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Author Topic: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?  (Read 64087 times)

cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #125 on: July 22, 2015, 10:57:06 AM »

I think that the four-laning of US 340 through the two-lane part just east of Harpers Ferry should be a higher priority (especially since the current Potomac River Bridge has no shoulders).  Of course I have no idea how/when that would get built.

IMO, not a bad idea, but very expensive - and because it passes through Virginia, which otherwise gets little benefit from widening this part of U.S. 340, I do not see it getting done, though the population growth in Jefferson County, W.Va. probably warrants a widening of that part of the road, and the bridge between Loudoun County, Va. and Knoxville, Washington County, Maryland. 
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froggie

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #126 on: July 22, 2015, 11:29:56 AM »

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and the bridge between Loudoun County, Va. and Knoxville, Washington County, Maryland.

Assuming you're referring to the bridge on VA 287/MD 17 at Brunswick (not Knoxville), that bridge sees less than 5K AADT...not nearly enough to warrant widening.

By comparison, the US 340 crossing sees over 24K AADT, and the US 15 Point of Rocks Bridge has about 19K AADT.
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noelbotevera

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #127 on: July 22, 2015, 11:59:07 AM »

I think that the four-laning of US 340 through the two-lane part just east of Harpers Ferry should be a higher priority (especially since the current Potomac River Bridge has no shoulders).  Of course I have no idea how/when that would get built.

IMO, not a bad idea, but very expensive - and because it passes through Virginia, which otherwise gets little benefit from widening this part of U.S. 340, I do not see it getting done, though the population growth in Jefferson County, W.Va. probably warrants a widening of that part of the road, and the bridge between Loudoun County, Va. and Knoxville, Washington County, Maryland.
Point of Rocks may need one, so that US 15 could at least warrant an upgrade (yeah, yeah, I know bugger all about Northern VA). Now, unless Loudoun County would compromise...
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NJRoadfan

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #128 on: July 22, 2015, 04:28:52 PM »

Why is it so damn hard to cross the Potomac anyway? Its not exactly a large river north of DC.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #129 on: July 22, 2015, 10:17:35 PM »

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and the bridge between Loudoun County, Va. and Knoxville, Washington County, Maryland.

Assuming you're referring to the bridge on VA 287/MD 17 at Brunswick (not Knoxville), that bridge sees less than 5K AADT...not nearly enough to warrant widening.

Nope.  I mean U.S. 340 bridge, which runs between Sandy Hook (or Knoxville), Washington County, Maryland and Loudoun County, Virginia (Google Maps claims the Virginia side to be Purcellville, which is awfully far away -  Neersville or Loudoun Heights make better sense to me).

By comparison, the US 340 crossing sees over 24K AADT, and the US 15 Point of Rocks Bridge has about 19K AADT.

The U.S. 340 bridge would probably have higher AADT if not for the capacity constraints there.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #130 on: July 22, 2015, 10:18:20 PM »

Why is it so damn hard to cross the Potomac anyway? Its not exactly a large river north of DC.

A combination of NIMBYism and clashing political cultures.
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froggie

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #131 on: July 23, 2015, 07:23:42 AM »

Topography plays a factor as well.  For most intents, DC sits on the piedmont line.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #132 on: July 23, 2015, 09:34:13 AM »

Washington Post: How to ease Potomac River crossings: Put solutions where the people are

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Virginia’s highway engineers keep pushing their projects closer and closer to the American Legion Bridge, but they’re going to be out of options once their feet get wet. When they reach the Potomac River, they will need their counterparts in Maryland to extend a hand.

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Virginia transportation officials would like to talk about the possibility of advancing the high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes over the bridge and up the Maryland side of the Beltway to the Interstate 270 spur. And in September, Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board probably will give them the okay to reach out for a chat.

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If you are among the several hundred thousand people who commute on the west side of the Beltway, let’s pause here for a message: If there’s a way to telecommute, find it, or be stuck in that mind-numbing traffic for many years to come.

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The states aren’t even talking yet, let alone looking to see whether HOT lanes actually can be made a part of the trans-Potomac Beltway.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #133 on: July 23, 2015, 09:35:50 AM »

Topography plays a factor as well.  For most intents, DC sits on the piedmont line.

Not sure what being on the Piedmont has to do with - unless you want to factor-in opposition by certain groups representing wealthy people that live on the Virginia and Maryland parts of the Piedmont.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #134 on: July 23, 2015, 09:45:17 AM »

Leesburg Today: American Legion Bridge Toll Lanes Eyed After State Potomac River Crossing Study

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The results of a study examining the need for a new Potomac River crossing fell short of expectations for those who have advocated the construction of a new bridge as a key element in efforts to relieve regional gridlock.

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The Virginia Department of Transportation study was initiated in 2013 and was spearheaded by Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne and Deputy Secretary Nick Donohue, who presented the report to the Commonwealth Transportation Board last week.

