BALTIMORE (AP) — The Maryland Transportation Authority board has approved spending $50 million on preliminary work toward replacing the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge.

The two-lane, 72-year-old bridge carries U.S. 301 across the Potomac River from Charles County to King George County, Va.

The bridge itself is expected to cost $1 billion, and no funding has been set aside for construction.

However, the transportation authority has committed $56 million over the next five years for design work and to buy rights-of-way.

O’Malley calls the funding “a significant down payment on a wider, safer and more pedestrian-friendly Nice Bridge.” The new, four-lane bridge would be built parallel to and north of the existing bridge. Nearly 18,000 vehicles a day cross the bridge, and that’s expected to increase to 37,000 by 2030.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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