A step-by-step look at the Arlington Memorial Bridge rehab

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Updated Mar 20, 2019
A contractor carefully removed, packed and transported the bridge’s granite balustrade to an off-site location for comprehensive cleaning and repair. The structure that supports the balustrade needs to be replaced, and this is the first time all of the stone has been removed since 1932. When the new structure is complete, workers will reinstall the granite balustrade in the exact same locations where they have been for the last 86 years. This is important because it will help maintain the bridge’s historic fabric and function. NPS photo/Rachel HendrixA contractor carefully removed, packed and transported the bridge’s granite balustrade to an off-site location for comprehensive cleaning and repair. The structure that supports the balustrade needs to be replaced, and this is the first time all of the stone has been removed since 1932. When the new structure is complete, workers will reinstall the granite balustrade in the exact same locations where they have been for the last 86 years. This is important because it will help maintain the bridge’s historic fabric and function. NPS photo/Rachel Hendrix

The Arlington Memorial Bridge rehabilitation project is now moving into the heavy construction phase, with lanes being closed to allow workers to cut the bridge deck into pieces for removal. The National Park Service has released a video giving a step-by-step view of the project:

 

The new lane patterns for the historic bridge between Washington, D.C., and Virginia will begin March 11. Since October, workers have been carefully removing thousands of granite pieces and balustrades for cleaning and restoration.

The $227 million project involves a complete rehab of the bridge, which was built in 1932 and has experienced accelerating deterioration of the concrete deck. The National Park Service was told by the Federal Highway Administration in 2016 that without a complete rehabilitation, the bridge would have to be completely closed in 2021.

NPS plans to keep one side of the bridge open throughout construction. The project consists of the following:

  • Replacing bridge supports at the end of each arch.
  • Reinforcing foundations at each end of the bridge.
  • Installing temporary supports to allow for the removal of the former draw span in the middle.
  • Removing and restoring the metal panels, which will be put back when construction is done.
  • Removing the deck to remove drawbridge girders.
  • Removing and recycling bridge components.
  • Cutting the drawbridge. Installing new beams to support the bridge deck and new precast concrete panels.
  • Reinstalling the metal panels and balustrades. Stone cladding and artwork will be reinstalled and cleaned.
  • Cutting and removing the arch bridge deck and replacing with high-performance concrete panels. This will occur simultaneously with the drawbridge section rehab.
  • Reinstalling granite curb, lamp posts and sidewalk.
  • Then repeat all of that on the north side of the bridge.

The project is scheduled to end in 2021.

“When we complete the project, the bridge will stand strong for another century,” NPS says.