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In the end, the report did not address the merits of establishing a new crossing. Instead, it recommended that new high-occupancy toll lanes be constructed on the American Legion Bridge, and perhaps extended to the I-270 spur in Maryland. That would add capacity to the region’s most heavily travelled crossing—which carries nearly 300,000 vehicles per day—while requiring motorists to pay for the project.

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Debate over whether to establish a new crossing, most likely in Loudoun, has ebbed and flowed for more than a quarter century. Opposition to a new highway connection that would pass through Maryland’s rural area on the north side of the river has been the central obstacle, along with preservation groups in Virginia that have challenged the need for such a link.
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froggie

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #135 on: July 23, 2015, 07:58:05 PM »

Topography plays a factor as well.  For most intents, DC sits on the piedmont line.

Not sure what being on the Piedmont has to do with - unless you want to factor-in opposition by certain groups representing wealthy people that live on the Virginia and Maryland parts of the Piedmont.

I was referring to the fall line that separates the Piedmont from the Atlantic coastal plain.  As you well know, topography in the Piedmont gets a bit hilly with steeper cliffs near the river.  This topography makes it more difficult to bridge the Potomac upriver from roughly Georgetown.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #136 on: July 23, 2015, 10:55:02 PM »

Topography plays a factor as well.  For most intents, DC sits on the piedmont line.

Not sure what being on the Piedmont has to do with - unless you want to factor-in opposition by certain groups representing wealthy people that live on the Virginia and Maryland parts of the Piedmont.

I was referring to the fall line that separates the Piedmont from the Atlantic coastal plain.  As you well know, topography in the Piedmont gets a bit hilly with steeper cliffs near the river.  This topography makes it more difficult to bridge the Potomac upriver from roughly Georgetown.

From Georgetown to just above Great Falls, yes, though the engineers that sited and designed the Chain Bridge, and later the American Legion Bridge seem to have managed O.K. 

Above the intake for the Washington Aqueduct just upstream from the Great Falls of the Potomac River, and as far upstream as far you might want to go, it would not seem terribly difficult to build another bridge.

Only problem I am aware of was in the winter of 1995/1996, when a heavy January snowfall was followed by a nearly unprecedented thaw in most of the Potomac's watershed, leading to a massive rise in the waters of the river, which almost swept-away the Point-of-Rocks (U.S. 15) Bridge.
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skluth

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #137 on: July 28, 2015, 12:18:51 AM »

Why is it so damn hard to cross the Potomac anyway? Its not exactly a large river north of DC.

I don't think it's as much about NIMBYs, topology, or culture as much as the incredible cost to build one in modern times. Had a corridor connecting say I-370 and VA 28 been identified, reserved, and bought back in the early 70's, it would probably have happened. But the cost to build that highway today are so astronomical that a subway from Dulles to Gaithersburg might be cheaper and more practical.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #138 on: July 28, 2015, 08:47:49 AM »

Why is it so damn hard to cross the Potomac anyway? Its not exactly a large river north of DC.

I don't think it's as much about NIMBYs, topology, or culture as much as the incredible cost to build one in modern times. Had a corridor connecting say I-370 and VA 28 been identified, reserved, and bought back in the early 70's, it would probably have happened. But the cost to build that highway today are so astronomical that a subway from Dulles to Gaithersburg might be cheaper and more practical.

A subway would cost much more than a six-lane freeway, and would require operating subsidies as well.  The groups opposed to a new highway crossing would freak out if a subway were to be proposed, for that would bring those people to their neighborhoods.
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skluth

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #139 on: July 28, 2015, 10:50:12 AM »

Why is it so damn hard to cross the Potomac anyway? Its not exactly a large river north of DC.

I don't think it's as much about NIMBYs, topology, or culture as much as the incredible cost to build one in modern times. Had a corridor connecting say I-370 and VA 28 been identified, reserved, and bought back in the early 70's, it would probably have happened. But the cost to build that highway today are so astronomical that a subway from Dulles to Gaithersburg might be cheaper and more practical.

A subway would cost much more than a six-lane freeway, and would require operating subsidies as well.  The groups opposed to a new highway crossing would freak out if a subway were to be proposed, for that would bring those people to their neighborhoods.

The point is the cost of either is so outrageous as to be impractical.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #140 on: July 28, 2015, 02:24:05 PM »

The point is the cost of either is so outrageous as to be impractical.

