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Initiated in 2006, the purpose of the Nice Bridge Improvement Project Planning Study was to evaluate the different options for improving the crossing and the flow of traffic across the bridge and on the roadways leading to and from the bridge. The study process involved developing and evaluating alternates and researching the possible impacts to environmental resources. These include not only natural resources, such as forests and wetlands, but also neighborhoods, communities, historic sites and cultural resources. The purpose of studying alternates and conducting this analysis was to identify potential enhancements to capacity and safety at the existing bridge, including the inconsistent bridge geometry as compared to approach roadways, such as grades, number of lanes and lane widths. The project study area extended along US 301 from Charles County, MD to King George County, VA. The project team coordinated with environmental resource agencies, local and state governments and the public throughout the study in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Bridge Background:

The 1.7-mile long Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge opened in December 1940 and was originally called the Potomac River Bridge. It was the first bridge to provide direct roadway access from Maryland into Virginia south of the nation's capital.

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