Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge
In Historic Dedication Ceremony of New Potomac River Crossing
Maryland Delivers New Nice-Middleton Bridge On Budget and Three Months Ahead of Schedule, Replacing 82-Year Old Span
Opened on October 12, 2022, this 1.7-mile, four-lane bridge is located on US 301 and spans the Potomac River from Newburg, Md., to Dahlgren, Va.
The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) replaced the existing Nice/Middleton Bridge with a new bridge that provides customers with:
- Double the vehicle capacity with four 12-foot-wide lanes, replacing the old bridge’s two 11-foot-wide lanes
- Improve safety by installing a barrier-separated median between east- and westbound lanes, adding two-foot shoulders and other improvements that meet current safety standards
- Eliminate lane-shifting safety issues at toll booths by replacing them with all-electronic tolling
- Enable tall ships to pass beneath its 135-foot clearance
Construction started in July 2020 and the new bridge opened on October 12, 2022. Under MDTA’s supervision, the $463 million design-build job is being performed by Skanska, Corman and McLean (SCM), a joint venture comprised of firms with local ties.
The MDTA is self-sufficient and receives no gas tax, motor vehicle fees, or other revenue in the Transportation Trust Fund. The MDTA facilities are fully financed, operated, maintained, improved, and protected with toll revenues paid by customers using those facilities.
017 traffic volume - 6.8 million vehicles.
The E-ZPass® is available at the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge.
- Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge
P. O. Box 8
US 301 South
Newburg, MD 20664
- TTY 410-355-7024
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Old Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge:
Opened in December 1940, this 1.7-mile, two-lane bridge is located on US 301 and spans the Potomac River from Newburg, Md., to Dahlgren, Va. President Franklin D. Roosevelt participated in the facility's groundbreaking in 1938.
The Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge carries US 301 over the Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia. It is the second oldest of the Maryland Transportation Authority's (MDTA) seven facilities. The opening of the bridge on Dec. 15, 1940, gave MDTA customers a new route to the South. Before the bridge was built, travelers heading from eastern and southern Maryland to Richmond and Norfolk, and points further south, crawled through Washington, D.C., along US 1.
Originally called the Potomac River Bridge, the structure was renamed in April 1968 to honor the governor of Maryland during whose administration the bridge was planned and built. There were no bridges across the Potomac River south of the nation's capital prior to Dec. 1940. The Maryland Primary Bridge Program, developed in 1937, called for crossings of the Potomac, Susquehanna, and Patapsco Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Governor Nice approved the program on April 15, 1937, and a year later the United States Congress ratified the plan under its regulatory powers over navigable waterways.
The site chosen for the Potomac River Bridge was a ferry terminal. In earlier years, crowded vessels transported vacationers across the Potomac River on their way to the popular resort town of Colonial Beach, Virginia.
In September 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt journeyed to Charles County to lead the ground breaking ceremony for the new 11,446-foot span. To serve the bridge, Maryland Route 3 (Crain Highway) was extended to the Potomac River from Mattawoman in northern Charles County. The extension of Route 3 is now known as US 301.
The extension of Crain Highway and the opening of the bridge over the Potomac proved a more popular southern route than planners had anticipated. Traffic engineers predicted the bridge would carry an average of 136,000 vehicles-per-year during the first five years. During fiscal year 1942, the traffic volume surpassed 171,600 vehicles. Just four years later, the count climbed to 453,900 annually.
Traffic peaked at 3.2 million in 1964. The following year, it dropped by a third following the opening of the Capital Beltway, which made it possible for southbound motorists to quickly travel around Washington, venture across the Potomac River, and continue south into Virginia.
The bridge span closed to traffic on October 12, 2022
Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge Quick Facts:
- Construction Dates: March 1938 - December 1940
- Cost: $5 million
- Location: US 301 over the Potomac River; 1.7 miles of two-lane bridge; vertical clearance is 135 feet.
- Length of entire facility, including bridge and approaches: 2.2 miles
- Traffic Volume: 6.8 million vehicles (both directions)
- Toll collected in southbound direction only.