That's what was said about Md. 200.  And yes, at least one Montgomery County politician wanted a Metrorail line studied as an "alternative" to the highway.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #141 on: July 28, 2015, 07:13:23 PM »

What is the likelihood of any of these proposals actually proceeding to the construction phase?
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froggie

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #142 on: July 31, 2015, 12:06:28 AM »

Zero.
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1995hoo

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #143 on: July 31, 2015, 02:59:34 PM »

The only proposal that's at all realistic in today's world is repairing or replacing the Gov. Nice Bridge on US-301. I wonder if they'd consider instituting two-way tolling to collect payment from more of the bridge's users. Currently, the toll is paid southbound only. I have no idea what percentage of the traffic flows in which direction nor where to find said information, but I wouldn't be surprised if cpzilliacus knows.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #144 on: July 31, 2015, 03:21:27 PM »

The only proposal that's at all realistic in today's world is repairing or replacing the Gov. Nice Bridge on US-301. I wonder if they'd consider instituting two-way tolling to collect payment from more of the bridge's users. Currently, the toll is paid southbound only. I have no idea what percentage of the traffic flows in which direction nor where to find said information, but I wouldn't be surprised if cpzilliacus knows.

By glancing at a few resources:

http://www.mdta.maryland.gov/About/Finances/Traffic_and_Toll_Revenue.html
Traffic Volume by facility: 3,243,000 vehicles
Revenue:  $20,241,000

http://www.mdta.maryland.gov/Toll_Facilities/HWN.html
Traffic Volume: 6,500,000 (Both Directions).  This is at the bottom of the page.  Further up, it's reported as 6.4 million vehicles.

But regardless, it appears the traffic volume is about equal in both directions, even though one direction is toll free.


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TheOneKEA

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #145 on: August 01, 2015, 09:04:31 PM »

Since the replacement bridge is intended to use open road electronic tolling, I would fully expect that the gantries will be designed and constructed in a manner to allow for northbound toll collection to take place.

The bridge is also going to have pedestrian facilities installed for foot and bike traffic. What are the chances that this facility will someday (in the far future) be tolled too?
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #146 on: August 01, 2015, 10:22:23 PM »

Since the replacement bridge is intended to use open road electronic tolling, I would fully expect that the gantries will be designed and constructed in a manner to allow for northbound toll collection to take place.

The bridge is also going to have pedestrian facilities installed for foot and bike traffic. What are the chances that this facility will someday (in the far future) be tolled too?

Now I'm picturing EZ-Passes strapped to people. It's hard to get more ridiculous than that. Well, pedestrians did give toll "roads" their start...

ON TOPIC: Would there be southbound toll-collecting?
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #147 on: September 18, 2015, 11:34:37 PM »

WTOP Radio: Va. transportation officials push for more Potomac crossings

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It can sometimes seem like swimming across the Potomac would be quicker than sitting in rush-hour traffic in the Washington area, so members of Virginia’s transportation policy board are hoping to kick-start discussions over new Potomac River crossings.

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At the Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting Wednesday, Gary Garczynski and James Dyke introduced a resolution that would encourage talks with Maryland and the District and put a timeline on the talks for updates.

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It comes after Virginia Deputy Secretary of Transportation Nick Donohue recommended pursuing an extension of the 495 Express Lanes over the Legion Bridge into Maryland as the top Potomac-crossing priority.

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“Although the American Legion Bridge is the most obvious, we urge in the resolution a broader dialogue that does not preclude additional river crossings such as a western crossing or an additional Rosslyn tunnel for Metro,” Garczynski says.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #148 on: October 22, 2015, 03:45:47 PM »

Washington Post: Fairfax, Montgomery push for relief for American Legion Bridge users

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Leaders in the region’s two largest counties on Tuesday called for a renewed push to relieve traffic congestion for weary commuters who use the aging American Legion Bridge.

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In a joint letter to the governors and transportation secretaries of Maryland and Virginia, members of the Montgomery County Council and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors say the two states must “come together and focus on making improvements to address the severe congestion problems at the American Legion Bridge.”

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As hundreds of thousands of commuters can attest, the 53-year-old bridge is a major chokepoint in the region. With nearly 300,000 vehicles crossing it daily, the bridge is the single-most-used Potomac River crossing in the Washington region.

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“As you certainly appreciate, the American Legion Bridge is a vital transportation and economic link for not only Fairfax and Montgomery, but for Maryland and Virginia and, in some ways, the entire East Coast,” the officials state in the letter. “And today, it is a choke point that has serious negative consequences for our economies, our environment and our quality of life.”
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #149 on: December 16, 2015, 10:34:18 PM »

insidenova.com [opinion]: Future Potomac River crossings need study now

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On the same day last week that the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved plans for tolls on Interstate 66 inside the Beltway, members of the oversight panel took a less-noticed but perhaps more far-reaching step.

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The board unanimously approved a resolution calling on the Virginia Department of Transportation to more comprehensively engage its counterparts and Maryland and the District of Columbia on addressing a critical regional transportation need: improving Potomac River crossings.

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Such crossings, both those above ground (bridges) and below it (the Metro tunnel between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom) are stretched to capacity at peak periods, leaving commuters frustrated and the regional economy impacted.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2015, 10:36:59 PM by cpzilliacus »
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