News Release

New traffic pattern for Arlington Memorial Bridge begins October 15

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Date: October 11, 2018
Contact: NCR Office of Communications, 202-619-7400

WASHINGTON— Starting Monday, October 15, the National Park Service (NPS) will begin a new long-term change to the traffic pattern on Arlington Memorial Bridge. This change will reduce the bridge’s capacity from six to three lanes and one sidewalk until the rehabilitation is finished in 2021. To help people plan their trips across and around Arlington Memorial Bridge, new detour maps and animations are available for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians on the project website at

Crews will work to implement the new traffic pattern in the overnight hours Sunday into Monday morning. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians should expect to see the new three-lane and single sidewalk configuration in place no later than 4 a.m. Monday. 

For the next two years, there will be one constant eastbound and one constant westbound lane with a reversible third lane to accommodate rush hour traffic. Monday through Friday, the reversible lane will run eastbound (into D.C.) from 4 a.m. to noon and westbound (toward Va.) from noon through the overnight hours until 4 a.m. On Saturdays, Sundays and federal government holidays, two lanes will always run eastbound and one lane will always run westbound. Drivers should watch the overhead signals on the bridge to know which lanes are open for travel in their direction. 

Traffic engineers used the best data available to determine the schedule for the reversible lane. Noon and 4 a.m. were chosen to minimize delays for commuters. We expect to see some backups and heavier delays during the first week or two as drivers adjust to the new traffic pattern. Traffic engineers will monitor impacts, and we may adjust the reversible lane schedule if the monitoring shows there may be ways to improve traffic flow.

Drivers and cyclists should exercise extreme caution and expect to see construction workers in the road 30 minutes before and after the scheduled times for traffic shifts. Detours for pedestrians and cyclists will be signed. Cyclists and pedestrians are reminded to please use crosswalks, and refrain from taking shortcuts across these busy roads. 

Since June, the NPS and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have been preparing the bridge for a complete rehabilitation. The work that begins Monday is the bulk of the much anticipated $227 million full rehabilitation project announced in December 2017. Over the past seven years, the NPS and FHWA made emergency temporary repairs while planning the larger rehabilitation. Without this complete rehabilitation, the bridge’s continued and accelerated deterioration would have required it to close to 68,000 daily vehicles by 2021. The bridge’s current 10-ton load restriction will stay in place for the duration of the project. 

We will share updates about the work and how it will affect you at 


#MoreThanABridge Since its dedication in 1932, Arlington Memorial Bridge has served as a monument to national sacrifice and valor—a symbol of reunification, spanning the historic divisions of North and South. As one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects in National Park Service history, the rehabilitation of Arlington Memorial Bridge will give new life to our capital’s ceremonial entrance while respecting its character, history and national significance. Learn more at

Last updated: October 17, 2018

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