Maryland, Virginia Governors Agree to Expand Potomac Bridge, Add Toll Lanes

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced a bi-state, bi-partisan agreement last week to widen the American Legion Bridge on the Capital Beltway, adding two high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in each direction.

The project, construction on which is slated to begin in 2022 with a goal to ready for drivers by the middle-to-late part of the coming decade, is part of a larger initiative by the two chief executives to expand toll roads on interstate highways in the Washington suburbs.

Gov. Hogan has already announced plans for a public-private partnership that would add HOT lanes to the Beltway and Interstate 270, ultimately stretching north-south from Frederick to Bethesda, and east-west from the Potomac River to Interstate 95. According to The Washington Post, Maryland transportation secretary Pete Rahn said the state will select builders for the entire project to work in tandem with the bridge expansion announced last week.

“I-270 does not work without the American Legion Bridge,” Rahn told the Post last week. “The American Legion Bridge does not work without [Interstate] 495 over to 95. We have to be approaching this as a system.”

WANADA supports the interstate-widening project in Maryland, which to date has garnered bi-partisan approval from Hogan and state comptroller Peter Franchot (D). Virginia has been a regional leader in HOT lanes, with nearly all of the state’s share of the Beltway surrounded by them. New lanes on Interstate 395 just opened this past week, stretching from Fairfax County all the way to the 14th Street Bridge.

A Virginia Department of Transportation study released this week showed that similar lanes in the Hampton Roads region reduced commute times during high-congestion periods in both the toll lanes and the free ones.

Download Bulletin PDF