News Release

More than a bridge: National Park Service completes full rehabilitation of Washington’s ceremonial entrance

Cars drive in lanes and people walk on sidewalks.
Arlington Memorial Bridge has completely reopened

NPS / Liz Macro

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News Release Date: December 4, 2020

Contact: Jonathan Shafer, 202-619-7186

WASHINGTON – Today, the National Park Service (NPS) will completely reopen the rehabilitated Arlington Memorial Bridge to drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. The $227 million rehabilitation project, one of the largest infrastructure projects in NPS history, is a momentous accomplishment for the Department of the Interior and its federal partners that will extend the bridge’s useful life for 75 years.

"The rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge honors the sacrifices of our nation’s veterans," U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt, said. "The completion of this project marks one of the largest infrastructure projects in National Park Service history, which was done on time and on budget. I hope that all Americans are brought together to remember and honor our veterans every time they cross this bridge into the capital of our nation."

Throughout construction, the NPS took special care to protect Arlington Memorial Bridge’s historic architecture while enhancing its iconic appearance. Since work began in fall 2018, construction workers methodically removed, cleaned, repaired and reinstalled more than 4,500 pieces of granite and rehabilitated the bridge’s historic structure.

“I am sure the commuters of this region are gratified to learn of the completion of renovations to the beautiful and iconic Arlington Memorial Bridge - thanks to the Federal Highway Administration and our federal partners for all their work!” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said.

During construction, workers repaired or replaced the bridge’s foundations, concrete supports, deck and sidewalks. They also installed new, fixed steel beams over the bridge span formerly occupied by a bascule (drawbridge) in the middle of the structure and installed more than 450 pre-cast concrete panels. Engineers at the Federal Highway Administration worked with the project contractor to use innovative methods that sped up construction and lowered costs.

“Collaboration with elected officials and departments of transportation on both sides of the Potomac was key to this project’s success,” Charles Cuvelier, George Washington Memorial Parkway superintendent said. “We were able to complete the project more efficiently by leveraging a federal grant and matching funds with the support of Members of Congress and local elected officials in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia.”

In addition to completing Arlington Memorial Bridge’s first ever total rehabilitation, the NPS implemented recommendations from a safety study of Memorial Circle by repaving, improving crossings, adding new signs and making the area easier and safer for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists to navigate.

In the months ahead, workers will put finishing touches on the bridge and Memorial Circle areas. Workers will replant the projects’ staging areas and complete small projects on the bridge’s deck and install bird netting from boats in the water. You can learn about the entire project at 


More than a bridge

Arlington Memorial Bridge has served as a monument to the sacrifices and valor of our nation’s military personnel since its dedication in 1932. Now that it is nearly 90 years old, the National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration have rehabilitated the bridge for service in its second century. As one of the largest transportation projects in National Park Service history, the rehabilitation of Arlington Memorial Bridge gives new life to our capital’s ceremonial entrance while respecting its character, history and national significance.

Last updated: February 18, 2021

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