After more than 2 decades, the WB&A trail has entered into its final phase, one that will connect the two pieces (and two counties) of the trail by crossing the Patuxent. The Prince George's section and the Anne Arundel section are currently within spitting distance of one another.
Anne Arundel County's Phase V, the bridge, kicked off in January and last week there was a public meeting about it. Design of the bridge will occur this year and construction next year. In addition, the County is currently building a parking lot for trail users on Patuxent Road at Bragers Road.
At last week's meeting alternatives were presented for the bridge. This part is a little trickier than people thought it was going to be back in 1995. Back then, it was expected that the trail would follow the right-of-way for the old WB&A interurban railroad and cross at the same spot where that did (the abutments of the bridge used by the railroad are still there). But AA county was unable to get access to a section of the ROW north of the river and so a detour - leading to delay - became necessary.
In addition to the no-build option, the County has presented two alternatives, which can be seen on the map below (I also drew the ROW in lime to give an idea of the detour length)
Alternative 2 is the shortest connection between the two trails, with all the cost and environmental benefits that entails, but it will have a steep section and some wetland impacts
Alternative 3 is longer, has more impact and requires an easement, but it avoids the steeper sections and it utilizes an area that has already been cleared.
I don't know the area that well, but I think I prefer the northern crossing more. The PG Trail on the north side continues on to Bowie State, so the southern crossing will add some distance to those travelling between Bowie State and AA County, but it depends on how steep that steep section is.