Jan 24, 2023 - News

George Washington Parkway repairs will cut traffic lanes into 2025

A map of the GW Parkway through Northern Virginia along the Potomac

The timeline of the project running from Spout Run Parkway to the Beltway. Map: Axios edit of National Park Service map

The northern portion of the George Washington Parkway is undergoing a major repair project that will cause headaches for drivers — and restore several lost views of the Potomac Gorge.

Why it matters: The Virginia roadway is a historic gateway into Washington for around 26 million drivers each year. The northern section was completed in 1962 and is now reaching the end of its lifespan.

Details: The $161 million rehabilitation project along 7.6 miles will lay fresh asphalt, rebuild stone walls, fix erosion and safety barriers and upgrade scenic overlooks along the route.

  • The Route 123 Interchange — connecting motorists between McLean and western D.C. — will also be redesigned.
  • Speed limits have been reduced from 50 mph to 40 mph during construction.

What’s happening: Crews are currently building a temporary reversible lane on the northbound side of the parkway, so that the southbound side can be closed for construction.

What it means: There will be one lane of traffic in each direction, plus a reversible lane tied to rush hour.

Parkway lane setup during rush hour and construction
Photo: National Park Service
  • That setup will take effect between Route 123 and I-495 in late March, lasting until the project’s completion at the end of 2025, according to National Park Service spokesperson Mark Maloy.
  • The same reversible lane setup will begin next winter on the southern portion of the project from Route 123 to Spout Run Parkway.

Flashback: A 10-foot-deep sinkhole in 2019 underlined the urgency of the project.

Zoom out: Selective tree removal will allow motorists to see original views of the Potomac and downtown that have been blocked for years.

A 1959 view of the GW Parkway with Monument and Capitol dome visible
A 1959 view clearly shows the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. Photo: National Park Service
1960s view of the GW Parkway
Like a 1960s postcard. Photo: National Park Service
  • In addition, overlook stops popular with sightseers will be upgraded with new sidewalks, asphalt, and curbs.
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