ARLINGTON, Va. - All lanes and sidewalks on the Arlington Memorial Bridge will be shut down for a weekend in mid-September as part of a two-year project to repair the bridge.
On an average weekday, about 68,000 vehicles make the scenic trip across the bridge that helps connect Virginia and D.C. That number is significantly lower on weekends, but the upcoming closure will still have a major impact on vehicle, bicycle and foot traffic.
A barge and other equipment will be stationed and ready for the work that will shut the bridge down starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14 until 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 17.
Crews will be working around the clock during the temporary closure, but the National Park Service said the entire two-year project is too complex to be carried out entirely overnight.
Drivers, joggers and bicyclists will all need to find another route while boaters in the Potomac River are being asked to avoid the area near the bridge's center span during the temporary closure.
After the September shutdown, the six lanes that carry traffic between Arlington and the District will go down to just three lanes - one in each direction with a middle lane that is reversible. This will be the case until the project is finished in 2021.
There are additional concerns about massive Metro work scheduled for next summer that will shut down a large part of the Blue and Yellow lines while work on the bridge is continuing. The National Park Service said people need to plan for it because the bridge project is a must.
"We coordinated with the regional departments of transportation in D.C., Virginia and neighboring municipalities," said Jonathan Shafer of the National Park Service. "If we weren't doing this work on Arlington Memorial Bridge now, we would have had to close the bridge completely by 2019 or 2021, according to the Federal Highway Administration."
The Arlington Memorial Bridge rehabilitation project will fix deteriorating conditions on the road surface and underneath the 86-year-old structure while maintaining its historic appearance. It should secure the bridge for the next 75 years.
There will be other times the bridge will be temporarily shut down throughout the project. After the upcoming September shutdown, the next weekend closure will likely happen in November.