- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2012

Work began Monday on a two-month project to repair the Arlington Memorial Bridge, the landmark southwest span over the Potomac River that has played host to marching protesters, solemn funeral processions and silver-screen productions.

Crews are set to fix sections of the bridge’s sidewalks, curbs and driving surface, National Park Service spokesman Bill Line said, and commuters can expect closures up to two lanes in each direction at the height of the project.

“We’re certainly wanting to get the word out, so people plan alternate routes,” Mr. Line said. “It’s pretty heavily used.”

The 80-year-old bridge is 2,163 feet long and stretches between the Arlington Cemetery gateway to the southwestern corner of the Mall near the Lincoln Memorial. Its location between two well-known sites has made it a popular route for tourists and residents alike, and its neoclassical architecture and towering statues have made it a popular site for filming sequences for movies and television shows.

The $788,000 project includes “repair and replacement” of the entire driving surface, as well as the repair of the bridge deck below the road.

Lane closures are scheduled between rush-hour times, with eastbound lanes affected between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and westbound lanes from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“There’s also sections of the sidewalk on both sides of the bridge that need to be replaced,” Mr. Line said, adding that risers have been placed over the center portion of the bridge to allow for pedestrian and bicycle access at all times.

Mr. Line said that the last time the bridge was repaired was between 1985 and 1986. That work was similar to this year’s project for wear and tear.

The bridge is made of reinforced concrete and North Carolina granite ashlar. It was built between 1926 and 1932 and is one of several D.C. bridges that have required repairs in recent years.

In 2009, an eight-phase rehabilitation project kicked off for the 14th Street Bridge, one of the main commuter arteries for Virginia drivers.

D.C. road crews started a two-year project to update the New York Avenue Bridge last year. The bridge is currently in the middle of its face-lift, which includes a new driving surface and stronger backbone for a heavier traffic pattern.

• Meredith Somers can be reached at msomers@washingtontimes.com.

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