After two years, construction on the Arlington Memorial Bridge is over. Work cones were removed, and all six lanes and both sidewalks opened for use. The $227 million renovation project was undertaken by both the National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration to rehabilitate the 88-year-old bridge, the first complete rehab in its history.
According to wtop.com, “During the two-year restoration of the bridge, the iconic granite work along the bridge that can be admired from the Watergate Steps was refurbished. All of the bridge’s supports were replaced, as well as the driving deck. The bridge’s middle section also saw major renovations. Between the 4,500 pieces of historic granite is a draw span — Arlington Memorial was originally a draw bridge that would open for passing ships, but with the addition of many other bridges on the Potomac River that did not have draw spans, the feature became obsolete. During renovations, crews took out the machinery but refurbished the original look of the draw span.”
As per wtop.com, “It was designed as a way to link the North and South nearly 70 years after the Civil War. Jonathan Shafer with the National Park Service told WTOP that the original construction of the bridge was also symbolic. Steel from Pennsylvania was used as a contribution from the North, and granite from North Carolina as a contribution from the South. “It really is the ceremonial entrance to our nation’s capital,” Shafer said.”