Environmental documents complete for Long Bridge project

Milestone means bridge over Potomac, key to easing DC-Virginia rail bottleneck, can advance to engineering, funding, and construction
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WASHINGTON — Environmental planning has been completed for the Long Bridge Project to build a new rail bridge across the Potomac River, addressing a major capacity bottleneck for freight and passenger service through the District of Columbia and Virginia.

The project will add a second two-track rail bridge adjacent to the current bridge, which currently operates at 98% of peak capacity during peak periods, as well as bicycle and pedestrian-only bridge. It is part of the larger Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative, which involves Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express, and CSX, which sold some of its right-of-way to Virginia in a deal announced late last year [see “Virginia, CSX announce major rail infrastructure plan,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 20, 2019].

“A new bridge across the Potomac River represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make the rail system work better for everyone along the entire East Coast,” Virginia Gov Ralph Northam said in a press release. “The project has passed an important milestone, thanks to close collaboration between Virginia, D.C., and the private sector. We are all excited about bringing easier and faster mobility to commuters and travelers.”

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation can advance to the engineering, funding, and construction phases thanks to the completion of the Final Environmental Impact Statement, signed by the Virginia agency, the District (of Columbia) Department of Transportation, and the Federal Railroad Administration. The FRA and National Park Service have also issued the joint Records of Decision. Completion of those documents makes the $1.9 billion project eligible for additional federal funding.

Visit the Long Bridge Project website for more information.

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