The Arlington Memorial Bridge secured key funding for repairs Tuesday after a long fought battle, which will ensure the crowded bridge stays open to District commuters.
The U.S. Department of Transportation selected the bridge for its FASTLANE grant, which gives the National Parks Service $90 million for repairs. Although $250 million is needed for full repairs, the grant gives officials breathing room and will allow the bridge to remain open to the nearly 68,000 vehicles it carries each day, reports WUSA9.
The grant funds will allow officials to begin the first phase of repairs, which will focus on the bridge’s approach spans.
“While additional federal resources will be needed to complete this $250 million project, this funding will allow NPS to move forward with planning and contracting immediately so that construction can begin early next year,” read a joint statement from District and Virginia representatives. “This significant federal investment will go a long way towards ensuring that Memorial Bridge remains open, which is welcome news for the region’s commuters.”
The crumbling bridge was originally built to last 75 years and is currently 84 years old. Roughly $11 million has already been spent on temporary fixes to keep the bridge in use. It is currently the most vulnerable bridge in the entire federal transportation system according to officials.
The Federal Highway Administration said the bridge will no longer be safe come 2021 without the repairs.
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