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Thread: Wilson Bridge Opening Tonight at 11:30

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    Default Wilson Bridge Opening Tonight at 11:30

    I learned about this earlier today and wanted to pass it on: the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is going to be opening at 11:30 tonight. If you don't know, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge which carries I-495 a.k.a. the Beltway is actually a DRAWBRIDGE!

    Source of information was the Alexandria Police Department: https://twitter.com/AlexandriaVAPD/s...14809587892224

    I won't be going tonight to see it (I saw it open last November), but I recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it open. Shipyard Park in Old Town Alexandria is a good spot to watch it https://goo.gl/maps/48MGr6Y29Wu

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post
    I learned about this earlier today and wanted to pass it on: the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is going to be opening at 11:30 tonight. If you don't know, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge which carries I-495 a.k.a. the Beltway is actually a DRAWBRIDGE!

    Source of information was the Alexandria Police Department: https://twitter.com/AlexandriaVAPD/s...14809587892224

    I won't be going tonight to see it (I saw it open last November), but I recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it open. Shipyard Park in Old Town Alexandria is a good spot to watch it https://goo.gl/maps/48MGr6Y29Wu
    Laughing to myself about some of the movies I can think of where cars are jumping across an open bridge:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTOg4aYGtdY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XWpPwp8p_0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKJa-KQNjQU

    And of course, the best one:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzCIbhLUUA0

    What other good ones are there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post
    I learned about this earlier today and wanted to pass it on: the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is going to be opening at 11:30 tonight. If you don't know, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge which carries I-495 a.k.a. the Beltway is actually a DRAWBRIDGE!

    Source of information was the Alexandria Police Department: https://twitter.com/AlexandriaVAPD/s...14809587892224

    I won't be going tonight to see it (I saw it open last November), but I recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it open. Shipyard Park in Old Town Alexandria is a good spot to watch it https://goo.gl/maps/48MGr6Y29Wu
    I've seen it open a few times - it is really frigging cool. It is amazing how quiet the machinery that moves the bridge is, and how quiet it becomes when there is no traffic. I've watched from the park right under the bridge.


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    Are you allowed to be on the bridge with a bike when it goes up? Also, are you allowed to be on the bridge that late at night? I wonder if the MD and VA sides have different rules...

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    mstone is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    yes, it's a drawbridge, because they were running out of ways to waste money

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    yes, it's a drawbridge, because they were running out of ways to waste money
    It's a drawbridge because occasionally big ships need to come onto that side of the bridge In November, it opened to allow a Spanish replica galleon to dock in Alexandria.

    As I recall, because the new bridge was built higher than the previous one, the numbers of times it has to open each year has been reduced dramatically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lhasacm View Post
    it's a drawbridge because occasionally big ships need to come onto that side of the bridge
    LOL. I'd love to know how much that feature added to the construction budget, how much it adds to the annual operating budgets, and the projected and actual frequency of usage. It's good for Alexandria tourism, no doubt, but I bet it costs somewhere between $20,000 and $200,000 per ship voyage, not including the impact on Interstate traffic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LhasaCM View Post
    It's a drawbridge because occasionally big ships need to come onto that side of the bridge In November, it opened to allow a Spanish replica galleon to dock in Alexandria.

    As I recall, because the new bridge was built higher than the previous one, the numbers of times it has to open each year has been reduced dramatically.
    I think it was something like $200m of the $2.4b construction cost. (Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...081201700.html) Beyond the occasional ship traffic like that, it also has a potential utility should any large naval ships need to get close to DC. Not making it a drawbridge would've meant either an even higher bridge (so higher cost) or closing DC to certain sized ships.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk

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    Thanks! Wikipedia says the projection was 60 openings per year. At that rate, likely $50,000-$100,000 per opening, but based on these announcements it seems the bridge actually only opens one tenth that often, putting the cost around $500k-$1m per opening, $1m-2m per round trip. Does the Navy actually have fighting ships tall enough to need the drawbridge that can sail the Potomac? Quick searches suggest the really big boats like destroyers and aircraft carriers need 30-40' of water but the channel just south of WWB is only about 20', and there's not enough tidal variation to make that navigable even at high tide, regardless of headroom / airspace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    Thanks! Wikipedia says the projection was 60 openings per year. At that rate, likely $50,000-$100,000 per opening, but based on these announcements it seems the bridge actually only opens one tenth that often, putting the cost around $500k-$1m per opening, $1m-2m per round trip. Does the Navy actually have fighting ships tall enough to need the drawbridge that can sail the Potomac? Quick searches suggest the really big boats like destroyers and aircraft carriers need 30-40' of water but the channel just south of WWB is only about 20', and there's not enough tidal variation to make that navigable even at high tide, regardless of headroom / airspace.
    Not a fighting ship, but I think the Navy's hospital ships are around 10 stories tall.

    I think the projection of 60 was based on the previous 250/year that the older/lower bridge had to open. It does seem that it is far less often, especially if you ignore the 'maintenance' openings. (I think I remember reading somewhere that it opened 41 times in 2013, but many of those were for maintenance/testing.)

    According to the Internets (http://www.roadstothefuture.com/Wood...on_Bridge.html), Maryland favored a high bridge (around 135 feet up), but Alexandria wanted the lower drawbridge. That makes sense, given what was on each side of the river at the time. The FAA also favored a lower bridge, given the approach to DCA. Given their stereotypical behavior, I think I'm OK with whatever Maryland drivers did not want...

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