The Dept. of Transportation has approved an agreement between Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia to rebuild and expand the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge spanning the Potomac River – a vital link of Interstate 95, a major north-south freight corridor.

Congress has agreed to provide $1.586 billion in federal funds to rebuild the bridge with the understanding that Virginia and Maryland would have to agree to own and maintain the bridge.

Under the DOT-approved financial plan, the states have agreed to a joint ownership and maintenance plan, and to provide all additional funding to support the total bridge project, which is expected to cost $2.4 billion. The new bridge is expected to be completed by 2011.

Originally, the cost of the 12-lane, twin-drawbridge replacement proposal hovered between $1.4 billion and $1.6 billion and was expected to be completed by 2004. The 39-year old structure is crumbling today under triple the weight of trucks and cars it was meant to carry.