Joan Morris 703-259-1799

Jennifer McCord 703-259-1779


Dec. 8, 2010


The Commonwealth Transportation Board today agreed to begin design on an upgraded fire suppression system for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge that will enable more immediate deployment of water to fire-fighters in the event of fires on the bridge deck.  The enhanced system will be designed through a partnership of the Virginia Department of Transportation and the City of Alexandria, in coordination with the Federal Highway Administration and the Maryland State Highway Administration.  

The existing fire-suppression system, designed in accordance with prevailing standards and with the agreement of the City of Alexandria and Prince George’s County, requires fireboats to deploy to the bridge and manually pump water to the deck.  Unlike other bridges in the region, the 1.1-mile Wilson Bridge is significantly longer and has no municipal water available on the Maryland side of the bridge.  

While the original system was designed to address this special condition, the Alexandria Fire Department performed emergency response drills and determined that a more rapid means of providing water to the standpipe system is needed to ensure that fire-fighters have a readily available water supply when they arrive on the bridge deck.

Upgrades to the current system will include a remotely operable, permanent stay-in-place pump system to charge and pressurize the existing dry standpipe system prior to the arrival of fire trucks.  

Design of the enhanced system is being funded by a $300,000 grant from the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.  Design will be completed by June 30, 2011.  The installation cost and schedule for installation will be determined as part of the design process.

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Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012