Reston, VA

One of the region’s worst bottlenecks is expected to get some relief after state Gov. Ralph Northam announced a plan to expand the American Legion Bridge.

Virginia and Maryland, which will take the lead on the project, which Northam said was a “once-in-a-generation achievement for the capital region.” The interstate compact has been named the “Capital Beltway Accord”

Once completed, existing lanes in each direction across the Potomac River will be replaced and two new Express Lanes will be added in each direction for roughly three miles between George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia to River Road in Maryland. Trails on both sides of the Potomac River are planned to improve bicycle and pedestrian access.

“This is once-in-a-generation project that will improve accessibility throughout the region,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This is a milestone in regional cooperation. We in Virginia look forward to working hand-in-hand with Maryland to deliver this transformative transportation solution.”

Officials expect the changes to reduce congestion in regular lanes by 25 percent, providing 40 percent more lane capacity over the old bridge.

While Maryland would rebuild the Legion Bridge, Virginia would pay nearly half of the cost.

No homes or businesses are expected to require relocation as a result of the project, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Daily traffic on the American Legion Bridge has grown by 390 percent since the bridge opened in 1962.

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Monday Morning Rundown

W&OD Trail in Reston/Credit: Scott Brodbeck

Take A Free Ride — Motorists can earn free tolls on the 495 Express Lanes next week. If you register on the 495 Express Lanes website this week, you can spend the week of Sept. 22 riding the lanes for free from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. [WTOP]

Bring Your Own Device — It wasn’t that long ago that area school systems banned cellphones and other personal technology. Now they are embracing personal tech as an aid to learning. [Washington Post]

Football Wrapup — The South Lakes Seahawks dropped their third straight game, falling 34-21 to Washington-Lee on Friday at home. The Seahawks are now 0-3. Herndon is now 1-1 after the Hornets were defeated by West Springfield 51-28. Herndon hosts South Lakes on Friday.

Virginia Tourism Tops $20 Billion — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced last week that Virginia generated $21.5 billion in revenue from tourists in 2013, a 1.4 percent increase over 2012. In 2013, tourism in Virginia supported 213,000 jobs, an increase of 1.4 percent in employment, and provided more than $1.42 billion in state and local taxes. [Office of the Governor]

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