The National Park Service has completed the first of four planned projects to reconstruct bridges along Mount Vernon Trail.
Park service staff, elected officials and community members celebrated the reopening of Bridge 12 near Fort Hunt Park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday (Sept. 24). The occasion coincided with National Public Lands Day, which encourages volunteers to help restore and improve national parks and other public lands.
“The Mount Vernon Trail is a very popular recreational resource and these bridge improvements will greatly increase safety for thousands of trail users,” said Charles Cuvelier, superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which runs parallel to the 18-mile trail.
Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck and state Sen. Scott Surovell were among the officials who attended the ribbon-cutting.
A beautiful morning celebrating the reopening of Bridge 12 with the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail and @ssurovell, Superintendent Charles Cuvelier and Judd Isbell! And, spreading the word about Tour de Mount Vernon! https://t.co/eTrftrB44N pic.twitter.com/iQ6Ufp0kbu
— Supervisor Dan Storck (@DanStorck) September 24, 2022
Exciting ribbon cutting today on the new $3M 14-foot wide bridge on the Mt. Vernon Trail near Ft. Hunt Park – taller, wider, straighter & safer! @NPSNewsDC @vabike @betterDCregion @Karen4Schools pic.twitter.com/ptTdCa4dq8
— Senator Scott Surovell (@ssurovell) September 24, 2022
The reconstruction began on Feb. 14 and involved relocating Bridge 12, expanding it to 14 feet in width, installing upgraded railings, and resurfacing the trail to the bridge from Waynewood Blvd to Fort Hunt Road, according to the NPS.
The straighter alignment and reduced slope of the trail leading to and from the bridge enabled by its new location will improve safety, the park service said in its news release.
According to On the MoVe, the previous bridge was “known for frequent bike mishaps” and had been under consideration for an overhaul for decades before getting the needed funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation in 2018. The Federal Highway Administration also assisted.
First opened on April 15, 1972, the Mount Vernon Trail spans over 18 miles from George Washington’s Mount Vernon to Theodore Roosevelt Island near Arlington. Maintained with help from the volunteer nonprofit Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail, the facility reached its 50th anniversary earlier this year.
NPS’ next reconstructions for the southern end of the trail will focus on Bridges 23 and 24 between Belle Haven Road and Tulane Drive, On the MoVe reported. The park service plans to replace four bridges in all over the next five years.
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