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  • Writer's pictureRobin Schick

A Nice New Bridge

If you've ventured out of Colonial Beach lately and crossed over to Maryland by boat or land you will see the construction process beginning for the new bridge on Rt. 301 to replace the Harry W. Nice/Middleton Bridge, originally constructed in 1940. This new infrastructure has major impacts to our town residents and visitors alike. For more information on the bridge construction, aesthetics, and timeline check out the design video:

The new bridge enhances transportation to the Northern Neck and an expectation of growth for Colonial Beach. While under construction, this project may prove a nuisance to and from the DC/Baltimore/Metro area, yet also excitement to improving mobility through the 301 corridor for access to jobs, recreation, and commerce.

The next decade in Colonial Beach has a lot of potential for change, and it will be important that our infrastructure and community are preparing now for these pressures.

There are established goals for our downtown to become a Virginia Main Street program, to create an attractive streetscape along Colonial Avenue, and to build out infrastructure to more residential in town limits, but with these ventures also come responsibility. Long term storm water solutions, shoreline protection, and increased need for emergency services are just three areas that will present challenges to our potential growth. These concerns need to be tackled with leadership, experience, and planning. Our Public Works and Planning departments are mapping vital data that can track work orders and build on our existing systems. The RAFT (Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool) project is underway to evaluate our coastal resilience and ways to prepare for the future.

As we grow it is important to also consider our small town appeal, our unique quaintness along the Potomac River, and preserving our local history. Currently the town, through Downtown Colonial Beach, is pursuing a grant funded survey that will help to establish historical designation for our downtown, marinas, and historic cottages. This survey and designation does not put mandates or rules on remodeling, instead it provides access to tax credits as an incentive for owners whom choose to use traditional architecture and preservation where the basis for it already exists. We have in the last two years begun collaborating with tourism grant initiatives, such as the 50 Years of Love and the World War I and World War II Anniversary Commission Tourism Marketing programs. The town is currently sponsored in the state program WanderLove to market our natural qualities for scenic travel in-state during the challenges of COVID-19. These collaborative efforts with the VA Department of Historic Resources, Virginia Tourism Council, the Chamber of Commerce, FlackShack and other local partners highlight Colonial Beach for it's history and beauty. I believe our long-term success must be based on who we are, "Colonial Beach." The name says it all, and to me this means embracing our local history and enhancing our scenic waterfront.

These are exciting times for our region and the bridge expansion is just one element that shows a lot of progress coming our way.

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