New Nice-Middleton Bridge Opens to Relieve Congestion Concerns

The new $462 million Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge (Nice-Middleton Bridge) was officially opened to the public on October 12. Completed three months ahead of schedule, the project’s success was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Governor Larry Hogan. The long-awaited replacement bridge, which supersedes an older adjacent structure, was initially proposed in 2006, and planning and design continued for 14 years until construction began in 2020. KCI, in a joint venture, provided construction management and inspection, environmental compliance, and intelligent transportation system (ITS) engineering for the new crossing.

Nice-Middleton Bridge Opening
KCI’s team was honored to be a part of the new Nice-Middleton Bridge grand opening event hosted by the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).

The structure carries interstate US 301 1.9 miles over the Potomac River and connects Maryland and Virginia, serving as a vital crossing for commuters in the DMV area. Following an increase in traffic throughout the years, a solution to relieve congestion on the original Nice-Middleton bridge was deemed necessary, and the decision was made to construct a new four-lane bridge, expanding on the previous structure’s two-lane capacity. The bridge replacement project consisted of new construction, highway realignment, drainage and stormwater management, traffic signing and ITS equipment, tolling structures, navigation beacons, utility relocations, environmental mitigation and landscaping, temporary construction access structures, and the demolition of the existing bridge.

Nice-Middleton Bridge Opening
The new structure replaces the existing two-lane bridge with a new, four-lane crossing, which is expected to have a 100-year life span and be used by more than 18,000 vehicles each day.

During construction, our team led a broad range of construction management and inspection tasks with specialists in information technology, bridge construction inspection, traffic management, and environmental permit compliance. KCI’s inspection staff acted as a liaison between the project team and state and federal agencies to ensure regulatory compliance throughout the project site. Additionally, our team completed daily inspections and reporting for all aspects of bridge construction including traffic control management, concrete testing, reinforcement inspection, form inspection, and materials documentation. KCI staff also provided construction management services for the nearby campus maintenance facility. As a result of the pandemic, COVID-specific protocol was developed and the team followed all necessary safety measures, created contingency plans, and integrated municipal regulatory compliance into all task orders to ensure a smooth project delivery.

Nice-Middleton Bridge Opening
The project, which created more than 500 jobs, was expected to open in 2023 but was completed ahead of schedule.

The opening of the newly constructed Nice-Middleton Bridge improves the flow of local transportation with twice the capacity for vehicular traffic and increased safety features such as a center median, larger lane widths, and shoulders on each side. In addition to providing relief to a congested area, lane sharing will become available for bicyclists starting in 2023. The previous 82-year-old structure is planned to be demolished and converted into an artificial reef to support marine life in the Potomac River.