Dec 2, 2021 - News

Mapped: D.C. region's top transportation projects

Note: Solid blue lines represent existing bicycle trails and not all bicycle lanes, while some timelines for lanes have changed since the original unveiling in 2020. Map: Jared Whalen/Axios
Note: Solid blue lines represent existing bicycle trails and not all bicycle lanes, while some timelines for lanes have changed since the original unveiling in 2020. Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

There are several key transportation projects to watch in our region, including dedicated bicycle and bus lanes in D.C., the long-awaited Dulles International Airport Silver Line Metro station, and highway widening in Virginia and Maryland.

Why it matters: The public transit and road projects aim to meet the demands of Greater Washington, which grew 13% over the decade to a population of 6.38 million, census data shows.

  • In the background is President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, which will fund projects for roads, bridges, and public transit.

Between the lines: Transportation debates also inspire the region’s passions.

  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has charged ahead with a proposal to add new toll lanes to I-270 and parts of the Capital Beltway, despite some criticism from Montgomery County leaders and even a few D.C. council members who oppose more cars on the road.
  • Back in 2020, the District Department of Transportation kicked off a plan to build 20 miles of new bicycle lanes within two years, including expanding the Pennsylvania Avenue cycle track east and west. A spokesperson said the timelines for projects are only projections, and that they have changed and expanded to plan ahead to 2024.

Planes and trains:

The extension of Metro’s Silver Line to Dulles has been a saga. A timeline on the project's website dates back to the 1960s.

  • An opening date isn't set yet, but the project's builder recently reached substantial completion of the rail line and stations.
  • "Metro will perform hundreds of tests to ensure the extension can be operated safely and reliably before the Board accepts ownership and sets an opening date," Metro spokesperson Sherri Ly wrote in an email.
  • Since opening its first stations in 2014, the Silver Line has transformed the Dulles corridor — spawning new highrises and urban centers from McLean to Reston. Its extension up to Ashburn with six new stations is expected to do more of the same.

Another delayed transit project is Maryland’s Purple Line.

  • It is a 16-mile light rail project that will connect New Carrollton in Prince George's County to Bethesda in Montgomery County with 21 stations.
  • But construction stopped in 2020 after the previous builder quit the project, and the state is hoping for a new contractor to resume the project early next year.
  • A schedule for completion is not yet available, Maryland Department of Transportation spokesperson Jim Joyner told Axios.

In the District:

On 16th Street NW, a 3-mile dedicated bus lanes project began work this year from near the White House to Arkansas Avenue.

  • In September, the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, with its distinctive arches, opened to traffic. Full completion is set for spring 2022.
  • Currently under design is a modernization of Union Station’s concourse, which is eligible for funding from $30 billion set aside for Amtrak under the infrastructure package. It is the first phase of Union Station's plan to triple passenger capacity over the next two decades.

Old Dominion, new projects:

  • On I-66, new express lanes are being built as part of highway widening from the I-495 interchange to Gainesville.
  • In Alexandria, the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station is being built about halfway between the Reagan National Airport and Braddock Road stations on the existing Blue and Yellow lines.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Washington D.C..

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Washington D.C. stories

No stories could be found

Washington D.C.postcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Washington D.C..

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more