News

Brace for noise and traffic changes from Georgetown Pike bridge demo

Drivers coming onto I-495 South from the GW Parkway will be detoured while the north side of Georgetown Pike bridge is demolished (via VDOT)

Nights are about to get noisier in McLean, as work begins in earnest this week on the demolition of the Georgetown Pike bridge over the Capital Beltway.

As early as Wednesday (July 27), construction crews working on the I-495 Northern Extension (495 NEXT) project will start demolishing the northern side of the bridge, which is being replaced and widened to fit six lanes and a new 6-foot-wide sidewalk.

During the demolition, traffic on Georgetown Pike will shift to the south side of the bridge. Crews have been laying the groundwork for the shift since late June, eliminating an existing concrete median and installing temporary traffic lights.

Demolition of the bridge’s north side is expected to take about three weeks, with work generally taking place between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Sunday through Friday nights. Work may be needed on Saturdays from 9:30 p.m. to 7 a.m., depending on the weather and other factors, the Virginia Department of Transportation says.

“Specialized equipment will be used to demolish the bridge, including excavators fitted with hammers, saws and hydraulic jaws,” VDOT said in a news release published Friday (July 22). “While every effort will be made to control noise, certain demolition activities are unavoidably noisy and must be performed during nighttime hours when Beltway traffic below the bridge is lightest and necessary lane closures can occur.”

In the coming weeks, drivers should prepare for regular lane closures and traffic stoppages during overnight hours, according to VDOT:

To keep workers and motorists safe during the demolition, overnight triple- and double-lane closures on I-495 (Capital Beltway) and periodic stoppages of I-495 lanes for up to 30-minute intervals will be necessary. Virginia State Police will be on site to assist with implementation of the closures. Lane closures may also occur on Georgetown Pike approaching and over the bridge.

During certain multi-lane closures of the left side of southbound I-495, motorists coming from the George Washington Memorial Parkway heading for southbound I-495 will follow a minor detour accompanied by advance signage. Instead of accessing the Beltway from the left lane of the exit ramp, drivers will be directed to stay right and take the ramp up to Georgetown Pike, proceed straight through the traffic light, and take the ramp back down where traffic will then be able to merge onto the Beltway.

The Georgetown Pike bridge overhaul is part of the 495 NEXT project to extend the Beltway’s express lanes from the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons to the George Washington Memorial Parkway in McLean.

The bridge’s south side is scheduled to be demolished in spring 2024, according to VDOT. The overall project is currently slated for completion in 2026, with the new express lanes potentially opening in late 2025.