VDOT Potomac River Bridges Study Taking the Easy Way Out?
Yesterday VDOT released the results of a multi-year study of current and future travel demand on the eleven Potomac River crossings from Point of Rocks Bridge to the Route 301 Nice Bridge.
The study showed what has long been known i.e. that our region’s Potomac River crossings are congested and the American Legion Bridge (ALB) is the biggest chokepoint.
The study also confirms that the ALB chokepoint makes many Maryland and Virginia employment centers inaccessible to thousands of skilled workers and will be even more inaccessible in the future. This means the region will be less attractive to future economic investment and job growth.
The easy way out is to focus solely on the ALB and kick a new crossing can down the road for others to tackle. That’s what the study recommends. Click here to view the VDOT study presentation.
Upgrading the ALB is important, but so too is a new crossing within the 40 mile gap between the ALB and the US 15/Point of Rocks bridge.
Governor McAuliffe has acknowledged the importance of a new crossing to the region’s and state’s economy. Maryland officials have indicated a willingness to consider any Virginia proposal. (Associated Press 7/15/15)
Delaying focus on a second crossing virtually ensures that new home construction and other land use decisions will preclude such a crossing. Surely the study’s authors realize this?
At its September meeting the Commonwealth Transportation Board should reject the Study’s single bridge pursuit recommendation and endorse the importance of advancing both projects concurrently.
Taking the Easy Way Out is No Way to
Fix the Nation’s Worst Traffic Congestion or
Strengthen Sagging Regional and State Economies