Arlington Memorial Bridge & Avenue

"Before us is the broad and beautiful river, separating two of the original thirteen States, which a late President [Andrew Jackson]... desired to span with arches of ever-enduring granite, symbolical of the firmly established union of the North and the South." —Secretary of State Daniel Webster, 1851
 
Aerial Shot of Memorial Bridge
Aerial Shot of Memorial Bridge

NPS Photo

More than 80 years after these words were spoken and 65 years after the end of Civil War, which threatened the "firmly established union," Arlington Memorial Bridge opened to traffic on May 6, 1932.

Symbolically, the bridge was designed to show the strength of a united nation by joining a memorial on the north side of the Potomac River (the Lincoln Memorial) with one on the south (Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial). Memorial Bridge and Avenue also connect the nation's capital to Arlington National Cemetery, where thousands who died fighting to preserve democratic government have been laid to rest.

Construction of the bridge began in 1926, and ended in 1931. Arlington Memorial Bridge, Memorial Avenue, and the grand entrance to Arlington National Cemetery were dedicated on January 16, 1932. However, the bridge was not fully opened to traffic until May 6, 1932. The firm of McKim, Mead, and White served as the bridge's architects.

Arlington Memorial Bridge and Avenue provide a ceremonial entrance to Washington, DC from Virginia. Architectural elements like granite facing; formal, neoclassical design; sculptures of eagles and vases; and bas relief bison, poppies, and oak leaves invoke national strength and unity. Designed to be an "Avenue of Heroes," it is lined with monuments and memorials to such diverse figures as Admiral Byrd, the Seabees, Valor, and Sacrifice. In total, seven memorials have been installed along Memorial Avenue: the first in 1961 and the last in 2001.

 
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Duration:
4 minutes, 54 seconds

Arlington Memorial Bridge is a monument to the sacrifices and valor of our nation’s military personnel and a symbolic link between north and south. From 2018 to 2020, the National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration completely rehabilitated the bridge. As one of the largest transportation projects in National Park Service history, the rehabilitation of Arlington Memorial Bridge gave new life to our capital’s ceremonial entrance while respecting its character, history, and national significance.

 
 

Rehabilitation of Arlington Memorial Bridge

The first full rehabilition of the bridge began in the spring of 2018 and ended when the bridge reopened in December 2020. This was one of the largest infrastructure projects in National Park Service history and involved interagency cooperation with the US Federal Highway Administration. Learn more about the Arlington Memorial Bridge rehabilitation.


 
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Duration:
1 minute, 21 seconds

Karen Arey with the National Park Service describes the many people and groups that worked to accomplish the rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge.

 

Visit Arlington Memorial Bridge

Things to Do

A walk or bicycle ride across Arlington Memorial Bridge and Avenue is a scenic route from the Lincoln Memorial to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.

To request a ranger-led program at Arlington Memorial Bridge and Avenue please call 703‑235-1530.

Hours & Seasons

Arlington Memorial Bridge and Avenue is open year round, 24 hours a day.

Directions

Arlington Memorial Bridge and Avenue stretches between Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

On Foot or by Bicycle

From the Mount Vernon Trail, follow a signed route uphill. Please use caution at the crosswalks. Drivers on the roads around Memorial Circle are often lost and distracted by merging lanes and entrance and exit ramps.

By Car

From Washington, DC, Arlington Memorial Bridge and Avenue can be reached from the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, Constitution Avenue, 23rd Street Northwest, Ohio Drive, and Independence Avenue.

From Virginia, Arlington Memorial Bridge and Avenue can be reached from the George Washington Memorial Parkway, VA-110, and VA-27.

Parking is available along the ramp that extends from Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway to the Lincoln Memorial. Parking is also available for a fee at Arlington National Cemetery.

By Metro

The Arlington National Cemetery station is located on Memorial Avenue.

Facilities

Restrooms, water fountains, and trash cans are located in the Arlington National Cemetery visitor center and at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.

Rules and Regulations

Bicycles are allowed on Arlington Memorial Bridge and Memorial Avenue, but not inside Arlington National Cemetery.

Commercial activities and activities by organized groups, including wreath laying ceremonies and organized runs, walks, and rides, require a permit. For information about permits please call 703‑289-2513.

For a complete list of rules, please read the Laws & Policies.

 

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Last updated: April 29, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

George Washington Memorial Parkway Headquarters
700 George Washington Memorial Parkway

McLean, VA 22101

Phone:

(703) 289-2500

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