The governors of the US states of Maryland and Virginia have agreed the ‘Capital Beltway Accord’.

The aim is to create a new, unified Capital Beltway, replace the ageing American Legion Bridge and relieve congestion.

The American Legion Bridge has been operating beyond its capacity for nearly four decades. Daily traffic has grown 390% since the bridge opened in 1962, with 235,000 vehicles using it daily. The replacement structure is expected to provide 40% more lane capacity that the old bridge.

The project will replace the existing lanes in each direction across the Potomac River and add two new express lanes in each direction for approximately 5km between the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia and the vicinity of River Road in Maryland. New bicycle and pedestrian access will connect trails on both sides of the Potomac River.

The new American Legion Bridge will be delivered in coordination with other projects and will leverage private capital through public-private partnerships.

“The ‘Capital Beltway Accord’ is a once-in-a-generation achievement for the capital region,” said Maryland governor Larry Hogan. “A bipartisan, common-sense, interstate agreement such as this has eluded elected leaders throughout the region for many decades. Together with our partners in Virginia, we are building a foundation for even greater economic growth, greater opportunity for our citizens, and advancing real, lasting, transformative improvements for the entire Washington metropolitan region.”

Maryland governor Ralph Northam added: “A new bridge means commuters will get to work and back home faster. “Our teams have identified a way to fix one of the worst traffic hot-spots in the country.”