The National Park Service is warning that "the historic but crumbling Memorial Bridge over the Potomac River may be closed to traffic in five years if it does not get a complete overhaul by then."
The project would include the removal of the antique drawbridge mechanism at the center of the bridge and the creation of a new central section
No design has been created, but It's hard to imagine them doing this kind of work without closing or limiting use of the bridge in a way that would impact cyclists.
But, it could be an opportunity to make the bridge work better for cyclists too. For one think, I'd like to see the sidepath surface changed from the stone agregate sheets to something better. The surface can get slick when wet and the seal-filled gaps are something on the spectrum from unpleasant to unsafe. And then at the ends of the bridge some improvements are still needed. I wrote this post several years ago, and there have been some changes since then, but much of this is still true.
1. From the west side of the downstream lane, grade separated crossings - underpasses perhaps - of Washington Boulevard (in 3 places) and the GW parkway would improve travel between the bridge, the MVT and the Pentagon bikeway. And it would help drivers as well.
2. A Hawk light (or grade separated crossing) for the crossings just north of and just south of off Memorial Drive Circle would improve safety.
3. From the west-side of the upstream side of the bridge, a real trail should be built down to the Mt. Vernon Trail with safe crossings of Washington Blvd and the Mt. Vernon Parkway.
4. Connect the trails to the narrow sidewalk on the west side of Washington Boulevard under the Bridge.