After nearly three years of "out of sight" work on the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge, placement of 114-foot-long steel beams Tuesday morning was a visual milestone of the accelerated pace of the project.
The beams, 12 feet tall and 22 inches wide, will support the new bridge's deck on the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway. The overall project is now one-third complete and starting its fifth year of construction.
With the placement of the first of four beams, between the first set of piers and the bridge abutment on the Virginia side, the first real outline of the new southern span became apparent. In total, 184 beams will be installed that will support the first of the dual span new bridge scheduled to open in mid-2006.
Once the Outer Loop span is opened, pier construction and steel placement will begin on the northern span of the new bridge. However, prior to that, the existing bridge will be demolished with all traffic traveling across the new southern span. Total bridge construction is scheduled for completion in 2008.