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Nat’l Park Service announces major rehab project GW Parkway

GW Parkway between Spout Run and Chain Bridge (photo via Google Maps)

For the first time since it was built in the early 1960s, the northern section of the GW Parkway will be getting a major overhaul.

The National Park Service announced yesterday that it had awarded a $161 million contract to rehabilitate the Parkway from Spout Run in Arlington to the Capital Beltway in McLean. After a design process in 2022, construction is expected to take place between 2023 and 2025.

Drivers are being cautioned that there will be traffic impacts during construction.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) touted the project in a statement, saying such work is overdue. This stretch of the Parkway has had to close at least three times over the past seven years due to sinkholes.

“The contract to repair G.W. Parkway’s northern section is a huge infrastructure win for our region,” Beyer said. “Northern Virginians have been pleading for major repairs to this section of the G.W. Parkway for years, as potholes and other damage accumulated over the past six decades put the parkway in ever-worsening shape. Thanks to legislation we passed in Congress and the Department of the Interior under Secretary Haaland’s leadership, we are finally going to get that fixed.”

“I also deeply appreciate the ongoing efforts of the National Park Service to improve safety on G.W. Parkway’s southern stretch,”  Beyer added. “Together these projects deliver a top transportation objective for my constituents: making the historic G.W. Parkway as safe as it is scenic. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will lead to so many projects that will benefit Virginia and the rest of the country as we deliver on the promise to rebuild America’s infrastructure.”

The full press release from the National Park Service about the coming rehab project is below.

The National Park Service (NPS), in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), awarded a $161 million contract today to rehabilitate the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The contract is the largest infrastructure investment funded by the Great American Outdoors Act to date. This announcement comes on the heels of the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a historic investment in the nation’s infrastructure that will help the Department rebuild roads and bridges, tackle the climate crisis, and create good-paying jobs.

“The George Washington Memorial Parkway is more than just a road used by roughly 70,000 vehicles per day – it is critical infrastructure that helps millions of people connect to places to learn and recreate among the natural wonders along the Potomac River,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “With major infrastructure funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Great American Outdoors Act, the important investments we are making today will ensure that future generations have sustainable and reliable infrastructure.”

“This project will improve the driving experience, safety, and water drainage while retaining and reviving the historic beauty and significance of the parkway – including opening scenic views to Washington, D.C.,” said Charles Cuvelier, George Washington Memorial Parkway superintendent.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law contains over $30 billion in investments that fund Interior Department initiatives and benefit the communities it directly serves. In addition to historic funding for climate resiliency initiatives and legacy pollution clean-up, the law provides for a five-year reauthorization of the Federal Lands Transportation Program, which will help invest in repairing and upgrading National Park Service roads, bridges, trails and transit systems. The law also invests in projects that will help fund bridge replacements and resiliency, repair ferry boats and terminal facilities, and maintain wildlife crossings that keep people and surrounding wildlife safe.

George Washington Memorial Parkway is a scenic roadway honoring the nation’s first president. It preserves cultural and natural resources along the Potomac River from Great Falls to Mount Vernon.  The northern section of the parkway – from Spout Run to Interstate 495 - is the busiest section of parkway and serves about 26 million drivers annually. This section, which opened in 1962, has never undergone a major rehabilitation. The first phase of the project will be project design, and park visitors and drivers will experience little or no change to their routines. Construction, which is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2025, will impact drivers. Before construction begins, the NPS will provide detailed information to help drivers plan their trips.

Through the Great American Outdoors Act, the Interior Department is investing in much-needed maintenance for critical facilities and infrastructure in our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, recreation areas and Tribal schools. The Great American Outdoors Act authorizes up to $1.6 billion annually for five years to fund deferred maintenance projects, investments that will also benefit underserved communities and help advance the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to racial equity.

Photo via Google Maps

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