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Va. wants talks with Md. on wider Legion bridge over Potomac

(Flickr / William F. Yurasko / “I-495 sign” / CC BY 2.0 / cropped and resized)

(Flickr / William F. Yurasko / “I-495 sign” / CC BY 2.0 / cropped and resized)

McLEAN, Va. — Virginia transportation officials want to begin discussions with Maryland about widening the Capital Beltway’s American Legion Bridge over the Potomac River.

The Virginia Department of Transportation presented a report Tuesday recommending a wider American Legion Bridge as the best option to ease congestion for commuters traveling between Maryland and Virginia. The bridge carries more than 220,000 vehicles a day.

The report notes that the bridge was built in 1962 and will likely need rehabilitation in the next 10 years anyway. And it concluded that added capacity could go hand-in-hand with the new Express Lanes Virginia has built on that side of the beltway.

The bridge itself, though, is controlled by Maryland. State Highway Administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar said Maryland officials are willing to discuss any ideas that Virginia proposes.