NPS kicks off bridge replacement project along Mount Vernon Trail


Autumn view of Mount Vernon Trail's Bridge 12 (Credit: @Pedal2DC)

Mount Vernon Trail users and motorists along the southern end of the George Washington Memorial Parkway may want to be aware of an upcoming construction project that will last several months.

The National Park Service (NPS), together with the Federal Highway Administration and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), will kick off a project Feb. 14 to replace Bridge 12, located just north of Fort Hunt Park along the Mount Vernon Trail, and realign the trail to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians. According to a Feb. 10 NPS news release, trail curves leading to the bridge will be straightened, and the bridge itself will be relocated, eliminating the steep grade and dangerous curves on both sides of it. The NPS will also upgrade the bridge railings and apply new asphalt to the trail.

Signage near current southbound approach to Bridge 12

Local cyclists are looking forward to the improvements. “Bridge 12 has always been treacherous for bicyclists,” said Jeff Gauger, vice president of the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB). “FABB is glad that NPS is replacing it with a safer bridge. Our understanding is that NPS will provide a safe detour for trail users during the installation of the new bridge.”

During the bridge and trail renovation – which is expected to last through the summer – trail users will be detoured onto the southbound section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway near Waynewood Boulevard, according to the NPS. “To protect trail (sic) users on the detour, concrete barriers will be placed on the roadway and drivers will be guided into one lane. Trail users and drivers should expect temporary, short-term closures and should follow trail signs and directions from onsite flaggers,” says the release.

Credit: National Park Service

Preliminary engineering work for the bridge replacement project took place back in December 2020, and that survey work helped inform the design and permitting process, said an NPS spokesperson.

The construction work at Bridge 12 is being funded through VDOT’s Six-Year Improvement Program, according to Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail.

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