The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project is supposed to alleviate some of this congestion by:
- Widening the bridge - more lanes
- Increasing the height of the bridge - decreasing the number of bridge openings (for high masted boats/ships) from 250 to 65 a year.
- Reconstruction of the interchanges at US Route 1, I-295, MD 210 and Telegraph Road
You can find a lot of this information here, if like me, you are interested in the facts, figures and general construction type trivia. However the best part of this trip was not about the numbers, it was in seeing the George - the resident bald eagle, soar above the construction site. That little dark patch in the "crotch of the tree"* is his nest. You can read more about George and his family here. It just goes to prove that all development need not be ecologically destructive and that we can forge relationships with others in our ecosystem and create new balances.
Here's another little tit bit of information. The Potomac River, you see is rather shallow, infact during our one hour trip, our tour boat struck sandbars on three separate occassions. So in order to get the floating construction equipment to safely access locations where the bridge foundations were to be built, a significant amount of dredging was required. Now, what do you do with this muck (an estimated 600,000 cubic yards of it) that you have dredged? Well, remember your history class and all that stuff about the Nile River Delta being so fertile and becoming the cradle of civilization...so, there's your answer. You dump close to 345, 000 cubic yards of fertile river muck onto the grounds of the historic Shirley Plantation at Weanack in Charles City, VA. With this new uber fertile top soil, the site is reclaimed for its historic use - agriculture and the site produces bumper corn and bean crops. As Michael Scott would say, its a win-win-win.
*the tour guide's choice of words, not mine.