This year could bring about the culmination of a few major transportation projects in the region.
Silver Line Phase II
What: A Silver Line Metrorail extension from Wiehle-Reston to Ashburn, Virginia. It will include six new stations and a connection to Dulles International Airport. The $2.8 billion project has been in the works for decades and has a storied history of construction issues.
When: Fall 2021, according to Metro. Construction companies say the project will be substantially complete in April. Metro has put enough money in its budget to open the line next year, but officials says several safety hurdles have to be passed before opening day.
Where: Along the Dulles Toll Road in Northern Virginia
Why: Connecting more of Northern Virginia to Metro — Loudoun County, Dulles Airport and more.
Project Journey at National Airport
What: A new concourse with 14 gates that will replace the dreaded Gate 35X and two new security checkpoints that will replace three smaller checkpoints. The new checkpoint buildings increase the post-security space to include all of National Hall and its shops and restaurants for ticketed travelers.
The new $392 million concourse, to be used by American Airlines, will eliminate the need for passengers to take a bus to board regional jets parked outside. It will include new concessions, including local favorites Timber Pizza and Founding Farmers, plus an American Airlines Admirals Club lounge.
When: July 2021 for the concourses, Fall 2021 for the security building
Where: National Airport in Crystal City, Virginia
Why: Record passenger growth and consolidation in the airline industry led to the addition of outdoor regional aircraft parking accessed via buses from Gate 35X. Nearly 6,000 travelers a day use the much-hated gate, so American Airlines and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority collaborated on the new concourse.
Concourse A at Baltimore-Washington International Airport
What: A 55,000 square-foot expansion of Concourse A, which supports Southwest Airlines. The $48 million project includes five new gates, new restrooms and new food and retail concessions.
When: Spring 2021
Where: Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Maryland
Why: More space for Southwest Airlines, which makes up about 70% of flights at BWI. Southwest uses 32 gates and had about 244 departures a day at its pre-pandemic peak.
Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge
What: A new bridge with six soaring, white arches over the Anacostia River. The $441 million, six-lane bridge is one lane wider than its predecessor and also includes larger bike and pedestrian paths, pedestrian overlooks and piers. The project also rebuilds the Suitland Parkway/I-295 interchange.
When: End of 2021, early 2022
Where: Across the Anacostia River from near Nationals Park to Anacostia in D.C.
Why: The current bridge is more than 70-years-old and is functionally obsolete due to its age and condition.
16th Street Bus Lanes
What: The first major dedicated bus lane project will stretch for nearly three miles on the north-south route in the District. Only buses will be allowed to use the red-painted lanes. The S buses (S2, S4 and S9) should see a few minutes shaved off their route run time, according to the District Department of Transportation.
When: Early 2021
Where: 16th Street from H Street to Arkansas Avenue in D.C.
Why: The corridor serves more than 20,000 riders each weekday, making it one of the busiest in the region in terms of ridership. Bus lanes should help those riders get to their destination quicker.
Metro Station Rehabilitations
What: Metro is closing a handful of stations to rebuild the outdoor platforms. From Mid-February to May, the Blue Line’s Arlington Cemetery and Addison Road stations. This summer, Green Line stations in Maryland including West Hyattsville, Prince George’s Plaza, College Park, and Greenbelt will close. This fall, the Red Line station at Rockville will close for several months so crews can demolish and rebuild the aging canopy structure over the platform.
When: Throughout 2021
Where: Across the region
Why: Metro is replacing and repairing crumbling concrete platforms to maintain safe stations. They’re also upgrading amenities like anti-slip tiles, new information screens and better security cameras.
Metropolitan Branch Trail Connection to Fort Totten
What: The popular Metropolitan Branch Trail will finally link up with the Fort Totten transit center in a much easier way. Right now it takes a meandering route through a neighborhood and includes a big hill.
When: Winter 2021
Where: Northeast D.C.
Why: Greater trail connectivity in Northeast D.C.
What: Toll roads in Maryland and the Dulles Toll Road in Virginia are ditching toll-takers and cash payments and transitioning to all-electronic tolling permanently. Both agencies stopped staffing booths during the pandemic to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Starting in January, Maryland will charge higher rates for vehicles without E-Z Passes. If you don’t have an E-Z Pass transponder, video cameras record your license plate and mail your bill to the address where the vehicle is registered. The Dulles Toll Road will keep exact change coin baskets for now, but will eliminate them sometime in 2021.
Where: Dulles Toll Road in Virginia, all toll roads in Maryland
Why: With all-electronic tolling, there’s no stopping at toll booths, which keeps traffic moving. Also safer in the pandemic.
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