VIRIGINIA, (DC News Now)—The US Department of Transportation awarded the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority $20 million through the RAISE grant program.
RAISE, or Rebuilding American Infrastructure Sustainability and Equity, is a program through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan.
The money will help fund the Long Bridge Bicycle and Pedestrian Crossing Project.
The bridge, which will be built specifically for cyclists and pedestrians, will cross the Potomac River from Long Bridge Park in Arlington to East and West Potomac Parks in Washington, DC. Overall, it will cost an estimated $88 million to build, with a completion date of 2030.
“VPRA’s Long Bridge project is designed to not only relieve congestion along the rail corridor across the Potomac, but to also provide an additional route for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel across the river that is also safe, direct, and a more pleasant experience,” said Michael McLaughlin, Chief Operating Officer of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority. “This RAISE grant will further our efforts to make that a reality.”
The pedestrian bridge is part of a larger $2 billion project to ease railroad traffic on Long Bridge. And includes the construction of a new railroad bridge specifically for passenger traffic.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is supportive of the project.
“We think any time there’s a new span across a river, that is a major victory especially when it is protected,” said Kalli Krumpos, Capital Trails Coalition Manger for WABA.
Krumpos said the group has been advocating for the project for years, giving input and pushing for it to happen.
“Having more options where (cyclists and pedestrians) do feel safe will greatly increase the numbers we see and make sure that they continue to feel safe,” she said. “There is a lot of people who would feel interested in doing more walking and doing more biking if they felt there was a safe place to do it.”
The project is still in the planning stage.
WABA hopes the approved project is a design that will make sense for years to come. Including a width that is able to accommodate an increasing number of bikers and walkers.
According to a report by DOT, the project will include separate lanes for bikes and pedestrians.
For more information on the project, visit https://longbridgeproject.com/