The bridge that carries the W&OD trail over the Capital Beltway is now open. According to the W&OD Trail Report, it opened on June 15. I've been out of town for most of the time since then, so this was my first time using it. The new bridge replaces the old one just to its south. The replacement was necessary, because the highway is being widened, and the old bridge was not long enough to span the wider road.
This bridge is an important connection for cyclists, because there are few safe places to cross the Beltway in Virginia. Kudos to VDOT for maintaining this connection throughout the construction project.
See photos below. The new bridge is wider than the old one. There is still a little work to complete on the approaches and landscaping as well as the removal of the old bridge.
|Approaching the new W&OD bridge from the east|
|Approaching the new W&OD trail from the west|
|The new bridge (looking west) being used. Note the 12-foot width.|
|The partially deconstructed old bridge|
As an aside, I was told that VDOT offered the old bridge to Arlington County. Although staff at the county identified a possibly beneficial location for the bridge, it was determined that by the time it was taken down, all that would be left would be a couple of long, steel supports that would be very difficult to move anyway. So they declined.
Steve Offutt, Arlington, has cycled across the old bridge hundreds of times and likes the new one.