The Francis Scott Key Bridge is an eight-span reinforced concrete open spandrel arch structure that carries six lanes of U.S. Route 29 traffic over the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal, the Whitehurst Freeway and K Street, the Potomac River, and the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Five of the arches span over the Potomac River, while the other three span land features.
More than just critical transportation infrastructure, the Key Bridge is a historic landmark with an important role in the local vista and the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID)’s 2028 Plan for creating a more vibrant Waterfront District.
This project builds upon the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) coordination with the BID, façade lighting studies, and a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Categorical Exclusion. The following two steps will be completed to allow DDOT to secure federal funding and advance to final design and construction.
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act
Modifications to the historic Key Bridge are considered a federal action; thus, the lighting project is considered an undertaking as defined by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and its implementing regulation, 36 CFR Part 800 “Protection of Historic Properties,” and other federal laws and local regulations and guidelines.
In accordance with Section 106, DDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), as the lead federal agency, will complete the Section 106 review process. Section 106 reviews ensure federal agencies fully consider historic preservation issues and the views of the public during project planning. Additional information about the Section 106 process may be found on the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation website at www.achp.gov.
Renderings have been developed to illustrate lighting design options, and preliminary engineering will be conducted for the Preferred Alternative that is identified at the conclusion of the Section 106 process.
The design plans will be prepared in compliance with current design practices and code requirements of the District; applicable requirements for the Federal-aid Highway Program; and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), and FHWA requirements, as appropriate, for aesthetic bridge lighting.