement for the Beltway and 14 lane mi. of pavement for interchange ramps — approximately 235,000 sq. yds. (196,490 sq m) of pavement area. A total of 22 new bridges will encompass nearly 495,000 sq. ft. (45,987 sq m) of bridge deck, and retaining walls will cover approximately 504,000 sq. ft. (46,823 sq m) of surface area.

Construction of the overpass ramps on MD 210 began in December 2001 and is expected to be complete in early 2004 for a total of $42 million. The contract was awarded to G.A. & F.C. Wagman Inc., York, PA.

The Section Design Consultant for the I-295 Interchange is JMT-WRA Joint Venture, Baltimore.

U.S. Route 1 Interchange

The U.S. Route 1 Interchange project calls for the complete reconstruction of the existing interchange, including replacement of all ramp movements, the addition of ramps connecting future HOV lanes, barrier walls, ground improvement, bridge replacement, and widening of the I-95/I-495 mainline roadway. Along U.S. Route 1, improvements will include roadway widening and reconstruction, bridge reconstruction, intersection improvements and utility relocations.

This particular interchange will include 36 lane mi. of roadway improvements with 320,000 sq. yds. (267,561 sq m) of roadway paving, 23 vehicular bridges and two pedestrian bridges totaling 990,500 sq. ft. (92,020 sq m) of bridge deck, 150,000 sq. ft. (13,935 sq m) of retaining walls and approximately 105,500 sq. ft. (9,801 sq m) of barrier walls.

Demolition of a high-rise building and adjacent garages began in July 2002, and is expected to be complete by mid 2003. The contract was awarded to Old Dominion Demolition Corporation, VA.

The Section Design Consultant for the U.S. Route 1 Interchange is HNTB Corporation, Alexandria, VA.

Telegraph Road/VA 241 Interchange

The Telegraph Road Interchange project involves the complete reconstruction of the existing interchange, including ramp improvements, bridge widening/lengthening and widening of a section of I-95/I-495. Along Telegraph Road, improvements will include roadway reconstruction, bridge reconstruction, intersection improvements and utility relocations.

This section of the project will result in 24 lane miles of roadway improvements, with 321,000 sq. yds. (268,397 sq m) of roadway paving. Nine vehicular bridges and one pedestrian bridge will total 380,000 sq. ft. (35,303 sq m) of bridge deck, and retaining walls will total 100,000 sq. ft. (9,290 sq m). In addition, there will be approximately 150,000 sq. ft. (13,935 sq m) of sound barrier walls.

The Section Design Consultant for Telegraph Road/VA 241 Interchange is Dewberry & Davis, Fairfax, VA.