Connection Reports on Delegate Keam's Role in Opening Idylwood Road Bridge
Bridging the Gap
Idylwood Road bridge opens ahead of schedule.Photo by Alex McVeigh/The Connection Elected officials and construction workers cut the ribbon on the Idylwood Road bridge over the Beltway March 18. The project was originally scheduled to take two years, but was re-planned to be completed in six months. By Alex McVeigh
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The Idylwood Road bridge over the Beltway began construction last August, and was scheduled to re-open sometime in 2012. Instead, the bridge was completed and officially opened March 18, after community input led to the creation of a new plan that allowed it to be completed quicker.
The original plan called for the bridge to be closed one lane at a time, with temporary traffic signals allowing alternate one-way traffic. Instead Fluor-Lane, the company rebuilding the bridges as part of the HOT Lanes installation on the Virginia portion of the Beltway, developed an alternate plan.
"Our team of workers worked on a daily basis with our partners and the community to get this project done a year and a half early," said Tim Steinhilber, general manager of the Capital Beltway HOT Lanes project for Transurban-Fluor. "Each bridge that we open early allows the work on the Beltway to move the traffic to the outside so the HOT Lanes can be finished sooner."
As the HOT Lanes are built on the Beltway, 58 aging bridges that carry other roads over the Beltway are being rebuilt to allow for more pedestrian and bike access, as well as updated designs.
"This bridge exemplifies our commitment to replacing the aging infrastructure to better serve these communities." said Larry Cloyed, a project manager for VDOT. "I think public-private partnerships like this are giving us a chance to do some new and exciting things."
Supervisor Linda Smyth (D-Providence) said she was initially wary when she heard that the plans for the bridge would be changing.
"When VDOT asked about changing the plans to close the bridge entirely, we held our breath," she said. "But they presented their case, and made it clear how it would be more efficient. And at our public meeting, almost everyone raised their hands when asked if they wanted it done quicker."
"During my campaign in 2009, a lot of people I spoke with asked about the Beltway and Dulles Toll Road projects, and I pledged to stay on top of it," said Del. Mark Keam (D-35). "When the community expressed their wish that the bridge be done in six months rather than two years, I wanted to make sure that got done."
Keam gave credit to the men and women who constructed the bridge, for "working so hard through the terrible winter we had here."
Cloyed said that he hoped the efficiency of the project would serve as inspiration for future projects.
"We hope over the next two years we can get these projects done with the least distraction possible," Cloyed said. "We're ready to get it done, get all this construction out of people's lives."More information about the project can be found at www.vamegaprojects.com and www.virginiahotlanes.com.