Long Bridge

Jurisdiction: 
District of Columbia
Project Description: 

Built in 1904, the Long Bridge is the region's only Potomac River freight rail crossing -- a 2,500-foot span between the District of Columbia and Virginia known as the Long Bridge.  About 90 trains use the Long Bridge on an average weekday. Around a third of those are freight trains operated by CSX, the bridge's owner. The remaining two-thirds are Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter trains connecting the Northern Virginia suburbs with job centers closer to the urban core, or Amtrak intercity passenger trains serving East Coast destinations.

Growing demand for freight and passenger traffic in coming decades will lead to strain on the bridge, especially since CSX, as the bridge's private owner, will retain the right to prioritize its own freight traffic over passenger traffic should the market demand it.

The District Department of Transportation, in a study funded by the Federal Railroad Administration, is examining various alternatives for expanding the bridge’s capacity and making accommodations for double-stacked and electrified trains, and eventually high-speed rail.  The DDOT study is due to be complete by early 2014.