The Long Bridge. Photo by Monika & Tim via flickr.
DC will soon kick off a new study, focused on potential replacement or expansion options for Long Bridge, the rail-only Potomac River bridge that carries Amtrak, VRE, and freight trains between DC and Virginia.
The bridge, which was originally built in 1904 and then substantially rebuilt in 1942, is a major bottleneck and capacity constraint on rail services in the region. It has only two tracks, which severely limits the number of trains that can move across the river. This study will be an opportunity to evaluate the need for more tracks, which if built could increase Amtrak and VRE service south of DC.
DDOT will also consider other modes. Would it make sense to add a bike trail to the bridge, or separate tracks for streetcars? DC and Arlington both have plans for streetcars near the river on either side of Long Bridge, so connecting them might make sense.
The study is just starting, so it will be a while before recommendations start to come out. But it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.