Long Bridge Final Environmental Impact Statement Released

The final Environmental Impact Statement for the Long Bridge project was released last month with very few changes from the draft assessment. The project will build a new bridge north of the existing Long Bridge to carry an additional two tracks across the Potomac. A separate bike and pedestrian bridge will be built north of both rail bridges with connections to Long Bridge Park, the Mount Vernon Trail and East Potomac Park.The EIS is available at: http://longbridgeproject.com/feisrod/

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginia would provide funding for the $3.7 billion project last December with Amtrak expected contribute $944 million and VRE providing some additional funding. The new bridge would allow twice as many Amtrak trains to run and allow additional VRE capacity. It’s uncertain if Amtrak and VRE funding will be impacted by COVID. Details of Northam’s announcement are at: https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2019/12/19/virginia-csx-strike-3-7b-deal-to-massively-expand.html

The 14′ wide pedestrian and bike bridge is being built as a mitigation to the National Park Service for impacts of the new bridge on park lands, including permanent loss of park land for bridge supports, increased noise and impacts on viewshed. During construction, approximately 600 linear feet of the MVT will be closed for 2 years. The detour would begin at a point east of the existing Long Bridge underpass and travel west towards the GWMP. The trail could continue alongside the GWMP and travel underneath the railroad bridge and the Metrorail Yellow Line before reconnecting to the existing trail between the Metrorail Yellow Line and the 14th Street Bridge. Where the detoured trail would travel adjacent to the GWMP, temporary barriers between the trail and the roadway would protect trail users. During construction, the movement of vehicles and materials would sometimes require temporary, short-duration full closures of the trail to safeguard users. A map of the impacted trail segment is below.

The next step will be for the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) to advance the project to design and engineering. For full history on the project, check out the WashCycle: https://www.thewashcycle.com/long-bridge/

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