- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 27, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nearly 42 years after the first commuters began crossing the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge, contractors are preparing to begin a major repair operation that will take a year.

“The deck is in very poor shape, it has got holes in it, and it has just reached the point where it needs replacement,” Bill Rice, a spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation, said yesterday.

The seven-lane span — one of five connecting the District to Virginia — is used by about 100,000 vehicles each day. Beginning next month, the bridge is slated for structural upgrades.

Plans for the $6 million project began about one year ago. The work will include repairs to the structural steel and new decking and resurfacing of the bridge and its approaches on both sides of the Potomac River.

The 12-month project will require the temporary closure of a lane as sections of the bridge are rehabilitated.

“They’ll be closing them progressively during the job, because they have to repair all the lanes,” Mr. Rice said.

Construction on the bridge, named in honor of the nation’s 26th president, began in 1960 at a cost of more than $24 million.

The work is the most extensive upgrade to the 2,500-foot bridge since it opened June 23, 1964.

During the work, a moveable barrier used in recent years to make an extra lane into the District in the morning and out in the evening will not be available, reducing the number of rush-hour lanes from four to three.

The Roosevelt Bridge connects to Interstate 66, the George Washington Memorial Parkway and Route 50. That means several agencies, including the Metropolitan Police Department, the U.S. Park Police and the Arlington County Police Department, will be involved in traffic-control efforts.

Arlington County, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the National Park Service will join the D.C. Department of Transportation in re-timing traffic lights and posting signs advising motorists of potential delays.

Images from a new traffic camera also will be available to commuters at www.ddot.dc.gov.

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