2015 VDOT Study: Cross-Potomac River travel demand in 2040

Posted on August 1, 2015 in: Status Update

The Virginia Department of Transportation completed a study in July 2015 examining cross-Potomac River travel demand in 2040 at existing crossings between the U.S. 15/Point of Rocks Bridge and US 301/Governor Harry Nice Bridge. The study looked at travel speed and origin and destination trends. The study did not look at recommended solutions to the sever congestion experienced on such crossings as the American Legion Bridge or Roselyn Tunnel. Joint discussions and additional planning and action by Maryland and Virginia are urgently needed.

This most recent study is but one in a long list of analyses that have repeatedly documented the need for one or more new Potomac River crossings northwest of the Capital Beltway:

  • 1960 Regional Year 2000 Regional Transportation Plan and the Regional Development Guide – 1966 to 2000 both included two Potomac River crossings north of the Beltway.
  • 1965 Northern Virginia Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission Regional Plan – Year 2000 included two new Northern Crossings.
  • 1969 Northern Virginia Major Thoroughfare Plan for the Year 1985 also included two additional crossings.
  • 1990 Joint Maryland-Virginia Washington Bypass Study documented need and numerous travel and economic benefits of a Northern crossing.
  • 1997 Greater Washington Board of Trade Regional Transportation Study employed a team of professional transportation planners that examined 80 regional highway, bridge and mass transit improvements. Their conclusion: A limited access parkway and bridge—a Northern Connector—would do more to open up the region’s gridlocked transportation network than any other individual improvement, by eliminating the long horseshoe-shaped travel pattern between Gaithersburg/Rockville and Dulles/Reston, diverting traffic from existing corridors, and providing a suburb-to-suburb mass transit link.
  • 1998 VDOT Study looked at several potential crossings and found a new bridge would carry in excess of 100,000 vehicles per day by 2020.  Link to additional information, 1998 VDOT Analysis.
  • 2001 Federal Highway Administration Potomac River Feasibility Study was cancelled before any data was evaluated. Link to additional information, Feasibility Study for more details.
  • 2014 National Capital Region Transportation Priority Study commissioned by the private sector 2030 Group used the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments traffic model and land use projections and found a crossing connecting VA 28 with I-270 in Maryland would carry in excess of 100,000 trips daily while improving travel speeds and reduce delays on the American Legion Bridge, Maryland’s portion of the Capital Beltway and the I-270 corridor.