Two beltway bridges over Suitland road are now undergoing reconstruction. The three-year project will potentially disrupt daily traffic.Commuters who use the beltway in Prince George’s County may need to adjust their commute schedules and time as bridgework is to be done on both the inner and outer loop Suitland road bridges. The parallel bridges on both sides of the beltway are going to be replaced, if all goes according to plan and on schedule, work will have been completed by 2020. Maryland transportation officials have deemed the bridges as being “structurally deficient” and are over fifty years old. While only the bridges are being worked on, the construction zone of the project is almost two miles long, stretching from the Route Four Pennsylvania Avenue ramps all the way to Auth Road, and has the potential to cause backups during heavy periods of traffic on the beltway. The work, however, is being done mostly at night and transit authority officials are expected to facilitate average daily traffic. The Suitland road bridges are one of 69 bridges determined to be structurally deficient as of 2015, of which 21 have been fixed and/or replaced, while the remaining 48 are in construction or planning stages.
Meanwhile, in Montgomery County and Virginia, transportation officials and lawmakers are considering building a second Potomac river bridge connecting the Maryland and Virginia sides of the beltway on the north side of D.C. Plans for a second bridge have been the subject of discussions for decades; Virginia officials are pushing hard to approve the plan, while Maryland officials are mostly opposed to the plan. Potential plans have been thwarted in the past by the fact that a new bridge would impact a protected agricultural reserve, while the real estate near the bridge is some of the area’s most valuable property and land. Whether the idea will be further evaluated and considered will be determined when the Transportation Planning Board will vote on July 19.