Beltway Connection

by Richard Cary-Brown, P.E., Proj. Mgr. and a Vice Pres.; Parsons Transp. Group, Baltimore, Maryland,
Alan Kite, P.E., Sr. Bridge Engr.; Parsons Transp. Group, Baltimore, Maryland,
Serafim Arzoumanidis, P.E., Vice Pres.; Parsons Transp. Group, New York, New York,
Robert Healy, P.E., Proj. Representative; Maryland State Highway Administration,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2001, Vol. 71, Issue 3, Pg. 46-51


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: The Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge carries the Capital Beltway (I-495) and a part of I-95—the main north–south interstate route on the East Coast—across the Potomac River south of Washington, D.C. Built in the early 1950s for a daily volume of 75,000 vehicles, the bridge is rapidly deteriorating under a daily traffic volume of 175,000 vehicles. The structure will likely need replacement by 2004, or vehicle weight restrictions may have to be imposed that would reroute thousands of freight-carrying vehicles on this major interstate corridor. Instead, the region chose to replace the bridge with a wider structure and upgraded interchanges. The new bridge, designed by Parsons Transportation Group, is a 6,000 ft (1,829 m) long crossing with 17 V-shaped piers and an eight-leaf bascule span. Approximately 234 ft (71 m) wide, the new bridge will be far better suited to accommodate the region's traffic growth. The rounded, V-shaped piers will be joined at their tops with a tie beam to give them the appearance of arches, creating a light, open look that will complement the other bridges in the nation's capital.

Subject Headings: Bridges | Design | Highway bridges | Piers | Potomac River

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